Finding the End of Your Dual Diagnosis Drug Addiction

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

In the rehab world, a patient’s case is referred to as a Dual Diagnosis when they have a mental illness and an addiction at the same time. Sadly, this affects many more people than you might think. The prevalence of dual diagnosis addictions is because having either one of the conditions means being at a higher risk of developing the other. Substance abuse and addiction often leads to mental illness, and vice versa, and it can happen to anyone. People from every economic level, race, religion, creed, and education have been afflicted with a dual diagnosis. Like many illnesses, cases of mental illness combined with a substance addiction are democratic in nature – that is, they’re just as likely to happen to anyone as they are anyone else.


Difficulties in Treating a Dual Diagnosis

As you have probably assumed, treating a dual diagnosis addiction is more difficult to treat than an addiction without an accompanying mental illness. When a rehab patient has “just” an addiction to a substance, then only the addiction itself needs to be treated. That patient will go through detox, if deemed necessary, then spend their time in rehab focusing on learning how to live life without using the substance.

On the other hand, when a patient has a dual diagnosis, they will go through detox like a non-dual-diagnosis patient, but the rest of the rehab experience is notably different. The time spent in rehab will have their focus on both rehabilitating from drug abuse as well as treating the mental illness. Nevertheless, both of these hypothetical patients will have the same goal – to live a long life of sobriety, it can just be more difficult or take longer for those with a dual diagnosis.


If you or a loved one has an addiction to alcohol or drugs, contact us immediately to receive proper treatment as soon as possible.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.