What is dual diagnosis treatment and why is it important?

dual diagnosis

Successfully treating addiction does not stop at addressing a person’s immediate physical dependency on a substance. Oftentimes, addiction is a symptom or byproduct of deeper underlying psychological issues. If left untreated, these penetrative issues leave a person susceptible to relapse or developing other maladaptive behaviors as a way to cope with their condition. For this reason, taking a holistic approach to addiction through dual diagnosis treatment is essential to long-term recovery.

What does dual diagnosis mean?

Conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders often co-occur with alcohol or substance use disorders. This is called a dual diagnosis and it is known to affect about half of those living in addiction today.  

Underlying mental health conditions may be known or may be undiagnosed in an individual before they receive alcohol or drug abuse treatment. A person with anxiety or depression, for example, may use drugs or alcohol to cope with the effects of their illness. They may not recognize they are clinically depressed or bipolar, but they notice how “self-medicating” with certain substances changes their mood and so they repeat that behavior in an effort to maintain that feeling. Similarly, a person who has experienced past traumas may turn to legal or illegal substances to numb the emotional pain associated with those experiences and become dependent on those substances to feel normal.  

Mental health and addiction have a push and pull effect

Mental health conditions and SUD influence one another. While mental and emotional issues may result in a person developing a substance use disorder, the use of drugs or alcohol may also lead to the development or worsening of those issues. This can create a cycle of substance use and mental health decline as a person is unable to recognize their problem or relies on self-medication rather than adequate treatment.  

This push and pull effect makes the treatment of dual diagnosis disorders especially challenging. Fortunately, resources such as Isaiah House Treatment Center are available in Kentucky that specialize in addressing dual diagnosis disorders. 

Why holistic treatment is key

To effectively treat dual diagnosis disorders, access to treatment programs that provide both resources to address addiction as well as its underlying causes and effects is crucial to successful recovery. Because addiction is often a symptom of an underlying cause, treating one separately from the other may not fully benefit the person affected.  

A person may succeed in abstaining from drugs or alcohol in the short term through an addiction treatment program, but if the mental and emotional challenges that fed that addiction are left neglected, addictive behaviors and harmful coping mechanisms are likely to resurface. 

When looking for a dual diagnosis treatment program, clients will benefit from tailored treatment plans to meet their specific needs. Addiction and mental health disorders impact people in unique ways and therefore an individualized treatment plan is more beneficial than a one-size-fits-all program. Such plans should incorporate resources to help with initial abstinence from substances, therapies and counseling focused on mental and emotional health and rehabilitation resources that equip a client with the necessary skills to live independently.  

Where can I find dual diagnosis treatment

Isaiah House Treatment Center offers a comprehensive, dual diagnosis treatment program in Kentucky that provides the needed support for clients affected by both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.  

At Isaiah House, clients have access to individualized treatment plans, group, individual and family counseling by licensed clinicians, classes with certified peer support specialists, educational and workforce development opportunities, various skill-building resources, and support in addressing legal, financial and spiritual needs.  

Isaiah House comprises five residential treatment campuses and several transitional living homes and offers programs for both women and men. Aftercare services and outpatient services, including Real Health Primary Care and Real Hope Behavioral Health, also ensure clients receive the assistance they need as they progress in their recovery. 

Through Isaiah House’s Real Hope Behavioral Health center, experienced professional therapists not only provide support for clients but also their families and patients of all ages in treating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, substance use disorder, trauma, PTSD, eating disorders and more.

Both addiction and mental health must be destigmatized

According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, of the 61.2 million adults diagnosed with a mental illness over the course of a year, 31.4% were also diagnosed with a co-occurring substance use disorder.  Half of those living with a dual diagnosis did not receive treatment of any kind and less than 8% received treatment that addressed both their mental health and their SUD.  

Since addiction and mental illness are often unfairly stigmatized in society, a person impacted by both may struggle more with recognizing their problem, reaching out for help or connecting with the right resources once they do. Discussing, normalizing and supporting access to addiction treatment and mental health care – and especially resources that offer both – is important to help more people find the support they need. Additionally, substance use disorders as well as many mental illnesses are preventable with early interventions, education and advocacy.  

At the end of the day, an addiction treatment program can help a person stop using opiates, alcohol or methamphetamine, but unless that person also receives help adequately addressing their mental and emotional well-being, their ability to remain sober is greatly reduced. Dual diagnosis treatment like that offered at Isaiah House is key to helping these individuals be successful in recovery long term and live healthy and productive lives.  

If dual diagnosis treatment is right for you or your loved one, contact Isaiah House Treatment Center today to inquire about our programs and treatment options. There is Real HOPE for Addiction.

Discover a Holistic Approach to Addiction Treatment

Where physical, spiritual, educational, and financial needs are addressed with a Christian approach for long-lasting recovery.

More Resources

Take the First Step Towards Recovery

Our compassionate team is here to answer your questions, provide support, and guide you through the admissions process. Call 24/7.

More to Explore

Continue Reading

Music winner of Hope Award from Hometown Connect at annual Gala HARRODSBURG, KY (April 29, 2024) – Cassie Music, MSN, APRN, and Vice President of

I was broken, hopeless, exhausted and at my lowest of lows. I had lost my relationship with God, custody of my children and literally every ounce of...
In these halls where many will walk lives a dream. In these halls where many will talk lives hope. In these halls where many will cower lives...

“After graduating from residential treatment, I went to Isaiah House’s Intensive Outpatient Program. They made me feel stronger and determined. I later graduated from IOP


Isaiah House’s Gary Chidester, director of discipleship, was recently featured in an article from Kentucky Today. “People are talking about the need for a great

My experience at Isaiah House has really been nothing short of a miracle. In early August 2023 I hit rock bottom. Though everyone's rock bottom is different,...

Ready to Get Help? Contact Us Today