A dual diagnosis is having both a mental disorder along with a substance use disorder. It’s also known as co-occurring disorder or co-morbidity. Sadly, such a condition doesn’t only harm the patient, but it also affects everyone around. That’s why dual diagnosis treatment is essential.

Dual diagnosis treatment must deal with the two problems simultaneously. This type of intervention may include medications or behavioral therapy. Additionally, attending support groups can have great effects on providing social and emotional support to the patient.

Dual Diagnosis

In this article, you learn everything you need about the dual diagnosis treatment at Long Island Interventions and how the clinical team helps create a personalized treatment plan for the patients.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is when someone has a mental disorder while using drugs or having an alcohol problem. Usually, such conditions happen together, which is why dual diagnosis is a combination of more than one diagnosis.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than seven million adults suffer from co-occurring mental and substance use issues. This isn’t an indication that one condition caused the other. In fact, it can be tough to pinpoint exactly which of them happened first.

In general, mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions. On the other hand, substance use disorders (SUDs) involve the use of addictive drugs or alcohol.

A combination of both disorders can have tremendous effects on you. If left untreated, some mental health issues can worsen the problem of drinking or using drugs. Likewise, continuous substance use can dramatically increase the mental health issues you suffer from.

Surprisingly, over 37% of people with substance use disorder also suffer from mental illnesses. Similarly, more than 18% of people with mental illness use alcohol or other drugs. This may seem like a vicious cycle for some, but both disorders are treatable.

Reasons Mental Disorders and SUDs Occur Together

Sometimes, people with some kinds of mental illnesses resort to drinking alcohol or using drugs as a way of self-medication. This may help with the symptoms in some cases. However, over time, such practices only make things worse.

Moreover, the chemical changes in mentally ill people may trigger the rewarding effects of substance use. Unfortunately, this makes it much harder for them to quit.

Correspondingly, substance use might cause some changes in perfectly fine brains’ function and structure. As a result, it can cause you to become more prone to developing serious mental disorders.

Although noticed together frequently, mental disorders don’t necessarily cause substance use disorders or the other way around. It can be hard to believe, but both mental illness and SUD may run in families due to genetic factors.

This means that certain genes increase the risk of having a mental disorder in your family. In fact, even traumatic experiences can cause genetic changes that may later be passed down to future generations.

Identifying and Treating Dual Diagnosis

Most of the time, it can be hard to achieve the combination of diagnoses to know you have a dual diagnosis for sure. That’s because both disorders have overlapping symptoms.

However, healthcare providers use a wide range of screening tools to evaluate the two conditions. Thus, it’s vital to be completely honest with your doctor and give truthful answers.

Such responses help a lot in determining the kind of disorder you have and finding the proper treatment.

The Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Each type of disorder you have has its own set of symptoms. So, the overall symptoms of dual diagnosis may vary depending on the mental illness you have and the substance used.

Because there are many combinations of dual diagnosis, symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety, depression, and extreme mood swings.
  • Sudden behavioral changes.
  • Confusion and difficulties to focus.
  • Feeling that drugs or alcohol make you feel better.
  • Inability to quit drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
  • Withdrawal and avoiding social activities.
  • Suicidal thoughts

The Need for Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis requires treatments for mental health and substance use disorder simultaneously rather than separately. Luckily, understanding how each condition can affect the other helps greatly in finding the best treatment plan for patients.

That’s why each patient must get a specifically tailored treatment. Such plans include a combination of behavioral therapy and medications to address the mental illness and the accompanied symptoms. What’s more, the patient’s age should also be taken into account.

Of course, to begin your dual diagnosis treatment, you must stop using whatever addictive substance you’re on. This usually means undergoing an extensive detoxification program in an in-patient facility.

During this time, healthcare providers monitor and help you through the withdrawal process. Depending on your type of dual diagnosis, integrated treatment plans may include the following:

1. Behavioral Therapy

Many kinds of behavioral therapies are excellent for treating patients with mental disorders and co-occurring substance use. Whether combined with medications or not, some of the most effective behavioral therapies are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): It’s a talking therapy (psychotherapy) that helps you manage your negative thoughts through practices that change the way you think or react.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This is another type of talking therapy that’s based on cognitive behavioral therapy. Yet, it’s specifically for those who experience emotions more intensely than others.
  • Therapeutic Communities (TC): It’s a treatment environment where people help each other through interacting, playing the dual role of patient-therapist.
  • Contingency Management (CM): This kind of therapy involves rewarding the patients for showing evidence of positive change and is highly effective in treating substance use and other related disorders.
  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT): It uses a person-centered approach to offer treatment along with rehabilitation and community integration to patients with severe mental disorders.

2. Medications

Your healthcare provider may prescribe some medications proven to help lessen the symptoms of many mental disorders. Besides, other medications can also help with treating substance or alcohol addiction.

Furthermore, some drugs can work on treating both conditions in dual diagnosis. For example, bupropion is an FDA-approved medicine for depression (Wellbutrin) and nicotine dependence (Zyban).

3. Support Groups

Support groups can have substantial benefits for patients with dual diagnosis. They provide the emotional and social support needed to go through the treatment journey.

Listening to experiences shared by people who had or still have the same conditions as you do helps a lot. From offering tips to answering your questions, such support can aid you through daily challenges.

Overview of Long Island Interventions

People suffering from addiction find it tough to quit without the help of a professional. Additionally, they often feel ashamed, which hinders their treatment journey.

Long Island Interventions offers a safe and supportive environment for people of the Greater New York area. We have multiple facilities with teams of experienced professionals to help with your recovery and put you back on the route to a better life.

In addition, we work on creating a personalized treatment plan that’s made specifically to fit the patient’s condition and needs.

Long Island Interventions Facilities

Serving the Greater New York area, Long Island Interventions have multiple facilities covering:

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Long Island Interventions

The dual diagnosis treatment focuses on finding the main cause of addiction through different types of psychotherapy. After the clinical team performs a comprehensive assessment, they create a personalized treatment plan for the patient.

At Long Island Interventions, we offer a variety of treatment options. From medical detox to in-patient treatment and outpatient programs, our facility provides many services.

Long Island Interventions Individualized Treatment Plans

People with dual diagnosis suffer from two individual illnesses, each requiring its own treatment plan. That’s why dual diagnosis treatment is an essential part of any addiction treatment program at Long Island Interventions.

Here, we walk you through the various stages of recovery, developing personalized treatment plans for you. It all depends on your specific needs and what underlying issues you should address.

Components of Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Long Island Interventions

At Long Island Interventions, we realize the importance of choosing the right alcohol/drug treatment plan specifically designed for cases with dual diagnosis. It’s a complicated process that often involves multiple levels of interventions.

Most dual diagnosis treatment consists of the following.

1. Medical Detoxification

Medical detox is often the first step of recovery for most patients. At Long Island Interventions, we provide medications to alleviate drug withdrawal symptoms. It usually takes 3–14 days for the substance to begin clearing out.

For those who find it challenging to stop using medications such as Methadone or Suboxone, we also offer a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program.

2. Psychotherapy

Through your treatment journey, a therapist works with you to help you deal with the stress and avoid any future relapses. Needed therapies may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), group therapy, etc.

Some facilities also offer holistic treatments, including yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and acupuncture.

3. Group Therapy and Peer Support

This type of therapy helps a lot through dual diagnosis treatment. Not only does it aid people to overcome their addiction, but it’s also effective in getting through other mental health issues.

One of the biggest benefits of such a therapy is receiving support from people sharing similar experiences. It helps patients feel less alone and gives them the chance to observe others and develop their coping skills.

4. Family Involvement and Therapy

Many people with dual diagnosis deny they have a problem. Thus, we assign a professional counselor to lead the intervention in cooperation with family members and friends. The aim is to help a person realize the need to follow a treatment plan.

5. Aftercare Planning and Relapse Prevention

Long Island Interventions offer sober programs as a part of aftercare planning and relapse prevention. A sober coach can guide you through the ups and downs of recovery and help you discover your new self afterward.

We also provide recovering patients with a sober companion that gives them emotional support and guidance through recovery. We pair clients with suitable companions based on age, gender, interests, etc.

Life in Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Long Island Interventions

Some people aren’t able to resist the temptation or triggers. That’s why residential inpatient treatment is the perfect solution. During this, a patient lives in one of our facilities and follows a detox plan.

Initial treatment usually lasts anywhere between a month and several months. It starts with the detox phase, which can last for two weeks. During that period, patients receive therapy and participate in holistic treatment activities.

At the end of treatment, patients may end up transitioning to a partial hospitalization program. This type of program is similar to the residential one, but patients don’t live in the facility. Instead, they come to attend treatment sessions during the day and leave.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Long-term sobriety is a goal for almost all patients recovering from dual diagnosis. That’s why Long Island Interventions offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This type of program helps with alcohol abuse, drug addiction, depression, along with mental health issues.

IOP is a great option that has many benefits, like getting to stay at home and spending time with your family. It’s also less expensive than inpatient treatments. Through such a program, you get access to:

  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Psychotherapists specialists
  • Group therapy
  • Medication management
  • Family involvement in the recovery process
  • Random drug/alcohol screenings
  • Access to sober living residences
  • Aftercare support
  • Relapse prevention


Addiction and mental health issues are serious conditions that require immediate intervention. That’s why a Dual diagnosis treatment at Long Island Interventions is vital to improving patients’ quality of life along with their mental and physical health.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a type of dual diagnosis, seeking help is a must. After all, illness isn’t something to hide or feel ashamed of.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at Long Island Interventions through our Confidential Helpline today!

References and Additional Resources,

Dual diagnosis programs are not directly offered by Long Island Interventions. However, we do recognize that this type of addiction treatment is often necessary and vital to one’s long-term recovery from substance abuse. If you or a loved one require any services that we do not offer, we would be glad to refer you to one of our trusted affiliate providers.

Published on: 2017-04-25
Updated on: 2024-05-10