Dual Diagnosis

The reality of Co-occurring Disorders and Dual Diagnosis Care

Co-occurring Disorders and Dual Diagnosis Care

For more reasons than one, recovery treatment matters. As more and more people struggle with the reality of a relapse, they also come face to face with the dual nature of addiction. Although the physical issues of any substance use disorder (SUD) tends to overshadow the psychological component, that does not make it any less real. Sadly, the reality of co-occurring disorders and the importance of dual diagnosis care becomes clear when a deadly relapse event occurs.  Studies also show that failure to recognize and address this duality is a major contributor to high recidivism rates.

In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on the leading causes of death in the United States suicide was listed as the 10th leading cause of death for adults and the second-leading cause of death in young people 12 to 18 years. A recent study also revealed that over a six-year period, the number of patients meeting the dual diagnosis criteria increased from 12% to 16%. Unfortunately, suicide is often a consequence of untreated dual diagnosis which is mental illness coupled with a substance use disorder.

The root cause of most substance use disorders is a desire to escape mental or physical pain. The initial suffering may be caused by a physical ailment or a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can also be emotionally driven by loss, rejection, heartache or simply a need to feel accepted. But whether drug or alcohol use segues into abuse by choice or default, it is impossible to ignore the physical and psychological component inherent in every SUD.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines SUDs or addiction as a relapsing brain disease that is frequently influenced by an underlying mental illness or is the cause of it. Clinical studies also reveal that consumption of drugs or alcohol impact three major neurological functions.

(a)        The Brain Stem that controls, the heart rate, breathing, and sleeping patterns.

(b)        The Cerebral cortexwhichdelivers information to the five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

(c)        The Limbic System that controls emotions, motivation, learning, memory and the ability to feel pleasure.

These effects explain why chemical stimuli impact the whole person; mind and body. Even after a short period of consumption, some individuals can develop a level of dependency. This is usually spurred on by the need for ongoing pain relief or for the euphoria provided by the stimuli.  Ultimately, repeated use leads to elevated tolerance levels which drive the demand for recurring or increased consumption of the drug or alcohol to alleviate any physical or mental discomfort. Once the substance use disorder is fully established; it inevitably presents a unique set of health challenge. Sadly, many attempts to halt a drug use pattern of behavior is often derailed by a host of unpredictable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The Dual Diagnosis model is a cohesive intervention process that is designed to address both the mental and physical components of addiction simultaneously. It has been proven to positively impact treatment outcomes through lowered relapse rates.

Dual diagnosis can present in any combination including but not limited to…

  • prescription drug abuse and depression,
  • alcoholism with an anxiety disorder
  • Heroin addiction and a bipolar disorder.

Individuals dealing with co-occurring disorders face a greater challenge than most. In some instances, a mental health condition can so closely mimic addictive patterns of behavior that it is difficult to differentiate. Without appropriate evaluation and integrative care, many patients do not experience complete rehabilitation. As such, the dual diagnosis care provided at Ebb Tide Treatment Centers is a highly integrated continuum of care that is designed to appropriately diagnose and treat the whole person not just the symptoms of addiction.  Among other services, the process includes the incorporation of cognitive, psychopharmacology and other psychotherapy as well as various alternative remedies. Aftercare is also a critical component of the recovery journey; especially for patients requiring dual diagnosis treatment.  The ultimate goal for every person seeking recovery is to achieve and support sustainable sobriety.

Drug Treatment Center West Palm Beach

Ebb Tide Treatment Centers

At Ebb Tide Treatment Centers we believe alcoholics and addicts can and do recover. Recovering from active addiction (Substance Abuse Disorder) does not have to be a long, painful process. With the help of Ebb Tide’s caring and experienced staff, you and your loved ones will learn, and take proven steps necessary to achieve success by maintaining lasting sobriety. The goal of Ebb Tide Treatment Centers is to restore lives and families. With our help, you can regain control of your life from addiction and start living happily again. Your new life is just a phone call away. Call us today at 561-508-8330 or visit our website.


Ebb Tide Treatment Center
400 Executive Center Dr. Suite 209
West Palm Beach, FL 33410


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/comorbidity-addiction-other-mental-disorders
  2. https://blog.samhsa.gov/2019/01/24/suicide-and-a-reflection-on-our-changing-american-society


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