Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Orange County, CA

Addiction is a complex disease, and in many cases, it does not exist alone. Many people who struggle with addiction first begin abusing substances to cope with some type of emotional or physical ailment that they are seeking relief from–a practice called “self-medication.” Others abuse drugs and alcohol for such a long time that their neural pathways, behaviors, and thought processes change dramatically, leading to the development of a mental or psychiatric disorder.

Someone who struggles with both a mental health condition (or a physical health condition) and substance use disorder is said to have “co-occurring disorders.” Dual diagnosis treatment is an integrated approach to recovery that provides individually tailored care for both mental health and addiction recovery.

If you struggle with a mental health condition and a drug or alcohol addiction, a dual diagnosis addiction treatment program can be vitally important in creating a strong foundation for your sobriety.

Common Dual-Diagnosis Conditions by the Numbers

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 7.7 million American adults have a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. However, some sources such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimate that as many as 17 million U.S. adults have experienced a dual diagnosis.[1,2]

Approximately, 18.2% of adults with a mental illness also have had or currently have a substance use disorder, and 37.9% of people with substance use disorders also had a mental illness.

Sadly, only 9.1% of people with co-occurring conditions sought treatment for both mental health and addiction. Up to 53% have not received either mental health counseling or substance abuse treatment.[1]

Some of the most commonly occurring mental health conditions among people struggling with addiction include:


Depressive disorders like major depression, persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and others cause people to experience deep feelings of sadness, emptiness, and worthlessness. These feelings can lead to drug and alcohol use as a means of self-medication. Roughly 16.5% of people with depression have an alcohol use disorder and 18% have a drug use disorder.

Anxiety Disorders

There are many types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some people may use drugs or alcohol to try to cope with symptoms of anxiety. About 20% of people with an anxiety disorder also have an alcohol or substance use disorder.[3] Furthermore, up to 46.4% of people with lifetime PTSD also have a substance use disorder.[4]

Bipolar Disorder

The depressive lows caused by bipolar disorder can lead to self-medication to soothe sadness while the manic highs caused by the condition can promote reckless behavior, impulsivity, and drug or alcohol use. There are three different kinds of bipolar disorder but all subtypes are vulnerable to addiction. In bipolar I clients, up to 40% will experience a substance use disorder and 58% will experience an alcohol use disorder at some point in life.[5]

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), avoidant personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder are all unique, but can all increase the risk of drug and alcohol abuse. The overall prevalence of a co-occurring personality disorder and substance abuse problem ranges from 34.8% to 73%.[6]

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

People with ADHD may struggle with impulsivity which makes them more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Studies show that approximately 15% of adolescents and young adults with ADHD also have a substance use disorder and up to 11% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have ADHD.[7]

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder are marked by many of the same behaviors and thought processes as addiction is, making the relationship between these two conditions extremely close. People with eating disorders may abuse drugs and alcohol to cope with feelings of inadequacy or to suppress their appetite. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 50% of individuals with eating disorders abuse drugs or alcohol, and up to 35% had a substance use disorder.[8]

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis

Identifying a dual diagnosis isn’t always easy. This is because many of the symptoms of mental illness mimic those of addiction, so they can be easy to overlook. Also, the exact signs and symptoms vary depending on what type of drug is being abused and which mental health condition is present.

However, there are a few common warning signs that may indicate you or a loved one are struggling with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. These include:

  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope with unpleasant feelings, memories, thoughts, or other symptoms
  • Feeling better while under the influence, but feeling worse when the substances wear off
  • Having previous trauma exposure that you didn’t deal with and now you are addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol while knowingly being diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • Having been previously treated for either mental health or addiction, but failing to stay in recovery
  • Having a family member who also has a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse
  • Feeling like it is impossible to cope or get through the day without abusing substances

If you or a loved one identify with one or more of these statements, you may be in need of a dual diagnosis addiction treatment program.

Other common symptoms that occur in people with co-occurring disorders include:

dual diagnosis treatment

  • Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in energy levels and sleep patterns
  • Easily irritated or angered

Finally, common symptoms of an addiction to drugs and alcohol include:

  • Needing to increase your dose of drugs or alcohol to feel the desired effects
  • Having symptoms of withdrawal when not using drugs or alcohol
  • Lying to friends and family about substance use
  • Making multiple failed attempts to get sober
  • Experiencing frequent cravings for drugs or alcohol
  • Engaging in risky or illegal behaviors
  • Having problems at work, school, home, or within your relationships

Although these symptoms can seem like a lot to handle, a dual diagnosis treatment facility in California can help.

Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment in Orange County California

At Sheer Recovery, we offer a dual diagnosis recovery program that will be a key point in your journey towards sobriety. We have an inpatient treatment center that fosters a safe and supportive environment where you can feel comfortable working through the issues surrounding mental health disorders and substance addiction. Once a person is safely and comfortably detoxed we can start our dual diagnosis treatment.

Correcting Chemical Imbalances

Some mental health conditions require treatment with medications but finding the right medication isn’t always easy. Two common mental health chemical imbalances for dual diagnosis clients are Bi-Polar disorder and serotonin deficiency. Since each client is unique, it’s important that clients are evaluated for mental health conditions and chemical imbalances so we can tailor our treatment program based on their needs.

The first step of our dual diagnosis rehab program is an evaluation. Clients will be thoroughly evaluated by doctors so the clinical team can curate a customized treatment plan.

Treating Mental Health Conditions

Treatment starts with finding out if there is a chemical imbalance that needs to be addressed and treating it accordingly, but this is only the beginning. After chemical imbalances have been addressed clients advance to step two: treating their underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD as well as feelings of anger, fear, or distress

Using a 6-patient model, Sheer Recovery only treats six clients at a time at each of the recovery facilities. A significant staff-to-patient ratio promotes highly-focused, individualized care. At most other recovery facilities, you are only one client among 40, 50, or more peers–each of whom is trying to achieve recovery. In large settings such as these, it can be easy for your needs to be overlooked or for you to hide out during therapy sessions. But, in our 6-patient model, you remain actively engaged in therapy sessions so you receive the comprehensive care you truly need to recover.

Treatments such as talk therapy, holistic healing, and other complementary services can help you address the root cause of your addiction, cope with mental illness, and heal inside and out.

California dual diagnosis addiction treatment

Therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a widely used behavioral therapy that aims to help clients identify negative or unhealthy thought processes and behavioral patterns. During CBT, your therapist will help you explore the ways your emotions and behaviors influence your actions so you can make positive changes. The goal is to replace negative or unhealthy thought processes and behaviors with healthy ones.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a type of CBT that is primarily used to treat suicidal or self-destructive behaviors. It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but can be helpful in treating a range of mental health conditions. The goal of DBT is to promote emotional regulation and decrease conflict within relationships.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR is a trauma therapy that occurs over the course of eight sessions. During the sessions, your therapist will ask you to follow their finger or a pointer with your eyes. They will facilitate bilateral eye movements while asking you to recall a traumatic event. The goal of EMDR is to decrease the painful emotions surrounding your trauma so you can recover.
  • One on One therapy – Every client is assigned a case manager and a therapist.  You will have one on one appointments to address your needs that are not appropriate to be addressed in our small group sessions.
  • Aftercare planning – When in recovery, it’s important to continuously manage your mental health and your addiction so you don’t relapse. Your substance abuse counselor will help you create a detailed aftercare plan that addresses your needs so you’re more likely to stay sober and healthy.

With dual diagnosis treatment led by our expert staff, you will learn how your co-occurring disorders are intertwined and how they affect each other. You will be better equipped to build a healthy life in recovery.

Find Help Today

If you or a loved one are interested in starting treatment at Sheer Recovery or learning more about our dual diagnosis rehab facilities, please contact us today. We’re always here to help.


  1. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/comorbidity-substance-use-other-mental-disorders
  2. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904966/
  4. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/cooccurring/tx_sud_va.asp
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094705/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241194/
  7. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/adhd-and-substance-use-current-evidence-and-treatment-considerations
  8. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/substance-use-and-eating-disorders
  • Request Free Consultation

  • Instant Insurance Verification

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Now Button