Florida Dual Diagnosis Rehab

One of the most significant challenges that substance abuse imposes on both patients and treatment professionals is a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnoses, or co-occurring disorders, are cases where a person struggles with both a substance use disorder (addiction) and an underlying or separate mental disorder. Most of the time, addiction is actually the result of someone attempting to self-medicate pre-existing mental illness. For example, someone might drink alcohol to cope with depression. And, most of the time, self-medication of this nature is subconscious. The evidence to support this lies with the notable connections between certain disorders and drugs.

Common Examples of Dual Diagnosis

There is no true, steadfast way to predict which kind of substance any particular person may use to cope with a pre-existing mental health issue. However, multiple studies have highlighted noteworthy trends of dual diagnoses. The most common connections between substance abuse and pre-existing mental health issues include:

  • Major depression and cocaine addiction
  • Alcohol addiction and panic disorders
  • Alcoholism or poly-drug addiction and schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder and episodic poly-drug abuse

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In truth, one of the challenges— from a treatment standpoint— is the high variability that exists within cases of dual diagnosis. Plus, separating the symptoms of the psychological disorder from those of the substance use disorder can be especially challenging. In cases of dual diagnosis, treatment specialists face a moving target, making it near impossible to make a correct diagnosis after an initial evaluation.

Difficulties in Making a Dual Diagnosis

Any time additional factors appear in a patient’s condition, it becomes more difficult to determine all the issues that are present. Thus, it can be hard to determine just how much needs to be addressed in addiction treatment. After all, dealing with a co-occurring disorder means facing the severity, chronicity, and degree of impairment caused by either the addiction, the mental health issue, or both.

The severity of either side of a dual diagnosis can increase or decrease over time. They can also be dependent on the person’s present environment and state of mind. So, as long as both the addiction and mental disorder are present and active, the observable symptoms can change drastically— and in unexpected ways.

People with dually diagnosed disorders often experience more severe and chronic medical, emotional, and social problems than those who suffer from either one or the other alone. In fact, we see this often at our Florida dual diagnosis rehab facility.

That is one of the primary reasons why it is often necessary for someone with a dual diagnosis to go through detox and further addiction treatment before going on to address their mental or developmental issues.

Treatment Issues

One of the biggest challenges that dual diagnosis patients face is the heightened risk of relapse. Since a patient with more than one disorder is essentially fighting two wars at the same time, they are more in danger of relapsing during the course of recovery. Besides this, one relapse can lead to a worsened mental state and, in turn, lead to future relapses. As such, dual diagnosis rehab centers take great care to prevent this vicious cycle from developing in the first place.

With so many underlying issues to address in treatment, most patients can expect to progress more slowly through a treatment program than others. Moreover, most addiction patients with a dual diagnosis require closer monitoring than patients with a single disorder. All in all, the unique needs caused by a combined psychiatric condition and drug problem require extra support.

To prevent dual diagnosis patients from relapsing, special programs take their specific mental and emotional needs into consideration during treatment. Plus, detox specialists carefully the physical aspects of dual diagnosis during the early stages of care.

Causes of Dual Disorders

Substance abuse and psychiatric disorders are both highly dynamic conditions. They each, in their own way, dominate different areas within the patient’s mind. Still, both substance use disorders and mental health disorders share certain causative factors. These tend to include:

  • Environmental influences: Certain situations can induce or help sustain substance use disorders, mental health disorders, or both.
  • Genetic susceptibility: Recent studies have suggested that there is a genetic component to both drug addiction and mental health disorders.
  • Pharmacologic influences: Certain drugs are more addictive than others. So, depending on their psychoactive properties, they may be more likely to lead to dual diagnosis.

These and other similar factors are backed by multiple studies. Still, is also important to remember that every case is as unique as the patient. In other words, a dual diagnosis may be the result of one or more of these factors, all of them, or, sometimes, none of them at all.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that integrated treatment methods offer the best chance of long-term success for patients with dual diagnoses. Integrated treatment, of course, refers to the process of treating each issue independently. As such, a comprehensive plan should be established to treat the afflicted person as a whole.

Through an integrated treatment plan, a patient will receive care for both the addiction and the connected psychological problems; all from the same treatment team. Many professionals feel that this approach effectively provides the patient with the support needed to make progress and develop the confidence required to move forward in life.

Elements of an integrated treatment plan might include:

  • Specialized Counseling
  • Supportive Employment
  • Psychoeducational Classes
  • Drug and Alcohol Education
  • Onsite Double Trouble Groups
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Onsite Addiction Treatment Psychiatrist
  • Help Establishing Recovery and Life Goals
  • Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Clients with COD
  • Access to Dual Recovery Mutual Self-Help Groups after Leaving The Facility

In 2014, roughly 9.7 million Americans struggled with co-occurring disorders. The cost is immeasurable; not just to them, but to their families and society as a whole.

Call Lumiere Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction in Florida, give Lumiere Treatment Center a call at 855-535-8501. The specialists at our Florida dual diagnosis rehab program are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the admissions process. Break free from addiction now and live the life you are destined to live. It all starts with our Florida dual diagnosis rehab program.