Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you are suffering from mental health conditions and substance use disorders, call our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Hawaii.

At our rehab centers in Hawaii, we offer dual diagnosis treatment services as part of our residential recovery treatment programs. 

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is when an individual has been diagnosed with one or more mental health conditions and a substance abuse disorder (SUD). 

Having a dual diagnosis is a common occurrence among people suffering from drug and alcohol use disorders. MedlinePlus states that about 50% of the people with SUD will also have a mental health disorder at some point during their lifetimes. 

The term “dual diagnosis” was first identified in the 1980s. Today, however, the term has been updated, and the new terminology for dual diagnosis is now “co-occurring disorders” (COD). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), CODs affect people of all ages from many different backgrounds, and these illnesses can be severe and recurrent.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

If you have been diagnosed with a COD, you are not alone. According to the National Alliance in Mental Illness (NAMI), in 2019, it was estimated that approximately 9.5 million (3.8%) people experienced both a mental illness and a SUD. 

Common mental health disorders among those diagnosed with CODs include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A severe, trauma-induced mental disorder.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A brain-based developmental disorder described as constant or persistent symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, distraction, and/or forgetfulness.
  • Bipolar disorder: A mental disorder characterized by drastic shifts in mood, energy levels, activity, and focus.
  • Schizophrenia: A mental disorder that presents itself as a breakdown in thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and reality.
  • Major depressive disorders: A persistent and long-term depressed mood.

Individuals experiencing the above mental health disorders will often abuse the following types of substances:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Marijuana
  • Opioids
  • Alcohol
  • Hallucinogens
Use of Benzodiazepines

The Correlation Between SUD and Mental Illness

Even though the co-occurrence of SUD and mental health conditions is extremely common, having one of these conditions does not automatically cause the other. You may wonder, “Why is there such a strong correlation between the two?” While there is no direct link, there could be there are a variety of factors that may contribute to their co-occurrence. 

#1. Family History: Genetics can be a contributing factor to both mental health disorders and addictive behaviors. 

#2. Stress: Stress is known to be a risk factor in the development of drug and alcohol substance abuse. 

#3. Trauma: Traumatic experiences leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also lead to mental health conditions and substance abuse. 

If any of these three areas leads an individual to a mental health episode or disorder, those suffering may turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms to feel better. Likewise, if any one of these three areas leads to a SUD, an individual’s brain chemistry can be affected in such a way that it could lead to a mental health episode or disorder. 

Warning Signs of a COD

According to previously cited statistics by the NAMI, over 90 million adults in the U.S. have experienced mental illness. As outlined above, many of these individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol to help self-medicate in order to soothe or quiet symptoms of their mental conditions. 

While mental illness can present differently in each individual, signs that someone you know may be experiencing a mental health condition include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or suggestions
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Difficulty with concentration or focus
  • Feelings of self-loathing or low self-worth
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, or activities
  • Changes in sleep patterns

If you have a mental health condition and suffer from a SUD, warning signs of this COD can include the following:

  • Homelessness
  • Aggressive or reckless behavior
  • Continued abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Difficulty staying employed
  • Trouble maintaining relationships

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Simply put, dual diagnosis treatment provides medical care services to meet the needs of and heal or manage the mental health disorder and the SUD, each separately but simultaneously. 

According to a SAMHSA study, dual diagnosis treatments should include essential services that are “person-centered, trauma-informed, culturally responsive, recovery-oriented, comprehensive, and continuously offered across all levels of care and disease course.”

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a common treatment for dual diagnosis patients. MAT is the use of medication in conjunction with behavioral therapies, holistic treatments, and counseling to treat substance abuse. 

Additional research regarding dual diagnosis treatment suggests that individuals suffering from the COD of mental illness and a SUD face greater consequences from drug and alcohol use. 

These consequences could include:

  • “Greater exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms,
  • Medication nonadherence
  • Increase in aggressive and violent behaviors
  • Poor hygiene
  • Emergency room visits
  • Impatient psychiatric placements”
  • Elevated risk of self-harm

Learn more about the importance of integrated dual diagnosis treatment

Individual Counseling Near Me | Hawaii

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs in Hawaii

At Hawaii Island Recovery, we offer evidence-based therapies as part of your recovery plan to help treat COD. We use a comprehensive approach to treat your mental health condition and SUD separately but simultaneously. 

Our therapies include:

At our Hawaii substance abuse treatment centers, we provide dual diagnosis treatments to manage and heal the co-occurring disorders (COD) of mental health and substance use disorders (SUD). If you or a loved one is suffering from a dual diagnosis, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070 to learn more.

Get Help Today!

If you or a loved one need help, call Hawaii Island Recovery toll-free right now.


As time passes more people understand the importance of dual diagnosis treatment. Addiction and mental illness are both challenging to deal with on their own. When you combine a mental illness with a substance abuse problem, though, the difficulty multiplies. Thankfully, some treatment centers offer programs specifically for these individuals.

These treatment facilities understand how substance abuse and mental illness interact. Treating someone with dual diagnosis (also called co-occurring disorders) isn’t like treating someone with only one condition or the other. The combination of the two conditions better results from certain specific approaches to treatment.

10 Important Reasons for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

1. There are more people with dual diagnosis than you might think.

44.7 million adults in the United States live with some type of mental illness. 19 million have a substance use disorder. Of these 63.7 million people, 8.2 million have both a mental illness and a substance use disorder, or dual diagnosis. In other words, more than 40 percent of people with a drug or alcohol problem also have a mental disorder.

Signs & Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder

2. Sometimes substance abuse looks like a mental illness.

The side effects or results of substance abuse often look like symptoms of mental illness. Nearly every person in early recovery deals with residual anxiety and depression. Some experience schizophrenic-like hallucinations or delusions. It’s difficult to tell whether the symptoms are from drug withdrawals or mental illness until all the substances first clear from a person’s system. They might see any signs of mental illness clear once the drugs are gone.

What is Dual Diagnosis Disorder
Dual Diagnosis: Everything You Need to Know

Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, is a difficult and complicated condition to both live with and treat. Find out everything you want to know!

More info

3. Most people with co-occurring disorders receive treatment for one disorder or the other but not both.

Only 7.4 percent of those with dual diagnosis receive the proper treatment for both parts of their condition. Some receive treatment for their mental health and others for their substance use. Not nearly enough people received specialized care for both the substance abuse and mental health aspects of their co-occurring disorder.

Statistic of proper treatment for dual diagnosis

4. There are many different kinds of conditions that qualify someone for dual diagnosis.

Co-occurring disorders don’t describe only a single type of mental illness or addiction. Many conditions qualify a person as having dual diagnosis. They might deal with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex. Their mental illness could be anything from anxiety or depression to full-blown schizophrenia. They aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of disorder.

5. Those with co-occurring disorders are trapped in a vicious cycle.

Addiction alone is a vicious cycle. When you include a mental illness in the mix the problem multiplies tenfold. Many people with a co-occurring disorder turned to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with the effects of their mental illness. The substances helped them deal with either the side effects of their disorder or the medication used to treat it.

Although it seems like the substances help them handle the side effects, in reality they make the effects worse. They exaggerate the symptoms of their mental illness which leads to more substance use. Soon they’re trapped in a downward cycle of drug use and mental illness which often requires treatment to interrupt.

6. Children who don’t receive treatment for a childhood mental health issue often grow up to develop substance dependence issues.

Again, people with dual diagnosis often find themselves with the condition as a result of trying to self-medicate. Children who do not receive treatment for mental illnesses or disorders have a greater risk of turning to substances to manage symptoms as they grow older. By offering treatment when they’re young, their chance of developing a worsening disorder decreases.

7. People with a co-occurring disorder diagnosis are incredibly high-risk individuals.

Mental illness and addiction put people at a high risk on their own. Combining the two puts them at even higher risk of risky or dangerous behavior, or even suicidal ideation. These individuals need specialized treatment as soon as possible in order to have the best chance at recovery.

What is a dual diagnosis
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

What is a dual diagnosis? It's a type of addiction treatment that's absolutely necessary for those with co-occurring mental illnesses.

More info

8. Co-occurring disorders benefit most from a specialized approach to

Again, the side effects of substance abuse often look like a mental illness. Once the drugs leave someone’s system and the symptoms of mental illness are still present, then doctors better understand what they’re dealing with. They first need to work with the person’s substance abuse before they can make an impact on their mental illness. This specialized approach is best handled in a dual diagnosis-specific facility.

9. Dual diagnosis often takes longer to treat than treating someone with only one condition.

Since people with co-occurring disorders have two different issues, treatment often takes longer. Doctors and psychiatrists first handle the substance abuse before turning to the mental illness. Regular treatment centers usually don’t offer the additional care and time needed for those with dual diagnosis. Specialized facilities understand the need for well-rounded, in-depth treatment of individuals with co-occurring disorders.

In-depth treatment of dual diagnosis

10. It’s best to seek treatment for dual diagnosis sooner rather than later.

The sooner someone with dual diagnosis seeks treatment the better. They are high-risk individuals that often find themselves trapped in their patterns of behavior. Treatment provides the support they need to handle both their substance abuse and their mental illness before it’s too late.

Do you know someone who lives with a co-occurring disorder? Hawaii Island Recovery is a facility that understands the importance of specialized dual diagnosis treatment. We offer both tried and tested methods of therapy alongside holistic approaches to treatment in order to create a specific path to recovery for each individual. Call our admissions office at 877-721-3556 to learn more about our program today!