Arizona Dual Diagnosis: Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment

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Arizona Dual Diagnosis: Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment

Arizona Dual Diagnosis: Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment


Often people that are addicted to alcohol or drugs are also living with one or more other mental health conditions. In 2018, 9.2 million Americans were living with both substance abuse and mental illness.[1] This is called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. Effective integrative treatments including behavioral and cognitive therapies, medication, peer support, and Arizona dual diagnosis programs are available and typically hold the highest efficacy rates.

Which Came First? Addiction or Mental Health Concern?

Technically, there is really no way to know. Rarely does one condition cause the other. For instance, depression is rarely the cause of alcohol addiction and alcohol addiction is rarely the cause of depression.

Alcohol or drug use can contribute to the development of mental illness and mental illness can contribute to alcohol or drug addiction but it is not believed that one causes the other. There are a few theories about why alcohol or drug addictions and depression or other mental health conditions are often found together.

Common Risk Factors for Dual Diagnosis 

Researchers have long known that genetics contribute to the development of mental illness including drug and alcohol addiction. Science has not discovered a specific gene that predicts or diagnoses mental illness but research has uncovered that familial patterns exist. It is believed that genetic predisposition may combine with certain environmental factors to make a person more susceptible to the onset of mental illness.[2]

Environmental factors, especially stress and trauma, contribute to the development of mental illness. Our bodies and brains are wired to function well through short-term stress. The part of the brain that deals with stress is what has kept us alive throughout history due to the flight or fight response. When stress is prolonged or happens continuously, the part of the brain that regulates emotion goes into overdrive and can contribute to the development of mental illness including drug and alcohol addiction.[3]

Arizona Dual Diagnosis / Co-occurring Disorder Treatment

In order to be successful, substance use must be treated at the same time as other mental health conditions. Treating them independently often leads to decreased success. Integrated Arizona dual diagnosis treatments combine behavioral and cognitive therapies with medication management in a holistic environment. Treatment plans must be customized to the individual and reflective of cultural, spiritual, and psychosocial needs.[4]

The most effective treatment programs include the following components:

  • Staged interventions recognizing that different clients are at different stages of illness and recovery when they enter treatment. Customizing interventions recognizes that clients may move through stages of treatment and recovery at a different pace;
  • Motivational interventions help clients recognize their own personal reasons for participating in treatment and realizing success;
  • Long-term perspective recognizes that effective treatment may take years. And this includes diverse community-based interventions and support long after initial treatment has ceased;
  • Comprehensiveness reflects that dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders affect many areas of a person’s life including employment, relationships, money and stress management, housing, and other factors.

Research shows that programs with strong dual diagnosis treatment lead to better outcomes in long-term abstinence from substance use, increased employment, and freedom from psychiatric symptoms.[5]

Get Help Today

Programs like Silver Sands Recovery Arizona dual diagnosis address trauma and create a customized approach that recognizes you as a whole person, not just a diagnosis. Living with co-occurring or dual diagnosis can be challenging but through treatment and support you can live your optimal life. 







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