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How Effective Are Dual Diagnosis Programs in Treating Co-Occurring Disorders?

With the dual diagnosis programs that Boardwalk Recovery offers, individuals can get the skills and resources necessary to achieve their therapeutic goals.

Table of Contents

What Are Dual Diagnosis Programs?

Dual diagnosis programs are a type of treatment for people who have both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder. It’s designed to address both conditions. The program involves a team of healthcare professionals working together. 

This team may include psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction specialists, and therapists. By working together, they can create a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s unique needs. This approach ensures that patients have a higher chance of achieving long-term recovery.

dual diagnosis programs

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

Co-occurring disorders occur when an individual has both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder. These can occur for a multitude of reasons.1

In the United States, about 9.2 million adults have a co-occurring disorder. Treating these disorders can be quite complicated, as healthcare providers must address both substance use and underlying mental health issues concurrently. Dual diagnosis programs are one of the best treatment options for co-occurring disorders.2

How Do Dual Diagnosis Programs Differ from Other Treatment Options?

Dual diagnosis programs are unique because they treat both mental health and substance abuse disorders at the same time. About 1 in 4 adults suffering from mental illnesses also have substance abuse disorders. Other treatments may only address one condition, leading to less effective outcomes.3 

The integrated approach that dual diagnosis programs provide recognizes the close relationship between mental health and substance abuse. They teach patients new coping skills and help them develop healthier habits. 

This is to help them manage their mental health and substance abuse issues. By addressing both issues, dual diagnosis programs can support long-term recovery.

Components of a Dual Diagnosis treatment Program

A dual diagnosis program involves several components to provide comprehensive care for individuals. Here are some of the components of dual diagnosis programs:


Assessment is the first step in any dual diagnosis program. Healthcare professionals check the patient’s medical history and co-occurring conditions during the assessment. Doctors use this assessment to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses each patient’s needs.

Medication Management

Healthcare providers prescribe medications to manage mental health symptoms or support addiction recovery. This involves careful monitoring and adjusting medications as needed to ensure optimal outcomes. 

Precautions include assessing for drug interactions and monitoring side effects. The patient’s medication history, tolerance, and adherence are also evaluated. Careful medication management is essential to promote recovery in individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a core component of a dual diagnosis program. This therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. This helps address unhealthy habits contributing to substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Key behavioral therapies that are often part of dual diagnosis programs include:

Support Groups

Support groups provide patients with community support as they navigate recovery challenges. Dual diagnosis programs often include support groups designed for patients with co-occurring conditions. 

These groups provide a safe and supportive environment. It helps patients learn from sharing their experiences, struggles, and successes.

Case Management

Case management is an important component of dual diagnosis programs. Case managers work with patients to coordinate care between healthcare providers. They address financial and legal issues and provide support during the recovery process. 

Case managers also help patients set and achieve goals related to their recovery.

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies have recently become a major inclusion in dual diagnosis programs. These therapies focus on the mind-body connection. Holistic therapies include yoga, meditation, art therapy, and equine therapy. 

Holistic therapies can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase individuals’ well-being.

Dual Diagnosis Programs Assessment and Evaluation

Healthcare providers like Boardwalk Recovery use comprehensive assessments to determine the severity of co-occurring disorders. Accurate assessments and evaluations are important in dual diagnosis treatment. 

These assessments help healthcare providers understand individuals’ mental health and substance abuse disorders. It also helps them evaluate what symptoms an individual has, along with their severity. Proper evaluations enable healthcare providers to provide integrated care. 

Dual diagnosis programs can help patients get the co-occurring care they need.

How Are Individuals Assessed for a Dual Diagnosis Program?

Professionals assess individuals for a dual diagnosis program through a comprehensive evaluation. This includes obtaining the individual’s detailed medical, psychiatric, and substance use history.

Assessments may involve standardized tests, interviews, and self-report measures. Professionals use the information gathered during the assessment to create an individualized treatment plan. This helps them determine the best course of treatment that will benefit the individual.

Everyone’s treatment plan will look different depending on their co-occurring disorders and symptoms.

Types of Evaluation Used in Dual Diagnosis Programs

There are different types of evaluation or assessment used in dual diagnosis programs. These may include:

  • Clinical Interviews: During clinical interviews, professionals will assess the individual’s symptoms and gather information.
  • Psychological Testing: This is a series of tests, including psychometrics. These tests assess cognitive and emotional functioning, personality traits, and other factors. Professionals conduct these tests to identify underlying factors that contribute to mental health disorders.
  • Medical Assessments: Professionals use physical exams and lab tests to identify underlying medical issues. These tests include screening tests and self-diagnostic forms. Several health conditions may cause mental health and substance use disorders.

Finding the Support and Guidance You Need in Dual Diagnosis Recovery

It’s best to consult with your doctor to determine which dual diagnosis programs may be the best for your needs and symptoms. Reach out to Boardwalk Recovery today to get the integrated care you deserve.

We can help evaluate your co-occurring disorders and recommend the best treatment programs for your needs.

Treatment Modalities and Intervention in Dual Diagnosis Programs

Dual diagnosis programs use a variety of treatment methods and interventions. This is to address the complex needs of individuals with co-occurring disorders. Treatment modalities can include psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment, and peer support groups. 

Intervention strategies may include motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and contingency management. The goal of these interventions is to provide individuals with the skills necessary to manage their symptoms. It also helps reduce their substance use and improve their well-being.

Types of Treatment Methods Used in Dual Diagnosis Programs

Dual diagnosis programs often use a combination of different treatment methods. This helps patients overcome their challenges and achieve a healthy, balanced life. Here are some of the most common types of treatment methods that Boardwalk Recovery uses in our dual diagnosis programs:


Detoxification is the process of removing harmful substances from the body. This includes drugs and alcohol under medical supervision. Detoxification is often the first step in dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis medically assisted detoxification helps to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Patients who undergo detoxification in a dual diagnosis program receive comprehensive care. This form of care addresses both substance use and mental health disorders. Detoxification is a critical component of dual diagnosis treatment. It allows patients to start their recovery journey with a clean slate.


Psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy used in dual diagnosis programs. Psychotherapy teaches individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It helps people learn coping skills, improve their relationships, and manage their symptoms. Professionals tailor the therapy schedule to each individual’s needs. It is usually conducted in individual or group settings.

Psychotherapy is an important part of dual diagnosis treatment. This is because it addresses the root causes of substance abuse and mental health issues.

Support Groups

Support groups are an essential part of dual diagnosis programs. They provide a safe and supportive environment. Some popular support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups help people connect with others going through similar experiences. 

Trained professionals coordinate these support groups. They provide valuable information on coping strategies and relapse prevention. Participating in support groups can also help individuals build a support network outside of the group setting. Many people develop close friendships with others in their group. These relationships can be a source of ongoing support and encouragement.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Mindfulness-based therapies are a popular component of dual diagnosis programs. They teach patients to focus on the present moment and become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. These therapies can include meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. By practicing mindfulness, patients can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Mindfulness can also help with cravings and substance abuse. as it teaches patients to learn to accept their emotions without judgment.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of treatment used in dual diagnosis programs. MAT combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. 

It is not used as the sole treatment method for dual diagnosis. Medications used in MAT can help ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for drugs or alcohol. 

Healthcare providers also use antidepressant medications to treat co-occurring mental health disorders. MAT is a safe and effective way to help people with substance abuse and mental health disorders achieve long-term recovery.

Psychiatric Care

Many individuals who struggle with substance abuse also experience mental health issues. This includes depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these cases, psychiatric care and medication management are essential components of treatment.

Integration of Dual Diagnosis Programs Treatment to Address Co-occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis programs integrate various treatment approaches to address co-occurring disorders. Traditionally, substance use and mental health disorders were treated separately, leading to inadequate treatment outcomes. 

However, integrating dual diagnosis treatment involves addressing both disorders in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. 

This approach helps to address the complex interplay between substance use and mental health disorders, leading to better treatment outcomes.

What Are the Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Programs?

One significant benefit of integrated treatment is that it reduces the likelihood of relapse, hospitalization, and other adverse outcomes. Additionally, integrated treatment can also lead to improvements in functioning, overall quality of life, and social relationships.

To integrate treatment, healthcare professionals adopt a holistic approach that addresses the individual’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. This approach involves providing personalized treatment plans that cater to the patient’s unique needs and preferences. 

Integrating dual diagnosis programs is an essential step toward addressing co-occurring disorders. By treating both disorders together, patients can achieve a better quality of life and improve their well-being.

Effectiveness of Dual Diagnosis Programs in Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Dual diagnosis programs’ integrated approach provides comprehensive and personalized care. This leads to improved outcomes and better quality of life. 

Researchers studied the effectiveness of dual diagnosis programs in treating co-occurring disorders. The study found that patients in programs with a stronger dual diagnosis treatment orientation had better outcomes, especially those with less severe psychiatric disorders.

The study also found that dual-diagnosis patients had higher abstinence rates at follow-up and improved freedom from psychiatric symptoms and employment.4

Boardwalk Recovery Dual Diagnosis Programs

Boardwalk Recovery offers comprehensive dual diagnosis programs. Our program includes screening, individual and group therapies, and evidence-based treatment approaches. Our staff has experience treating substance use, mood, personality, and trauma/stress-related disorders. 

We address the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse. The goal of our dual diagnosis programs is to help individuals maintain sobriety.

Benefits of Boardwalk Recovery Center Dual Diagnosis Program

Some benefits of our Boardwalk Recovery dual diagnosis program for those with co-occurring disorders include:

  • Personalized Treatment: We tailor our dual diagnosis program to meet the individual needs of each patient to ensure they receive the most effective care.
  • Integrated Care: The program provides integrated care that addresses substance use and mental health disorders.
  • Experienced Staff: Our staff has personal experience with addiction and recovery. We can provide a unique perspective and empathy to patients.
  • Supportive Environment: Boardwalk Recovery provides a supportive environment. We encourage patients to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy hobbies and activities.
  • Long-Term Sobriety: Our program’s goal is to help patients achieve long-term sobriety and improve their quality of life.

Get Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Boardwalk Recovery Center

Boardwalk Recovery offers comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for individuals. We provide evidence-based treatment options, including medication management, behavioral therapy, and support groups.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. Our compassionate staff can guide you through the treatment process and provide ongoing support. 

Contact us today to learn more about our dual diagnosis program. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.
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