Understanding Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

  • Posted at May 17, 2023
  • Written by Rebecca
Understanding Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

Dual diagnosis is a term that refers to a phenomenon that is characterized by an individual experiencing both a mental health disorder and substance use disorder concurrently. In many cases, individuals who are living with the negative symptoms of mental health disorders attempt to treat these symptoms on their own by using the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol. However, this only works for so long and eventually leads to a development of dependence and eventually addiction. For individuals struggling with this experience, dual diagnosis treatment is available. But, knowing more about dual diagnosis and the treatment process can help people who are living with dual diagnosis better understand what to expect during their time in treatment.

Statistics About Dual Diagnosis

Knowing more about dual diagnosis statistics can help people who may be living with this issue better understand that they need help and that they’re not alone. Some statistics regarding dual diagnosis include:

  • more than 7 million people in the US are living with dual diagnosis
  • out of over 42 million people in the US with mental health issues, over 18% of them are living with concurring substance abuse disorders
  • out of over 20 million people in the US with a substance use disorder, almost 38% have a concurring mental health issue
  • out of all the people living with comorbid mental health and substance use disorders, over 52% never get treatment for either

Recognizing the Symptoms of Mental Health Issues

Being able to recognize some of the symptoms of mental health issues can help people living with concurring mental health issues understand that it’s time to get help. Not everyone experiences the same mental health symptoms, but identifying some of the symptoms can point to a potential mental health condition in a person’s life. Some examples of mental health disorder symptoms may include:

  • irritability and sudden mood swings
  • inability to control anxiety
  • feelings of worthlessness and despair
  • avoiding others and isolation
  • trouble sleeping and eating
  • experiencing auditory or visual hallucinations/paranoia
  • difficulty concentrating
  • trouble completing daily tasks and keeping up with responsibilities

Recognizing the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

While mental health issues are one aspect of dual diagnosis, substance use disorders are another. It’s important for people who are living with substance use disorders to be able to identify when they are struggling with addiction, as many people may think that they are in control of their habit. However, getting help for a mental health issue isn’t enough when a person also struggles with addiction – it’s necessary to have a treatment approach that addresses both aspects of dual diagnosis.

Some of the most common symptoms of substance use disorders may include:

  • failing school or getting fired from work for poor performance/attendance
  • making excuses to use drugs or alcohol
  • blaming others for the negative consequences of drug or alcohol use
  • manipulating others to be able to use drugs or alcohol
  • financial or legal trouble as the result of drug or alcohol use
  • participating in dangerous activities like unprotected sex, driving under the influence, etc.
  • constantly seeking out drugs or alcohol
  • constantly thinking about using drugs or alcohol
  • avoiding seeing or speaking with loved ones
  • loss of interest in past hobbies and passions
  • lying to and deceiving loved ones
  • needing to use more drugs and alcohol than previously to get desired effects

Getting Help for Comorbid Mental Health Issues and Substance Use Disorder

If you are a young adult or you love a young adult who is potentially struggling with comorbid mental health issues and substance use disorders, help is available. Treatments that are geared toward helping people dealing with both substance abuse and mental health issues are effective in helping people stay sober and manage symptoms of mental health issues. For example, services provided by Yellowbrick are geared toward the needs of young adults struggling with these issues. Find out more about how we help young adults who are emerging into adulthood with various mental health disorders in Evanston, IL on our website.

Share: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
The Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Importance of Social Connection Previous Post
Next Post Providing a Young Adult Loved One With Help for PTSD

Take the Next Step

Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.

    Get Help now, call us toll free

    Real-Time Treatment for Emerging Adults and their Families

    Bipolar Disorder

    A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.

    Major Depressive Disorder

    People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.

    Anxiety Disorders

    Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.

    Neuroatypical “Spectrum” Individuals and their Families

    These individuals often experience an extended period of anxiety and disruption as the young person ages out of the structured support settings available through the educational and social services systems.

    Thought Disorder

    A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.

    Personality Disorders

    Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.


    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.


    A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.

    Eating Disorders

    Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.


    A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.

    Adopted Individuals and Families

    We are committed to the developing specialized services for adopted emerging adults and their families.