Patients with a dual diagnosis are a high risk group that require special attention and services according to their condition. The number of drug and alcohol users suffering from a co-occurring disorder is growing and it is believed that more than one third of all persons with some form of mental illness also suffer from substance addiction. In addition, more than half of those suffering from drug addiction are thought to have a mental illness of some form.

Dual Diagnosis patients face a higher risk of destructive behaviours due to the way in which they respond differently to drug and alcohol treatment services, so it is essential that they seek professional treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. Due to the complexities of treatment for individuals with psychiatric disorders, recovery is often more extensive and performed under tighter supervision.


A challenging aspect of treatment is that the symptoms of mental illness and addiction can mimic each other. Also, drug and alcohol use can hide the true nature of a mental health problem and even make it more pronounced.

Mood and Personality Disorders Associated with Dual Diagnosis

Mood and personality disorders associated with dual diagnosis include:



Bi-polar Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder


Eating Disorders

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Panic Anxiety Disorder


In some cases an individual can suffer from a combination of these and other mood and personality disorders.

Find the right addiction treatment provider

The understanding of co-occurring disorders has improved in recent years and rehabilitation services have become better equipped to deal with the enhanced needs of an individual seeking treatment for a substance addiction whist also suffering from a mood or personality disorder. With so many aspects to consider when dealing with a dual diagnosis patient, it is essential to choose a professional rehab facility with the expertise and experience of dealing with such disorders.

An inappropriate choice of treatment provider may not effectively deal with the issues at hand at a time when that individual is at their most vulnerable stage of treatment. Treatment for addiction is difficult on its own so it becomes a daunting prospect when an individual is also suffering from serious mood and personality disorders including eating disorders and depression where their mental health has disturbances in thoughts, feeling and behaviour. It is also necessary that support is provided throughout the entire rehabilitation and recovery process that recognises the issues specific to that person.

A suitable treatment provider should have resources in place that allow for frequent collaboration with a qualified physician with specific knowledge of an individual’s dual diagnosis circumstance. Without such resources in place there could easily be a misdiagnosis that could lead on to some detrimental effects on recovery prospects.

Talk to a medical professional

There has been a tendency in recent years for people to find addiction treatment and book themselves into rehabs like they would if they were to book a holiday. This appears to be more the case in the US where businesses act like travel agents who book you into rehab. Although it seems convenient to find treatment in this way, there are problems associated with this. A rehab centre that you make contact with is a business with a view to making a profit. Do they really have your best interests at heart when they are looking at making thousands of dollars by accepting you for treatment. If they have a few beds to fill to take them to full capacity, can they be giving genuine advice? For admission to any mental health program, you should start not by searching Google for a rehab that looks nice, but by speaking with a medical professional with knowledge of treatment services equipped to deal with your condition.

If you’re engaged with a medical professional, doctor or therapist, they should have some knowledge of treatment programs that are suitable for you after performing intensive assessments of your condition and needs as a patient. They should be well placed to make recommendations.