You’ve probably heard expressions like “drowning your sorrows with alcohol” or “numbing your pain with drugs.” But these popular sayings reflect a reality that causes suffering in thousands of Americans; many of the people who struggle with substance abuse also meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders. The coexistence of mental illness and addiction, also known as co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis, requires a specialized approach to therapy that can evaluate and treat both problems. Unless they receive treatment that targets their mental illness as well as their addiction, these individuals are likely to drop out of treatment or relapse.
Dual diagnosis recovery programs offer hope to people with co-occurring disorders. These programs integrate mental health services with addiction therapy to promote healing on both levels.