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Dual Diagnosis Options in New York NY (646) 918-5955

Dual diagnosis disorders are incredibly common and involve the simultaneous diagnosis of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder in a single individual. Though it is unclear why, addiction and mental health disorders often go hand in hand. Treating both disorders is necessary to achieve long-term success.

Dual diagnosis is the term used when an individual has both a mental health disorder and a substance addiction. Mental health disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and others. Also included under the umbrella of dual diagnosis are conditions like anxiety, eating disorders, and other psychiatric conditions. It is common for addiction and mental health conditions to coexist and one often exacerbates the other. Dual diagnosis is becoming increasingly common, with co-existing mental illness and substance abuse affecting anywhere from 9 to 14 million Americans each year.

If you or someone you love suffers from co-existing conditions, the treatment experts at Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers New York can help. Give us a call today to learn about treatment options at (646) 918-5955.

Types of Mental Health Disorders


The limbic system is the area of the brain most involved in addiction. It is also the part of the brain that responsible for generating feelings of anxiety. Anxiety is more common in those with addiction than it is in the population at large; with about 20% of individuals seeking treatment for anxiety having a dual diagnosis that includes a substance use disorder. Because anxiety arises in the limbic system, addiction to alcohol and other drugs that help to reduce limbic activity may be an attempt self-medicate.


The link between depression and addiction is the strongest of all with more than half of individuals with depression struggling with substance addiction at some point during their lives.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder is driven primarily by limbic activity. Approximately 25% of individuals who seek treatment for OCD also meet criteria for a substance use disorder. Substance use may provide some relief from the relentless obsessions that plague these individuals.

Post –Traumatic Stress Disorders

Many individuals with PTSD say that they turn to drugs and alcohol as either a means of numbing the pain they feel or as a way to gain some measure of control in their lives. It is important to keep in mind that PTSD is not just associated with military combat. It may arise as a result of violent assault, a natural disaster, sexual assault, or childhood abuse.

What Treatments Are Available?

Treatment for dual diagnosis disorders involves the use of three basic tools. Each tool is simultaneously used to treat both disorders at once. The success of a program is often based on how well it integrates each component of treatment with the others.

  • Psychopharmacology is the practice of using medications to alter brain function. The goal is to provide relief from the underlying condition that led to substance abuse in the first place. Drugs like benzodiazepines, for instance, can be used to manage anxiety and reduce an individual’s reliance on alcohol to suppress symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy aims to identify the underlying causes of both addiction and mental health disorders. The goal is to identify past trauma so that it can be addressed and put aside permanently. Psychotherapy can be highly effective when employed by a skilled practitioner.
  • Behavioral management aims to identify triggers that exacerbate mental health issues or lead to addictive behavior. Once triggers are identified, behavioral management provides strategies for dealing with the triggers and the feelings they evoke. The most common form of behavioral management is cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT).

Drug Treatment Center Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Co-occurring mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders affect roughly 9 million Americans each year. Only about 7-8% of those individuals receive treatment. The most effective mechanism of addressing a combined diagnosis is an integrated program designed to treat the whole patient and not a single disorder. The programs offered at Drug Treatment Centers in New York focus on motivation, counseling, and long-term support. To find out more about rehab programs options in NY, call us at (646) 918-5955.

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