Dual Diagnosis: What Is It and How Is It Treated?

Posted on: December 20, 2019 by in Heroin Treatment
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A patient has a dual diagnosis if they suffer from both a substance abuse problem and a mental illness at the same time. Almost 10 million people in the US suffer from this, of which only 40% of all documented cases are treated for either one issue. In such cases, only one issue is addressed and the patient is left to suffer from the other issue that goes untreated.

It is of utmost importance that patients suffering from dual diagnosis get proper treatment. The patient has to battle two issues, which can sometimes seem impossible. Considering that only 5% receive treatment for both issues, a clear understanding of the treatment options is key in tackling this dangerous condition.

Options for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Inpatient Rehab Treatment

Inpatient rehabilitation treatment is the most recommended treatment option. In such cases, the patient stays in the rehabilitation center until they are cured and stabilized. Since the centers are completely protected, the possibility of a relapse is close to zero. Trained professionals are available on-call to ensure that the patient receives the proper care.

Features of an Inpatient/Residential Rehab Treatment:

  • Regular therapy
  • Regular education on dual diagnosis, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues
  • Trained professionals monitor a community of patients recovering from similar issues

Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Outpatient rehabilitation treatment is preferred when the condition is less extreme. The patient stays at home only if they are deemed fit enough to be looked after by family and friends. It is a much less intensive treatment procedure and works effectively for certain patients. Here the patient stays at home and attends a certain number of hours at the rehab center every week. In such cases, the patient is not kept completely isolated from their usual environment.

Features of an Outpatient Rehab Treatment:

  • Transportation to and from the rehab center
  • Family therapy included
  • Comparatively independent living


In both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, proper medication needs to be administered by those looking after the patient. Psychiatric medicine is also encouraged if necessary, to ensure proper rehabilitation.

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