Dual Diagnosis Treatment Success

Woman suffering depressionBecause diagnosing co-occurring disorders can be difficult, the success rates vary based upon the individual and the type of mental illness being treated. There are a variety of mental health issues that any one person can experience. These range from mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and panic disorders to personality disorders like schizophrenia. Paired with the multitude of illicit substances to which a person can become addicted, the success rates for treatment can often be hard to pin down.

How Can Treatment Success Be Measured?

The science of behavioral health is more qualitative than measurable, and is based primarily on observable behaviors and rates of development. That’s why solid treatment data is so important when it comes to helping professionals better understand the potential for recovery with current treatment options. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) people struggling with mental illnesses are more likely to develop addiction issues than those who do not. And those with co-occurring disorders increase their likelihood of treatment success when both conditions are addressed simultaneously.1 And that’s good news when it comes to gathering information about the types of treatment that work the best for co-occurring disorders. Simply put, the more people who seek help for co-morbidity the more qualified professionals can gather data regarding success.

Consider Kim P.’s Heroes in Recovery story:

“Kim was misdiagnosed so many times and put on wrong medications more times than she can count. Her life in the past years involved constantly trying new ways to overcome her problems. She, like many others, turned at times to addictive substances, primarily alcohol, to self-medicate her problems, as the right medication for her could not be found.

Alcohol and drugs are a slippery slope and she knows that she was lucky to not get addicted to substances while trying to ease her mind. She had started to use and drink in college, mainly because of her feelings and her medications not working for her. She felt a pressure to be normal. It did not help, but it gave her the illusion she could be normal. It took a while to see that this was not the solution to her problems, but she managed to get out of substance use in time.”2

Kim’s story shows that treatment success can be measured in part by the behaviors exhibited by the individual and by the length of sobriety. These include ease of depressive or anxious symptoms, increased positive behavior and autonomy among the individual, and prolonged abstinence from substances.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Basics

The National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests integrated treatment is currently the most common method for dealing with co-occurring disorders. These integrated treatment programs typically include the following:

  • Medically-supervised detox- includes round-the-clock medical monitoring in a medical facility to allow the body to rid itself of drug toxins before beginning treatment. This type of rehab provides patients help with painful withdrawal symptoms and the attention of medical personnel.
  • Inpatient rehab- patients remain in a rehab facility for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on individual health insurance benefits.
  • Medication- to control the symptoms of any undiagnosed mental illness.
  • Psychotherapy- talk therapy where patients learn the coping skills needed to deal with addiction triggers and other challenges to long-term sobriety.
  • Support groups- talking sessions with others struggling with the same or similar issues, as well as family therapy sessions.
  • Holistic options- nutrition classes, yoga, meditation, spiritual counseling, career counseling, exercise classes and life skills training.3

Finding Treatment for You or Your Loved One

At The Oaks at La Paloma, we are committed to providing the utmost in quality services for you or your loved one. Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to manage but not impossible to treat. With a dedicated staff, appropriate therapies, and a commitment to positive and healthy well-being, you are in good hands here at The Oaks at La Paloma. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.


1Co-Occurring Disorders.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, 8 Mar. 2016. Web. Accessed 17 Aug. 2017.

2 P., Kim. “Mental Health Issues Are Treatable – Heroes in Recovery – Celebrating Recovery and the Heroic Journey.” Heroes in Recovery, Foundations Recovery Network. 13 Aug. 2016. Web. Accessed 17 Aug. 2017

3Dual Diagnosis.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Web. Accessed 17 Aug. 2017.