Outpatient Services for Dual Diagnosis Patients

dual diagnosis and outpatient treatment

For patients with a Dual Diagnosis — a psychological disorder combined with a substance abuse problem — conventional rehab programs are rarely effective. Treating a mental health condition without addressing the problem of substance abuse often results in a return to self-destructive behavior. In fact, people with a Dual Diagnosis who do not get the specialized care they need are more likely to drop out of rehab before graduating. Outpatient treatment for a Dual Diagnosis can be an effective solution for patients who want to continue to live in the community while recovering from mental illness and substance abuse.

Why Choose Outpatient Treatment?

Statistics show that there’s a growing need for rehab programs that integrate mental health services with addiction therapy. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, almost 43 percent of people who have a psychiatric diagnosis like borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety, panic disorder or schizophrenia also have an addictive disorder.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available for people who are living with a Dual Diagnosis. There are a number of reasons why outpatient care makes sense for these patients:

  • Outpatient programs allow the patient to keep up with her other commitments, like work or school.
  • Outpatient treatment is typically very flexible, and services can be individualized to fit the patient’s needs.
  • Outpatient services let the patient continue to stay close to his personal support system while going through recovery.
  • Outpatient programs provide intensive support combined with personal autonomy.

Types of Outpatient Services

Dual Diagnosis treatment involves therapy for the client as well as her loved ones. Individual sessions take place privately with a psychologist or therapist, while peer group support sessions are held with other clients in the same program. Other outpatient services include:

  • Psychiatric evaluation by a clinical professional who is cross-trained in addiction treatment and mental health
  • Family educational activities to help loved ones understand the complexities of mental illness and substance abuse
  • Medical management for psychiatric drugs and anti-addiction medications
  • Life skills classes to help patients lead rewarding, independent lives in their communities
  • 12-Step orientation programs and meetings to provide a foundation for recovery
  • Aftercare programs to maximize the patient’s chances of success after completing the program

Finding an Outpatient Program

Locating an outpatient program that is dedicated to meeting the needs of Dual Diagnosis clients isn’t always easy. There are a few key characteristics you should look for when you’re searching for the right facility for yourself or a loved one. The Harvard Review of Psychiatry notes that an integrated Dual Diagnosis plan consists of:

  • A full range of recovery services, including detox, medication management and therapeutic programs
  • Staff members who have specialized training in treating both addiction and psychiatric disorders
  • A multi-disciplinary approach to recovery that treats both body and mind
  • A team-based treatment model that involves a number of experts (psychiatrists, counselors, nutritionists and alternative therapists) in the patient’s recovery.

At The Oaks at La Paloma, we provide evidence-based outpatient services for Dual Diagnosis patients. We are committed to helping our patients achieve total healing, so they can lead the rich, full lives they deserve. For more information on our unique Dual Diagnosis outpatient program, contact our admissions coordinators at any time of day or night. We’re here for you when you’re ready to get the individualized care you need.


By Krystan Anderson, LPC-MHSP
Director, The Oaks at Foundation Memphis