Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


Expertise-based treatment for dual diagnosis disorders at Elevations.

Table of Contents

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Priya Chaudhri

CEO / Owner

Elevation Behavioral Health is licensed with the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Social Services.

Co-Occurring Disorders


When struggling with both a mental health disorder and a drug or alcohol addiction, the co-occurring disorders are referred to as a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can also be the appropriate term to describe two co-occurring mental health disorders. A dual diagnosis can significantly impair daily functioning, with its effects reaching into and disrupting job productivity, relationships, social interactions, and family life.

Individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder are about twice as likely to suffer from a coexisting substance use disorder. Individuals with mental health conditions often attempt to manage the internal struggles associated with depression and anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorder with alcohol or drugs, such as benzodiazepines or opiates. Unfortunately, the effects of the substance abuse only exacerbate the existing mental health symptoms, compounding the suffering.

A dual diagnosis can also originate with the addiction, with the subsequent mental health disorder a byproduct of the negative effects of addiction. When someone is struggling with a dual diagnosis, regardless of which disorder presented initially, they will benefit from a specialized dual diagnosis treatment program like Elevation Behavioral Health in Los Angeles. The program provides both expert psychiatric services and addiction treatment specialists who work in tandem to support the recovery goals of the dual diagnosis client.


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Signs of a Dual Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of each dual diagnosis are specific to the combination of presenting disorders—the person suffering from major depression and alcoholism will have very different symptoms than someone struggling with an anxiety disorder and co-occurring bipolar disorder—it is difficult to specify the exact signs of a dual diagnosis. However, there are certain things that seem to be core features in a dual diagnosis, such as:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Legal problems
  • Inability to maintain healthy relationships
  • Financial problems
  • Emotional instability
  • Becoming increasingly irresponsible
  • Beginning to ignore or avoid obligations
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Erratic behavior
  • Exhibits withdrawal symptoms when not using substance
  • Increasing the use or dosage of alcohol or drugs

When you or a loved one’s ability to function normally is due to a dual diagnosis, it is appropriate to seek out a dual diagnosis treatment program.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Los Angeles

The fusion of psychiatric services with addiction recovery therapies provides a balanced treatment protocol for an effective dual diagnosis program. Treating just one of the disorders will not yield a successful long-term result. To sustain recovery and manage mental health symptoms both the substance use disorder and the mental health disorder must be treated simultaneously.

Treatment for a dual diagnosis involves a blend of therapies and adjunct interventions that are designed to provide a comprehensive approach to healing and wellness. These treatment elements include:

Medical detox. A medical detox is a necessary first step for individuals with a moderate to severe substance use disorder. During the detox and withdrawal process the body and brain chemistry will respond to the withholding of the substance of abuse by producing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be significantly minimized through the medical interventions provided by the detox team.

Individual psychotherapy. During the one-on-one psychotherapy sessions the therapist will guide the individual toward examining potential underlying factors that underpin the mental health disorder and/or the addiction. Through the processing of these emotional issues or traumas great inroads can be made in healing. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help clients change distorted thought patterns that have resulted in maladaptive behaviors.

Various group therapy sessions. Group therapy is an effective modality in a dual diagnosis treatment program as it provides the peer support and sharing that can help bolster confidence. Some programs also offer family therapy sessions or couples counseling as well, which enhance emotional healing while providing important recovery skills for better interpersonal relationships.

Medication management. Psychotropic medication is often prescribed for treating the mental health disorder, and might involve antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-psychotic drugs.

Education on addiction and relapse prevention. Classes that teach clients how the biochemistry of addiction works gives them a better understanding of the dangers in using addictive substances. Relapse prevention is an essential element that prepares the client for managing stress and avoiding triggers.

Experiential activities. Experiential activities compliment the traditional therapy and enhance therapeutic results. These include such activities as yoga, mindfulness meditation, journaling, art and music therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture.

Recreational therapy. Regular exercise is an intrinsic element in restoring physical health and stamina, as well as healing the mind. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine, which lift mood, helps increase energy, and improves sleep quality.

By empowering clients with the essential recovery tools needed for successfully overcoming addiction, as well as teaching coping skills and relaxation techniques that help in managing a mental health condition.

Elevation Behavioral Health equips clients for a productive, fulfilling life. Call today at (888) 561-0868.