What Happens During Detox If You Have Dual Diagnosis?

dual diagnosis

Mental health conditions can create a challenging space for people to navigate recovery. Dual diagnoses happen when a person has concurrent mental health and addiction issues. If they seek help for one and not the other, they often find themselves stressed, anxious, and frustrated. Many such individuals struggle to conquer addiction while trying to manage a mental health condition. Finding the best dual diagnosis treatment helps, but going through detox is often a barrier for people. Find out why it is harder for people with a dual diagnosis but still the best route to go when coping with mental health and addiction.

Why Dual Diagnosis Occurs

Americans with mental health and substance use disorder often need specialized treatment to help them navigate life in recovery. The connection between mental illness and addiction exists for many reasons. One of them is that drugs and alcohol often play off of mental health conditions. Uppers, downers, and everything in between can mess with a person’s brain chemistry. Drug use produces symptoms that mimic certain mental illnesses. Mental illness can lead to substance use. People who suffer from mental health issues may misuse substances to alleviate symptoms. Self-medicating is even more common among people who suffer severe effects of mental illness like hallucinations or suicidal thoughts. Other common problems related to mental health and addiction include:

  • Brain structure and chemistry
  • Trauma and neglect
  • Genetics
  • Family history of substance use or mental health conditions
  • Stress

Treatment Options

Finding treatment options that effectively treat dual diagnosis is essential. During intake, many treatment professionals can tell right away what a person needs. After doing an interview and assessment, they find out what the person needs to be successful in detox and treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment options for rehab often include inpatient detox with oversight twenty-four hours a day. This option may be best for people who have chronically relapsed or need additional support. Medical supervision and treatment help reduce complications. 

Outpatient Detox

While inpatient detox might work for some people, outpatient is also a great option. For dual diagnosis individuals, this treatment focuses on finding the best fit for the person’s circumstances. If they have mild to moderate drug addiction challenges and are not prone to relapse, a person may consider outpatient detox. Some outpatient programs meet several times a day while others meet 2 to 3 hours a day, 2 to 3 times a week. Medication may still be offered to treat mental health issues, but meds may adversely impact a person’s health and will need to be closely monitored. Substance use affects a person in all areas of their lives, but a reputable treatment program helps manage detox and chronic health concerns. 

Evidence-Based Treatment

When an individual goes to treatment, it helps to have evidence-based programming, which focuses on using the findings of independent researchers. To put it simply, this type of therapy emphasizes results above all other considerations. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that helps people recognize their thought patterns and find healthier ways to process information. People also learn coping skills and techniques to avoid triggers. When exposed to triggers, they can find ways to deal with them that are effective instead of relapsing. Family members can work together to set goals and, when someone reaches a goal, get a reward. In any case, a person who attends treatment is likely to find the support they didn’t have before. 

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be a crucial tool in the battle against mental health and substance use. When someone is dealing with a dual diagnosis, they need the support of their loved ones. It is hard to cope with all the activities of daily living while managing mental health issues. Family therapy helps expose the spaces that need extra attention and provides space for healing. The most important thing is that everyone works together to support the person with addiction and mental health issues so they can learn to move forward together in recovery. 


Dual diagnosis detox lasts a short amount of time. Self-care during the time after that is essential. Learning to meditate, do yoga, or find spaces that are quiet for reflection and relaxation will help bring peace of mind to people in recovery. Good self-care is key to the journey of healing because it teaches people how to rest and rejuvenate. Finding hobbies they like, going out with sober friends, and being part of a new community is of enormous importance.

From Detox to Healing

Detox is one small part of the journey of recovery. People who work through detox often find they can move ahead in recovery with a more lucid state of mind. Detox lasts a short time, but recovery lasts a lifetime. Learning tools to mitigate symptoms of mental health is best, and practicing self-care is also critical for the long journey.


Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.

Call us today: 1-888-224-7312