Orange County Dual Diagnosis

Today, there are over 18.5 million Americans with a substance use disorder. That’s some 5% of the total population. Of the 328 million Americans included in an annual census, 1 in 5, or 21%, have a mental illness. 1 in 20, or some 5% of the full population has a serious mental illness. Most Americans are aware that factors like mental illness increase risks of substance use disorders. But, few of us are prepared for the fact that more than 45% of persons with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder.

At Compassion Recovery, we know that dual diagnosis occurs, and it occurs a lot. Yet, it also gets in the way of traditional treatment. You can’t treat a mental health disorder through addiction and withdrawal. But, you can’t wait to treat it until after you’ve treated the substance use disorder, because chances of relapse are high. You need a comprehensive dual-diagnosis program, tailored to your specific needs, and updated throughout your treatment to ensure you get the help you need.

If you or a loved one are struggling, our Orange County dual diagnosis center is here, and we are ready to help.

Call us today.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis, which you might know as “co-occurring disorder”, or “comorbid disorder”, is the fact of having two diagnoses, in this case: a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
  • Any mental health disorder – A mental health disorder, of any severity, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia, borderline, etc.
  • A substance use disorder – Any substance use disorder, as characterized by reliance and seeking behavior on a substance.
Dual diagnosis is also more common than most of us think. We know that mental illnesses increase the risks of substance use disorder. We also know that the factors resulting in increased risks to substance use disorders increase risks for mental illnesses. But, almost half of all persons with a substance use disorder have a dual diagnosis.

According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, 3.8% of the total U.S. population has a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. In fact, that’s 9.5 million Americans with a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness and 9.7 million people with a substance use disorder and no mental illness.

While, the more serious the mental illness, the worse the risks, any mental illness exacerbates risks of substance use disorder. 1.5 million people with a substance use disorder and a mental illness had a severe mental illness in 2020. The other 2 million fall under classifications of “AMI”.

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Why do So Many People Have a Dual Diagnosis?

Substance use disorders have always been strongly linked to mental health disorders. That makes sense when you consider that both often cause impulsivity, isolation, social ostracism, feelings of self-loathing, depression, and reckless behavior. If someone is raised in an environment where they feel low self-worth or with a mental illness that makes them more prone to reckless decision-making, they are significantly more likely to become addicted.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that overlap with substance use disorder include:

  • PTSD
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Depression
  • Panic Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
These are all characterized by feelings of hopelessness, inability to enjoy anything, panic, distress, constant worry, elevated stress, and intense mood swings.

However, this is just one tiny facet of a very complicated thing. Substance use disorders are impacted by dozens of causes ranging from genetics to epigenetics, exposure, nurture and upbringing, mental health, stress levels, and much more. Mental health is impacted by many of the same things. So, you also have the concept that substance use disorders and mental health disorders share many of the same triggers. For example, the Adverse Childhood Experiences study tracked over 90,000 people to assess vulnerability to addiction, mental illness, and physical illness and found that experiencing traumatic events as a child increases your risks of all three.

Mental Health Disorders Increase your Risk of Substance Use Disorder

Anyone with a mental health disorder has a significantly increased risk of substance use disorder. This increase in vulnerability doesn’t mean it’s certain you will become addicted, but it means it’s more likely. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 16.6% of all adults are likely to abuse substances in some fashion. That goes up to 38.8 person for person with any mental illness and 49.4% for those with a severe mental illness. Of course, mental health problems increase risks of substance abuse in many ways. They can include:
  • Self-medicating /li>
  • Feeling bad
  • Low self esteem
  • Impulsivity or high risk taking
  • Decreased self-reliance
  • Increased vulnerability to dependence
Two of the primary risk categories within this group are self-medication and the fact that substance abuse worsens existing mental health symptoms.
Close up of a woman taking pills holding glass of water self-medication

Self-medication is the act of using a substance to temporarily feel better. That might be to destress, to reduce pain, to loosen up and be able to interact, to cope with problems, to numb discomfort. Whatever it is intended for, it involves regularly taking a substance to feel better. This is without a prescription, outside of a prescription, or without medical advice. It also greatly exacerbates risks for substance use disorder by increasing exposure and building tolerance. Most use patterns of escalation as tolerance builds. You take more and more of the substance to achieve the same effects. Yet, this is a self-defeating cycle, because most substances eventually make you feel worse.

a sad man with a hand on the head sitting on a couch symptoms getting worse
Worsening Existing Symptoms

Substance abuse is bad for your physical and mental health. Most of us know what it’s like to feel a hangover. But, when you abuse a substance every day, you get that result every day. People who rely on substances feel bad. That means lethargy, fatigue, headache, sore muscles, aching joints, and slow thought processes. Substance abuse also often gets in the way of getting enough sleep. Drug abuse also exacerbates issues like emotional blunting, psychosis, paranoia, and personality disorders. In fact, substance use disorders also cause issues that mimic many mental heatlh disorders by deregulating and changing how serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters are produced in the brain. That’s why a mental illness diagnosis requires that the symptoms appeared before the substance use disorder – because substance use disorders often mimic those symptoms.

Getting Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

A mental illness vastly complicates traditional rehab. Instead, both conflict with each other and with treatment. Mental illness often leaves individuals demotivated, unwilling to seek treatment, and unable to change. Taking the steps to treat a dual diagnosis means assessing the individual and building a program that starts with the most pressing problems and moves forward from there. That normally looks a bit like this:
  • Treating symptoms causing a danger to health or life. E.g., trauma therapy for persons with suicidal ideation and detox for persons at risk of an overdose.
  • Treating symptoms that are a barrier to treatment. E.g., motivational therapy.
  • Treating cravings and delivering behavioral therapy.
  • Building skills and behaviors to ensure success in the real world.
This approach allows us to eliminate the worst of the symptoms first, essentially treating blockers so that you can get more effective treatment. If your life or health are in danger, those will always be the first priority. But, taking this personalized approach allows us to ensure you get the best possible program for your mental health.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Look Like at Compassion Recovery?

Compassion Recovery Center takes a personalized approach to dual diagnosis treatment. We use licensed and certified medical staff, behavioral psychologists, and certified support staff to ensure you get the treatment you need.
A beautiful doctor conducting medical check up on her patient under detox

If you still need Detox, we have a detox and treatment center in Laguna Hills. This facility offers full support for detox, allowing you to withdraw from drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication under medical supervision. It’s important to contact us in advance to disclose what you are taking, how often, and to get custom advice so that we can ensure we can help you when you arrive.

Detox can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But, doing so ensures you get medical support and therapeutic support as you move through the potentially dangerous and traumatic process of withdrawal.

a happy young woman discussing rehab admission
Intensive Outpatient

Compassion Recovery Center offers IOP (Intensive Outpatient) treatment for dual-diagnosis. That means you spend a few hours a day at our treatment center and can otherwise go home, go to work, and continue your daily life and responsibilities. This is ideal if you have kids, are taking care of someone, or still have to work.

Here, your treatment program is completely adjusted to your mental illness, your health, and your progress. If you need more support, we might ask you to come in more often. However, most treatment involves rotating one-on-one or individual therapy (normally EMDR) with group therapy, counseling, and skills training. This allows you to thoroughly assess behaviors, treat the root causes of addiction, and learn new, healthy behaviors with minimal time investment.

compassion recovery photo of a young man during individual behavioral therapy
Inpatient Care

Our rehab facility in Laguna Hills allows you to seek out additional support and treatment. Staying in residential care means you get more access to medical staff and personnel, more personalization, and more one-on-one support. It also means you can attend treatment from out of state more easily, because we offer a place to stay while you detox and recover.

Compassion Recovery Centers offers:

  • EMDR behavioral therapy
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Supportive and complementary therapies
compassion recovery photo of a man with a psychologist during his private substance abuse treatment in the facility

Compassion Recovery Centers offers licensed counselors who work with you in both one-on-one and in groups. Counseling helps you to work through addiction, cravings, relationships, communication, and your mental health, so you can leave rehab with a solid base to start from.

photo of a doctor for medical support

Our medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs are available where needed to help you navigate alcohol use disorder. If you think you need a MAT program, contact our counselors for a consultation. If we decide that a MAT program is the best treatment for your needs, we’ll discuss that with you ahead of time. In most cases, that will mean getting a Disulfiram, Naltrexone, or Acamprosate prescription.

compassion recovery photo of a group during a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

We offer long-term follow-ups and support, whether you live in Orange County or travelled to attend our program from out of state. Contact us to learn more about our support options and possibilities.

Why Compassion Recovery Centers?

From our licensed staff, dedication to personalized treatment, and years of expertise in treating alcohol use disorders to our beautiful rehab center in Laguna Beach, Compassion Recovery Centers strives to offer the best possible recovery experience. That means good support, evidence-backed treatment, compassionate staff, medical expertise, family support, and plenty of activities to keep you engaged, relaxed, and happy. Recovery should be about improving yourself, and we are committed to making that enjoyable and sustainable.
qualified staff at orange county alcohol rehab
Qualified Staff

Our staff are licensed, trained, and qualified medical experts. Our therapists are master’s level. We want you to get the best of medical expertise, no matter what treatment program you get. But, we also hire for compassion and passion. Helping people is more than a paycheck, and the staff at Compassionate Recovery are invested in what they do, helping our patients.

a handsome man during a dual diagnosis support session at orange county alcohol rehab
Dual Diagnosis Support

We offer full mental health treatment and support. That means you can attend with a dual diagnosis to receive personalized treatment for your mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Almost half of all persons with a substance use disorder have a mental illness. We believe it’s important to offer full support for both, so you can get the help you need, no matter what your mental health.

a happy family walking on beach near orange county alcohol rehab
Family Therapy

Your family is essential to your life and to your recovery. Family relationships, family motivation, and social support are the driving factors behind recovery and even attending recovery in the first place. Compassion Recovery Center is a family-friendly center. We offer family therapy, to help you work through your addiction while rebuilding relationships with your loved ones.

a young adult man running on beach
Complimentary Treatment

Whether you need stress management, exercise, good nutrition, or creative therapies, we can help. Compassion Recovery offers a range of complementary therapies designed to help you improve your mental health, build skills, manage your emotions, and improve your physical health. That’s backed by physical activities and outings like kayaking and hiking in one of the most scenic locations in Southern California.

Getting Help

Compassion Recovery is here to help you take the steps to recovery. Whether you’re ready to start detox or are ready to move right into therapy, we can help with a comprehensive and fully customized plan designed around your needs.

If you or your loved one need help, we’re here.

Contact us today to learn more.