Written by: Landmark Recovery

Addiction and substance abuse are serious issues and unfortunately, these problems will oftentimes lead to or be caused by underlying mental health problems that can be impacting and exacerbating the issues. When it comes to drug and alcohol treatment it is best to treat the underlying issues as well as the substance abuse problem. Before we take a look at the treatment options, let’s first take a look at dual diagnosis and a few of the common types of disorders that people are affected by.

What Is It?

Dual diagnosis occurs when a person has a mental disorder while also having an alcohol or drug addiction or other substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, this is something that occurs frequently for substance abuse. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about half of the people who have a mental disorder will also suffer from substance use disorder at some point in this life, or vice versa. Unfortunately, interactions between the two can actually exacerbate the issue for both problems. 

There are many different mental health issues that people can deal with that would lead them to use substances. Some of the most common include the following:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is one of the most serious mental illnesses and is one that leads to a much higher rate of substance abuse than some others. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops when someone is exposed to a traumatic event or situation. These events generally involved actual or threatened death, serious injury, or threat to physical integrity. These experiences can lead people to use substances to escape.


Along with PTSD, depression is another mental disorder that was commonly co-occurring with substance abuse. It should also be noted that depression is one of the most cited issues when it comes to relapse among individuals with substance use disorders. 


Just like most other mental disorders, the presence of an anxiety disorder is a risk factor for the presence of substance abuse. There are many different types of anxiety disorders and it can lead to someone feeling more stressed out and upset which can, in turn, drive them to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

These are just a few of the many mental disorders that patients can have that can lead them down the road to addiction. Now that you understand a little bit more about how mental health can impact a person’s substance abuse problems, let’s take a look at treatment options for these individuals.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

For people who are suffering from dual diagnosis problems, both conditions need to be treated at the same time. Treatment for dual diagnosis includes behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups. All of these things can help patients overcome their substance abuse problems and can work to solve the mental illness issues that they may also be dealing with.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a form of treatment that is used in many recovery centers. MAT is completely dependent on a patient’s specific situation, with some patients not using MAT at all. There are a number of different types of medications that patients are prescribed while in treatment. Some of the common forms of MAT include methadone, naltrexone, buprenorphine, and more. 

These types of medication can be used to help patients with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use problems. It should be noted that MAT is most effective when it is used concurrently with other forms of treatment such as behavioral therapy.

Behavioral Therapy

There are a number of different types of behavioral therapy that are used during the recovery process. One of the most common and most effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT is a form of individualized therapy in which the patient and clinician work together and identify any stimuli that may be triggering or induce cravings to use in a patient. From there, the therapist will help the patient alter their thought process so that these specific triggers don’t have as much control over them as they once did. 

CBT is just one of the many types of therapies that are used in treatment centers across the country to help patients overcome addiction and achieve sobriety.

Group Therapy

Along with CBT and other forms of individual therapy, another effective method that is commonly used in substance abuse treatment centers is group therapy as well as support groups. Family therapy is one form of group therapy that is used during many treatment programs to help patients learn about the effects that their substance abuse has had on their loved ones. Oftentimes, patients may not understand that their habits have had impacts and effects on others besides themselves. This will help open their eyes to the problems that they may have caused.

Family therapy can also help restore family function and rebuild any bridges that may have been affected by the patient’s substance abuse.

Overall, drug and alcohol treatment, along with mental health treatment is something that needs to be done concurrently as the presence of one of these issues will lead to a change in behavior and, in turn, treatment of a specific patient.

Whatever problem that you are dealing with finding local help whether it be a luxury recovery center in Arizona or state-of-the-art Indianapolis rehab, going to a treatment center that is close by can help a lot. Going to a local rehab allows patients to get the help they need without having to travel across the country. Similarly, it allows patients to meet with their family and loved ones to get extra support during their time in treatment, making some forms of therapy, such as family counseling easier to conduct.

If you have noticed that you or a loved one is dealing with issues related to substance abuse, whether it be alcohol, opioids, or something else, it is vital that you seek out treatment. If this problem is not handled in a professional matter, it can lead to dire consequences.

Landmark Recovery exists to assist each patient in the development of a lifestyle that is permanently free from all mind and mood-altering substances and that promotes the patient’s well-being across mind, body, and spirit. We strive to achieve this vision by building strong, ethically-grounded relationships between each employee and each patient. These relationships outlast the treatment program and continue to serve the patient as long as necessary post-discharge.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.