How Do I Know If I Need Dual Diagnosis Rehab?

Each year, countless amounts of people reach out for help for their substance use disorders. Some may contact their primary care physician for help or their local therapist, while others might call a residential rehab program or even consider going out-of-state for care. Thankfully, there are several various types of addiction treatment available, allowing for people with all kinds of unique needs the ability to get safe, effective care. One of these forms of treatment includes dual diagnosis rehab. 

What is a Dual Diagnosis? 

A co-occurring disorder, or a dual diagnosis, occurs when an individual experiences both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition at the same time. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 37.9% of people with substance use disorders also have a mental illness. Conversely, the NIH also states that 18.2% of those with a mental illness also have a substance use disorder. This means that people are abusing drugs and/or alcohol in conjunction with the occurrence of symptoms related to a mental health condition.

A dual diagnosis is a common issue for people to experience, as both substance abuse and mental health challenges often go hand-in-hand. For example, someone with a preexisting mental health condition like depression or anxiety might turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the persistent symptoms they are experiencing. Or, someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may begin developing symptoms related to a mental illness as a result of their continued substance abuse. Either way, it is extremely important to be able to recognize a dual diagnosis when it is occurring so that the proper care can be obtained. One of the best ways to be able to do this effectively is to be aware of the symptoms of dual diagnosis.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis 

There is a great deal of variety when it comes to dual diagnoses, as any combination of mental illnesses and substance use disorders can be occurring at any time. But while there are definitely some specific symptoms to watch for based on certain substances and mental illnesses, there are also many symptoms that occur across all types of dual diagnoses. 

The most common symptoms of a dual diagnosis can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Abusing drugs/alcohol in an effort to quell symptoms commonly associated with mental health conditions (i.e. hopelessness, excessive worry, hearing voices, etc.)
  • Having a difficult time remembering a time in life where full satisfaction was felt without the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Initially began using drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms related to mental health conditions
  • Experiencing difficulty maintaining good stand at work or home due to substance abuse and/or mental health complications
  • Feeling fearful of stopping substance abuse because symptoms you are attempting to prevent may come back
  • Continuing to abuse drugs or alcohol despite the many consequences it causes across all areas of life, including the state of one’s mental health

Anytime any of these symptoms are occurring, it is in your best interest to reach out for help from a professional resource. This can include contacting your doctor or therapist, or even calling a local treatment center to get started on getting the care you need. 

Do I Need Dual Diagnosis Rehab?

Determining if you need dual diagnosis rehab can be difficult, especially if you are the one attempting to make the decision. There are several things that you can consider when the time comes to assess whether a dual diagnosis rehab is the right choice for you. 

A dual diagnosis rehab can be beneficial to you if you are experiencing the symptoms above as well as an inability to stop abusing drugs or alcohol without developing withdrawal symptoms. This is a sign of physical dependence, which, depending on the substance you are addicted to, can create life-threatening effects if not treated professionally. A dual diagnosis rehab can provide you with the detox services you need in order to stay safe and healthy all while preparing a therapeutic treatment plan for when you complete your detox. 

If you have struggled to keep your symptoms of a mental health condition under control, a dual diagnosis rehab might be right for you, too. That is because without the appropriate skill set to combat the troublesome symptoms of a mental illness, you remain susceptible to continuing to abuse drugs and alcohol, which can make your mental illness (and your addiction) even worse. 

Feeling out of control is one of the most common symptoms that people with a dual diagnosis experience. As a mental illness worsens, the intensity of a substance abuse increases. This continual cycle can quickly lead to a life of misery and increased potential for early death. If you feel like you are unable to control your mental health symptoms and/or your consumption of drugs or alcohol, a dual diagnosis rehab may be a promising choice for you.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Birmingham, AL 

Needing help and reaching out for it are two different things. If you are in need of treatment in order to put a stop to your dual diagnosis, contact us right now. At Birmingham Recovery Center, we work directly with you to develop a treatment plan that meets each and every one of your needs so that you can get back into control of your own life.

Do not wait any longer. Contact us right now.


  • Ian Henyon, LPC

    Having worked in a variety of clinical settings since 2008, Ian brings well over a decade of treatment center experience to the leadership role at Birmingham Recovery Center. As Executive Director, he is responsible for all aspects of BRC’s operations and provision of services. Being firmly grounded in the notion of servant leadership, Ian is focused on establishing a supportive work environment as a foundation for providing superior clinical services to BRC’s clients. Ian combines his extensive knowledge of treating addiction and psychiatric illness with the recognition that addiction is a disorder of the brain, to ensure that all clients are treated with the highest levels of respect and compassion. Ian is a licensed professional counselor. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and he received a Master of Science degree from Prescott College.


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