When a mental health disorder occurs with an addiction, a client needs dual diagnosis treatment to treat both conditions together. At LA Detox, we offer dual diagnosis treatment in Los Angeles, California, for those with both addiction and mental health conditions that need to be treated in a rehab like setting.

Currently, an estimated 20 million Americans struggle with addiction. While it’s easy to believe that most of these cases are people who went down the wrong road, this isn’t the case. Often, people with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder also called a dual diagnosis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that compared to the general population, people addicted to drugs are about twice as likely to also have a mental health disorder and the reverse is also true. Many of these incidents stem from a person trying to self-medicate for symptoms of a mental health disorder, and these symptoms can get worse when left untreated.

Attending a dual diagnosis treatment center in Los Angeles, CA


A dual diagnosis refers to having co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. In other words, when a person struggles with both an addiction and mental illness, they have a dual diagnosis. Often, these conditions are related to one another.

In some cases, a person begins using drugs or alcohol to cope with an underlying mental health disorder. For instance, a person might drink alcohol to reduce their anxiety in social situations. Over time, they could become addicted to alcohol, and they never learn to manage their anxiety in a healthy way. Thus, they could have a dual diagnosis of social anxiety and alcoholism.

On the other hand, some people use drugs and then develop a mental illness. A person using cocaine could develop depression as a result of the “crash” after cocaine use, for example. Since drugs and alcohol alter the way the brain functions, a mental health disorder can develop after long-term substance abuse. Regardless of the causes, our dual diagnosis treatment is the best approach for treating these conditions in Los Angeles, CA.


Common causes of dual diagnosis include the following:

  • Causality — The causality theory suggests that substance abuse may lead to mental illness. For example, frequent cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — 25% of people with addiction also have ADHD. Having ADHD makes it more likely that a person will use substances at a younger age than their peers.
  • Past exposure to psychiatric medications — This theory says that psychiatric medications create a brain imbalance that wasn’t there before. Any new exposure to psychiatric drugs may lead to increased sensitivity to drugs and alcohol.
  • Self-medication — The self-medication theory suggests that people with severe mental illness use substances to relieve symptoms. To add, they can use substances to counter the negative side effects of medications. For example, using stimulants to counteract the sedating effects of antipsychotic drugs.
  • Alleviation of dysphoria theory — This theory suggests that people with severe mental illness often have a negative self-image. Then, they use substances to combat these negative feelings.
  • Multiple risk factor theory — There may be shared risk factors leading to both mental illness and addiction. This may include factors like isolation, poverty, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and drug availability. In addition, traumatic life events, such as sexual abuse, are linked to dual diagnoses.
  • Supersensitivity — The supersensitivity theory states that people with a severe mental illness also have biological and psychological sensitivities. Stressful life events can trigger a psychiatric disorder or a relapse of an existing illness. The theory suggests that while antipsychotic medication can reduce sensitivity, substance abuse may increase it. Thus, the person becomes “supersensitive” to the effects of certain substances.

Dual diagnosis treatment in Los Angeles helps the client understand how their mental health and addiction affect each other. Along with treatment, clients learn coping skills to manage their mental health without drugs and alcohol.


At LA Detox, we offer support for some of the most common types of dual diagnosis. Our dual diagnosis treatment in Los Angeles, California offers addiction therapy to support those with both addiction and mental health issues. We have a range of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and psychodrama as well as group, family, and individual counseling.

OCD and Addiction

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Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

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Anxiety and Addiction

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A dual diagnosis treatment program is essential to treat mental health issues and addiction at the same time. If a person receives help for one problem, but not the other, they will remain trapped in the same dangerous cycle. However, only a small proportion of patients with co-occurring disorders get treatment for both disorders.

Clients with a dual diagnosis routinely face challenges getting treatment. In fact, they may be excluded from mental health treatment due to their substance problem or excluded from substance abuse treatment due to their mental health.

There are 4 approaches to treating co-occurring disorders:

  1. Partial — Partial treatment involves treating only the disorder that is considered primary (occurring first).
  2. Sequential — Sequential treatment involves treating the primary disorder first, and then treating the secondary condition only after the primary is stabilized.
  3. Parallel — Parallel treatment involves the patient getting substance abuse services from one provider and mental health treatment from another.
  4. Integrated — Integrated treatment involves a combination of interventions into a single treatment package. Both disorders are considered primary in this approach.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) states that integrated treatment is in the best interests of the patients, programs, funders, and systems.

Therefore, a dual diagnosis treatment in Los Angeles is best at helping clients understand how their mental health and addiction affect one another. Along with receiving treatment, clients learn the proper coping skills they need to manage their mental health properly without self-medicating.

Dual diagnosis treatment programs can be used during:

  • Detox—Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from your body. In the case of substance abuse, this is the time that the body needs to process any drugs and alcohol in the system and clear it away completely. Detox usually occurs in a hospital, or an inpatient treatment center with medical staff on hand if any withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening.
  • Residential addiction treatment—Residential treatment provides 24-hour a day treatment services. This generally takes place in a home-like setting, but away from any of the influences on the outside that may trigger a relapse. Long-term residential treatment programs last for 6 to 12 months, allowing the person to focus on their accountability in recovery. Short-term residential treatment provides a brief but intensive treatment based on a modified 12-Step approach. Treatment consists of a 3 to 6-week inpatient treatment followed by extended outpatient therapy and participation in a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Outpatient—The patient lives at home and can attend school and work activities while attending outpatient treatment during the day or evening. This type of treatment costs less than residential treatment. Additionally, it is best for people with extensive social support. This requires the patient to resist relapse triggers without the structure of an inpatient facility. Some outpatient programs also treat mental health problems, along with drug disorders.

Begin Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Los Angeles, California

Don’t remain in a cycle that continues to damage your life. Find the addiction treatment programs you need today. Through these programs and addiction therapy services, you can receive the care you need for recovery. If you believe our dual diagnosis treatment in Los Angeles, CA can benefit you, contact LA Detox today.