Experiencing corresponding signs of both mental illness and substance abuse defines dual diagnosis, recognised as a complex, serious condition. Independently, disorders such as anxiety and depression can be very difficult to manoeuvre through without support. Likewise, a drug and alcohol addiction can also result in severe consequences, through toxic and habitual exposure. Combined, the struggles of a dual diagnosis are evident, churning the cycle between both diagnoses.

In the event of a dual diagnosis, optimal and suitable forms of treatment will be required. While it may seem easier to treat a lone condition and hope that its withdrawal will also benefit additional symptoms, full recovery of both mental illness and substance abuse is unlikely.

Here’s where the necessity of dual diagnosis treatment is found, to promote recovery equally, safely, and proactively across both diagnoses. The aim of this approach is to reduce relapse risks, elevate the quality of life, and deter the cycle from ongoing activation.

Treating a dual diagnosis is very different to a standalone condition, down to the multifaceted symptoms, impacts and consequences that such diagnosis can carry. Understanding this, including what’s ahead will therefore be wise if you’re struggling physically and psychologically.

Here’s our take on ‘what is dual diagnosis treatment?’, offered here at Asana Lodge to promote comprehensive and holistic recovery.


What is dual diagnosis treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment is a collective effort to treat both addiction and mental health issues. Unfortunately, mental illness is very prevalent through substance abuse, and vice versa. Around 50% of people who encounter mental health symptoms are in fact found to lean on suppressing substances, in order to cope. This is down to the impacts that cognitive pressures, and drug and alcohol exposure have on the brain, from functionality, activity, and stability.

As dual conditions are parallel, meaning that they impact one another directly, their presence will amount to a cycle, one even greater than lone diagnoses, making it even harder to recover from a dual diagnosis.

To answer, ‘what is dual diagnosis treatment?’, it’s therefore appropriate treatments and therapies, combined to simultaneously treat mental illness and addiction, resulting in comprehensive benefits.


What makes dual diagnosis treatment different?

If you’re encountering signs of anxiety, of depression or of further mental health vulnerabilities, appropriate bouts of therapy and management techniques will be recommended. Treatments will therefore be suitable for mental health conditions.

If you’re encountering an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, detoxification, psychological withdrawal, and relapse prevention will likely be recommended. Again, such treatments will be endorsed to promote addiction recovery.

What makes dual diagnosis treatment different is that it combines both of these efforts, to run alongside one another, equally treating both sets of symptoms, causations, and consequences. This is very important, as without dual efforts, a primary condition can take the power, making it very difficult to recover from the secondary condition.

For example, treating lone drug addiction will of course alleviate the reliance that a user will have on drugs. However, through residing mental health illness, there’s a chance that cravings of drug abuse will resurface, to manage mental symptoms and challenges. However, by completing dual diagnosis treatment, the risk of relapse will significantly reduce, as a combined effort will be found through mental illness and substance abuse recovery.


Signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis

Signs of dual diagnosis will of course differ depending on the degree and type of mental health illness that’s being experienced, in tandem with which drug is engulfing a user. However, there are clear correlating changes between both conditions which increase the clarity of a dual diagnosis.

  • Experiencing behavioural changes in relation to mental health pressures and substance abuse
  • Seeing drugs and alcohol as a coping strategy
  • Requiring consumption to work through mental health symptoms
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, and irritable on withdrawal
  • Self-medicating through mental health symptoms
  • Feeling isolated from life down to both mental health illness and substance abuse. For example, social anxiety and drug abuse can cause social withdrawal.
  • Physical changes to health, all down to prioritising drug/alcohol abuse
  • Difficulties opening up about either condition
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol through mental health crises
  • Increased mental pressures through a lack of consumption


Symptoms of dual diagnosis go hand in hand, developing a cycle. Without drugs and alcohol, through addiction, mental health symptoms will likely surface. Drug and alcohol consumption will then be used to manage symptoms yet can aggravate them even further through the rebound effect, again leaning on consumption as an escape. Both are found to fuel one another, described as a drowning feeling, down to a lack of control and stability.

If you’re suffering to any degree with your mental health, looking into ‘what is dual diagnosis treatment?’ will be wise, along with actively considering such treatments. At Asana Lodge, we specialise in dual diagnosis treatment, personalised and private for each client.


Treatment options for dual diagnosis

Treatment for dual diagnosis will all depend on the degree and type of conditions associated with the diagnosis. At Asana Lodge, we complete confidential assessments to define the most suitable forms of holistic treatment, to treat both mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously.

Looking at each condition independently will be our approach, to ensure that causations, triggers, vulnerabilities, and symptoms can be worked through, to reduce relapse risks. For example, addiction will always require detoxification, followed by talking therapies, opportunities for balance and long-term recovery techniques. Mental health conditions will require the likes of dialectical behavioural therapy, stress management sessions and lifestyle recommendations.

We also make use of holistic therapies, known to significantly treat the mind. As a dual diagnosis is fuelled in the mind, it’s very important that focus is placed on psychological restoration, which will then naturally filter down to heal the body, adapt behaviours, and improve actions. NAD+ therapy, art therapy, exposure therapy, satori chair therapy and virtual reality therapy are some of our holistic treatment options.

Both mental illness and substance abuse attack the central nervous system, which must be recovered, realigned and restored to revert to optimal functionality and messaging. Dual diagnosis treatment will provide the efforts and targeting to do just that, helping to rebalance the mind and body.

Dual diagnosis treatment is an instrumental part of recovery and relapse prevention, helping many individuals reach a point of stability and rehabilitation. Accepting such recommendations will be encouraged if you are suffering through parallel signs and symptoms.

For more information on ‘what is dual diagnosis treatment?’, contact our team today. Alternatively, we can run through our dual diagnosis treatment options, suitable for your history, to alleviate your suffering.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 23 July 2021

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

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