Safe Harbor Treatment Center

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders, formerly known as dual diagnoses, refers to the coexistence of mental health issues along with a substance abuse disorder. Individuals with mental health disorders are more likely than individuals without mental health disorders to struggle with alcohol or substance use disorders. It can happen when a person meets the diagnostic criteria of two mental health issues or a mental health issue and a substance use problem etc. In a number of cases, an underlying problem gives rise to another psychological issue which can in turn can result in two diagnoses. This is also described as co-morbidity or co-occurring mental health issues.

Each individual suffering from co-occurring conditions are different when it comes to their experience with addiction and mental illness. For most people, they began to experience mental health issues and tried alcohol or drugs soon after in order to “self-medicate”. For others, they first develop an addiction that grows so severe that it causes or triggers a mental health disorder. Clients with co-occurring orders often face more chronic medical, social and emotional trouble than clients suffering from addiction or mental health illness alone.


At our dual diagnosis treatment center in California, we use a variety of programs compassionately created to target and overcome co-occurring conditions. Our treatments are designed to relieve an array of mental and physical conditions that come along with co-occurring conditions. In addition to practices such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, we also use non-addictive medication programs to treat co-occurring disorders and put you on the path to full mental and physical recovery.

We invite you to reach out to a member of our team as soon as you are ready.

Our Admissions Department is kind and patient, as we understand the stress and fear you may be experiencing. You have made a courageous decision and we are here to support you 24 hours a day.

There are a number of ways with which a person can have dual diagnosis. A person might have two or more psychological disorders co-occurring together, for example someone might be facing depressive symptoms and would have a diagnoses of alcohol use disorder too. Drug dependence often shares co-morbidity with other psychological issues. 

Likewise in kids, if there is an intellectual problem going on, there might be another diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder co-occurring as well. Another example of co-occurring disorder can be use of a specific drug and an ongoing problem of psychosis or schizophrenia.  Thus, there are a number of possibilities when it comes to dual diagnoses. This can be related to the fact that a person might be going through a number of psychological issues or might be having a substance use disorder as well.

Co-Occurring Disorders h3 top1b

Dual diagnosis can help in the treatment of related problems in a much better way by addressing all diagnosis’s rather than one at a time. If a clinician works for the progress of only one symptom then it might not work well as the other diagnosis will looming around causing issues until addressed. Having co-occurring diagnoses can help the psychiatrist cater to all issues at once. It also helps the clinical psychologist or psychologist create a management plan well suited for long-term recovery.

The most common diagnoses in this category lay around the corners of drug abuse, drug addiction with a co-occurrence of mental health issues. The most common dual diagnosis’s given by clinicians in the United States include:

•  War Veterans
•  Juvenile delinquents
•  People with a history of psychological issues
•  People with a history of drug use and abuse
•  Family members of people with a psychological disorder
•  Family members of people with a drug related problem
•  Poverty/having a low socioeconomic status
•  Men are more likely to have a dual diagnosis compared to women

A person might not always get diagnoses of two problems when they are having a psychological or substance use issue.

A substance use issue may not necessarily bring about another disorder however, it is common for drug or alcohol use occur alongside another medical diagnosis.
Many drugs alter the chemistry of the brain in such a way that the user can have severe symptoms of a psychological problems. This makes it challenging for clinicians to determine if the substance use led to medical issues, or vice versa.
There are number of psychological issues such as depression, poor coping mechanisms, low self-esteem, relationship issues, and PTSD that are frequently linked to drug abuse. This can result in a dual diagnoses.
At times, people self-medicate themselves when they face a mood disorder. The misuse of prescription drugs can bring about the issue of drug dependence as the side effect of most mood stabilizers is addiction. This is the reason it advised to seek proper mental health supports for medication purposes and to monitor them too.
Dual diagnoses is not restricted to mental health issues associated with drug problems. They can occur in a number of other cases too. For example, a person can have a diagnoses of depression and PTSD. Or a person can have a dual diagnoses of ADHD and Anxiety. A clinical evaluation can help identify the correct diagnoses.

The Safe Harbor House Admissions Team works to ensure that we can help as many people struggling with substance abuse. Verify your benefits now and we’ll get back to you right away.

Receive the highest level of care available at Safe Harbor. We are here to answer your call or fill out our confidential contact form to get started.