Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Caring for those with Co-Occurring and Dual Diagnosis Disorders

When someone is dealing with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, it’s known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. This means that they are facing two distinct but interrelated conditions that require specialized care and treatment.

Managing co-occurring disorders can be especially challenging because the substance use disorder can exacerbate the individual’s mental health symptoms or hinder their participation in mental health treatment. At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health, we take an integrated and coordinated approach to treating co-occurring disorders, which involves addressing both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder.

Co-Occurring and Dual Diagnosis Facts from NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness*

  1. Those with mental illness are more susceptible to substance use disorders and addiction.
  2. Because of the desire to self-medicate symptoms, substance use is twice as prevalent among adults with mental illness.
  3. Some people with mental illness may not be aware that their substance use is a disorder.
  4. Addiction or prolonged use of substances increases the underlying mental illness risk.



To ensure effective treatment for individuals with co-occurring disorders, it’s crucial to address their addiction in a coordinated and integrated manner while they are receiving mental health treatment. The treatment approach may involve a combination of tailored interventions such as medications, therapy, support groups, and other programs based on their specific needs.

Although every patient’s situation is unique, some common treatment options for co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis may include:

Medical Detox: Medical detox provides a safe setting for withdrawing from drugs or alcohol supervised by medical professionals. Its primary objective is to manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal that may arise when a person stops using drugs or alcohol.

Medication: In some cases, medications may be recommended to alleviate symptoms of a mental health disorder (like depression or anxiety) and aid individuals in their journey towards substance use recovery. Such medications are intended to provide support and relief to individuals as they work towards achieving optimal mental health and overcoming substance use challenges.

Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy can help patients develop skills to manage their mental health symptoms and substance use. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat individuals as they work on coping strategies, identifying triggers, and learning ways to prevent relapse.

Integrated treatment: Integrated treatment involves coordinated care from a team of professionals that includes mental health and substance use specialists. This approach ensures the co-occurring disorders are addressed in a comprehensive manner.

With proper care and support, patients at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health can receive integrated co-occurring disorder treatment, successfully manage both conditions and improve their overall quality of life.


Offering mental health treatment programs for adults