Dual Diagnosis


dual diagnosis rehab
Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Welcome to Rehab South Florida – the state’s top-rated recovery center providing evidence-based rehabilitation plans and Dual Diagnosis Treatments.

Overcoming substance abuse alone can be difficult, especially if a co-occurring mental health disorder is present.

In some instances, individuals struggling with addiction may not even be aware that an underlying mental health problem is present in which case makes becoming abstinent alone even all that more difficult.

At Rehab South Florida, our continuum of care takes a holistic approach when helping patients to recover from dual diagnosis and our compassionate and supportive staff helps to make the recovery experience as pain and symptom-free as possible for each patient.[/vc_column_text]

Patients with dual diagnosis suffer from two different illnesses - simultaneously.

Integrated treatment
Treatment Options

For example, someone with bipolar disorder that suffers from alcoholism would have dual diagnosis (manic depression + alcoholism). In such occasions, two treatment plans are needed with the mental health disorder requiring treatment first.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45 percent of people with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

In this comprehensive “Dual Diagnosis Guide” you’ll be provided with in-depth information on dual diagnosis, signs and symptoms of dual diagnosis, and treatment options for the condition.

Topics of interest discussed in this write-up will include:

  1. Signs of Substance Misuse Disorder
  2. Signs of Depression – Learn the Symptoms
  3. Signs of Bipolar Disorder – Learn the Symptoms
  4. Anxiety Symptoms – Learn the Signs
  5. Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis Recovery – Learn About our Treatments Approach

Treating Mental Disorder
Treating Mental Disorder

Our stance on dependency is that addiction is a treatable disease best overcame through treating the mind, body, soul, and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Our all-encompassing treatment modality is what allowed us to achieve an unprecedented milestone; many of our patients achieve long-term sobriety.

When it comes to substance use disorders our clinical team, treatment staff, and addiction recovery specialists have raised the bar and continue to set the standard in the field of addiction recovery care. Long-term abstinence begins by determining if an underlying mental health disorder is present and if so treating it before the addiction itself.

Treatment for the Underlying Mental Disorder comes FIRST

Treating Underlying Medical Disorders
Treating Medical Disorder

You see, rehab for addiction without treatment of the mental health disorder (if one’s present) means the likelihood of the recovering addict encountering a relapse is much greater.  Take for example depression and anxiety, two conditions classified as a co-occurring disorder should they be occurring alongside the abuse of substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs. Treatment can be rendered for addiction but if the underlying cause of the addiction is not treated than a relapse occurring is more probable.

Unfortunately, as a form of self-medication, individuals suffering from a mental health condition may consider using drugs or alcohol (or both) to help alleviate them of undesirable thoughts, discomfort, and/or stress.  However, studies show that such mentalities can be life-threatening as alcoholism and substance abuse will only worsen the symptoms that the abusers is trying to alleviate.

Signs of a Substance Misuse Disorder

Signs and symptoms of disorders
Changes in Behavior

There are many different combinations that can make up a dual diagnosis case which means the symptoms and signs of substance misuse can vary greatly.

At Rehab South Florida, drug and alcohol screening techniques are employed to help determine if individuals are at any risk of alcohol/drug abuse.



Some of the most commons symptoms to look for in those suspected of having a substance use disorder include:

  • Abrupt behavioral changes
  • Becoming distanced from friends and family
  • Using drugs and/or alcohol under dangerous health conditions
  • Involvement in risky activities or malicious behavior
  • Inability to exercise self-control when it comes to the use of substances
  • Increased tolerance levels and intensified withdrawals
  • Desire to only be in social settings when under the influence of a substance

The symptoms tied to mental health disorders will also vary greatly as well.  Symptoms of a mental health condition can include abrupt and sudden changes in mood, difficulty with thinking or staying focused, becoming distanced from social settings and friends, and thoughts of suicide.  If such signs are noticed in someone suspected of having a substance use disorder – dual diagnosis is more than likely occurring and treatment should be sought as quickly as possible.

Signs of Depression – Learn the Symptoms

Mental health sickness
Signs of Depression

As previously stated, dual diagnosis is when an individual suffers from both substance use disorder in conjunction with a mental health sickness.  One of the most common underlying causes of substance abuse is depression and tied to this condition are many, many symptoms.  In the event that an individual is struggling with 5 or more of the symptoms outlined below, or, if the person’s life is being majorly impacted by “any” of the symptoms listed, he/she may have a severe case of clinical depression and should seek dual diagnosis treatment at Rehab South Florida as soon as possible.

There are many signs of depression, including:

  • Anger and irritation
  • Unusually persistent levels of anxiety
  • Unusual and/or abrupt changes in sleep habits and food intake
  • Feelings of sadness with frequent crying spells
  • Negative perspective on life expecting nothing will work or pan out
  • The decrease in energy and frequent, unexplained exhaustion
  • The overwhelming feeling of guilt or shame
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Unable to maintain focus or concentration when making decision
  • Loss of interest and joy in once enjoyed activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

Signs of Bipolar Disorder - Learn the Symptoms

manic depressive disorder
Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder also referred to as manic depressive disorder or manic depression, is a mental health sickness that can cause the victim of the condition to engage in risky behaviors that could damage employment careers and relationships with friends and loved ones.  Individuals suffering from a manic depressive disorder or those experiencing the symptoms outlined below should seek treatment immediately.  Bipolar disorders that go “untreated” could have fatal outcomes as suicidal thoughts are common with such a condition.

Bipolar disorder is a condition where extreme changes in personalities and moods take place.  The term “Manic” refers to the increase in energy levels, restlessness, talkativeness, and recklessness that emerges when mood shifts due to the condition take place.  Such changes can prompt the individual to turn to the abuse of substances to help undesirable emotions and thoughts subside – especially during the depressive phases of bipolar disorder.

Signs of the manic depressive disorder include:

  • Unusually aggressive or violent behavior
  • Easily agitated or irritated
  • Over optimistic and unusually self-confident
  • Higher-than-normal levels of self-importance (grandiose thoughts)
  • Requiring less sleep and increased levels of energy
  • Fast and racing thoughts or speech
  • Highly impulsive with poor decision making skills
  • Reckless behavioral habits such as unnecessary spending of money, big business decision, reckless driving, and even sexual promiscuity
  • In more severe cases of bipolar disorder, delusions may occur (where you believe surroundings aren’t real) or hallucinations (visuals of object or people that aren’t there)

Anxiety Symptoms – Learn the Signs

Signs of Anxiety
Depression and Anxiety

We as people encounter instances where we worry.  We worry about relationships with friends and loved ones, our employment, finances, and future security (just to name a few).  However, individuals that find themselves in a constant state of worry that matures in to a condition that affects the victim both psychologically and physically than a generalized anxiety disorder may be present – especially when the individual needs to turn to the abuse of substances to cope with the anxiety.  Anxiety is a very common condition among users struggling with a substance use disorder and is one of the most popular causes of substance abuse.

Many patients we treat admit to having struggled with anxiety since young adulthood and were never able to relieve the symptoms of it.  Unfortunately, abusing substances such as alcohol or other illicit drugs is the alleviation route that most take to manage anxiety.

GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) is actually not all that uncommon.  According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, 3.1% of all adults in the US suffer from the disorder.  There are many signs of GAD that can be analyzed to determine if the co-occurring disorder is present.

Signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder can include:

  • Disturbances in sleep patterns
  • The unusual feeling of agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Irritation or tension (or both)
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

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While GAD generally only effects the way one feels, thinks, and behaves there are also physical symptoms to look out for.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder can amplify preexisting medical conditions or even foster new ones.  GAD can and many times will cause undesirable physical side-effects that will worsen the anxiety as well.  Tremors, pain in the chest, dizzy spells, and heart palpitations are some of the affects that can emerge from GAD.

Also, individuals with GAD are typically on edge and very jumpy and will have a blown-out-of-proportion reaction to common daily occurrences.  GAD victims also have difficulty with being able to rest or sleep (usually both).  This is why many find themselves to be exhausted; both physically and mentally.

Anxiety & Substance Use Disorder – Learn the Facts

Suffering from anxiety
Substance Abuse

According to data pulled from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America – around 20% of individuals that struggle with a generalized anxiety disorder also suffer from a substance use disorder.  The symptoms caused by GAD many times will mimic the same side effects produced by either alcohol abuse or drug dependency which can make it difficult to tell when one order begins and when the other ends.

Anxiety can be caused by the use of both legal and illegal substances, including:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription stimulant medications (such as Ritalin and Adderall)

Many times, taking drugs will only worsen the anxiety that the user is trying to alleviate in the first place.  Rehab South Florida understands that in dual diagnosis cases, recovering addicts experience intense withdrawals and undesirable emotions that need careful attention and treatment.  Our highly proficient, caring, experienced, and supportive staff helps patients suffering from dual diagnosis by first treating the anxiety through therapy and medicated treatment which is followed by detox.

Patients are provided with the recovery support needed to overcome anxiety disorder while allowing clients to experience recovery with minimal side effects.  Treatment is available to all on-site patients on-demand on an as-needed basis as patient comfort, care, and recovery are the top priorities of our clinical/support staff.

Rehab South Florida Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Dual Diagnosis
Rehab South Florida

An individual suffering from Dual Diagnosis is one that is faced with a psychiatric health condition that’s occurring alongside an addictive disorder.  When it comes to treating Dual Diagnosis including an anxiety disorder it can be more complicated to treat than providing recovery for anxiety alone.  The treatment and mental health staff in addition to therapists at our facility address not only the psychiatric symptoms of the patients that come to us for treatment in addition to the compulsive desire to use and abuse alcohol or illicit drugs.

Mental health professionals at Rehab South Florida that treat Dual Diagnosis are highly experienced and cross-trained in the field of substance use disorder treatments.  Extensive and rigorous training in treatment for psychiatric disorders (such as GAD) is also undergone by our Dual Diagnosis treatment and recovery experts.

While GAD may be a life-long condition that doesn’t go away the symptoms of it can be managed which we help patients to accomplish at Rehab South Florida through a combination of treatment options including group therapy, psychotherapy, and also psychotherapeutic medication.  One class of drugs that has helped to treat GAD is known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and is a medication we administer in cases where it’s deemed to be suitable.

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When you participate in a comprehensive recovery program at Rehab South Florida for the treatment of anxiety and substance abuse, you can expect to receive care that will mirror the principles and concepts of integrated treatment:

  • Members of the clinical and treatment team will have achieved training and education in treatments for both addictions and substance use disorders
  • All care and recovery treatments are provided at one, convenient location
  • Pharmacological therapy may be provided to treat not only the anxiety but the addictive disorder as well
  • Individualized therapy and counseling sessions which will be adjusted accordingly based on the particular recovery needs of the patient

Common Mental Health Disorders

Addiction is often times accompanied by either a mental health or behavioral disorder. Some conditions are more frequently attached to addiction and these disorders are many times an underlying cause of the addiction. This is why Rehab South Florida never advises anyone to ignore any of the symptoms that are known to be caused by a mental health or behavioral disorder as long-term recovery requires for such disorders and symptoms to be treated.

Some of the most common mental health disorders that are underlying causes of addiction include:

Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)

As a means to coping with symptoms, people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are many times more inclined to begin the use of substances.  Many individuals that struggle with ADHD are prescribed medication (such as Adderall) which unfortunately has high abuse potential.  Being prescribed such medication can eventually lead to the toxic, habit-forming process of substance abuse.

Bipolar Disorder

Nearly 50 percent of all individuals suffering from Bipolar Disorder also struggle with substance misuse.  As with any other medical disorder out there, the thought and urge to self-medicate may occur and there’s no exception for those with bipolar disorder.  The use of alcohol or illicit drugs (or both) provides those faced with bipolar disorder with a means for temporary relief from situations caused by manic episodes.

However, over the long run, self-medication with the use of alcohol or illicit drugs will only worsen the condition and could lead to the development or intensification of prior and/or new health complications.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Many studies have been conducted on this disorder and have determined that borderline personality disorder and addiction regularly occur alongside one another.  Unfortunately, due to the side effects of having borderline personality disorder, over two-thirds of individuals with this disorder will end up abusing substances at some point throughout their lives.

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Depression is one of the most common underlying causes in dual diagnosis cases.  Many people suffer from depression, in fact, it is estimated that one out of every ten adults in the US suffers from the condition.  Just as with other disorders, many of those suffering from depression will turn to self-medication to cope with symptoms and undesirable thoughts or emotions.  However, when substance abuse is taking place during depressive states, the symptoms of depression are usually intensified and will worsen; especially during the “come down” from being high.

When the effects of substance abuse begin to taper, many times, users will desire to use more of the substance and this cycle can cause quite adversary affects.

Eating Disorders

Feelings of inferiority aremany times the cause of most eating disorders.  Appetite suppressants or drugs that reduce appetite are most common among individuals struggling with an eating disorder.  Most of those with this condition are malnourished, weak, and usually lack ambition and energy.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States with it effecting 18% of the entire adult population.  Abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs are highly common among those struggling with anxiety disorders as it’s viewed as an effective means of managing symptoms.  Those with GAD have extremely high tendencies to develop an addiction to benzodiazepines as it’s a highly addictive prescription medication that’s most often times prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

More commonly referred to as OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will cause a number of undesirable compulsions and obsessions.  For example, an irrational worry of germs and the desire to clean constantly are common symptoms among those with OCD.  There are certainly many other variations to this disorder.  Many of the individuals struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder suffer from either depression or anxiety which can result in involuntary and, unwanted behaviors – usually substance abuse.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Individuals that have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) produce less endorphins in the brain than those without the condition.  Due to the decrease in endorphins produced in the brain they’re likely to turn to the use of drugs or alcohol (or both) for a feeling of happiness and euphoria.  According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, astonishingly, an estimated 75% of veterans and soldiers that have experienced combat develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

This figure represents thousands of lives out there and thousands of Dual Diagnosis cases.  PTSD symptoms are very difficult for its victims to cope with and will cause many with the disorder to self-medicate.  PTSD is the underlying cause in many substance use disorder cases and is a disorder treated here at Rehab South Florida.


Schizophrenia causes delusional thoughts and hallucinations.  Such symptoms are signs of the disorder and are strong characteristics of this mental health condition.  Dual diagnosis for such a disorder can be difficult as the effects of Schizophrenia and addiction are quite similar in nature.  Someone that has Schizophrenia that’s also struggling with substance abuse is exposing their health to further medical complications which is why treatment should be sought as quickly as possible.

Signs that a Co-Occurring Disorder may be Present

Symptoms of dual diagnosis will vary quite greatly from individual to individual.  Typically, signs will be dependent on the substance(s) abused in addition to the severity of the co-occurring disorder.

There are many signs of a dual diagnosis, including:

  • Abrupt changes behaviorally
  • Ongoing difficulty with taking care of responsibilities and/or daily obligations
  • Isolation away friends, social activities, and events that were once enjoyed
  • Poor self-hygiene and neglect of health
  • Cognitive impairments (frequently) and delusional thinking
  • Refusing to seek or accept treatment and/or therapy
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of inflicting self-harm
  • Financial management issues
  • Underperforming in place of employment or academically

Let Rehab South Florida Assist – The Dangers of Self-Medication

Dangers of Self Medication

By far, the most concerning and common problem surrounding dual diagnosis is that so many individuals self-medicate. Those who self-medicate use either alcohol or drugs so that they may mask the effects of the mental health disorder.  Those that choose to use alcohol and/or illicit drugs as a means of coping are likely to develop a dependency – effectively making the mental health condition all that much worse.

The scenarios shared below demonstrate instances where people begin to self-medicate:

  • Consuming alcohol (both minimal and excessive) for the “purpose” of not feeling anxious or nervous during social functions
  • Excessive intake amount of benzodiazepines (such as Valium and Xanax) to alleviate a panic attack
  • Smoking marijuana to alleviate or numb pain induced by grief or trauma
  • Injecting, smoking, or snorting cocaine so energy levels and motivation can increase so that tasks can be completed

Resorting to the abuse of substances in an effort to escape symptoms of a mental health condition can be a damaging choice.  Rehab South Florida provides dual diagnosis treatment to patients in a safe, peaceful, and substance-free environment where the help they need and the recovery experience required for treatment can be received.  Through the use of traditional therapies and medicated treatment, patients are able to receive treatment for their underlying mental health disorder while at the same time are able to continue their long-term recovery care here at one facility.

From beginning to end, Rehab South Florida is committed to rendering effective and evidence-based Dual Diagnosis treatments.  We’re dedicated to seeing each patient through to long-term recovery and abstinence from substance use and employ individually curated treatment plans based on the specific recovery needs of each dual diagnosis patient.