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Substance Abuse Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Pennsylvania

Dual Diagnosis

A substance use disorder rarely stands alone.

Treating co-occurring disorders alongside SUD is the best way to improve mental health and find the path to recovery.

Substance use disorders, while mental health disorders in and of themselves, are often accompanied by other mental health concerns. These issues can not only make people more likely to use a substance to escape the symptoms but also be worsened by continued substance use. For that reason, dual diagnosis care is essential for treating both disorders, so that true healing is possible.

Dual diagnosis care provides the best foundation for long-term health and sobriety. At Recovery Cove, our team of experienced professionals can carefully tailor a dual-diagnosis treatment program to address your unique needs. Our Pennsylvania co-occurring disorder treatment center is equipped to treat both substance use disorders and a variety of mental health disorders.

At Recovery Cove, we are dedicated to taking the time to meet with each patient to discover and diagnose all co-occurring disorders so we can develop a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis?

People entering treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) often need to address multiple components of their mental health with dual diagnosis care. Any mental health or behavioral disorder that occurs alongside a substance use disorder is known as a co-occurring disorder. When one or more disorders accompany one or more SUDs, the person is said to have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis treatment to address each of the contributing issues is essential to find recovery.

There can be some confusion when it comes to the various terms used to describe the presence of a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder. The term "co-occurring disorder" refers to the other mental health disorder that occurs along with SUD. You may also see the term comorbidity, which is used to describe two or more disorders occurring in the same person. Meanwhile, dual diagnosis refers to the presence of two diagnoses at once and can be also used to describe the type of care necessary for treating SUD and other mental health disorders (i.e., dual diagnosis care).

What Is the New Term for Dual Diagnosis

Which Mental Health Disorders Occur Alongside Addiction?

Some common mental health conditions associated with a dual diagnosis include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders

Experiencing these or any other mental health disorders significantly increases a person's risk of developing a SUD compared to the general population.

What Substances Are Commonly Associated With Dual Diagnoses?

The substances used in association with a dual diagnosis can vary widely.

Since these substances are often used to self-medicate, a person may be seeking mood elevation, mood suppression, or anything in between.

Substances commonly associated with a dual diagnosis include:

  • Alcohol
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Appetite suppressants
  • Prescription medications

In dual diagnosis treatment, it is critical to focus on the complex interplay between the co-occurring disorder and the substance of choice. Then, by addressing the underlying issue, the individual can begin to learn skills and tools to cope with the symptoms of the mental health disorder instead of self-medicating with a substance.

Dual Diagnosis Examples

What Is an Example of Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnoses can present in an almost endless variety of ways. The specific combination of substance use disorders and mental health conditions is often unique to each individual, based on their family history, trauma history, environment, accessibility of the substance, and more.

It’s important to note that SUD often occurs when an individual is attempting to combat the symptoms of a mental health disorder. While the brain should release dopamine (the feel-good hormone) naturally, many mental health conditions can cause underproduction or overproduction. Substance use often begins when the individual is using other chemicals to provide, increase, or dampen this effect.

For that reason, mental health disorders often correspond with the effects of the substance of choice.

Examples of dual diagnoses can include:

  • Someone suffering from severe anxiety who relies on alcohol to drown out repetitive worries and develops an alcohol use disorder.
  • Someone suffering from bipolar disorder who relies on heroin to help regulate or elevate their moods when they are experiencing a low and develops opioid use disorder.
  • Someone suffering from PTSD due to military combat begins using painkillers to alleviate physical pain and calm overactive thoughts and develops opioid use disorder.
  • Someone suffering from severe depression who begins using cocaine to provide a mood boost and develops cocaine use disorder.

Regardless of the specifics of the dual diagnoses, it is crucial that each person receive treatment for both mental health disorders as well as substance use disorders. By addressing all components of mental health, dual diagnosis treatment can provide the opportunity for long-term recovery.

Substance Use Disorder Dual Diagnosis Care

Dual diagnosis treatment stems from the knowledge that treating a mental health issue or SUD by itself is usually ineffective. Worse, it can be counterproductive. If the underlying issue or issues are not addressed, it will be very difficult for the individual to maintain recovery.

Dual diagnosis care focuses on treating and healing the individual. We diagnose, explore, and treat both the substance use disorder and the mental health concerns an individual is experiencing. Just as with other mental health disorders, several therapies may be effective at treating a complex dual diagnosis.

At Recovery Cove, you may experience the following: 

  • Intensive individual therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Meditation and mindfulness practices
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Therapeutic activities like equine therapy, art therapy, nature therapy, and more


Medication-Assisted Treatment

MAT uses behavioral therapies with FDA-approved medications as it addresses a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Medications reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings while behavioral therapies address the thoughts and behaviors that can help an individual change their thought patterns and subsequent habits. This develops healthy coping mechanisms and a sense of healing.

At Recovery Cove, treatment is customized to an individual. Medication-assisted treatment is primarily used for the treatment of opioid use disorders, such as addictions to heroin or prescription medication. Both opioid and alcohol addictions may have serious effects on the brain, leading to a longer, more difficult recovery.

Co-Occurring Disorders Are Common

People with mental health issues are more likely to develop substance use disorders. The reverse is also true; those struggling with substance dependence often develop mental and emotional issues, whether it be a direct or indirect result of use. So, it became increasingly more important to treat both mental health disorders and substance use disorders as professionals saw such a frequency of comorbidity.

A number of pieces of evidence support approaching SUD with dual diagnosis care. Drug abuse can actually mimic a mental health disorder. In some cases, users develop a psychosis, or may adopt a warped sense of reality. Also, there’s much attention given to the notion of genetic predisposition; some have family histories of substance abuse and/or mental health issues. Additionally, external triggers such as trauma and ongoing anxiety can inspire mental health issues or substance use.

Early Signs of SUD and Co-Occurring Disorders

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing SUD and accompanying disorders that lead to a dual diagnosis.

These include having a family history of SUD, having a family history of mental health issues, being in an environment with a favorable view of substance misuse, trauma, and more. Often, the individual may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate themselves against symptoms of trauma or the co-occurring disorder. That’s why our dual diagnosis care is personalized to address both mental health disorders and SUD.

Signals of suffering from a mental disorder, substance use, or both can look different for each individual, and the corresponding behaviors will vary. In addition, symptoms often depend on the length and severity of a disorder.

Symptoms of a dual diagnosis include:

  • Change in behavior
  • Difficulty managing tasks and responsibilities
  • Avoiding events or social activities
  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Delusional thinking or cognitive impairments
  • Refusal to seek or comply with treatment
  • Mentions of thoughts of suicide
  • Erratic and impulsive behaviors
  • Issues managing finances
  • Poor performance at school or work

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Pennsylvania

Recovery Cove provides the dual diagnosis care and support you or your loved one needs to heal from substance use disorder and any co-occurring conditions. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to dual diagnosis care; that’s why we are dedicated to taking the time to meet with each patient to discover and diagnose all co-occurring disorders so we can develop a treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Together, we can craft a treatment plan that provides the therapy, support, and tools you need to achieve long-term recovery.


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  • "Welcoming, kindness, and professionalism is what you will receive from Recovery Cove. I am extremely grateful to the whole Recovery Cove team for guiding me through my recovery process. Outpatient therapy is where the real work is done and they have equipped me the skills I need to continue on my sobriety journey. Thank you so much!"
  • "Truly impressed with this recovery center. Very relaxing & encouraging atmosphere. Highly recommended."
  • "THANK YOU RECOVERY COVE! You guys rock, your help with my current situation and your intervention yesterday was impeccable. Without your help I feel that the strides that were made would not have taken place. I am very ingratiated for your knowledge, your persistence, and your selflessness in helping others. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart."
  • "I came to Recovery Cove after a relapse from 10 years of sobriety. I was skeptical because I had been to many other centers and 90% of them were less than and I walked away with nothing. Recovery Cove is different. I was immediately impressed with the facilities but what has really impressed me was the quality of the counselor. They really care and have amazing knowledge. They are kind yet will keep you in line. If you become willing to listen to them and participate in the program, success is there for the taking. You will not regret your choice to come Recovery Cove. I would give them an A+!!"
  • My experience at recovery cove was life changing. The staff made my transition back into the real world feel safe and comfortable. The entire staff was welcoming and open-minded while providing an environment I feel willing to open up in. Christine was my therapist - she was a game changer in my recovery and I appreciate every single interaction I had with her. I’m now hopeful for my future & my recovery journey with a big thanks to christine & the entire recovery cove staff

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Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. Before making any decisions on your physical or mental health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Recovery Cove will work with our patients on a custom diagnosis and care plan. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients while in our care.