A Complete Guide To Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

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Choosing between different dual diagnosis treatment centers can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure of your mental health needs.

Searching through treatment centers can also be challenging if you’re uncertain about what level of care you should choose, what therapy you might need, and which ones accept your insurance. The searching process can seem endless if you’re not one step closer to your goal.

This article explains what dual diagnosis is, how dual diagnosis treatment centers differ, their benefits, and aspects to watch out for that they offer.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis refers to someone diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD), such as an alcohol or opioid use disorder, and a co-occurring mental health disorder. In some cases, a mental health disorder can lead to a substance use disorder, as individuals will use drugs to cope with anxiety, depression, or other negative feelings. In other cases, substance use disorders can cause a mental health disorder to develop and worsen the symptoms of both.

  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individuals with substance use disorders are twice as likely to have mood and anxiety issues.
  • In 2021, SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 9.2 million adults in the US have both a mental health issue and a drug or alcohol problem.
  • NIDA’s study shows that people with serious mental illnesses are four times more likely to get addicted to alcohol and five times more likely to smoke tobacco daily.
Dual diagnosis refers to someone diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD), such as an alcohol or opioid use disorder, and a co-occurring mental health disorder.

How Are Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Different?

Dual diagnosis treatment centers are different from traditional addiction programs focusing only on substance use disorders. Traditional programs aren’t intentionally neglecting or ignoring the connection between drug addiction and mental health disorders, but rather, they tend to have fewer resources or are underequipped to treat both.

Dual diagnosis treatment centers usually have traditional individual and group therapy methods that focus on substance abuse, including cognitive and dialectical behavior therapy, combined with healing modalities focusing on trauma, relationships, and emotions. An individual’s recovery journey will be more challenging if they leave addiction treatment with undiagnosed mental health disorders, unable or uncertain of what to do when negative emotions flare up.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Centers

  • Improved chance of recovery: When substance use disorders and mental health issues are treated together, the chances of recovery are higher. Individuals will feel more confident about their recovery journey if they’ve learned and explored both diagnoses.
  • Improved mental health: Mental health struggles are often hidden, but they’re just as real. Going through treatment that covers both mental health and addiction helps you break negative habits and learn positive and healthy coping mechanisms and grounding techniques.
  • Improved physical health: Addiction physically harms your body, whether from using too much or being around other users of dangerous substances. But mental health issues can also affect your physical health. Feeling anxious or down can make it hard to wake up in the morning, shower, wash your face, or go outside. When your mental health needs are taken care of, your body will have the mental energy and strength to exercise, go for a walk, or play a sport.
  • Improved quality of life: When you understand your body and mind and how addiction and mental health problems mix, you can feel more in control of your life and ready to face challenges. Accepting your situation can help you figure out your end goal and prepare for the steps and challenges along the way.
When substance use disorders and mental health issues are treated together, the chances of recovery are higher.

What Should You Look For?

You should look for a treatment program explicitly stating they provide dual diagnosis treatment and list evidence-based and mental health focus healing modalities.

Within the last decade, research indicates that only 18% of addiction treatment centers and 9% of mental health programs met the criteria for dual diagnosis-focused services. Other research indicates that 75% of addiction treatment programs categorized their own services as dual diagnosis capable, while independent objective evaluators found that only 25% of these centers met the requirements.

If you’re researching dual diagnosis treatment centers, here are some standard therapy methods and levels of care you should look for.

  • Therapy methods that focus on mental health and emotions: Explore a treatment center’s services pages and find the therapy methods they offer. Look for experiential and holistic therapy services, such as yoga, breathwork, art, music, or adventure therapy, that help individuals with creativity, mindfulness, and relaxation. Scan for therapy methods focusing on healing traumatic memories and experiences, such as trauma-informed care, emotion-focused therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Unhealthy and toxic relationships can also impact co-occurring disorders, so look for treatment centers offering attachment theory or trauma bonding.
  • Mental health disorders they treat: Look for programs that offer treatment for common and uncommon mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, and ADHD. Most dual diagnosis treatment centers will treat depression and anxiety, but these are usually symptoms of serious mental illness (SMI) or a SUD.
  • Treatment programs and levels of care: A structured and comprehensive dual diagnosis program should offer various levels of care to cater to various clients. Just as no one experiences a mental health disorder the same, their schedules and flexibility also differ and require custom plans. Inpatient and residential treatment programs are the highest levels of care, but they can be inconvenient for young adults and families with school, work, and responsibilities.
  • Look for aftercare and family programs: Dual diagnosis treatment centers should focus on healing a person beyond individual counseling and on-site treatment. Once you graduate from a dual diagnosis treatment program, you’ll need help maintaining good coping skills and establishing vital life skills that may have been clouded by mental health conditions or drug abuse. It can also be difficult to reconnect with your family during or after treatment, so look for programs that offer family therapy sessions.
You should look for a treatment program explicitly stating they provide dual diagnosis treatment and list evidence-based and mental health focus healing modalities.

Red Flags You Should Look Out For

Here are some red flags you should look for when searching for dual diagnosis treatment centers.

  1. Their websites use stock photos and beautiful landscapes to divert from the absence of facility images.
  2. Treatment is the same for everyone; individual needs aren’t considered. “High success rates” claims are questionable due to personal differences and relapse.
  3. They emphasize the facility’s look over treatment quality. Luxurious amenities don’t cure addiction and usually indicate higher costs of treatment.
  4. They don’t have family therapy, and family involvement is limited. Good programs recognize the family’s importance in recovery.
  5. Their post-treatment plan is unclear. Reliable places have organized aftercare, relapse prevention plans, and alums programs that help clients stay on the path to recovery.
  6. Relapsing gets a client discharged without help. Quality programs have steps for relapses, like detox or another program.

Contact Launch Centers

If you or someone you know is struggling to find a dual diagnosis treatment center or unsure if they have a co-occurring disorder, contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles, CA. Our dual diagnosis treatment center is dedicated to helping young adults navigate through the world without the harmful effects of substance use disorders and debilitating mental health conditions. Call today, and one of our admissions agents can help you get started, providing insurance information, program descriptions and length, and treatment disorders.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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