What is Dual Diagnosis and How is it Connected to Addiction Treatment?

Dual Diagnosis is the term used to describe the co-presence of a mental disorder and a substance use disorder, or addiction in a single individual (source).

The medical and clinical worlds have only come to really understand dual diagnosis relatively recently. As with many newly “discovered” conditions such as ADHD, there has perhaps been a tendency to over-diagnose the condition. Indeed, although it has become quite a common diagnosis among addiction patients, and it is doubtless a rather common occurrence, actual numbers are uncertain and disputed.

Certainly, many patients being treated for addiction also suffer from some form of depression and/or anxiety. Substance abuse is often accompanied by mental health issues such as anxiety disorder, personality disorder, depression and schizophrenia. In some cases, one will be the direct cause of the other.

Who Suffers From Dual Diagnosis?

But are you really suffering from dual diagnosis? First, let’s take a look at what dual diagnosis is.
Evidence suggests that as many as 30% of patients with mental health problems are also suffering from drug or alcohol problems. And that over 50% of people with drug or alcohol addictions are also suffering from some type of mental health problem. In the US the numbers look to be even higher.

If you suffer from an addiction to alcohol or other substance, and also suffer from feelings of social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations or delusions, mood swings – irrational feelings of euphoria followed by depression, unexplained anger or irritability or a general feeling of anxiety, you may well be suffering from a dual diagnosis condition.

In the past, before dual diagnosis was so widely understood and recognised, it was often the case that one condition would be treated and the other largely ignored. Nowadays, professionals accept and demand that dual diagnosis patients require specialised care. Patients with dual diagnosis almost always have multiple needs – often with physical health and social issues too. Patients with dual diagnosis may also be suffering from cardiovascular, respiratory, hepatic or related complications, communicable diseases, cancer, oral health problems or diabetes.

They may well be unemployed or find it difficult to hold on to a job. They may be in debt, homeless or poorly housed. They may be in an abusive relationship.

Treating Dual Diagnosis Conditions

Dual diagnosis patients are one of the groups that create difficulties for the treatment system and the way it is organized. This is the case throughout the Western world, where most existing research has taken place.

Dual diagnosis patients have more serious symptoms and a poorer prognosis than those with only a mental or substance use disorder, as the two disorders apparently mutually reinforce each other, interacting in complex ways that impact both medical and social treatment.

Medical versus Psychiatric

Treatment for dual diagnosis is divided between a medically-based psychiatric treatment system and a socially oriented substance use treatment system, meaning that, in order to deliver the most effective treatment to people with dual diagnosis, the two systems need to cooperate. Therefore, it seems logical to seek treatment at a treatment centre that can handle both systems simultaneously whilst you are there.

Individuals who have a dual diagnosis have very complex needs regarding the treatment required. For example, it would be inappropriate to prescribe specific medication to someone with depression if they were also suffering from drug addiction. Therefore, it is essential that a programme of treatment and recovery is created specifically for each person. Once a patient has been given a dual diagnosis, Miracles Asia can begin a programme of treatment tailored to his or her needs, so that the patient can begin to get their life back on track.

Miracles Asia as Your Treatment Partner of Choice

So, are you suffering from dual diagnosis condition? Seek professional guidance and diagnosis, and talk to the staff at Miracles Asia about how we can help you. – our approach is to tackle both your addiction issues and your mental health disorder together, with both being given equal weight and importance within your individual, personalised Treatment Plan.

Our location on the beautiful island of Phuket is a world away from your usual environment, and well away from the triggers and social pressures that are preventing you from getting well on your own. Removed from temptation and stimuli, it becomes easier for you to focus on yourself and your own wellness.

Guided by our professional team of trained clinicians and psychotherapists, you will learn new techniques, coping mechanisms and behaviours to help you maintain a lasting lifetime recovery free from both your addiction and related mental health issues.

Miracles Asia Rehab Phuket

Please Contact Us to arrange a confidential discussion about how we can help.


  • Johansen, K. (2018). Treatment of Dual Diagnosis in Denmark. Qualitative Studies
  • Flensborg-Madsen et al., 2009; Frederiksen, 2009; Toftdahl, Nordentoft, & Hjorthoj, 2016
  • Carrà, Bartoli, Brambilla, Crocamo, & Clerici, 2015