What to Expect in Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Research shows a strong link between alcohol or drug use and mental health issues. Mental health conditions are a significant risk factor for developing substance use. Nearly half of adults and 60% of adolescents with substance use disorders also have a mental health condition.[1,2]

People with a dual diagnosis may face barriers when seeking addiction treatment.[3] Not knowing what to expect while treating co-occurring disorders may prevent people from getting the help they need.

Here is an overview of what to expect during treatment for mental illness and addiction in Los Angeles.


The first step of your treatment plan will most likely be an intensive assessment of your needs. A medical or mental health professional will ask you questions about your mental health and substance use. They may also inquire about your family history of addiction and more.

Your assessment may also include lab testing, a physical examination, and other screenings. This information will help your team provide the most tailored, effective care possible.[4]


Many people require a medically-supported detox program before starting dual diagnosis treatment. During detox, your medical team will monitor your progress and treat your withdrawal symptoms.

Your detox treatment plan may include:

  • A safe, secure environment
  • Round-the-clock access to treatment and support
  • Regular monitoring
  • Medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • Emotional support, including individual counseling and support groups

It is common for people to complete an inpatient detox program before starting a comprehensive rehab program. During inpatient detox, people live in the treatment center while receiving treatment.

Detox programs can vary, depending on each person’s needs. Some people spend a few days in detox, and some require more intensive support for longer periods. Your treatment team will monitor your progress and adjust your plan as needed.


After detox, you will continue treatment in a comprehensive rehab program. Each person in rehab follows a tailored treatment plan. Treatment typically consists of:

  • Individual, family, and group therapy
  • Behavioral therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mental health treatment–screenings, medications, specialized therapies, and education
  • Relapse prevention education and coping skills
  • Mindfulness, nutrition support, exercise, and other holistic therapies
  • Aftercare planning

You will work with a team of medical and mental health professionals. They will help you find the medications, therapies, and treatments that support long-term recovery. You will learn how to reduce the risk of relapse while learning to manage your mental health symptoms.


After finishing treatment, you must stay engaged in your recovery. You must create and stick to an aftercare plan. Your aftercare plan may include:

  • Mental health treatment, such as psychiatry visits, regular therapy sessions, social support, etc.
  • Medical care
  • Community support, including 12-step meetings
  • Self-care, like exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep

People with co-occurring disorders must take charge of their mental and physical health. They must seek the treatment and support they need to manage both conditions.

Who Benefits from Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders?

People with a diagnosed mental health condition and substance use disorder (SUD) may benefit from specialized co-occurring disorder treatment. Some of the most significant benefits of receiving dual diagnosis treatment include:[5]

  • Evidence-based therapies for SUD and mental illness
  • Focus on coping skills
  • Significant aftercare coordination and support
  • Family therapy and involvement, when appropriate
  • Specialized psychotherapy groups and individual sessions

Dual diagnosis treatment can benefit people with a mental health condition, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Grief
  • Eating disorders

Specialized treatment for co-occurring disorders can help people identify and treat the physical, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to their substance use. They can learn effective strategies to manage their mental health symptoms and overcome addiction.

Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Los Angeles Now

If you or someone you love lives with a dual diagnosis, you are not alone. Contact the Invigorate Behavioral Health specialists to explore our comprehensive treatment and support programs.

Reach out to our intake team now with questions, verify your insurance, or schedule an intake evaluation at our Los Angeles treatment center.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Mental Health and Substance Use Co-Occurring Disorders
  3. National Institute of Health: The Challenge of Dual Diagnosis
  4. SAMHSA: The Case for Screening and Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
  5. Science Direct: Effectiveness of Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT) in severe mental illness outpatients with a co-occurring substance use disorder

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