Dual Diagnosis Treatment

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If you need professional care for both a mental health disorder and a co-occurring addiction, enrolling in one of the dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee may be an essential step on your path to improved health and successful recovery.

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About Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Before we discuss the features and benefits of dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee, let’s take a moment to review what dual diagnosis disorders are, and how they’re different from co-occurring conditions.

Co-occurring conditions (or co-occurring disorders) can refer to the simultaneous presence of any two mental illnesses. For example, someone who has developed both a depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could be described as having depression and co-occurring PTSD, or PTSD and co-occurring depression.

The term dual diagnosis is used when a person has a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. So if someone is addicted to alcohol, and they also have bipolar disorder, this would be considered dual diagnosis.

Sometimes, people develop a mental health disorder, then turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to self-medicate or temporarily numb themselves to their emotional pain. In other cases, the devastation of untreated addiction can cause a person to develop anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health concern.

Regardless of which type of disorder occurred first, having both an addiction and a mental health concern could qualify a person to receive care at dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee. 

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How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Tennessee Work?

Personalization is a vital element of care for both addictions and mental health disorders. This means that one person’s experience in dual diagnosis treatment could be quite different from another person’s. 

In general, though, here’s a quick overview of what happens in effective dual diagnosis treatment centers:

  • The patient completes a thorough assessment so their treatment team can determine the scope of their mental health needs and understand how they have been impacted by their struggles with compulsive substance abuse.
  • The treatment team recommends one or more levels of care. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee and elsewhere may offer care at multiple levels, including residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs.
  • The treatment team members identify the therapies, medications, and support services that are most appropriate for the patient.
  • The patient begins to participate in the therapies and services that are included in their customized dual diagnosis treatment plan.


Before a patient transitions out of a dual diagnosis treatment center, they should also receive an individualized discharge plan. 

Substance use disorders and most mental illnesses are chronic conditions, which means that dual diagnosis patients need to make a lifelong effort to manage their mental health symptoms and remain in recovery. 

An effective discharge plan will ensure that a person is connected with the resources that can support them after they have completed treatment.

How Do I Know I Need a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

The best way to be sure that a dual diagnosis treatment program is the right place for you is to consult with a qualified healthcare provider. Many reputable dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee offer free assessments to help potential patients find the right type of care.

If you’re not sure that you should schedule an assessment, ask yourself the following questions about your substance use:

  1. Once you start to use a substance, do you find it difficult or virtually impossible to stop?
  2. Has your substance use caused you to miss school or work, or fail to meet other responsibilities?
  3. Have you begun to develop tolerance, which means that you need to use larger amounts of a substance to achieve the effects that you used to experience after fewer drinks or smaller doses?
  4. Have you continued to abuse substances even after incurring some type of damage (such as job loss, legal problems, or health issues) as a result of prior use?
  5. When you try to stop using a substance, do you develop physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms?


If you can honestly answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may have developed an addiction, and you should strongly consider scheduling an assessment.

Of course, to meet the intake criteria at dual diagnosis treatment programs in Tennessee, your struggles with addiction must be accompanied by symptoms of a mental health disorder. 

Here are a few questions that can help you determine if you meet that requirement:

  1. Do you undergo dramatic shifts in mood, attitude, and energy?
  2. Do you frequently struggle with pervasive sadness, low motivation, and/or a general sense of hopelessness or helplessness?
  3. Do you have recurrent, intrusive thoughts about topics that upset you, such as dying, hurting someone else, or acting in a shameful manner?
  4. Is your life often disrupted by overwhelming worries or excessive fears, even when there is no realistic reason for such powerful negative emotions? 
  5. Do you find it difficult to concentrate, focus, or pay attention for extended periods of time?
  6. Have your appetite and sleep habits changed significantly? This can include eating and sleeping too much or hardly at all.
  7. Do you find it difficult to experience joy or just to have a few moments of happiness?
  8. Have you begun to lose interest in sports, hobbies, or other activities that used to be important to you?
  9. Do you have moments where you feel like you are detached from your mind or body, or somehow separated from your surroundings (as if you were looking at the world around you through a pane of glass)?
  10. Have you had thoughts of self-harm or suicide?


Please note that these questions only address a fraction of the symptoms and experiences that could indicate you have a mental health concern. But if you answered yes to any of them, or if you simply think that you might need help with your mental health, it may be time to talk to a professional.

Remember: Almost all dual diagnosis disorders are treatable. When you get the care you need, you can start living a healthier and more satisfying life.

Types of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs in Tennessee

As we noted earlier on this page, dual diagnosis treatment centers in Tennessee may offer a variety of programming options, such as:

  • Residential treatment: At this level, you will live at the center where you’re being treated. Residential programs typically feature full days of treatment, therapeutic recreational activities, nutritious meals, and supervised time for relaxation and reflection. 
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): Treatment at the PHP level usually includes full days of treatment, five days per week. However, unlike with a residential program, when you’re in a PHP you only need to be at the center while you’re receiving care. In the evenings and on the weekends you can spend time at home or in an alternative supported residence.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOPs offer greater flexibility and independence while still providing you with a structured connection to clinical services. At this level, you may participate in two or three hours of treatment, two to five days per week. 

Some dual diagnosis patients only spend time at one level, while others may start at the residential level, then step down to a PHP and/or an IOP for additional support. There’s no right or wrong path. What’s most important is finding the path that’s right for you.

How Are Dual Diagnosis Disorders Treated?

Depending on each patient’s unique needs, treatment in dual diagnosis centers in Tennessee may involve prescription medication, several forms of therapy, and a variety of supplemental support services. 

Medications can ease the symptoms of many mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Medication may also be beneficial for people who are experiencing cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, and certain other substances.

The therapeutic component of dual diagnosis treatment may include a variety of approaches, such as:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy or other family support services
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Genetic testing
  • Music therapy
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • Relapse prevention education

Learn More About Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Tennessee

At Music City Detox, we work closely with all of our patients to help them find the follow-on care that will best prepare them for lifelong recovery. For some patients, this involves making a referral to a trusted dual diagnosis treatment center. 

To learn more about the features and benefits of dual diagnosis treatment after detox, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today.

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