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Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment: What to Expect

Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment: What to Expect

Individuals with severe mental health may benefit from dual diagnosis inpatient treatment. Read on to learn more.

Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment is a special form of care. It addresses the needs of individuals with co-occurring disorders. This treatment approach recognizes the relationship between these conditions and provides support to promote lasting recovery.1

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis means that an individual has both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time. Mental health and substance use problems often go hand in hand. They can have a large impact on a person’s well-being. Dual diagnosis is also called co-occurring disorders.

When someone has a mental health disorder, it may increase their risk of substance use disorder as well. Many people may use substances to help cope with mental health substances. 

However, substance use disorders can also make existing mental health problems worse. They can even cause new symptoms to appear.

How Can Dual Diagnosis Help?

It’s important to know that dual diagnosis can include different combinations and levels of severity. The specific mental health disorders and substances involved can vary from person to person. 

This is why it’s crucial to have a personalized treatment plan that meets the unique needs of each individual with a dual diagnosis.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment?

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment offers complete care for individuals who have both mental health and substance use disorders at the same time. This treatment is made to help with the complex needs and difficulties that come with dual diagnosis.

In dual diagnosis inpatient treatment, individuals stay in a structured environment for a period. This is usually a few weeks to a few months. During this time, they get intensive care from a team of professionals such as psychiatrists, therapists, and addiction specialists.

The Aim of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The main aim of dual diagnosis inpatient treatment is to provide care that considers the whole person. Care focuses on the causes and symptoms of both mental health and substance use disorders. This is done through different therapies and supportive services.

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment allows professionals to focus on both the individual’s mental health and substance use issues. 

This makes the treatment more complete and integrated. It gives people a chance to build a strong foundation for long-term recovery and receive the support they need.2

How Does Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment Differ From Other Traditional Therapies?

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment differs from other traditional therapies in several ways. Here are some key differences:


Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment focuses on co-occurring disorders. This means that the mental health and substance use aspects are addressed.  It also focuses on the links.

Integrated Treatment Approach

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment adopts an integrated approach to help approach different aspects of one’s health.

Dual Diagnosis Expertise

The staff members are trained to manage these conditions. They understand the relationship between mental health and substance use. So, they tailor the treatment plan to address both conditions effectively. They also know how to track progress and provide support.

Pharmacological Intervention

Dual diagnosis inpatient programs may involve the use of medications. These medications can be crucial in stabilizing a person’s mental health. They also help to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.3

Longer Duration

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment typically takes longer compared to traditional therapies. This may be due to the presence of more than one condition. 

The inpatient setting allows for 24/7 support within a structured environment. It also offers a comprehensive treatment approach.

Psychiatric Services

Dual diagnosis programs often have psychiatric services on-site. This allows individuals to get the help that they need on time. This is not the case with most other therapies, as they are not as intensive as inpatient treatment.

Treatment Modalities

Dual diagnosis treatment programs use various therapeutic modalities. These are designed to treat both substance use and mental health issues. The treatment must also address the links between both conditions. 

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment aims to improve treatment outcomes. It also aims to provide lasting recovery. These programs comprehensively address both conditions.

What Are Some Treatment Modalities Employed in This Type of Program?

Most programs will include two or more treatments, but the combinations and treatment choices may differ. 

Here are some common components in dual diagnosis inpatient treatment programs:

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Medical detoxification
  • Medication management
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Holistic therapies
  • Life skills training
  • Aftercare planning

A dual diagnosis inpatient treatment program incorporates various treatment components depending on the needs of the individual.4

What Is Medication Management in Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment?

Medication management plays a crucial role in dual diagnosis inpatient treatment. It involves the assessment, prescription, monitoring, and change of psychiatric medications. These medications address mental health symptoms. 


Here are key aspects of medication management in dual diagnosis treatment:

Psychiatric Assessment

Upon admission, individuals undergo a comprehensive psychiatric assessment. This checks their mental health symptoms and medication history. Other aspects of their health will also be assessed.

Medication Prescription

Talk therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy, may work for a lot of patients. However, some patients also need medication as well. The medications are prescribed by professionals.

Symptom Management

Medications are used to stabilize and manage mental health symptoms. This helps individuals achieve a more stable mental state to help work through mental health and substance use disorder symptoms.

Symptom Management

Medications are used to stabilize and manage mental health symptoms. This helps individuals achieve a more stable mental state to help work through mental health and substance use disorder symptoms.

Medication Monitoring

Psychiatrists closely monitor the individual’s response to medications. This way, they can adjust where there is a problem.5


Medications can be changed. The doses can also be adjusted based on the individual’s progress and may be increased or decreased depending on the individual’s needs.

It’s important to note that medication management is individualized in dual diagnosis treatment. The choice of medications and the dosage is based on some factors. 

These include the individual’s unique needs and ongoing monitoring. This ensures the medication’s effectiveness and safety.

What Is the Structure and Environment Like In Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment?

The structure and environment of an inpatient setting are important. It plays a vital role in the recovery process. It also can affect the speed and extent of recovery. 


Here are some ways in which the structure of dual diagnosis treatment can help individuals heal:

24/7 Support

In an inpatient setting, individuals receive around-the-clock supervision. They are also supported by trained professionals. This provides a sense of safety and security, especially during challenging moments.

Structured Routine

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment follows a structured daily routine. It usually includes various activities, which also provides a framework for daily life. Individuals can learn healthy habits and move towards a healthier life.

Removal From Risk Factors

The inpatient environment removes individuals from their usual surroundings. This can help individuals be removed from potential everyday risk factors and work on healing.

Peer Support and Community

Individuals can connect with peers. These people are going through similar struggles. This peer support creates a sense of belonging, understanding, and empathy.

Therapeutic Environment

Inpatient settings are designed to create a therapeutic and healing environment. These spaces are often calm, comfortable, and conducive to introspection and self-reflection.


Inpatient treatment settings focus on privacy and confidentiality. This fosters a safe space. Individuals can discuss their struggles, fears, and experiences without fear of judgment.


Inpatient settings also focus on self-care and wellness. These are important parts of the recovery process. This focus on self-care encourages individuals to develop healthy habits. They also adopt a holistic approach to their recovery journey.

The environment of an inpatient setting provides individuals with a calm atmosphere. This is great for healing, growth, and transformation. 

It offers a respite from external stressors and creates a sense of community. It also provides the necessary resources and support for individuals for their recovery.

How Long Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Last?

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment can range from a few weeks to several months. The duration of dual diagnosis inpatient treatment can vary depending on several factors. 


Here are some factors that can influence the duration of treatment:


  • Individual needs 
  • Progress and response to treatment 
  • Stabilization and safety 
  • The complexity of dual diagnosis 
  • Treatment facility and program structure 
  • Aftercare planning and transition

It’s important to remember that the duration of inpatient treatment is individualized. The treatment team evaluates progress and reevaluates treatment goals. This helps them to determine the most appropriate length of stay. 


The ultimate aim is to provide comprehensive and effective care, so some care may be extended based on an individual’s needs.

Multidisciplinary Teams and Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment

Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment programs involve a team of professionals. These people focus on different treatment points and come together to care for individuals. The professionals involved may vary depending on the treatment facility. 

Here are some common professionals found in dual diagnosis inpatient treatment programs:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Addiction specialists 
  • Therapists/counselors
  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Peer support specialists

A multidisciplinary team allows for a good treatment approach. This will produce good results. It allows for holistic treatment.

What Are the Potential Challenges Associated With Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Treatment?

There are specific considerations and challenges associated with dual diagnosis inpatient treatment. The co-occurrence of mental health and substance use disorders presents unique complexities. These require special approaches and considerations. 


Here are some key considerations and challenges:

Diagnostic Complexity

Dual diagnosis cases can be complex and may take longer to diagnose than those with only a mental health or substance use disorder. 

A thorough assessment is crucial. This allows for an accurate diagnosis. It also permits the development of an appropriate treatment plan.

Substance Withdrawal

The treatment team must manage withdrawal symptoms. They must also address underlying mental health issues at the same time. 

Stabilization is critical before focusing on the mental health aspect of treatment. This can cause issues with overall symptoms and healing. 

Treatment Engagement

Staying in treatment is important. This may be hard for some individuals, but tailored interventions can help overcome these challenges. Motivational interviewing can help individuals become more motivated for treatment and healing as well.

Relapse Risk

Relapse risk is higher in individuals with dual diagnosis. Those with a single disorder have a lower occurrence. Ongoing support and comprehensive aftercare planning are vital to address this risk.

Comorbid Conditions

Individuals with dual diagnosis may also have comorbid medical conditions. These may include chronic pain, heart issues, STDs, or other health concerns. The treatment team must consider these medical conditions in the treatment plan.

Social Factors

History of trauma or unstable living situations can also complicate treatment. There are other important social and environmental factors too. These factors must be addressed. A healthy support system also helps during healing.

Continuity of Care

Dual diagnosis treatment is an ongoing process. It requires continuity of care beyond the inpatient setting. Transitioning from inpatient to outpatient care is good for long-term recovery. This is done with aftercare planning.

Addressing these considerations and challenges requires a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. Dual diagnosis inpatient treatment programs should have a skilled team that support individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Rise Above Treatment

At Rise Above Treatment, we understand the nature of dual diagnosis cases. Our primary focus is on guiding you toward sustained recovery and relapse prevention


We provide a range of therapeutic modalities. These include personalized care plans and ongoing support to help you overcome the hurdles on your path to wellness.


We are located in Murrieta, California. Our residential dual diagnosis treatment program will be personalized to help address your specific needs. Our serene residential facility offers a supportive environment. Here you can embark on your journey toward total recovery.

Get in Touch With Us Today

Our dedicated team of professionals is equipped with the expertise and knowledge. We can deliver evidence-based treatments tailored to your specific needs. 

We also use a comprehensive approach that addresses both mental health and substance use disorders. This ensures a holistic and integrated treatment experience.

Contact us today to book a consultation and learn more about our dual diagnosis inpatient treatment program!

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