What is Dual Diagnosis?

depression dual diagnosis

“Dual Diagnosis” refers to one individual with two or more disorders. This term can refer to physical disorders or mental health disorders. For many with dual-diagnosis mental health disorders, this presents as a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder.

Dual Diagnosis vs. Comorbidity

While the terms dual diagnosis and comorbidity both refer to two disorders being present in one individual, the term comorbidity can help us to understand why it is so important for effective treatment for those with dual diagnoses. The term comorbidity can also refer to the ways that two disorders can complicate each other, making each more difficult to treat. This is true in physical health as well as in mental health. At Encore, we understand the importance of treating the whole person, including comorbid disorders that run in tandem with substance use disorders. Our approach focuses both on stabilizing mental health and building a sustainable recovery at the same time.

Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

At Encore, we often see dual diagnosis in the form of a substance use disorder paired with a mental health disorder. Families and clients are often looking to discover which came first: the substance use disorder or the mental health disorder. However, often by the time a person is dually-diagnosed, treatment should focus more on symptom reduction. Some of the more common mental health disorders we see in individuals with substance use disorders include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.

Encore Outpatient Services in Washington DC

At Encore, we understand the need for specialized treatment for individuals with dual diagnosis. While historically it has been common in substance use disorder treatment to separately address dual diagnoses, we now know that can contribute to poorer outcomes, especially in those individuals with trauma or PTSD. At Encore, we know the importance of treating the whole person for the best treatment outcomes – this means treating an individual’s substance use disorder as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. We use somatic experiencing, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, qi gong, and psychodrama to holistically treat our clients with all of their needs in mind. Additionally, Encore recovery coaches provide additional support to our clients as they learn to navigate their world free from substances.

Encore’s New Outpatient Treatment Program

Because Encore recognizes the growing importance of accessible mental health treatment, we are proud to announce we are currently in the planning stages of developing an outpatient program for mental health and substance use disorders. This will allow us to help treat individuals with a primary mental health condition on an outpatient basis. As our world becomes more uncertain in these challenging times, we know the need for mental health treatment will only increase. Encore is here to help meet these demands so that together we can make our community stronger.

If you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of dual diagnosis, call us today at 703-594-7396

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