Dual diagnosis

Navigating addiction can be an uphill battle, but the terrain becomes even more intricate when coupled with a coexisting mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis refers to the simultaneous presence of both addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. It is imperative to explore the prevalence of dual diagnosis, unravel its intricate dynamics, and embrace specialised treatment approaches that can yield transformative outcomes in recovery.


Dual diagnosis

What is dual diagnosis?

The co-occurrence of two conditions can significantly impact and interact with the other, causing extreme distress. This makes dual diagnosis unique throughout treatment, as the mental health and addiction aspects must be addressed concurrently for successful recovery.

Some common examples of dual diagnosis can include:

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Anxiety and addiction

People with anxiety disorders may use substances to self-medicate, seeking temporary relief. However, substance abuse often worsens anxiety, creating a harmful cycle. Click the button below to learn more.

Anxiety and addiction →

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Bipolar disorder and addiction

Individuals with bipolar disorder may turn to substances to cope with extreme mood swings, which can lead to addiction. Substance use can also trigger manic or depressive episodes.

Bipolar disorder and addiction →

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Codependency and addiction

Codependency and addiction are interconnected phenomena that often go hand in hand, creating a complex dynamic that can be challenging to unravel. Learn more here.

Codependency and addiction →

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Depression and addiction

People with depression may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate symptoms, but substance use often worsens their mental health condition. If you would like to learn more, click on the button below.

Depression and addiction →

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Insomnia and addiction

Insomnia can frequently coexist with substance abuse, as individuals may use substances to self-medicate and manage sleep disturbances, further complicating the underlying mental health condition.

Insomnia and addiction →

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Self-harm and addiction

Individuals may engage in self-harm as a maladaptive coping mechanism to relieve emotional pain or gain control, and substance abuse can exacerbate these behaviours. Click the button below to learn more.

Self-harm and addiction →

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Suicide and addiction

There is a significant correlation between suicide and addiction, as individuals struggling with addiction may experience heightened feelings of hopelessness, despair, and emotional pain, leading to an increased risk of suicidal ideation and attempts. Click the button below if you would like to learn more.

Suicide and addiction →

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PTSD and addiction

 Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may use substances as a means to numb emotional pain, resulting in addiction. If you would like to learn more about the link between PTSD and  alcohol/drug/behavioural addictions, click on the button below.

PTSD and addiction →


How does dual diagnosis occur?

Dual diagnosis occurs due to the complex interplay between mental health conditions and addiction. The reasons for its occurrence can vary, but some common factors include:

  • Self-medication: Individuals with untreated mental health conditions may turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medication, attempting to alleviate distressing symptoms or find temporary relief from emotional pain.
  • Shared risk factors: Mental health disorders and addiction share common risk factors, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors, childhood trauma, or a history of substance abuse in the family, that can contribute to the development of both conditions simultaneously.
  • Neurochemical imbalances: Some mental health disorders and addiction involve disruptions in brain chemistry and reward pathways. The underlying neurochemical imbalances may contribute to the development of both conditions concurrently.
  • Co-occurring trauma: Traumatic experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, can increase the likelihood of developing both mental health disorders and substance abuse as coping mechanisms.
  • Environmental influences: Social and environmental factors, such as peer influence, dysfunctional family dynamics, or exposure to stressful life events, can contribute to developing both mental health disorders and addiction.

It’s important to note that the relationship between mental health disorders and addiction is complex and bidirectional. While mental health disorders can increase the risk of developing addiction, substance abuse can also exacerbate or trigger mental health symptoms. This intricate relationship underscores the need for comprehensive assessment and appropriate rehab treatment.

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment at Oasis Bradford

When facing the complex challenges of dual diagnosis, the right rehab programme is crucial. However, before treatment can begin, it is essential to stabilise the mental health disorder before initiating addiction treatment.

Fortunately, a range of therapeutic approaches used at Oasis Bradford has demonstrated positive outcomes in treating dual diagnosis. By exploring these evidence-based therapies, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards recovery, healing, and improved well-being.

Examples of the therapies used throughout dual diagnosis treatment at Oasis Bradford include:

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): Focuses on emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, benefiting individuals with dual diagnosis by reducing self-destructive behaviours and promoting healthier coping mechanisms.
  • Detox: The initial phase of addiction treatment that focuses on safely and effectively removing drugs or alcohol from the body. It involves a medically supervised process to manage withdrawal symptoms and help individuals achieve physical stabilisation before transitioning to further treatment.
  • Holistic therapy: Holistic therapies take a comprehensive approach to dual diagnosis by addressing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s well-being. They can include practices such as mindfulness and meditation, yoga and art therapy to promote overall wellness and support recovery.
  • Family therapy: Involving family members in treatment to address relationship issues and codependency that contribute to addiction and mental health conditions, fostering healthy communication and rebuilding trust.


Dual diagnosis - art therapy


Does dual diagnosis make addiction treatment more difficult?

Dual diagnosis does make addiction treatment more difficult due to the interplay of conditions, diagnostic complexities, treatment resistance, relapse risks, and the complexity of treatment planning. The coexistence of addiction and a mental health disorder presents unique challenges, as they often reinforce each other and require comprehensive and integrated approaches. Despite the added complexity, seeking treatment for your addiction at a rehab facility that understands the convoluted nature of dual diagnosis offers a better chance of achieving long-term recovery and improved well-being.

Getting help for your dual diagnosis

In your journey towards addressing dual diagnosis and finding the support you need, Oasis Bradford is here to help. Our dedicated team understands the complexities of dual diagnosis and is committed to helping you overcome your addiction. Whether you or a loved one is facing addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition, reaching out for help is a courageous step. Don’t hesitate to call us today to begin your path towards recovery and rediscover a life of fulfilment.