Dual Diagnosis / Co-Occurring Treatment in Washington State

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dual diagnosis in free by the seaSadly, many individuals find themselves suffering from substance abuse in addition to mental illness. Treating both the addiction and the mental health disorder at the same time increases the chance for a healthy and productive life that is substance-free. Treating both illnesses is a vital part of the path of recovery and supports physical health. Dual diagnosis treatment is available for anyone seeking assistance in managing addiction along with a mental health disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling to manage addiction, here at Free by the Sea, we have treatment options that can make the struggle easier.

We are located in the State of Washington, serving the Nation, based in the Pacific Northwest.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis occurs when an addiction to drugs or alcohol is accompanied by a mental health condition or emotional disorder, as some mental and emotional disorders can hinder a successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. So, seeking help for the disorder is vital to the person for overcoming substance use disorders. When it comes to substance abuse issues, we use support groups to aid in treating co-occurring disorders at our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Washington State.

Here are some mental illnesses commonly addressed at dual diagnosis treatment centers:

Attention Disorders

Those who suffer from attention disorders, such as ADD, in combination with addiction can find the hope they need here at Free by the Sea. Close to a quarter of all men who suffer from an attention disorder also suffer from a substance abuse problem. In women, the amount is much lower at 13%. There are many reasons that someone who suffers from an attention disorder may abuse drugs or alcohol. This is due to the social or professional impact that an attention disorder will have on someone. Young adults often struggle the most with attention disorders.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

There is a firm connection between chemical dependence and ADHD. There is a significant link between teens with ADHD and those who abuse alcohol and/or abuse drugs. ADHD drugs can be detrimental to the addiction recovery process. The medicines prescribed for ADHD can be addictive. These medicines, like Adderall and Ritalin, have a high-risk factor for abuse. This dual diagnosis needs an approach that uses multiple therapies like individual counseling and family therapy.


There are some instances where giving up the substance being abused can make depression worse. In these cases, sobriety can cause depression to be more prevalent. Getting sober after using alcohol as a crutch can exacerbate the patient’s depression. This is when psychotherapies are necessary to help the patients recover from depression and from substance use disorder simultaneously. Doing this on your own is never possible, as anybody struggling with these co-occurring disorders should find help at a dual diagnosis treatment center.


Anxiety disorders can be debilitating. People with anxiety or panic disorders will sometimes resort to substance abuse as a crutch. Although to the individual it may fix the problem, it is only a temporary solution. Substance use disorder is not a fix for people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is a mental health issue disorder, but it manifests in physical ways. Adding therapy solutions to help both anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders can help the patient recover from both.


Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when an individual experiences a traumatic episode and experiences severe anxiety from that ordeal. In order to cope, some individuals turn to substance abuse to take away the pain of a traumatic experience. People with post-traumatic stress disorder are more than 10 times likely to abuse narcotics and alcohol. People in the military or work in an ER or were sexually abused are people who would develop the disorder of post-traumatic stress. Therapy for the traumatic experience in conjunction with all the therapies for substance abuse disorder can help the person on their journey to sobriety and to proper mental health.


Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. Stress disorder is different; it is severe stress that is either from a traumatic experience or a compilation of events that happen within a particular amount of time. Having a therapist or counselor help individuals with life’s coping skills and alternative therapies to manage stress is a way to start the recovery process. In addition, therapy for addiction can help people with their addiction and stress disorder.


One-fourth of the population that have mental disorders also suffer from substance abuse. Codependency is relying on drugs and alcohol and another person in a relationship with you to keep everything together. Therapists can help break the codependency and show the individual how to have a healthy relationship. This healthy attitude and change in life skills can help in the sobriety journey.

Mood Disorders

Dual diagnosis of mood disorders and substance abuse is common in our present era. Emotional instability, along with substance abuse, can make recovery more difficult. An individual may need a psychologist trained in this specialty of psychotherapy. Bipolar disorder is a common mood disorder.

Bipolar Disorders

The dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance abuse is difficult but possible to treat. The manic episodes of severe depressions, along with the extreme highs of bipolar disorder, need to be addressed with the therapist or counselor along with dual diagnoses protocols.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders make a person develop a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, behaving, and overall functioning. If you combine a personality disorder with addiction, it can exacerbate those thoughts and behaviors. Thankfully, this dual diagnosis is treated here at Free by the Sea’s treatment centers in Washington State.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Sadly, obsessive-compulsive disorder often co-occurs with substance abuse. People with OCD constantly feel an overwhelming amount of stress related to fear and anxiety. For this reason, many people with OCD develop an addiction to cope with their psychiatric disorder. In fact, according to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, over 25% of people who seek treatment for OCD also suffer from addiction. Those who suffer from these co-occurring disorders should consider getting treatment through a residential treatment program at a dual diagnosis treatment center.


This is a rare mental health disorder that sometimes co-occurs with drug and alcohol abuse. Those who suffer from schizophrenia and addiction should seek treatment that addresses their mental health needs in addition to their substance use disorder.

dual diagnosis treatment in free by the sea

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Services Offered

As part of a well-rounded addiction treatment plan, our treatment team creates a program that may include many effective services. You or your loved one’s plan may vary based on the substance abuse disorder or co-occurring disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment centers offer these services as part of an inpatient treatment plan or outpatient treatment plan.
Integrated treatment may also include holistic options as those have been proven to help with many mental health issues and addiction.

Psychological Services

Psychological services are services related to psychological therapy like individual counseling or group therapy. It is recommended that outpatient counseling for all mental health issues continue after addiction treatment. This helps support relapse prevention. Psychological therapy is another term for talk therapy. Talk therapy is a therapy that is used to help with mental health disorders and substance abuse problems. A psychologist does not get a medical degree; they receive a doctoral degree in psychology.

Psychiatric Services

Psychiatric services use therapy and medications to help with mental health disorders and addictions. A psychiatrist has the same medical training as any other medical physician. After the psychiatrist receives their medical doctrine, they then go another four years specializing in psychiatric mental health and specialize in a plethora of specialized fields. Another difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist is authorized to prescribe medications.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention is intervening in a crisis situation and learning to manage and prevent disruptive behavior that can be found when a person abuses drugs and/or alcohol. Anger management may be used as part of mental health treatment when crisis intervention is necessary.

Medically Managed Services

Medically managed services are where the patient’s health is managed by a medical doctor and/or medical staff. In this setting, patients are either in a hospital or in a recovery center where their health can be monitored by a medical professional. Medical staff also administered the medications needed by these patients.

Types of Therapy Used for Dual Diagnosis

Therapy is the most common tool that dual diagnosis treatment centers use to address the underlying causes of the mental health illness and addiction. Integrated treatment will include a well-rounded dual diagnosis treatment program and therapy. A mental health professional will determine what plan works best for each individual.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a common type of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This type of therapy helps the individual become aware of negative behavior and inaccurate thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, can be used in conjunction with other types of therapies. This therapy approach is often a part of treatment for various disorders. CBT can help the counselor quickly identify problems, and then they can teach individuals how to cope with some of life’s challenges. This type of therapy can help individuals better manage stressful situations and help to teach individuals to manage life skills more effectively.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Also known as DBT, dialectical behavior therapy is a type of therapy where a therapist teaches new skills to cope with hurtful and traumatic emotions. The first step in dialectical behavior therapy is to have the patient mindfully focus on being in the present. The second step is to teach the individual to tolerate negative emotions instead of discarding those emotions. The next step is to regulate their emotions. The last step is to teach individuals to strengthen their relationships in a respectful and assertive way. The original diagnosis to treat a condition using DBT was for borderline personality disorder.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Also known as EMDR, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a fairly new type of psychotherapy. This type of therapy does not use prescriptions, nor does it use psychotherapy. EMDR therapy uses eye movement in a rapid and rhythmic way. This type of therapy is thought to lessen the power of traumatic memories. These sessions usually last up to an hour and a half. This therapy is often used with patients who have post-traumatic stress disorders.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Disorders)?

Dual diagnosis treatment is relatively common. It is estimated that a little over 9 million adults in the United States have treatment for mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 50% of people seeking drug rehab also receive treatment for an underlying mental or emotional disorder. However, nearly 40% of people with alcohol addiction suffer from an underlying disorder. Nearly 30% of people seeking treatment for a mental disorder also suffer from addiction to one or more substances.

What Symptoms do People with Co-Occurring Disorders Experience?

The symptoms present in those individuals with a dual diagnosis can vary significantly from person to person, as every persons’ body reacts differently from one another. For instance, a person with anxiety may experience panic attacks, overwhelming fear, or irritation as a result of their disorder. However, a person with depression may lack energy, lose interest in activities, and experience hopelessness.

Other common disorders treated along with drug or alcohol addiction include obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and some types of personality disorders and mood disorders. Using and withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can also cause behavioral changes in some individuals. For example, a person who abuses alcohol may experience a loss of inhibition while drinking and may suffer from tremors or other symptoms when withdrawing from alcohol. Medical detox at a dual diagnosis treatment center may be necessary to address these painful symptoms appropriately.

Which Develops First, Substance Abuse or Mental Illness?

Some patients develop emotional or mental disorders before using drugs and alcohol, which are often used as a result of self-medicating. Self-medicating is when a person relies on drugs or alcohol to relieve the symptoms of an underlying psychiatric disorder or emotional disorder. Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can quickly lead to a physical addiction to the substance.
Treating both the disorder and the addiction at the same time is an important aspect of the dual diagnosis treatment process. Drug or alcohol abuse can also trigger mental or emotional disorders, oftentimes making them worse than what they were before addiction began.

Mental and emotional disorders that become evident while using drugs or alcohol are treated in the same manner as disorders that were present before the addiction. Those who begin using drugs or alcohol before adulthood are more susceptible to developing a mental disorder. Drugs and alcohol can interfere with the normal development of the brain and hinder growth towards mental stability and emotional health.

Substance abuse can reduce the ability to develop mature emotional responses. For instance, consistent drug use can reduce the ability to control emotional responses to stress, causing feelings such as rage or depression in response to minor events.

Contact Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Washington Today!

Free by the Sea, located in Washington State, offers dual diagnosis treatment programs that can help you overcome addiction while coping with a mental or emotional disorder.
Addiction doesn’t have to control your life. Finding the right treatment program can make a difference that leads you or your loved one to a successful recovery. We offer inpatient treatment as well as an outpatient addiction treatment program for dual diagnoses.

You can find help for addiction by contacting Free by the Sea today. Our treatment center offers a wide variety of therapy options and services to aid in recovery. We can help you find the best-suited dual diagnosis treatment center and be the guiding light in you or a loved one’s life. Sobriety is in your future, made possible by our team here at Free by the Sea.