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Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Orange County

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For most people who are dealing with an addiction, seeking help takes time and a serious commitment to getting better. But many may be surprised to find that they also suffer from a co-occurring mental health condition along with their addiction. Roughly half of all people who abuse substances have a dual diagnosis, where they have both a mental health and substance use disorder. Pacific Sands Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment near Santa Ana, Irvine and Costa Mesa, California for this reason.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis occurs when someone has co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Since each of these conditions share similar risk factors, many people with these risk factors have both disorders. In fact, for some, their mental health condition appeared first. In contrast, for others, their addiction appeared first.

Regardless of which came first, each disorder tends to worsen the other. For instance, some people self-medicate their mental health symptoms with drugs or alcohol. As a result, they mask their symptoms and don’t learn how to cope in a healthy way.

On the other hand, long-term substance abuse can change the brain leading to a mental illness. In order to deal with an emerging mental health issue, the person might use more substances.

Consequently, they may also begin using more potent drugs. Fortunately, the brain can heal and recover from substance abuse. This can lead to better mental health outcomes. Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment in Orange County can help those with addiction and mental illness.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both addiction and mental health disorders at the same time. In this way, a person can get all the help they need. This is because both disorders are related. During dual diagnosis treatment, a person must first detox from drugs or alcohol. Often, any mental health symptoms that a person masked will return during detox. Hence, therapy and counseling are vital during detox for this reason.

Without treating both disorders, a person could be more likely to relapse or use other unhealthy behaviors to cope. For example, let’s say a person gets sober but doesn’t cope with co-occurring depression. They may engage in a behavioral addiction like gambling or sex addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment ensures each person deals with their addiction and the underlying causes.

Dual diagnosis treatment in Orange County combines therapy and psychiatry with an addiction treatment plan. Therefore, a person could have individual and group therapy. Both allow them to discuss the triggers of their addiction and mental illness. A person might also use medications like anti-depressants or mood stabilizers as part of their treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Typically, many people seeking help for their addiction aren’t aware they have mental health symptoms. Additionally, they don’t realize how serious they are. Oftentimes, the symptoms of dual diagnosis are similar to mental disorders or addiction. For example, someone abusing heroin may also have untreated depression.

The following are common signs and symptoms of a dual diagnosis:

  • Avoiding friends or family members
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Sudden and significant weight gain or loss
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Outbursts of anger or violence
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Constant feelings of worry and doubt
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or despair
  • Sudden changes in energy levels or moods
  • Self-harming behaviors such as cutting or burning
  • Suicidal thoughts, behaviors, or ideations
  • Self-medicating these symptoms with drugs or alcohol

All of these symptoms can diminish a person’s quality of life, no matter the cause. Therefore, seeking help from a professional can help. People can learn how to understand what is occurring and how to treat it. In addition, it is vital to know the risk factors of a dual diagnosis. This, in turn helps provide the causes of a person’s symptoms.

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Visit the admissions page at Pacific Sands Recovery today to learn more about dual diagnosis.

Risk Factors for Dual Diagnosis

Understanding the connection between mental health issues and addiction when seeking dual diagnosis treatment in Orange County is important. As such, this is a vital part of getting the right treatment for both issues.

The 3 common risk factors that contribute to dual diagnosis are:

  1. Both addiction and mental health disorders can be caused by genetics, stress, environmental factors, and emotional or physical trauma.
  2. Many people with mental health issues turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to self-medicate their symptoms.
  3. Substance abuse and addiction can actually lead to a mental health disorder. This happens because of how addiction changes your brain. This makes certain mental health issues more likely to develop.

There is no such thing as just one reason or cause that someone ends up with a dual diagnosis. Just like the many complications in life that can lead to an addiction, many different things can influence a dual diagnosis.

What Mental Illnesses are Included in Dual Diagnosis?

While many specialized treatment professionals treat specific disorders, it is not enough to work on only 1 disorder or condition. Our addiction treatment team will help uncover a co-occurring mental health disorder—whether or not a person has previously been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. 

Common mental health conditions diagnosed during dual diagnosis treatment in Orange County include the following:

Borderline Personality Disorder

Common Symptoms:

  • An overwhelming fear of abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable relationships
  • Rapid changes in self-identity
  • Stress-induced paranoia
  • Impulsive and risky behavior
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Intense anger

Major Depressive Disorder

Common Symptoms:

  • Intense feelings of sadness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Slowed thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Pains and ailments with no physical cause

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Common Symptoms:

  • Intrusive, unwanted, and distressing thoughts
  • Thoughts of losing control and engaging in aggression or violence
  • Trouble dealing with uncertainty
  • Need for things to be neat and orderly
  • Fear of dirt and germs
  • Ritualistic behaviors, patterns, or thoughts

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Common Symptoms:

  • Persistent and intense worrying
  • Indecisiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Common Symptoms:

  • Intrusive, unwanted memories
  • Mentally reliving traumatic events (flashbacks)
  • Intense nightmares
  • Severe emotional distress
  • Avoiding people, places, and conversations related to traumatic events
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling detached
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Bipolar Disorder

Common Symptoms:

  • Swings between mania or hypomania and depression
  • Unpredictable changes in mood or behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling full of energy and elated
  • “Crashing” into depression after a manic phase

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health

Dual diagnosis is complex. Nevertheless, our staff can help clients struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. Addiction and mental illness both have a cyclical nature. As a result, this often leaves individuals feeling caught in an endless loop.

Substance abuse treatment alone is often not as effective because it is hard to discern where the true cause lies. Therefore, the key to success when a person has a dual diagnosis is also receiving appropriate treatment for their mental health condition. Only then can they find the lasting recovery they need to get back to living a happy and healthy life.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Orange County, CA

Our dual diagnosis treatment in Orange County, California, offers integrated treatment. This allows our clients to focus on their healing and progress. By following an individualized plan, we move at a pace that is comfortable and appropriate for each person. We accept insurance like Aetna and Tricare that offers coverage for co-occurring disorders. Visit the admissions page at Pacific Sands Recovery today to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment.


  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
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  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


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    Santa Ana, CA 92704


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