Dual Diagnosis

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), of the 42 million adults with a mental illness, 18.2% also have a substance use disorder. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine which came first — the substance use disorder or the mental illness — which is why at Longleaf Recovery & Wellness, we offer comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment in Alabama to help individuals find the strength to heal from addiction and mental health.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis occurs when a person is experiencing both a substance use disorder and a mental illness at the same time. When mental health conditions exist, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or trauma, many times individuals will use substances to cope with difficult feelings. Unfortunately, substances often interfere with the effectiveness of medications designed to help mental illness, causing individuals’ increased substance use and perpetuating a ceaseless cycle of impairment. Without appropriate treatment, experiencing improvements in mental health or substance use are difficult to achieve.

Signs & Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis

Many times, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between mental illness and problematic substance use. While these conditions can appear similar, some signs and symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Participating in risky behaviors (driving while under the influence, having unprotected sex)
  • Sudden and unpredictable changes in mood and irrational behavior
  • Inability to control how much of a substance they consume
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Neglecting physical health and appearance
  • Using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate symptoms of a mental illness
  • Suicidal ideations, tendencies, or behaviors (including self-harm)

Dual Diagnosis Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.4 million American adults have a mental illness and a substance use disorder. In addition, those who regularly misuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to develop a co-occurring mental illness. It’s estimated that more than 17 million young adults over the age of 18 have had a severe mental health disorder. Dual Diagnosis Statistics

  • The prevalence of dual diagnosis varies by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to develop a dual diagnosis.
  • People ages 30-39 are most likely to have a dual diagnosis, followed by those 40-49.
  • Those 50 and over are least likely to have a dual diagnosis.
  • African-American and Hispanic individuals are more likely to have dual diagnoses than Caucasian individuals.
  • Dual diagnoses are most prevalent among low-income populations.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programming

Dual diagnosis treatment involves addressing both the substance use disorder and the mental illness simultaneously, though many programs will only treat one of these conditions, requiring people to switch facilities and work with an entirely new treatment team. But Longleaf Recovery & Wellness believes clients should receive integrated services that involve the therapy, medication, and support necessary to begin feeling better and making progress in their lives.

The core elements of this approach include:


Our experienced therapeutic staff work alongside the medical director to develop and implement a multifaceted treatment plan that includes psychotherapy and medication. This plan is updated and revised throughout a client’s treatment to tailor interventions as their recovery evolves.


In the past, a substance use disorder would be treated in one setting while a mental illness might be treated in another. Today, individuals with a dual diagnosis can receive the full amount of care they need at one facility. Most importantly, this allows clients to maintain relationships with their treatment team and their peers in recovery throughout the treatment process.


In addition to group therapy, clients are matched with individual therapists who are skilled at addressing and resolving issues based upon their specific needs. Issues such as trauma, depression, and anxiety can receive specific attention during individual therapy while new skills and support are provided in a group setting.

Begin Dual Diagnosis Treatment Today

At Longleaf Recovery & Wellness, our clients are provided the skills and support to end substance use while receiving the treatment needed to heal from mental illness. Through our experienced medical and therapeutic staff and multiple levels of care, we can tailor treatment to address everyone’s individual needs. Our team of dedicated and devoted admissions professionals will answer all your questions and discuss how the journey to healing can begin. Get started with treatment today by request more information about Longleaf Recovery & Wellness.

Our Locations

Our specialized treatment facilities are dedicated to assisting adults and families grappling with mental health challenges and addiction. We address the underlying stressors, offering a transformative path to change and sustained support for a restored life.

2501 International Park
Birmingham , AL 35243
2441 International Park
Birmingham , AL 35243
450 Dunlop Blvd SW
Madison , AL 35758
13920 Cypress Way
Spanish Fort , AL 36527