A substance use disorder describes a pattern of behavior in which a person consistently abuses addictive substances. No matter what difficulties substance abuse creates, individuals will usually not be able to stop using without a targeted Orange County substance use disorder therapy psychiatrist. Interestingly, many people who deal with a mental illness also experience substance abuse issues. Therefore, substance use disorder therapy must become part of the healing process.

Facts About Dual Diagnosis

Depressed woman in need of a orange county substance use disorder therapy psychiatristWhy is there a link between mental illness and substance abuse? For some people, a substance use disorder can result from attempting to use addictive substances to deal with the uncomfortable effects of mental illness. When individuals face ongoing fear, anxiety, and depression, they may leave themselves vulnerable to developing a secondary issue with substance abuse.

Dual Diagnosis Symptoms

In order to get the right kind of substance use disorder therapy, it’s imperative to know the signs associated with a dual diagnosis.

Sudden or Extreme Behavior Changes

Those struggling with co-occurring disorders often go through major changes in their personality and behavior. For example, they may stop performing important duties. Others may seem to get angry or aggressive for no apparent reason.

Engaging in Risky Behaviors

Engaging in risky actions is a major red flag. These actions could be anything from dangerous sexual practices to driving under the influence of a substance.

Losing Interest in Socialization

Those struggling with mental illness and addiction may stop engaging with others on a social level. For instance, they may prefer to spend much of their day alone. They might also appear to be disinterested in some of the hobbies they used to regularly enjoy.

Increased Tolerance to Addictive Substances

When individuals develop a higher tolerance, it means that they will have a constant need to take more of the substance more frequently. When individuals develop a higher tolerance, it becomes more difficult to quit using because it will inevitably lead to troubling withdrawal symptoms.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Influence Substance Use Disorder Therapy?

Facing a dual diagnosis can make the overall process harder. However, proper help for a substance use disorder does exist. By addressing both issues as separate problems that require their own plan of action they can begin working toward a successful resolution to their issues.

Dual Diagnosis Options

Mental health and substance use disorder therapy involves many different interventions, such as the ones on the following list:


Talk therapy can take place alone, in a large group, or with family members residing in the same household. All three types of counseling provide a wealth of benefits to those struggling with these complicated issues.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies can help people identify problematic thoughts that keep them locked in the cycle of substance abuse. By knowing what these negative thoughts are, they can change them into more positive thoughts and actions.


When appropriate, medication-assisted treatment can supplement counseling during substance use disorder therapy. Specific types of medication can alleviate bothersome symptoms and promote healing.

Supporting Someone Experiencing a Dual Diagnosis

Facing psychiatric disorders is difficult enough. It becomes even harder when the person also faces substance abuse issues. It can be upsetting to watch a family member go through these problems. However, they’re not alone. If you continue to show your love and concern for their well-being, it can help them feel less isolated and lonely.

About Our Huntington Beach Substance Use Disorder Therapy Psychiatrist

By offering traditional psychiatric services coupled with modern approaches to therapy, the mental health team at our Orange County substance use disorder therapy clinic can provide beneficial therapeutic health and counseling services for each person. Additionally, those suffering from a dual diagnosis can get the in-depth care they need.

Don’t let a substance use disorder prevent you or someone you love from fulfilling dreams and goals. To learn more about Huntington Beach Psychiatry or our Orange County substance use disorder therapy psychiatrist methods, call us today at (866)-334-6286.