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Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Georgia

Written By: Erika Dalton, LCSW
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Rahul Gupta, MD
Last Updated: March, 8 2023

Home » Georgia Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Buckhead Behavioral Health is a premier dual diagnosis treatment center in Georgia that offers individualized and integrated plans to help treat dual diagnosis disorders.

Many people diagnosed with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health or behavioral disorder. This is known as a dual diagnosis. Moreover, people with a dual diagnosis require an integrated treatment plan addressing both disorders as interconnected issues. By integrating treatment for both substance abuse and mental health, people receive the help they need to recover in both areas. Our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia provide the specialized care needed to help people recover from addiction and manage their mental health concurrently.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

The term dual diagnosis means the occurrence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder in one person. Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders. The individual can have one or more diagnosable mental illnesses along with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia can assess a person to see if they are dealing with this challenging condition. 

In many cases, the two illnesses going on contribute to each other. For example, someone might use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate symptoms of their mental illness. These symptoms can include ones such as anxiety, depression, or flashbacks related to a traumatic event. Doing so might seem like a quick fix initially but can end up turning into an addiction. On the other hand, someone who abuses drugs or alcohol may end up creating symptoms of poor mental health or increasing the symptoms they experience with conditions they already suffer.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Work in Atlanta?

When someone comes to our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia, we begin by diving into an initial evaluation to determine the treatment program that is right for each individual. This includes obtaining an accurate diagnosis of mental health disorders and looking at which medications may work best for treating them. We also determine which of our types of treatment programs will be the best fit for the person. Our programs include several vital outpatient choices:

Most programs offer basic options, such as individual therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and trauma therapy. These types of therapy help treat both the addiction and the mental health challenges that come with a dual diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis Disorder

Someone could struggle with addiction if they are showing withdrawal symptoms like sweating, flushes, tremors or increased anxiety and aggression. A person could have bad sleeping patterns or experience weight loss or gain. They might have a lack of personal hygiene and have dilated or red pupils.

Individuals may express paranoid or anxious behaviors and suffer a loss of motivation. They will isolate themselves and could have money problems and refer to selfish, self-centered behaviors more often than is normal.

Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders:

A 2018 study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 9.2 million adults aged 18 or older experienced dual diagnosis. Additionally, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 60% of adolescents in drug treatment programs have a dual diagnosis. Because of the prevalence of this condition, there is a great need for dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia.

Common mental health disorders that fall under the heading of dual diagnosis include:


If someone has ADHD, they typically take a prescription medication to help manage their condition. These stimulant drugs can lead to addiction.

Bipolar Disorder

About half of bipolar disorder patients also suffer from addiction. The manic highs, depressive lows, and mood shifts that occur with this mental illness can lead people to self-medicate with substances in order to reduce the disorder’s effects. 

Borderline Personality Disorder

The National Library of Health reports that approximately 78% of adults with a borderline personality disorder also develop a substance-related disorder or addiction.


Depression strikes millions of people. Sadly, many end up abusing drugs or alcohol to try to control this mood disorder, only to end up making their symptoms worse.

Anxiety Disorder

While medications used to treat anxiety can be helpful for many, too often they end up as part of a substance use disorder. Similar to depression, people who use drugs or alcohol to soothe anxiety symptoms can end up becoming addicted to these substances.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that a person cannot control. This can lead to increased anxiety and depression, as well as an addiction to drugs or alcohol to try to control OCD symptoms. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs reports that more than two out of ten veterans who have PTSD also deal with a substance use disorder. As well, almost one out of three veterans who receive treatment for addiction also has PTSD. 


Those suffering from schizophrenia may experience a multitude of symptoms, including delusional thinking and hallucinations. They may turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to feel better and end up compounding their problem by becoming addicted.

Drug Addiction Can Be Defined As A Mental Illness

Drugs and alcohol can change the brain, warp one’s thinking, affect the physical body, and how one interacts with the world. When someone already suffers from a mental illness or disorder, the same parts of their brain that are affected by the disorder are being affected by the drugs.

Addiction disease causes them to have uncontrolled cravings and compulsions for a certain substance. Even if they know the drugs and alcohol will cause more problems, the addiction can take over unless they seek out treatment.

The drugs that may have started as self-medication slowly turn into a cause of mental disorders. Thus, ultimately causing the underlying issue to compound on itself, and it’s easy to get caught in a loop. In the short term, the drug or alcohol user feels a little better, but long-term effects will cause damage to one’s physical and mental health.

How Common is a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?

Dual diagnosis disorders are extremely common. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 45% of people in the US live with a dual diagnosis. Those diagnosed with a mental health disorder are roughly twice as likely to have a substance use disorder as the general population.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 60% of adolescents in drug treatment programs have a co-occurring mental illness. This is due in part to their stage of brain development.

Are There Risk Factors That Increase The Likelihood of a Dual Diagnosis Disorder?

Several risk factors contribute to the development of a dual diagnosis disorder including:

  1. Genetic Factors: One of the major risk factors for dual diagnosis disorders is a genetic predisposition. Research has shown that genetic factors may influence the development of both mental health disorders and substance use disorders. If a person has a family history of either or both of these types of disorders, their risk of a dual diagnosis disorder much higher.
  2. Environmental Factors: Stress, trauma, or exposure to substance use can also contribute to the development of dual diagnosis disorders. High-stress environments or traumatic experiences, especially during childhood, can lead to mental health disorders and encourage substance use as a coping mechanism. Early exposure to substance use also increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
  3. Brain Development and Function: Some mental health disorders may be linked to anomalies in brain development or function. Additionally, substance use can alter brain function and structure, which can increase vulnerability to mental health disorders.
  4. Psychological Factors: Certain psychological factors like low self-esteem, a tendency towards impulsivity, poor stress management, or difficulties in emotional regulation can predispose individuals to both mental health and substance use disorders. These conditions can both fuel and result from substance misuse.

Goals of Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Georgia

Every treatment plan should have goals so the individual can understand the ways in which they want to change their lives and be able to chart their progress. The clinicians working with each person can help establish goals and explain how they all fit together as part of an overall treatment plan. 

Goals for medication include finding the right one and the correct dosage. Medications can help treat mental health disorders, as well as help with things like withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone stops using drugs and alcohol. 

With therapy, multiple goals can be met. Individual and group therapy allow people to talk openly about their experiences, feelings, fears, and hopes for the future. For many, this is a first-time event and frees them up to make great strides in recovery from dual diagnosis. Other goals to work towards include understanding what a person’s triggers are and how to use healthy coping skills to combat them. They can also recognize when symptoms of mental illness are present and deal with them in an appropriate manner. 

Holistic therapy allows people to learn alternative ways to care for themselves. Another goal involves continuing certain holistic treatment methods, such as yoga, meditation, and good nutrition, long after treatment ends.

What Makes Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in Georgia Stand Apart?

Our dual diagnosis treatment center in Georgia stands apart due to a comprehensive, flexible, and personalized approach to client care. Here is what makes Buckhead Behavioral Health truly unique:

  1. Comprehensive Psychiatric Care: Our psychiatric team, led by our experienced Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, provides evidence-based mental health care. This team offers comprehensive diagnosis, psychiatry, and medication management, ensuring that every client gets the support they need to navigate their mental health challenges effectively.
  2. Flexible Levels of Care: We understand that not everyone’s recovery journey looks the same. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment levels and programs, ranging from intensive inpatient care to outpatient services. This allows us to provide the appropriate level of care at the right time, maximizing the chances for successful recovery.
  3. Trauma-Informed Treatment: Trauma can significantly impact mental health and substance use disorders. We recognize this and provide trauma-informed care to ensure all treatment interventions are sensitive to the client’s past experiences. This approach helps clients heal from past traumas and aids in their recovery journey.
  4. Highly Individualized Care: We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Each client who walks through our doors is unique, and their treatment should reflect that. We take the time to get to know our clients, understand their specific needs, and tailor our programs to those needs. This customization can enhance the treatment’s effectiveness and increase the likelihood of sustained recovery.
  5. Client-Centric Approach: Rather than making clients fit into our pre-existing programs, we adjust our programs to suit each client. This approach not only respects individuality but also helps foster a sense of ownership and engagement in one’s treatment, making recovery more meaningful and sustainable.

Services Offered at Buckhead Behavioral Health

One of the biggest advantages of attending our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia involves the many treatment options we provide. Our services include:

When we meet with people who come to us for help, we discuss their options for services and which ones will help them meet their treatment goals.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in Atlanta, Georgia

Dual diagnosis proves challenging to live with and can make having the life you want difficult. If you or someone you love suffers from this, we can help. Buckhead Behavioral Health provides dual diagnosis treatment centers in Georgia that help people address both their mental health and substance use disorders. Our multidisciplinary staff uses evidence-based practices to help individuals recover in a safe and structured setting free from distractions.

Visit our admissions page now and get started on treating your dual diagnosis. We can help you change your life and feel better starting today. 

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