Understanding Alcohol Addiction Recovery Through Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Updated on October 9, 2019

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is also known by a number of different names like alcohol use disorder and alcoholism. It is simply regarded as a condition in which an individual cannot stay without consuming alcohol or cannot stay sober for any length of time. Doctors regard this as an actual disease because it causes changes to a person’s neurochemistry and brain functions such that an individual may not have full control over their actions.

This condition can be caused by any number of factors from psychological ones to social ones. Some experts actually think that sex, genetics, race, or even socioeconomics are some factors that can predispose a person to this condition.

Though this condition can range from really mild to really severe, in each case, there is always a strong dependence on alcohol. You can read more about it here.

Possible Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol dependence can show itself in different ways. While some of the signs may also be caused by other conditions or factors, those listed below are some signs that people suffering from this addiction are almost always sure to exhibit.

  • Inability to feel comfortable without having a drink. This includes ability to fall asleep.
  • Uncontrollable desire to have a drink even when it is not ideal or convenient to do so.
  • Drinking even when it interferes or prevents you from performing your obligations.
  • Becoming depressed when not drinking or under the influence of alcohol.
  • You’ve tried to stop drinking but can’t.
  • The thought of not being able to drink scares you.
  • Drinking has caused you a lot of legal and social problems, but you still refuse to stop drinking.
  • When you even try to stop, you begin to show withdrawal symptoms.


There are a number of approaches that have been adopted over the years in the treatment of alcohol addiction. These treatments have comprised of medicinal approaches, counseling and behavioral therapy. You can find some of these approaches here: https://www.verywellmind.com/study-defines-most-effective-alcoholism-treatments-66739.

While these have recorded some levels of success in treating this condition, it has been found that this condition may often not be the only thing to be dealt with. This has led to what is now described as dual diagnosis.

In this case, the alcohol addiction being looked at can be as a result of another mental condition. In another scenario, the alcohol addiction might have caused another mental condition like depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia or anxiety disorder.

In such a situation, a dual diagnosis will be made, and the two different conditions will have to be treated. If one is treated and the other not treated, it will only be a matter of time before the untreated condition triggers the treated condition.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment


When an individual has a dual diagnosis, which includes alcohol addiction and any other mental health issue, the dual diagnosis treatment must first deal with the substance abuse. In this case, the individual has to stay off alcohol.

An effective dual diagnosis treatment needs to have the following components:

The two diagnosed conditions MUST be treated together. They cannot be treated as separate conditions. This has made this type of treatment a little bit more difficult. Any expert will tell you that it is easier to treat a stand-alone condition than a dual diagnosis.

The need for the simultaneous treatment of the two conditions arises from the fact that there is an interaction between the two. The treatment plan therefore has to take this into full consideration. This will ensure that a relapse in one does trigger a relapse in the other.

A treatment plan must be multi-facetted. This will include a combination of drugs, counseling, and behavioral therapy. There will also be the expected detox program which should be part of the entire process. Truth be said, it can be a very demanding process but with qualified professionals, it can be managed and treated. You can actually visit sites like ChaptersCapistrano to learn more about dual diagnosis.


If you suspect that you or anyone close to you might be suffering from either a mental health condition or substance abuse, it is important that help is sort quickly. The longer these conditions are left to fester, the worse the individual will get.

Rather than act out of shame, staying away from the individual, get them the help they need and you will help get them back to living a full life.

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