Journey Malibu’s Approach To Dual Diagnosis Disorders

At Journey Malibu our extensive resources allow us to treat cases of co-occurring illnesses.

When more than one disorder occurs simultaneously in the same person, they are referred to as “Co-Occurring”, or “comorbid” disorders, and the affected individual receives a “Dual Diagnosis”. Recent surveys have shown that alcoholism and drug abuse very often go hand in hand with a variety of other co-occurring disorders. As many as six out of ten people with a substance use disorder also suffer from another form of mental illness. If you suffer from mood, thought, anxiety or personality disorder, in conjunction with alcohol and drug addiction, our treatment center is the perfect solution.

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Untreated Co-occurring Disorders = Relapse

Rest assured, we will assess, treat, and then reassess your condition as we proceed with a treatment plan. We know that co-occurring disorders can often exist independent of a drug or alcohol addiction. But we are also aware that once substance abuse becomes an addiction, that addiction overrides the underlying co-occurring illnesses. At Journey Malibu, we treat your addiction as the “primary chronic relapsing disease” it is so that we can then more effectively approach your co-occurring disorders.

Among the most frequent co-occurring disorders found in dual diagnosis individuals who also suffer from alcoholism or drug abuse are:


  • Post-traumatic stress disordermalibu_drug_rehab_0317b
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder


  • Major depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV)

But we also know the high prevalence of these co-occurring disorders (or “comorbidities”) does not necessarily mean that one condition caused the other, even if one appeared first. In fact, in discussing co-occurring disorders, there are at least three scenarios one should consider:

  1. Drug abuse may induce a manifestation of mental illness
  2. Mental illness is often associated with drug abuse
  3. Drug abuse and mental disorders may be related to other modifying influences.

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  • Genetic factors. Mounting evidence suggests that common genetic factors may predispose individuals to experience multiple co-occurring disorders as well as addiction.
  • Environmental triggers. Stress, trauma (e.g., physical or sexual abuse), and early exposure to drugs are common factors that can contribute to addiction and to mental illness, particularly in those with underlying genetic vulnerabilities.
  • Neurobiology. Brain circuits linked to reward processing as well as those implicated in the stress response are affected by abused substances and also show abnormalities in specific mental disorders.
  • Substance abuse can exacerbate mental disorders. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), early exposure to drugs can change the brain in ways that increase the risk for mental illness, just as early symptoms of a mental disorder may increase vulnerability to drug abuse.(Source:



    1. Patients with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to also suffer from a substance disorder.
    2. On the other hand, patients with substance disorders are roughly twice as likely to be diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders. (Source:

The rates of specific co-occurring disorders also vary by gender. Among men and women in drug treatment, an antisocial personality disorder is more common in men, while women have higher rates of major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other anxiety disorders such as borderline personality.

So if you’re committed to your recovery, and are looking for a treatment center that can sensitively and effectively treat your co-occurring disorders, make JOURNEY MALIBU your destination.

Call Our Helpline Now At (888) 717-5643.

How Can Co-occurring Disorders Be Diagnosed and Treated?

The high correlation of substance abuse and co-occurring disorders explains why our specialists at JOURNEY MALIBU take such a comprehensive approach with our incoming guests, in order to identify, evaluate, and simultaneously treat both ends of this equation. Dual diagnosis patients with co-occurring disorders often exhibit more severe symptoms than patients who suffer from either disorder alone, underscoring the need for integrated treatment. With careful diagnosis and monitoring, like that provided at our JOURNEY MALIBU Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, we will help ensure that symptoms related to drug abuse (e.g., intoxication, withdrawal) are not mistaken for a discrete, co-occurring disorder.

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Even in people whose co-occurring disorders do not occur simultaneously, research shows that mental disorders can increase vulnerability to subsequent drug abuse, while drug abuse constitutes a risk factor for subsequent mental disorders. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment of one co-occurring disorder will likely reduce the risk for the other, or at least improve its prognosis. The need to develop effective interventions to treat both conditions concurrently is strongly supported by research but has been difficult to implement in practice because:

  • The health care systems in place to treat dually diagnosed substance abuse and mental illness are typically disconnected, hence inefficient. Many physicians and therapists trained to treat patients with mental illnesses are not trained or skilled in the comprehensive treatment for addiction. At Journey Malibu we have hired a wide range of skilled professionals who work as an integrated team, providing you with the best services for both
  • Some substance abuse treatment centers are biased against using any medications, including those necessary to treat patients with severe mental co-occurring disorders.

So if you’re committed to your recovery, and are looking for a treatment center that can sensitively and effectively treat your co-occurring disorders, make JOURNEY MALIBU your destination.

Call Our Helpline Now At (888) 717-5643.

The Best Treatment For The Most Challenging Illnesses

With genuine focus on the physical health of our clients and their psychological wellbeing, Journey Malibu’s expert therapists attack co-occurring illnesses on all fronts.

Behavioral treatment options customized for a given age group or gender have shown promise for treating drug abuse and co-occurring disorders, and research is underway to identify medications, as well as treatment methods, which can effectively target these co-occurring disorders. Clinicians and researchers generally agree that broad-spectrum diagnosis and concurrent therapy (pharmacological and behavioral) will lead to better outcomes for patients with co-occurring disorders.

Unfortunately, the stigma attached to dual diagnosis patients suffering from co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental disorders often hinders early diagnosis and proper treatment. Our hope at the JOURNEY MALIBU Recovery Center is that the treatment our guests will receive here will help reduce the social stigma that too often stands in the way of those seeking treatment for either or both conditions.

So if you’re committed to your recovery, and are looking for a treatment center that can sensitively and effectively treat your co-occurring disorders, make JOURNEY MALIBU your destination.

Call Our Helpline Now At (888) 717-5643.