Addressing Dual Diagnosis: Mental Health Disorders & Substance Abuse

One of the foundational ideas of holistic healing is that no disease exists in a vacuum. A condition that affects one specific area of the body can be treated by caring for your entire well-being. Our bodies and minds are more than collections of isolated systems — they’re fully integrated organisms that can’t be healed by looking only at one symptom. A good example of this is the connection between addiction and mental illness. Although many tend to think of these as two separate issues, the truth is that they often go hand in hand. Treating both together is crucial for any type of success in dealing with the problem. 

Fortunately, there are numerous options for helping those dealing with a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Whether in the controlled environment of a hospital or on an outpatient basis, these treatments can succeed because they approach substance abuse and mental illness as two sides of the same coin, rather than individual illnesses. Depending on the patient and severity of the condition, support groups, medication and/or daily therapy sessions may be able to help the individual down the road to recovery.

Treating any disease has to consider the entirety of a person’s body and lifestyle. See the accompanying guide for more ways to cope with the dual diagnosis of addiction and mental health disorders.


Author bio: Senior Psychotherapist Lindsey Kimball joined Column Health — an outpatient mental health clinic — after receiving her master’s degree in mental health from Caldwell University. Her clinical background includes the assistance of individuals with a variety of conditions ranging from incarceration to brain injury. She believes in the process of forming a safe space for healing that is unique to the individual, and based on a foundation of trust and collaboration. 

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