Medically Reviewed

Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment in Memphis, TN

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Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Addiction has many causes, including genetics, environment, childhood experiences, and more. Frequently, people who struggle with addiction develop the disorder due to a combination of reasons. One of the most common risk factors for substance use disorders is the presence of an untreated mental health condition.

When someone struggles with a mental illness, the symptoms of that condition will affect every area of their lives. Leaving the disorder untreated often causes the person to seek out ways to self-medicate their symptoms. This often leads to the development of co-occurring mental illness and addiction.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.”[1]

Having both a mental illness and a substance use disorder is referred to as a dual diagnosis or having co-occurring disorders. When you struggle with co-occurring disorders, you must seek treatment for both or all of your conditions to ensure long-term recovery. Dual-diagnosis addiction treatment programs in Memphis, TN can provide you with evidence-based substance abuse treatment services and mental health support.

Which Mental Health Conditions Co-Occur With Addiction?

Mental health conditions are common in the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.”[2] There are tons of different mental health conditions that affect Americans daily, including anxiety, depression, and more.

When someone suffers from a mental illness, coping with daily life can be extremely difficult. The symptoms of their condition often make it hard to complete seemingly normal tasks. This can lead an individual to begin self-medicating their symptoms with drugs and alcohol, causing the development of a substance use disorder.

According to NAMI, 32.1% of individuals with a mental illness also struggled with addiction in 2020.[2] This means that 17 million people suffered from addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition.

Almost every single mental illness has the potential to co-occur with a substance use disorder. However, certain mental health conditions are more likely to cause individuals to develop an addiction.

According to SAMHSA, the most common mental health conditions to co-occur with substance use disorders include:[1]

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Conduct disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Why Treat Both Conditions at the Same Time?

When you suffer from a mental health condition and begin abusing drugs or alcohol, the substances can begin to worsen your symptoms. In fact, some individuals develop mental health conditions as a result of frequent substance abuse, proving that drugs and alcohol exacerbate psychiatric disorders.[3]

Experiencing substance abuse and mental health issues at the same time can complicate recovery. Some of the common challenges of having a co-occurring disorder include:

  • Difficulty pinpointing whether symptoms stem from the mental illness or substance use disorder
  • Symptoms of one condition worsening the other
  • Adverse reactions to psychiatric medications because of drug or alcohol misuse
  • Difficulty dealing with the symptoms of both conditions, leading to isolation or little to no support
  • Double the stigma, causing feelings of guilt and shame

Because substance abuse can worsen your mental health condition, you must address both concerns at the same time. In other words, you should attend treatment for both your addiction and your mental illness simultaneously. Without doing so, the symptoms of your untreated condition can cause a relapse in the one you have recovered from.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment Work in Memphis, Tennessee?

Dual diagnosis addiction treatment in Memphis, TN combines traditional addiction treatment methods with evidence-based mental illness treatment techniques. These programs are equipped to provide you with tools and support for mental illness and addiction at the same time.

During a dual diagnosis rehab program, you can expect to receive the following services:


Detox is the first step in addiction recovery, as it removes the substances from your body safely and comfortably. When you are addicted to a substance, your body grows accustomed to that drug and begins to rely on it to function normally. Once you stop taking it, your body will begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.

Symptoms of withdrawal must be treated in a medical detox program, as some substances can cause life-threatening symptoms like seizures or severe dehydration. During a detox program, you will be provided with medications that soothe your symptoms and keep you medically stable throughout the entire process.


After you complete detox, you will participate in group and individual therapy. Therapy will be used to teach you how to manage the symptoms of your mental illness and substance use disorder healthily. Most commonly, behavioral therapy is used as positive changes in behavior are necessary to maintain long-term recovery from co-occurring disorders.

Common types of therapy used in dual diagnosis treatment in Memphis, Tennessee include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • The matrix model
  • Family behavior therapy


Depending on the type of mental health condition you suffer from and how severe your symptoms are, you may be provided with psychiatric medications. While some individuals never require medication, it is beneficial for individuals who have therapy-resistant symptoms or need immediate relief while they work on their condition in therapy.

The medications used to treat mental health conditions in a dual diagnosis program are not habit-forming, preventing them from causing issues with your substance use disorder. For example, depression and anxiety disorders are often treated using SSRIs or SNRIs, which are effective in providing relief from symptoms without leading to dependency.

Relapse Prevention

Lastly, before you complete dual diagnosis addiction treatment you will participate in relapse prevention planning. For addiction, this prevents you from returning to substance abuse when times get tough. Relapse prevention planning assists in mental illness recovery by providing you with healthy coping mechanisms to manage your symptoms effectively.

Important aspects of a relapse prevention plan for dual diagnosis include:

  • Continued attendance of individual and/or group therapy
  • Access to an alumni support group
  • Referrals to sober living housing programs
  • Continued medication management as needed
  • A list of triggers and coping mechanisms to use
  • A list of people you can call for support in times of need
  • Recommendations of sober support groups to attend, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery

Start Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment in Memphis, TN Today

If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health condition and suffering from addiction, PAX Memphis is here to help. Co-occurring mental illness and addiction can be extremely difficult to live with, often causing you to have a hard time functioning in your daily life.

At PAX Memphis, our goal is to connect you with top-rated mental health and addiction recovery centers in Tennessee. Contact us today to find dual diagnosis treatment in Memphis.