Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Massachusetts: Comprehensive Guide

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder is when an individual experiences both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. This condition is quite common, and treating it is often complicated. Dual diagnosis treatment is specialized care that addresses both the addiction and the underlying mental health issues simultaneously.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis, also known as a co-occurring disorder, is the term used to describe an individual experiencing both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder simultaneously. This condition is prevalent in Massachusetts and is often difficult to diagnose and treat.

Definition and Overview of Dual Diagnosis

The most common co-occurring disorders include major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder (BPD). When an individual has a dual diagnosis, treating only one disorder will not be effective in addressing the underlying issue. 

Prevalence and Statistics of Dual Diagnosis

According to SAMHSA, approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States had co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in 2021. In Massachusetts, the prevalence of dual diagnosis is also high, with many individuals struggling with both substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Diagnosis of Dual Diagnosis

Diagnosing dual diagnosis requires a comprehensive assessment that evaluates an individual’s substance use and mental health history. Clinicians in Massachusetts may use various screening tools and tests to identify the presence of a co-occurring disorder. It is important that patients remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol in order to treat any dual diagnosis issues.

Types of Co-Occurring Disorders

Mental health disorders commonly co-occurring with substance use disorders in Massachusetts include major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, and BPD.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder, or depression, is a common co-occurring disorder with substance use disorders. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities. Depression can make it challenging to maintain sobriety, and individuals with this co-occurring disorder may require specialized treatment.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, frequently co-occur with substance use disorders. Symptoms of anxiety include persistent worry, fear, and panic attacks. Treating anxiety and substance use disorders simultaneously in Massachusetts may require specialized care to manage symptoms effectively.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes extreme mood swings between mania and depression. It commonly co-occurs with substance use disorders, and treatment for bipolar disorder and substance abuse requires a comprehensive approach.

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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It can cause symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance. Many individuals in Massachusetts with PTSD turn to drugs or alcohol to manage their symptoms, leading to substance use disorders.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder that affects an individual’s ability to think, feel, and behave. Substance use disorders are common in individuals with schizophrenia, and treating both disorders is crucial for long-term recovery.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is a personality disorder that causes an individual to have unstable emotions and relationships. Substance use disorders commonly co-occur with BPD, and specialized treatment is necessary to manage both disorders effectively.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

Dual-diagnosis treatment options include traditional talk therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and holistic approaches. In Massachusetts, there are various treatment options available to individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Traditional Talk Therapy

Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is a standard dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts. These therapies aim to help individuals manage their symptoms and develop coping mechanisms. CBT focuses on identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with positive ones, while DBT focuses on improving emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT involves the use of medication to treat substance use disorders and mental health disorders simultaneously. In Massachusetts, medications such as naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers may be used to treat co-occurring mental health disorders.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic approaches, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and acupuncture, may also be used in dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts. These therapies aim to improve overall well-being and address underlying issues such as stress and trauma.

Integrated Treatment Programs

Integrated treatment programs in Massachusetts aim to provide comprehensive care that addresses both substance use and mental health disorders. These programs involve a combination of talk therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and holistic approaches.

Finding Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Massachusetts

Finding appropriate dual-diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts can be challenging, but there are resources available to help individuals and their families.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides a directory of licensed substance use and mental health treatment providers in the state. Individuals can search for providers based on location, type of service, and insurance accepted.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline provides free, confidential information and referrals for individuals and their families facing mental health and substance use disorders. The helpline is available 24/7 and can connect individuals to treatment facilities and support groups in Massachusetts.

Online Resources

There are various online resources available to individuals in Massachusetts seeking dual diagnosis treatment. These resources include online support groups, educational resources, and virtual therapy sessions.

Consider Emory Recovery Center

You can also consider us for Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring treatment in Massachusetts. We are located in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and offer a comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment program that combines evidence-based therapies with holistic approaches. Our team of experienced professionals provides individualized treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique needs. Emory Recovery Center offers a range of services, including an Intensive Outpatient Program, Day treatment, and Medication Assisted Treatment.


What is the success rate of dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts?

The success rate of dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts varies depending on the individual and their unique circumstances. However, research has shown that integrated treatment programs that address both substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously have higher success rates than traditional treatment programs that only address one disorder.

Can I receive dual diagnosis treatment in an outpatient setting in Massachusetts?

Yes, individuals with co-occurring disorders can receive dual diagnosis treatment in outpatient settings in Massachusetts. Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while maintaining their daily responsibilities.

How long does dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts typically last?

The length of dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts depends on the individual’s needs and the severity of their co-occurring disorders. Treatment may last anywhere from a few months to a year or longer.

Is dual diagnosis treatment covered by insurance in Massachusetts?

Yes, dual diagnosis treatment is covered by most insurance plans in Massachusetts. Individuals should check with their insurance provider to determine their specific coverage.

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