Dual diagnosis, sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorders, or COD, is the coexistence of an issue with mental health and substance abuse or addiction. Psychiatric needs are difficult to determine while a person is struggling with addiction, as symptoms of the substance abuse or addiction often appear as underlying psychiatric concerns.

Symptoms of Dual Diagnosis

Substance abuse symptoms such as:

• increased tolerance of substance
• preference to use above other duties or activities
• withdrawal, such as sweating or shaking, after not using

Mental health symptoms such as:

• depression
• anxiety
• aggression
• lethargy


Substance abuse or addiction often go hand-in-hand with psychiatric conditions. Often, substances are misused to self-medicate, ending up in a perpetual cycle of abuse.


Although it is a common occurrence, it can be difficult to treat dual diagnosis. Treatment for those facing dual diagnosis is most effective once substance use has ceased. A therapist can offer healthier habits and thought patterns in place of the substance as a way of coping. Therapy reinforces a client’s self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. A therapist can further a client’s understanding of his or her psychiatric needs, providing a safe and supportive environment of recovery.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists can give guidance for the challenges of overcoming stress, and redirect negative, learned habits, such as turning to substances, into positive behavioral skills.

Interested in seeing one of our therapists for an affordable rate? Start your search here.