Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado

Oftentimes, people with substance use disorders also suffer from mental health disorders. When a person is suffering from two different types of disorders at the same time, such as a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, that person will need to receive dual diagnosis treatment. Individuals can receive high-quality dual diagnosis treatment in Colorado at Spero Recovery Center.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis is a diagnosis of two different types of disorders that are occurring within a person at the same time. Thus, another term for a dual diagnosis disorder is a co-occurring disorder.

When people use the term dual diagnosis, they are most likely referring to a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health disorder. This is because substance use and mental health disorders frequently co-occur with one another.

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The community vibe we foster at Spero Recovery enables our clients to feel comfortable and teaches them interpersonal skills. We want to create a safe environment for our clients; our goal is to provide a space where they can become the people they have always wanted to be.

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At Spero Recovery, we immerse our guests into a 12 Step community. They find sponsors, meet up with them regularly, and work through the 12 Steps. Members of the community pass down the gift of recovery to our clients, which allows them to begin the process of recovery and eventually pass on the gift to other clients.

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We also offer experiential programming – hikes and other outdoor activities. We also have a full woodworking shop. Inviting specialists onto the premises—such as meditation teachers and chefs—is one of our favorite things to do. Our goal is to teach our guests essential life skills and the importance of building relationships.

Examples of Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

There are numerous mental health disorders that can co-occur with substance use disorders. Some of the most common dual diagnosis disorders include the following:

Anxiety often co-occurs with substance use disorders for a number of reasons. One, many people with anxiety struggle to manage their racing thoughts and anxious impulses. Thus, many people with anxiety start to abuse substances to cope.

Unfortunately, the substances that individuals with anxiety often choose to abuse are the pills that are supposed to help them treat their anxiety. This is because many people with anxiety take more anxiety medication than they are supposed to or they take anxiety medication more frequently than they’re supposed to. Anxiety medications that people often abuse include Xanax and Valium.

Before an individual with a co-occurring anxiety disorder and prescription drug addiction realizes it, they are in a vicious cycle in which they need more and more substances to cope with his or her anxiety despite the fact that abusing anxiety medication is causing the individual to suffer from withdrawal symptoms that cause more anxious thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, the only way to truly treat a co-occurring anxiety disorder and prescription drug addiction is to treat both conditions at the same time through dual diagnosis treatment. Spero Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment in Colorado.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe form of anxiety that causes intense, uncontrollable bodily reactions when triggered. Therefore, many people cannot handle suffering from PTSD without self-medicating themselves.

Because alcohol is the most accessible substance, many people with anxiety disorders such as PTSD turn to it first for self-medication. Unfortunately, alcohol is highly addictive when abused. War veterans often struggle with PTSD and alcohol addiction due to trying to cope with the trauma that they experienced while in battle.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is another severe form of anxiety that often leads to alcohol abuse and addiction. Individuals who suffer from OCD experience ruminating thoughts and impulsive behaviors. These ruminating thoughts and impulsive behaviors can become so severe that they are all a person can think about and do. For example, people with OCD about cleanliness and washing their hands may wash their hands numerous times before and after interacting with anyone or touching anything. Such obsessive thoughts and behaviors can cause a person to waste their entire day away.

To cope with the intense ruminations and obsessive behaviors that come with OCD, many individuals with obsessive-compulsive behavior start to abuse any substance that they can find to cope. Because alcohol is so accessible, it often becomes the substance that many individuals with OCD end up abusing first. To treat a co-occurring intensive mental health disorder and substance use disorder such as OCD and alcohol addiction, individuals need to receive dual diagnosis treatment in Colorado at Spero Recovery.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes people to experience negative thoughts about themselves, hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts. Many people who suffer from depression start to abuse substances to help them cope with their negative thoughts and emotions. Alcohol is often the substance of choice that people with depression choose to abuse.

Unfortunately, while alcohol may make people feel buzzed initially, the substance is ultimately a depressant and can, thus, worsen a person’s depression symptoms. As a result, many people who suffer from depression and alcohol addiction are once again stuck in a vicious cycle that they can’t get out of without the help of dual diagnosis treatment at a rehab facility.

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes people to experience long-standing manic highs and depressive lows. Substance abuse and addiction strongly correlate with bipolar disorder. While people with bipolar disorder often abuse various different substances, like many mental health disorders, bipolar disorder often co-occurs with alcohol addiction.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes people to be unnaturally hyperactive and impulsive while also causing them to struggle paying attention. Because doctors often prescribe people with ADHD medication such as Adderall or Ritalin to help them manage their condition, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some individuals with ADHD will abuse such drugs to the point of developing a prescription drug addiction. Once individuals with ADHD develop a prescription drug addiction, they must receive dual diagnosis treatment to get better.

Why Do Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Disorders Often Co-Occur?

There are a number of reasons why substance use disorders often co-occur with mental health disorders. One is that many people with mental health disorders start to abuse substances to cope with their conditions. Such substance abuse eventually leads to substance dependency and ultimately, addiction on top of an already occurring mental health disorder.

Another reason why substance use disorders and mental health disorders often co-occur is that chronically abusing substances often causes changes to people’s brain that trigger that development of mental health disorders. Our Spero model at our recovery center follows 12 step, clinically-informed programming to help treat substance and mental disorders at once.

What Disorder in a Dual Diagnosis Comes First?

When it comes to co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, many people wonder what comes first. Is the chicken before the egg or the egg before the chicken? In this scenario, both often occur.

One can easily develop a substance use disorder after suffering from a mental health disorder. One can also easily develop a mental health disorder after abusing substances to the point of which it’s causing changes in his or her brain that leads to the development of mental health disorders. Therefore, the answer to the question, what disorder in a dual diagnosis comes first, is both. Both can and do often come first, it just depends on the scenario.

Signs and Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis Disorder

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There are many signs and symptoms that show that a person suffers from a dual diagnosis disorder. Many of these signs and symptoms are the same as those that show that a person suffers from a substance use disorder and mental health disorder individually.

Common signs and symptoms of a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health disorder include the following:

  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Sudden change of social circle
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Sudden issues at work or in school
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms from substance of choice
  • The willingness to do almost anything to get more substance to use
  • Increased tolerance to substance of choice
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating

Behavioral Therapies That Help Treat Dual Diagnosis Disorders

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While there are a number of addiction therapies that can also help treat mental health issues, there are two forms of behavioral therapy that are most known to do so. These include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on helping people identify their negative thoughts and feelings and then changing them into positive ones. That way, people can behave in a more positive manner.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on helping people accept their negative thoughts and emotions. That way such negative thoughts and emotions don’t have the power to cause people to behave negatively.

Additional Tools That Can Help with Dual Diagnosis Treatment

On top of addiction therapy and behavioral therapy, other tools that can help treat a dual diagnosis include:


While many people with dual diagnosis disorders suffer from an addiction to prescription medication, medication itself isn’t a bad thing. The reason why many people with mental health disorders suffer from prescription drug addiction is because they chose to abuse their medications by taking more pills than necessary or pills more frequently than necessary.

When people properly take on medication while in detox and rehab that treat their withdrawal symptoms and help them manage their pain, it helps them achieve recovery quicker.

Support Groups

No one accomplishes anything on his or her own. Therefore, people in dual diagnosis treatment should take part in support groups so that they can hold one another accountable for their actions and enjoy one another’s company.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment is the treatment of two disorders at the same time. Individuals that mention dual diagnosis treatment are likely talking about treatment for co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment uses evidence-based forms of addiction and mental health therapies to treat patients.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

There are numerous benefits of dual diagnosis treatment. These benefits include:

Dual diagnosis treatment is beneficial because it treats not just the addiction, but the root cause of the addiction, which is usually mental health issues. Similarly, dual diagnosis treatment treats the root cause of many mental health issues, which is substance abuse. Therefore, through dual diagnosis treatment, individuals are receiving care that treats every aspect of a person’s condition.

By treating the root cause of a substance use or mental health disorder, dual diagnosis treatment helps prevent people from relapsing.

Not abusing substances and no longer living in constant stress and anxiety due to receiving treatment for a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder can greatly help improve a person’s physical health and wellbeing.

Receive Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado

If you suffer from a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder and need to receive treatment, there is no better place to do so than Spero Recovery in Colorado. Here at Spero Recovery, we believe that all people in need of addiction treatment should be able to receive it, regardless of financial status. Because of this belief, we offer our patients the most affordable and accessible 30-day recovery program available.

Spero Recovery offers various, specialized forms of addiction and mental health therapy along with dual diagnosis treatment, aftercare treatment, and sober living homes. To take advantage of all that Spero recovery has to offer, contact us today. We would love to hear from you!

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