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Dual Diagnosis Services: What They Are and Why They’re Important

When a person suffers from two or more health disorders at the same time, this is commonly referred to as comorbidity. Generally, the disorders and their symptoms can interfere with one another, causing both or all of them to worsen. When treating a person who suffers from two or more disorders at the same time, it is imperative that dual diagnosis services be obtained. Such services allow a person to receive treatment for each disorder at the same time.

Treatment Types

There are many treatment methods used within dual diagnosis services, including any of the following:

  • Self-help groups
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Recreational activities
  • Exercise sessions
  • Medications
  • Mindfulness training
  • Psychosocial groups
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehabs
  • Contingency management

Many people who suffer from more than one disorder are not aware that dual diagnosis services exist. In fact, only about 12 percent receive the dual diagnosis treatment that they need. For those who are interested in receiving such treatment, it is important to understand that dual diagnosis services are provided according to various treatment plans.

Parallel Treatment

When a person receives dual diagnosis services according to a parallel treatment plan, this means that both or all conditions are treated at the same time, yet the services are provided independently of each other. Treatment for one of the disorders is provided by one service provider, while treatment for another disorder is provided by a different service provider. Take for instance that a person suffers from an eating disorder and anxiety. Under a parallel treatment plan, treatment for the eating disorder would be provided by one institution or doctor, and anxiety would be treated by a different entity.

Sequential Treatment

Under this type of treatment plan, the disorders are carefully assessed against one another, with the primary disorder being treated first, followed then by treating the other. However, throughout the entire treatment process, all conditions are considered when choosing and implementing treatment methods.

Integrated Treatment

An integrated treatment plan means that both or all disorders are treated at the same time and by the same service provider. One of the primary benefits gained through integrated treatment is that the service provider can gain an extremely in-depth view of the patient’s disorders. And it is through this view that a physician can better treat the disorders that the person suffers from.

Stepped Care

Stepped care involves carrying out less intensive treatment options during the first round. If these treatment methods work, then no further treatment will be needed. However, if they do not work effectively, then more intensive methods are implemented to any of the disorders that a patient is suffering from. Sometimes, stepped care will involve implementing sequential or parallel treatment methods only to be followed by integrated services.

Pasadena Villa programs offers many unique and individualized services for those with a primary mental health diagnosis with a co-occurring chemical dependency or substance abuse as a secondary diagnosis.

Pasadena Villa residential mental health services are co-occurring capable.  Our programs set out to create a comforting and therapeutic environment. Our staff and residents learn and model appropriate social and communication skills, from daily mealtimes, to many enjoyable recreational activities.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 877-845-5235 for more information.



If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health disorder, Pasadena Villa can help. We are here to answer questions and connect to care. Pasadena Villa currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Cary, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about our program, call us at
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