Dual diagnosis and substance abuse program in Virginia

When a person feels sad, hopeless or exhausted, addressing substance use issues is a special challenge that may be difficult to face. However, there is hope and help at Dominion Hospital. Our teams of experts are compassionate and understanding. They have deep knowledge about the link between substance use and mental health. This can allow you to seek appropriate treatment, letting us address both issues to make recovery possible.

To get help and learn more about the substance abuse program at Dominion Hospital, call our First Step counselors, available 24/7 at (703) 538-2872.

Understanding a dual diagnosis

When someone has a mental health illness as well as a substance abuse issue, it is referred to as "dual diagnosis." This is different than "co-occurring disorders," in which a patient may have one or more of a variety of diseases along with their substance abuse issue.

Mental health and substance abuse

In 2018, more than 9 million adults in the U.S. experienced both mental health and substance abuse issues. In part, many people use alcohol and drugs to deal with the symptoms of a psychiatric illness. This is often referred to as "self-medicating." Unfortunately, although the effects of alcohol or drugs can provide temporary relief from feelings such as anxiety and depression, they can ultimately have the opposite effect. When the bad feelings return, a cycle begins, leading to continued use and, often, addiction.

Intersect program for dual diagnosis

Dominion Hospital’s co-occurring substance use program (Intersect) is a treatment track within our adolescent behavioral health and adult behavioral health programs, inpatient and outpatient. The Intersect program is for individuals who have a dual diagnosis. (They must have been identified as having both a mental health diagnosis and a regular use of drugs, including alcohol.) It's critical that both conditions are properly diagnosed to ensure treatment is appropriate and effective.

Our approach to care

The goal of the Intersect program is to treat the individual as a whole, addressing both symptoms of substance use and behavioral health conditions. We believe in enhancing an individual’s capacity for positive change by creating an environment of acceptance. Here, issues related to the use of substances can be explored and changed, facilitated in a supportive and encouraging space.

What to expect in the program

The best approach to treatment is an integrated, individualized, patient-centered and holistic program combined with appropriate social support. We provide this through improved communication, training in coping skills and modeling personal accountability. It allows individuals to gradually gain healthy abilities to manage their symptoms.

The Intersect program is grounded in the following principles:

  • Belief in human capacity to change
  • Belief that family and social support are the cornerstones of recovery
  • Dedication to evidence-based treatments
  • Dedication to trauma-informed care

Substance abuse treatment

Our treatment plan integrates medication evaluation, medication management and group therapy. Most medications used to treat psychiatric disorders—proven safe and effective for long-term use—are not addictive. Additionally, participating in Intersect groups can help provide structure and positive peer feedback. In these ways, patients begin to learn important information about drugs, alcohol and behavioral health. This helps them begin to develop adaptive coping skills to aid in long-term recovery.