How can I get help for my loved one who has a substance abuse issue and a mental health condition (dual diagnosis)?
Note: NAMI volunteers are not medical or mental health professionals, and we cannot offer medical or mental health advice. The material outlined below is informational and we hope that it helps provide guidance toward getting support.
Dual Diagnosis is a term that describes when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. People experiencing a mental health condition may turn to alcohol or other substances as a form of self-medication to improve the mental health symptoms they experience. However, research shows that alcohol and other illegal substances worsen the symptoms of mental illnesses.
The following resources may be of help with finding treatment or support for your loved one:
- NAMI Hearts+Minds is a wellness program designed to educate and empower you to better manage your mental and physical health, by sharing information about managing medication side effects, substance abuse and smoking cessation, gut health and nutrition, and more. Find a 4-hour seminar or 4-session course at your local NAMI Affiliate.
- SAMHSA Treatment Locator is a Federal agency website that provides referrals for substance use disorder treatment facilities. SAMHSA is a good resource for locating low-cost/sliding scale mental health care, substance abuse and dual diagnosis facilities. SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator can narrow search by insurance, cost of treatment and type of treatment. Their website also includes programs like assertive community treatment and residential treatment. You can reach SAMHSA at (800) 662-4357; Spanish-language calls are accepted.
- FindTreatment.gov offers a “Find a Treatment Facility Near You” locator function. Search by city or zip code; filter results by type of treatment, payment options, ages served, languages spoken, special programs (e.g. veterans, LGBT, services for deaf and hard of hearing), and more. Once you have identified a provider, contact your insurance company to verify coverage.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse is the lead federal agency supporting scientific research on drug use and addiction. Visit their website for FAQs on addiction, research, data, clinical trials, and news updates.
- Start Your Recovery offers information about signs and symptoms of substance use disorder, information about supporting a loved one and choosing and locating a treatment program. Website offers a search function to locate counseling, support groups and treatment facilities.
- Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) is a self-help program for people seeking to overcome addictive problems, that provides free, peer-led online and in-person support groups for individuals and family members/allies of those living with addiction. Contact SMART Recovery at (440) 951-5357.
- Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States. Website provides information on addiction basics, prevention, treatment, recovery, safety, and loss and features a “Find Help” locator function on their website.
- The National Drug HelpLine, (844) 289-0879, is a free, confidential 24/7 hotline for information about substance use or misuse, including how to recognize drug use in a loved one and how to locate treatment options in your area.
- Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) Resource Center is a 12-step self-help membership organization for individuals with a dual diagnosis. Features a support group search function on its website.
The following resources may be of help with finding support for yourself:
- Al-Anon/Al-Ateen offers support and hope for family and friends of individuals (including teen-specific resources) abusing alcohol. Website offers a “Find an Al-Anon Meeting” and “Find an Alateen Meeting” support group locator; phone and online meetings are also available. Contact the meeting line at (888) 425-2666; Spanish-language calls are accepted. Website is available in Spanish.
- Nar-Anon provides 12-step self-help groups for relatives and friends of people who have a relative or friend experiencing narcotics addiction. Website offers a “Find a Meeting” support group locator; search by city, state or zip code and distance.Contact them at (800) 477-6291.