Why dual diagnosis is helpful in addiction recovery

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, explains how dual diagnosis and acknowledging how mental illness affects addiction can help in recovery
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Why dual diagnosis is helpful in addiction recovery

Dual diagnosis is looking at substance use and abuse from an emotional perspective, as well as a physical perspective. So quickly, if we look at ddiction and our approach and belief in addiction on a continum, there was a time when we denied that addiction existed. We then moved along the continum and saw addiction strictly as a disease that needed to be treated strictly as a disease. And if you spoke with that addict about their emotional state, you would lead them to relapse, you would lead them to use once again. We now understand that they only way to sustain sobriety is by understanding your emotional state and where you're vulnerable. We call that connecting the dots. So what we do is we take each individual where they're at, we meet them where they're at, and then we take them through their life history to find out where things went wrong and why did they take a hard right into addiction, and to then develop alternative ways of dealing with that state. If it's anxiety, if it's depression, how can they deal with that emotional state other than through using? We help them to develop those tools that will help them get through that. One of the most frequently corralated or combined diagnosis is bi-polar and addiction. That is probably the most common diagnoses combination. Bi-polar and addiction. They are literally trying to level out their emotional state through using. We see a great deal of people come in with high anxiety, so they have an anxiety diagnosis. General anxiety or specific anxiety, and they utilize drugs or alcohol to self medicate that high anxiety state. People who come in with depression, they use drugs or alcohol in order to help alleviate their depression. That's what dual diagnosis looks at.

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, explains how dual diagnosis and acknowledging how mental illness affects addiction can help in recovery


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Karen Khaleghi, PhD

Co-founder of Creative Care Malibu

Dr. Karen Khaleghi is a pioneer in the field of dual diagnosis, or co-occurring drug and alcohol addiction along with mental health disorders. As one of the co-founders of Creative Care in Malibu and co-author of The Anatomy of Addiction, Dr. Karen speaks to parents and organizations about the formation of addiction, the critical aspects of nature and nurture and the resulting disconnection between emotions and behavior as well as the genesis of addiction and the path to recovery, a process she calls "connecting the dots." 

There are many things that set Dr. Karen Khaleghi apart from others including her individualized treatment approaches and excellent treatment facility Creative Care which is filled with clinical staff comprised of professionals that offer the highest standard of care in the industry. Karen graduated from California Graduate Institute with her Ph.D in 1989 and lives in Los Angeles, CA with her loving husband and children. Dr. Karen Khaleghi has been featured on The Today Show, KCAL 9, Dr. Phil and many others!


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