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Information On The UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program

What To Expect From The Program

The UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program is an 8-week outpatient program that consists of daily groups, once weekly individual therapy, and medication management. The program uses evidence-based approaches to treat both Addictive Disorders and co-occurring conditions including Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Bipolar Disorder. These issues are addressed simultaneously and emphasis is given to the way in which co-occurring conditions interact with and perpetuate addiction.

Expert Assessment

When both an addiction and another psychological condition are present, it can be very difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Thus, individuals with an addiction often have been given inconsistent or conflicting diagnoses in the past.

For this reason, the UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program offers an Expert Assessment Service, which is a detailed evaluation by a UCLA-trained psychiatrist. This is a one-time visit that is independent of the program and is covered by insurance. Its purpose is to provide diagnostic clarity and recommendations for appropriate treatment.

If based on the Expert Assessment, the Dual Diagnosis Program is determined to be a good fit for the patient, he or she may enter the program if they choose. If not, referrals are provided to treatment programs which are felt to be the best fit for the patient based on the Expert Assessment.

The UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program is open to all patients who are addicted to a substance or behavior. We also encourage family members and friends of addicts who are in denial about their problem to contact us for guidance about how best to help their loved one.

Why To Enroll In A Targeted Dual Diagnosis Program

As the name of the clinic suggests, our focus is the treatment of co-occurring addiction and other psychiatric conditions including mood disorders (e.g., depression and bipolar disorder) and anxiety disorders (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD). Importantly, however, even if you have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder but not a comorbid condition, many of these go undiagnosed, even outside of the context of a concurrent addiction. The numbers of depressed adults in the U.S. are similarly high, and a period of depression will not necessarily begin at the same time an addiction does.

For these reasons, a thorough evaluation by dual diagnosis professionals can help to avoid leaving a serious mental health problem untreated. Furthermore, research is increasingly showing that treating addiction alone (without addressing any other psychiatric conditions) is much less effective.

Medication Management

Whether you are just beginning your recovery from an addiction or you have been sober for many years, our team of UCLA-trained, board-certified psychiatrists will optimize any medications that may be part of your dual diagnosis treatment plan. In some cases, this may mean simply adjusting the dosage to either increase the therapeutic benefits or decrease existing side effects. It may also require trying different pharmacological options before finding what works best for your symptoms.


The clinic's outpatient program meets for two sessions each day over the course of 8 weeks. The first of the two daily sessions will equip the addict with a better understanding of addiction as well as the coping mechanisms necessary to remain sober when faced with a trigger or craving. For the second session, the patient will attend whichever session is most appropriate for any co-occurring condition he or she may have been diagnosed with. These sessions will cover managing anxiety and stressful memories, recognizing and avoiding logical fallacies, and identifying the people, places, things, and events that function as triggers.


Part of successful recovery involves learning to manage the uncomfortable emotions and thoughts that make staying sober difficult. In a safe, non-judgmental environment, individualized therapy sessions will help you explore and change the reactive processes that underlie addiction, anxiety, and depression.

Group Therapy

A valuable part of the recovery process is the relief that many recovering addicts feel when they realize they are not alone in their struggles with addiction. Group therapy offers those who participate the opportunity to share experiences and to encourage one another on the path toward recovery.

If you have been frustrated by other programs that have only addressed an addiction or if you are just beginning to look for help for your addiction, we encourage you to get in touch with us. For more information or to sign up for the UCLA Dual Diagnosis Outpatient Program, contact us by phone or email today.