A 12-Step Program Can Help with Dual Diagnosis: Here’s How

When it comes to effective treatment for addiction, people with a dual diagnosis need extra support. Doing the 12-step program can be helpful for them because it supports people with addiction, but also welcomes those with mental health issues and offers them good recovery support. Find out why people turn to the 12 steps and how they find the help (and community) they need.

Variation in Mental Illness

When it comes to mental health, there is a lot of nuances. Depression, anxiety, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, and others are just a few mental health issues that people struggle with alongside addiction. Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense fear of rejection or being disliked. There is no significant difference in relapse or abstinence rates for people who get help for mental health issues, but those who attend 12-step groups or recovery programs regularly often find the most support for the journey.


People who go to 12-step groups often enter into agreements with other people in recovery. These people often are the best support system for those who are struggling. This one-on-one relationship is often called ‘sponsorship,’ which is designed to help someone newer to recovery partner with someone further along the journey. A strong alliance can help people in recovery. Trust is critical to help from any mental health issues.

Issues of Trauma

When people sponsor someone who has trauma or mental health issues, they often have been through it themselves to understand how best to support them. Trauma compels people to seek out others who are hurting because they have been doing their work awhile and are ready to help someone else. When the sponsor does not go somewhere else, they realize the sponsor is committed to their relationship and is reinforcing positive aspects of recovery sponsorship of dedicating themselves to another person.

Long-Term Program

The 12-step program is considered a good long-term program that encourages people to maintain recovery for the long haul. The sponsor is not going to treat the other person therapeutically. Their role is specifically for the sake of sharing what they’ve learned and to be there for that person. This helps improve their quality of life and return to recovery from rehab feeling like they are ready to take on what’s in front of them. When 12-step programs are integrated alongside therapy, other programs, mental health help, medication, good nutrition, exercise, and other things, they can improve their mental health, lower anxiety, and offer overall better health in recovery. Dual diagnosis may feel deflating alongside recovery from addiction, but it does not have to be a huge challenge with friends by the person’s side who can walk with them through the ups and downs.

The Last Resort provides a 12 step rehab journey that helps men approach recovery from a new angle. It is not just learning how to say no to drugs, it is about giving them a deeper reason to stay clean and sober. We help them seek out for themselves how to fulfill their goals and desires with the tools and resources we offer. If you or a loved one are ready to experience an evidence-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment program, please call us to get started: 512-750-6750.