Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis
Many individuals suffering from substance abuse problems may experience a mental health issue such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder at the same time – this is called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Coping with a dual diagnosis can be extremely difficult as the individual is attempting to overcome two monsters that feed off of each other. Substance abuse and mental health disorders are closely linked. When drug or alcohol abuse increases, the mental health problem often worsens. As well as when the mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse will worsen. Luckily for you, Capitol Care is here to help. With the proper treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can recover from a dual diagnosis and living a happy, fulfilling life.
Treatment for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems
• Have Hope - Recovering from dual diagnosis disorders takes time, courage, and discipline. Therefore, the first rule on the road to recovery is to have hope and believe in your ability to be strong and fight this.
• Combined Treatment Programs are a Must - The best treatment for co-occurring disorders is through an integrated treatment approach. Recovery depends on treating both the mental health problem and the addiction.
• Don’t Get Discouraged if You Relapse - Relapses are apart of the recovery process. The road to success may not be perfectly straight however, with hard work and persistence, most individuals can recoup from their relapses and continue with their recovery program.
• You May Find Great Comfort in a Peer Support Group – Joining a self-help support group such as, Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous may benefit your recovery. Peer support groups are a safe place where you can learn, discuss challenges, and receive support from others who know exactly what you are going through.
Your doctor or treatment provider may be able to refer you to an accredited support group for co-occurring disorders as well. Be sure to choose a support group where you feel safe.
Treatment Programs for Veterans with Dual Diagnosis
Veterans deal with additional challenges in regards to dual diagnosis disorders. The pressures of deployment or war may trigger underlying mental disorders, and substance abuse is often used to cope with troublesome memories or feelings Individuals should be aware that these symptoms might take some time to appear after a veteran returns home. Veterans frequently benefit from treatment as well as support from specialized programs that focus on the unique stresses veterans undergo.
Self-Help for Substance Abuse and Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Getting sober is only half the battle. Your full recovery depends on continuing mental health treatment, discovering healthier coping strategies, and making good decisions every day.
• Recovery tip 1: Recognize and manage overwhelming stress and emotions.
Stress is a part of life’s challenges; therefore it is essential to create health coping skills so you can manage stress without turning to alcohol or drugs. If you’re coping with a mental disorder as well, it is crucial to know what triggers your illness to flare up. During these times, having a plan in place will help in preventing drug relapse.
• Recovery tip 2: Stay connected
Seek professional treatment or stay involved in a support group. Your chances of staying sober will improve if you are participating in a peer support group or if you are receiving therapy.
Furthermore, it is crucial to speak with your doctor before stopping any treatment or medication. Once you are sober and you feel better, you may think you no longer need medication or treatment. However, stopping medication or treatment is a common reason for relapse in people with co-occurring disorders.
• Recovery tip 3: Make healthy lifestyle changes
Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Maintain healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.
Get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night. Lack of sleep can trigger anxiety, stress, and depression.
To learn more about dual diagnosis disorders or if you believe you may be suffering from substance abuse and/or a mental health disorder, contact Capitol Care at (205) 956 – 2000 for a confidential discussion. Do not suffer with this difficult problem alone.