Restorations Therapy Blog

How to Cope With a Dual Diagnosis

by on Thursday, October 15th, 2020

dual diagnosis

Going through a substance abuse disorder can be a difficult experience to overcome. However, it is not uncommon for individuals suffering from addiction to also have a co-occurring mental disorder. This is referred to as a dual diagnosis. The addiction and co-occurring disorder can play off of each other, causing a vicious cycle to persist. Coping with and getting treatment for both simultaneously will give you the best chance at recovery and healing. By taking the proper steps, a dual diagnosis does not have to negatively impact your life indefinitely. 

The Relationship Between Addiction & Mental Illness

Studies have shown that there are countless situations where a person suffering from a mental disorder turns to substance abuse to cope with the symptoms. Drugs or alcohol can numb the symptoms for a short period of time, but over time, the side effects of the substance abuse become more severe and can worsen the symptoms they were initially used to suppress. 

The symptoms become worse over time or often new symptoms are triggered. This is because addiction rewires the brain, causing changes to occur. Using drugs or alcohol also affects the ways medications for mental illness work, rendering them less effective.

It should also be noted that using drugs or alcohol can increase your risk for a mental disorder. Using such substances can push your brain to develop these disorders, especially if you are already at risk of having one. 

How to Cope

First and foremost, the best way to cope with any substance abuse problem or mental disorder is to seek professional help. Mental health and addiction specialists can guide you through the process of recovering from your dual diagnosis simultaneously, giving you the proper tools to help you reach recovery. 

You should also learn to practice self-care and self-love. Learning to forgive yourself, putting in the work to heal, and making a commitment to your well-being will do wonders. Changing your perspective and accepting that you have the strength to heal are what will motivate you to heal. 

Come up with a realistic plan for recovery, and stick to it. Go to treatment and lean on your support system. A dual diagnosis does not mean you are a lost cause, but quite the opposite, You are a diamond in the rough. 

Dual diagnoses are quite common in the world of addiction and mental illness. Oftentimes, addiction is used to cope with symptoms of mental illness. However, over time, the symptoms only get worse because of the side effects of drugs or alcohol. Coping with a dual diagnosis is not impossible. Seeking the proper treatment and learning to love yourself through the process will keep you motivated to heal. You must put in the work daily and stick to your recovery plan. For information on creating your own recovery plan or guidance on healing from a dual diagnosis, contact Restorations Therapy at (720) 446-6585. Your path to healing starts here.

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