You may think that everything is going well with your recovery and that it is only smooth sailing from here. Then you find out from your therapist that you have a mental illness you never thought you had or you develop an addiction on top of your mental illness. You may feel frustrated that you have another thing to worry about but there are many coping techniques to get you through a dual diagnosis.
When people discover they have a mental illness, or they live without a diagnosis and treatment, some find their symptoms difficult to cope with. As a result, they turn to using drugs for self-medication. For example, someone with rage could be using opiates as a sedative and someone who is depressed feels the need to use cocaine for stimulation. What those with a mental illness do not realize is that by abusing drugs, they are actually making their mental illness symptoms worse. When someone is on heroin and they also have depression, their sadness can come from the low production of neurotransmitter dopamine caused by the substance abuse. The Journal of the American Medical Association says that 50% of people with a severe mental illness are affected by substance abuse.
When you have an addiction, such as marijuana, you could also develop anxiety, mania, or depression. The drug can bring this mental illness to life. Then there are situations where someone can have schizophrenia but never fully experience the symptoms until they abuse marijuana. Drugs can change your brain chemistry which can lead to depression that lasts months or years after being sober. The Journal of the American Medical Association also says that 37% of alcoholics and 53% of drug users have at least one serious mental illness.
There are many ways to help yourself deal with a dual diagnosis like managing your stress levels without turning to abusive substances. It also helps to know the signs of mental illness symptoms coming whether it is when big life changes occur, stressful events, or unhealthy sleeping or eating habits. By having positive in-person connections with your friends and family, you will calm down your nervous system. It helps to continue going to therapy as well as your 12 Step groups. When you reach sobriety, do not go off your medication or make any treatment changes without talking to your doctor first. Remember to eat a good breakfast, exercise, and get plenty of sleep to prevent feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression from occurring. Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients diagnosis and treat both the addiction and the mental disorder through Medically managed detoxification, specialist therapies including individual and group therapy ,complementary therapies, round the clock medical and psychiatric support, fitness programme, discharge planning, and continuing care programme. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.
Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022