I am an addict.
January 24, 2017
Revealing Passions Through Recovery
April 12, 2017

The Pain of a Dual Diagnosis

By Richard Evans

Maybe it was something that was known before entering recovery, or maybe part of the treatment plan was to treat underlying issues that lead to using in the form of a diagnosis. Treatment programs handle these cases separately in order to treat them effectively, recovery is handled on one hand with the diagnosis being handled simultaneously with another treatment team. For some addicts with this prognosis, this may seem overwhelming and extremely painful. Coping with the diagnosis and being in multiple recovery programs can feel like it is too much to bear. That is why this support is so necessary as well as the group atmosphere where others in the same situation and recover along side of each other.

" Remember, using was a form of self medication because of the extreme pain a mental illness causes. "

Being an addict alone is an extremely painful and isolating lifestyle. Having a mental illness feels the same and on top of being an addict it is even more isolating. Whether the mental illness was a product of using, a cause of using or emerges while usings, struggling with a mental illness while trying to get clean can be borderline torture. Some 12 Step programs discourage use of medication and for these addicts is an absolute necessity as part of their recovery. If you, or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness and substance abuse issues, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all you are not alone. Of the 20.2 million Americans that had a substance abuse problem in 2014, 7.9 million of them also had a mental illness (SAMSHA, 3/2016 https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders) Next, your mental illness or substance abuse disorder does not take precedence over the other. They go hand in hand and get professional help for both, preferably ones that work together so each can be treated at the same time to reduce instances of relapse of either disorders. Finally, there are 12 Step programs that are co-occurring disorders specific. You can check out this website as an example: http://www.draonline.org/.

Remember, using was a form of self medication because of the extreme pain a mental illness causes. You were in pain before you picked up the substance, and that eventually caused even more pain. You deserve a better quality of life. It can be hard to hear and accept the diagnosis but we live in an age where treatment is readily available and you do not have to continue to suffer. Finding the right treatment can be a challenge, but the sooner you start, the sooner you can find something that will work correctly for you. Image what your life would be like without suffering the way that you do? No one is saying that the treatment will be easy, but you are missing out on all your life will become once your treatment is undergoing.

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