As if being addicted to drugs or alcohol is not hard enough, adding a mental disorder to the picture makes things even tougher. For many addicts, suffering from co-occurring mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression just add fuel to the fire of their addiction.
That said, there are ways to treat mental illness while dealing with the complexities of addiction. With the appropriate strategies throughout your Ohio drug rehab stay, you can effectively handle your dual diagnosis and take back your life.
What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Also known as “dual diagnosis,” a co-occurring disorder refers to co-existing mental illness and addiction. Each one has its own separate set of symptoms, which can both get in the way of dealing with each disorder.
The truth is, addiction is common in those who suffer from some form of mental illness. Studies have shown a link between people who suffer from mental health disorders and the development of a substance abuse disorder at some point throughout their lives. Even though mental illness and addiction are closely associated with one another, the jury is still out about whether or not one directly causes the other.
The unique issues that come with both addiction and mental health disorders can impede the ability to communicate with others, deal with day-to-day challenges of life, and even function at all. For those struggling with both mental health and addiction disorders, health risks increase and the odds of realizing successful treatment are drastically reduced.
When mental illness is not properly treated, substance abuse tends to worsen too. The opposite is also true; as addiction worsens, so do mental health issues. It is a vicious cycle that can only be broken with timely and appropriate treatment tactics that deal with both sides of the dual diagnosis coin.
Luckily, there are strategies that can be implemented to help deal with mental health issues in Ohio drug rehab.
Learn How to Manage Stressful Situations
Oftentimes situations that are particularly stressful can cause a flare-up of anxiety and depression, which can then spark the urge to use. Recognizing and managing stress is critical and can help you handle life’s inevitable stress without having to resort to using drugs or alcohol. Stress management skills can help you cope with the uncomfortable and sometimes painful feelings that come with stress, and can help prevent you from relapsing while in Ohio drug rehab.
Removing yourself from the situation, calling a friend, meditating, and even the simple act of forcing a smile for a few seconds are all ways to help you cope with life’s stresses. The key is to implement them right away before the situation escalates.
Seek Out Support
Staying connected with others is a critical component to overcoming addiction while simultaneously dealing with mental health issues. Solitude can be a very dangerous place for those suffering from co-occurring disorders.
Make a point of connecting with friends and family on a regular basis. While phone calls are okay, in-person communication is much more effective. Having someone talk to you in a positive light is the fastest and most effective way to help ease your emotions without the use of medication.
Join a support group as well. Communicating with others who suffer from the same issues that you do can be very therapeutic and can help minimize the odds of you feeling alone. At the same time, those leading such groups can help you face your emotions head-on while helping you effectively manage your feelings without being dependent on your drug of choice to ease your negative emotions.
Certain situations, people, and even things can trigger a stress response as well as a desire to use drugs or alcohol. Do your best to recognize these things and avoid them as much as possible in order to prevent a relapse. Make some changes in your life that do not include such triggers.
Sometimes these changes need to be drastic, such as moving to a different place or making new friends. While such life alterations can be tough to do, they are often necessary.
It is no secret that exercise does a body good, but a little bit of physical activity is good for the brain too. Several studies conducted over recent years show a link between moderate exercise and the treatment and prevention of depression. Even low levels of exercise like walking or gardening for just 20 minutes per day can alleviate depression.
Participate in Relaxation Techniques
Meditation, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, and muscle relaxation techniques can help alleviate physical and emotional stress when practiced on a regular basis. These types of activities can release endorphins, which relieve pain and can even elevate your mood.
Change Your Diet
You are what you eat, both physically and mentally. Adopting a healthier diet can help offset feelings of anxiety and depression. This includes eliminating foods like refined sugars while implementing higher quantities of fruits and vegetables.
Eating enough healthy fats has also been shown to help elevate the mood. In addition, make sure to eat at regular intervals. Waiting too long to eat in between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which has been associated with feelings of stress and anxiety.
There is no question that wrestling with addiction is extremely difficult. What is even more challenging is the need to combat addiction while simultaneously dealing with anxiety and depression. Yet as difficult as this particular situation is, there are ways to alleviate the negative feelings associated with mental illness without exacerbating your addiction. You do not have to sabotage your recovery efforts while in Ohio drug rehab. Instead, adopt a few tactics to manage both your mental health issues and addiction.
If you are currently struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn about admission.