Learning to deal with dual diagnosis disorders is a challenge. If you live with a mental illness alone that’s difficult. Trying to handle a substance use disorder is another beast. But learning to navigate life with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder is something else entirely.

Dual diagnosis, also called coexisting or co-occurring disorders, refers to someone that has both a mental illness and a substance use disorder or addiction. The diagnosis refers to any number of mental illnesses. You might have anything from depression or anxiety to schizophrenia.

Most times people with co-occurring disorders first deal with a mental illness condition. Whether they seek treatment for it or not, they might also find relief when drinking or using some type of drug. After regularly getting relief from substances they might turn only to them instead of traditional treatment methods.

At some point a substance use disorder sets in for some of these individuals. Now they must not only live with mental illness but also deal with their addiction. So do you struggle with a dual diagnosis condition? Are you looking for help or another way of life? Continue reading to find out 10 tips to deal with dual diagnosis.

Top 10 Tips to Deal with Dual Diagnosis

1. Understand that you are not alone in learning to deal with dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis is more common than most people think. If you live with a co-occurring disorder you are far from alone. Of the 44.7 million adults with a mental illness and the 19 million with a substance use disorder, 8.2 million live with dual diagnosis. You are far from alone in your diagnosis.

2. Realize that drinking or using drugs isn’t truly helping your mental illness.

It might seem like having a few drinks or taking some pills takes the edge off of your mental illness. Drugs and alcohol may relieve some of the symptoms of mental illness you live with. But over the long term, alcohol and drugs do nothing but make your condition worse. Learn to deal with dual diagnosis before getting yourself into a bigger problem.

3. Seek treatment to find help for your diagnosis.

Trying to tackle your dual diagnosis on your own will be incredibly difficult. Even if you have friends and family to support you, it’ll be challenging to first step away from drugs and then look at your mental illness. Seeking professional help gives you a better chance at finding long-term recovery.

If you want to find out more about dual diagnosis treatment at Hawaii Island Recovery, call our admission team today!

4. Surround yourself with a group of people who understand what you’re facing.

It’s difficult to feel like you’re the only one who has to deal with dual diagnosis. If you go to treatment you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who understand exactly what you’re living with. Finding others who have the same condition keeps you from feeling alone and isolated. It also helps to have people around you recovering from the same condition.

5. If it’s an option for you, lean on friends or family for support while you deal with dual diagnosis.

Having support from those closest to you, whether they’re friends or family, is so helpful. It’s relieving when you know that you have people who love and care about you in your corner. You aren’t dealing with your condition alone when you have people to support you.

6. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up if you have a hard time getting sober right away.

It isn’t easy to live with or treat dual diagnosis. Mental illness and substance use disorders are both serious conditions on their own. Combining them makes for a challenging road to recovery. Don’t beat yourself up if you end up slipping at first.

7. Stick with treatment over the long run; don’t stop going too soon.

Give yourself the best chance at recovery. Don’t stop going to treatment too soon. People who leave treatment early experience much higher rates of relapse. Stay the full course assigned to you at the beginning even if it feels like you don’t need it. The longer you stay, the better the chance you give yourself over the long run.

8. Create some type of aftercare plan to help you deal with dual diagnosis once treatment is over.

Learning to deal with dual diagnosis doesn’t end once treatment is over; it is a lifetime of commitment. You need to continue addressing your mental illness so you don’t turn back to using drugs to cope. Continue meeting with a therapist on a weekly or monthly basis to check in about your mental state. Find a psychiatrist if medication is necessary for you. You might even find that 12-step meetings help with the addiction aspect of your dual diagnosis.

9. Find a way to help other people who also live with dual diagnosis conditions.

Helping other people get through the things you’ve faced helps keep you from going back. Seeing someone when they first come into treatment helps you remember where you came from. You also have the experience of knowing how to get out of the seemingly endless cycle of mental illness symptoms and drug use. You can show them the way.

10. Look into the aid of a qualified treatment facility that specializes in working with people who deal with dual diagnosis.

Addiction treatment facilities understand the addiction aspect of dual diagnosis. Not every treatment center is properly adept at helping people with co-occurring disorders, though. Look for a treatment center like Hawaii Island Recovery that specializes in treating individuals with dual diagnosis. You benefit best from the well-rounded approach to treatment offered at these types of facilities. If you want to find out more about dual diagnosis treatment at Hawaii Island Recovery, call our admissions office today at 877-721-3556. We look forward to hearing from you!