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3 Helpful Ways to Overcome Mental Health Issues and Addiction


Dealing with an addiction (i.e. alcohol or any substance) or mental health issue (i.e. depression, anxiety, bipolar) is already difficult. Enev more if you are handling them both at the same time? Having both an addiction and mental health issue is what we call a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

People with dual diagnosis are, most of the time, looked down on by society. The common perception is that these disorders are responsible for irresponsible life choices.

Having a dual diagnosis may be already affecting your functionality at home, school or at work. It may even affect your social connection with the people around you or your ability to make life decisions.

But, do not worry! There are plenty of available treatments that will enable you to overcome the dual diagnosis. You should just need to have the proper support system, community, and treatments.

But how do you deal with these two disorders? These two disorders are interconnected such that one can be aggravated if the other is not adequately addressed, and these two disorders can also affect each other.

When substance addiction worsens, so does your mental health problem. If your mental health problem is not treated, your substance addiction will eventually get worse.

There are many professional programs that can help you overcome dual diagnosis. What you should always check is if the programs available to you are scientific and has a good track record of success. In the same vein, they should have an aftercare program to prevent you relapsing. Also, check if the program you are going to get will be in line with what you are experiencing as some programs are designed to treat a specific disorder.

While continuing your professional treatment, you can always consider helping yourself to overcome dual diagnosis.

Here is a list of three self-help procedures that could help you overcome dual diagnosis.

Helpful Way #1: Emotional and Stress Management

Unfortunately, stress is already part of our life. Most of the time, too much stress or stress that you yourself could no longer handle can result in addiction to alcohol or drugs. When trying to help yourself cope up with dual diagnosis, always keep in mind to carefully handle your stress without depending on alcohol or any substance that might get you addicted to.

Sometimes, when you experience depression or anxiety, you end up depending on alcohol or drugs to cover these undesirable feelings. Feelings of being lonely, depressed and being anxious. Cope with these undesirable feelings by not depending on alcohol and drugs when the situation arises.

Always keep in mind to take precautions when dealing these kinds of feelings or stress. Be mindful when you do feel lonely or depressed. What are the situations that lead you to be stressed? Take note of it. Take time to look for someone to talk to so you don’t turn on drugs or alcohol.

Helpful Way #2: Socialize

Being in a community will always help one develop himself. The connection between yourself and to other people will make you feel at ease and calm.

Look for community groups that can help you (groups of people addicted to substances, or those who experience mental health problems) or even have a regular visit to your family and friends. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. If you don’t have family and friends nearby, try talking to your neighbors; daily, once a week or once every two weeks. The important thing is you keep the communication lines open with each other.

Helpful Way #3: Healthy Lifestyle

One way to handle stress, loneliness, depression, and even anxiety is a solitary sport. One you can easily do is jogging. For at least 30 minutes of walking then 30 minutes of jogging, it can help you to calm down during the day. Add some steady aerobics to cool yourself down from jogging to avoid leg and foot sprains.

Aside from jogging, you can also enroll in a meditation or yoga class. Most residential facilities offer classes such as this. This practice will help you increase your breathing and calmness which will, in the long run, reduce your anxiety and stress.

Yoga or any other meditation techniques will help you become calmer and be able to handle your emotions as well.

If you have already decided on healthy eating habits then good. But if you are not then it is time to change it. Instead of consuming sugary meals, check that what you are consuming are low-sugar foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables to help you with the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Another thing to be aware of, mental health problems usually strike those who lack sleep. But then again, too much anxiety will also make you lose a lot of sleep.

Here’s what you need to do: Plan ahead. Plan what time to sleep and what time to be awake. You must ensure that you will have enough time of sleep (at least 7-9 hours) which will help you have better energy for the day.

Avoid having dinner past 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. as it can take some time for your food to be digested and will affect your sleeping habit.

Limit your use of a laptop or smartphone an hour or two before sleeping.

And lastly, practice going to sleep before 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. until your body clock gets used to it.

Friendly Reminder:

Take note that professional (medical) treatment and self-help must always come together to ensure the continuing treatment for your dual diagnosis. If you experienced positive effects with the self-help, always consult your doctor or psychiatrist to ensure if there is a need to continue with your treatment or not.

Always seek support, whether from your peers, family or from your doctors. Get emotional support from your loved ones to help you in coping with the dual disorder.

Treating your dual diagnosis is not as easy as 1-2-3, you have to be patient and trust the process to ensure that you will not revert back to your previous condition.

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