Dual Diagnosis and Recovery: A Double Challenge

  Recovering from addiction is a daily challenge, as anyone who has given up alcohol, drugs, or any other mind and mood altering substance can attest. The substance abuser must learn to cope with life's challenges without the anesthetic of his or her drug of choice. Giving up the substance is only the first step. Then comes the work of understanding the addiction process. To avoid relapse, the individual needs the willingness to look at the internal and external triggers that can drive the individual back to the substance. It's hard work, and the recovering individual needs all the support he or she can get.

Dual Diagnosis: Untangling the Web

The challenges can be even greater, though, when addiction is paired with a mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar, anxiety disorder, or schizophrenia. It's overwhelmingly common for people with a mental health disorder to self-medicate their symptoms. Someone with depression might smoke pot to numb their emotions, a chronically anxious person might drink to calm themselves before a social event, a bipolar in the manic phase might use cocaine as a way of accentuating the high. Studies suggest that as many as 50% of substance abusers have a mental illness such as depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia.1 Often the substance abuse is an attempt to manage symptoms of the illness; studies have shown that the majority of addictive substances are consumed by individuals with mental health disorders.2

Symptoms of the Mental Health Disorder Can Be a Threat to Recovery

Addiction is a disease of denial and, unfortunately, both mental health disorder and addiction still carry a stigma in our society. This can make substance abusers and individuals with mental health disorders less likely to seek help. Unfortunately, substance abuse can make the symptoms of an underlying mental health disorder worse, and the mental illness, if untreated, can make it impossible for the addict to stay clean. The most important step for someone struggling with substance abuse and symptoms of a mental illness is to have a comprehensive screening for both disorders.

Importance of Comprehensive Treatment

Life with a dual diagnosis is challenging. For an individual to remain sober, a well-informed and supportive treatment team is needed to help manage both disorders. With the right information, support, and compassionate guidance, every person has a chance at recovery and a full and meaningful life, one day at a time.

The following article will give you a broad overview of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a significant mental disorder which is often misunderstood if observed in people, as it can occur at a timely distance from the original event.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is experienced as helplessness, horror and/or intense fear in days, weeks, months or years after a traumatic event, for example like domestic violence, abuse, rape, robbery, assault, war or an accident.

PTSD is part of the Anxiety Disorders.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD can occur sometimes when a person is witnessing the trauma of another person, in specific a friend or relative https://mentalhealthwellnessnow.com/. As the traumatic events usually involve threat to the person's life or past physical harm the symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, hyper alertness or increased sensitivity to certain triggers or persons, edginess, avoidance of anything that may result in a memory of or the feeling from the original traumatic experience. People experiencing PTSD are often feeling emotionally numb and will often appear impersonal and distant.

In addition to that these people will find it difficult to trust others or feel safe. Physical symptoms may be changes in breathing, sweating, disturbed sleep patterns and having trouble concentrating which can affect their performance.

Many people recovering from PTSD will abuse alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, which can cause further problems and potentially lead to other psychiatric illnesses.

Treatment options

Immediate interventions need to involve counselling or therapy to help these people deal with the trauma. If immediate steps have been taken in form of one-on-one support it is possible to avoid long-term problems.

Therapeutic treatment may include basic counselling, cognitive behavior therapy and group work. The aim of therapy is to deal with the memories of the traumatic event, without being overwhelmed by it.

Medication, such as anti-depressants, anxiety medication and/or sleep medication may assist the person to cope with symptoms while other treatments are starting to have an effect and they get some control back over their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Group therapy can be extremely beneficial to help these people regain social confidence from a point in time where they might have isolated themselves to be able to cope.

Family members and how they can support

The fear of the person suffering from PTSD may affect their willingness to seek treatment. It is important for family members to offer support but not pity and acknowledge their experience of the traumatic event as having major implications on their life.

Remember: If you're concerned that your loved one is dealing with PTSD seek external support and get them checked out by a medical professional.

Want to know more? Have a look at my blog.

Nathalie Himmelrich is the founder of 'Reach for the Sky Therapy' on Sydney's Northern Beaches and specialises in 'relationship related issues'. She is working with individuals and couples using techniques ranging from Counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming to Journey Therapy. She supports clients in their personal growth in a supportive and professional environment.

According to the CDC, more than one third of U.S. adults, more than 72 million people-and 16% of U.S. children are obese as of 2009 recent data. Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. Obesity rates among all groups in society-irrespective of age, sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education level, or geographic region-have increased markedly.

Look at the health care crisis in the US at the moment, irrespective of where you and I stand on the health care debate, you and I and the rest of US Americans will be footing the bill because of obesity in this country. Let me repeat- you and I and the rest of US Americans are footing the bill because of over-weight and obesity in this country.

You and I can't do anything for the rest of the country who do not have a proper exercise plan, weight-loss diet plan, or fitness, but you can do something now in becoming a more healthier and nutrition conscious you.

1 Begin Now: The hardest part is starting, once you have the mental image of what you want to do, seeing yourself losing the weight and keeping to a schedule-the self esteem disccipline you will develop will increase your self-esteem and in turn you will be more self-motivated to continue your exercise.

2 Keep to a schedule: I've been running since 1978, and except a couple of times when I was sick, I have not missed a run and I have run and completed 3 marathons, and I run on a predefined early morning running schedule that works well for me. Do I expect you to keep and maintain my 10 mile every other day running schedule? Of course not, the point

I'm making is that it is much easier for you to accomplish your fitness and exercise goals if you keep and adhere to a regular schedule in your exercise program than if you just exercise whenever you feel like it-which doesn't work. Man's selfish instinct is to take the path of least resistance. If you do not keep to a regular exercise schedule-you more than likely will not achieve your goals.

3. Exercise with a Friend/Family Member: Misery loves company (LOL) Why not exercise, jog or run with someone? You both reap the exercise and the aerobic and cardiovascular health benefits together. Plus you both can help motivating each other as you work out and sweat together.

4. Maintain an Exercise Journal having a daily or weekly exercise journal is a powerful motivator that enhances your willingness and motivation to keep at your exercise program. Taking notes of your progress, and seeing the pounds fall off, and your body literally transformed before your eyes is a powerful testimony to yourself and others that will motivate you to succeed. and not failure.


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