Broaching a very personal subject like dual diagnosis is often easier said than done. It’s normal to feel some fear at the idea of discovering and revealing something that makes you vulnerable.
Everyone has issues they need to contend with on many different levels. Recognizing these less than perfect aspects of ourselves is part of what makes us healthy. Ignoring signs of possible dual diagnosis issues and the possibly of seeking help at inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers is dangerous to yourself and the people who care about you.
But revealing your struggles with this disease can help others with the same illness reach a major turning point in their lives.
The road to real recovery
Roughly one third of U.S. adults with a non-substance-based mental health diagnosis are also engaged in a pattern of substance abuse, per figures compiled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org).
Among people affected by major depression, schizophrenia, and other severe mental health issues, the rate of substance abuse increases to approximately 50 percent. The same findings hold true in reverse.
Specific issues found in cases of dual diagnosis as determined from inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers statistics include a reduced tendency to seek and receive proper medical care, a reduced tendency to participate actively in available treatment programs and a reduced level of responsiveness to some of the medications commonly used to help people dealing with serious mental illness.
Depending on the substance involved, the appropriate treatment may include dual diagnosis treatment that includes medication, some form of behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, or a combination of medication and behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.
Even when substance use is an ongoing problem, doctors can often find treatment approaches that provide at least some relief for their dual diagnosis patients.
Dual diagnosis treatment can take place in a range of settings, including dual diagnosis treatment inpatient programs or dual diagnosis residential treatment facilities, outpatient programs, and mutual self-help groups.
You are not alone
Your struggle with dual diagnosis needs to be heard, the good and the bad and how you faced your demons. Was it due to treatment goals that contribute to the establishment of a fulfilling daily routine, a treatment outlook that emphasized recovering individuals’ strengths rather than their weaknesses? Or was it a treatment approach that stressed the importance of reconnecting socially with others and forming beneficial support networks?
Better yet, was it through the help of organizations such as Dual Recovery Anonymous? Did they help you cope with taking the next step beyond Alcoholics Anonymous and dealing this ill, this “dual recovery” or “no-fault illnesses?” Whatever the case, the whole idea of treating both diseases as part of a single 12-Step program makes so much sense, like a light switch being suddenly turned on in a dark room.
Using the example of a light switch being suddenly turned on in a dark room, being clean and sober with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is a solid foundation for applying the First Step of Dual Recovery Anonymous to your psychiatric illnesses.
Accepting your psychiatric illness just as thoroughly as your alcoholism and addictions and using the same tools that had worked so well for your sobriety is an important message that needs to be heard!
The concepts of dual recovery and the DRA will help you to stay sober and help you to deal with your psychiatric symptoms in a much more constructive way, finding purpose and meaning in the fellowship of other dual diagnosis survivors.
The messages, concept, and stories of dual diagnosis recovery should become available to everyone who is in need. For them, those messages are a lifesaver.