When the Door Opened: Stories of recovery from co-occurring mental illness & substance use disorders

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Some of the most common mental health disorders found in chemically dependent people include mood- and anxiety disorders. An even higher percentage of people with severe mental illness also have co-occurring substance use disorders. Called severe because of the severity and length of episodes of illness, these mental health disorders include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

These latter two disorders with their symptoms of hallucinations or delusions are also sometimes called thought disorders. Click on the following groupings to find more information about these mental health disorders:. Mood-related disorders. Severe Mental Illness. Anxiety-related disorders. Co-occurring disorders can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of substance abuse or addiction can mask symptoms of mental illness, and symptoms of mental illness can be confused with symptoms of addiction.

A Story of Misdiagnosis

People with mental health disorders sometimes do not address their substance use because they don't believe it is relevant to their problems. However, some typical patterns do emerge among those with co-occurring disorders:. A worsening of mental health symptoms even while receiving treatment. Those diagnosed with mental health disorders often use substances to feel better. People who are anxious may want something to make them feel calm; people who are depressed may want something to make them feel more animated; people who are fearful of others may want something to make them feel more relaxed and less inhibited; and people who are in psychological pain may want something to make them feel numb.

Using alcohol or other drugs not only fails to repair the mental health disorder but also prevents a person from developing effective coping skills, having satisfying relationships, and feeling comfortable with themselves.

Alcohol also interferes with medications prescribed for mental health disorders. In short, drug and alcohol use makes mental health disorders worse. Alcohol or substance use problems that seem resistant to treatment. People with co-occurring disorders may stop using alcohol or other drugs, but they will find difficulties as the symptoms of their mental health disorders persist. Treatment centers and clinicians and addiction specialists may not be prepared to address both conditions. And some traditional peer recovery groups may insist on abstinence from all drugs - even medications prescribed for mental health disorders.

Although in the past, mental health disorders and addiction problems were often treated separately, we now know that co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders impact one another and must be treated together. Treating just one disorder will not cause the other to automatically improve.

And separate, parallel care for the disorders does not result in one, effective treatment plan. To be effective, both disorders must be treated at the same time, in the same place, by the same treatment team. Men and women who are unsure about what something means should never hesitate to ask for clarity. Those with more recovery time are always happy to provide insight. The success of the oldtimer depends on their willingness to help the newcomer. HALT is fairly straightforward. Avoid hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; such states of being are a cause of stress.

Of course, mental pressure is often a factor in causing self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. The 12 Step method works, for anyone willing to work it. Paradox and inconsistencies are out there if someone is looking. Intellect is not a bad thing, yet it can cause complications.

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Addiction is a mental illness and a spiritual sickness. Treatment addresses the medical side of the problem; Twelve Step recovery tends to the spiritual facet of the condition. Keep It Simple Stupid reminds us that our best thinking can exacerbate our problems. Intelligence is going to offset a spiritual deficit.

NAMI Suggests

Simplicity is a good thing! It also calls for looking at life and the people in it differently. In early recovery, there is much a person can find to be unhappy about. The gifts of healing do not come instantly. The saying nothing changes if nothing changes reminds us that recovery requires more of people than not drinking or drugging. Avoiding old friends and unsafe environments is excellent, but so is changing how we think.

Positive actions and maintaining a positive attitude, changes everything. Negative thinking prevents people from taking positive steps each day. Progress depends on positivity as much as it depends on making lifestyle changes.

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  • We have seen how significantly a positive attitude changes everything for those new in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific treatment programs for men living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you or a loved one learn how to live a positive life in recovery.

    Within its bindings is a program outline for people recovering from alcoholism—known today as alcohol use disorder. Each year, approximately one million copies of the basic text are distributed around the globe, in 67 languages. From humble beginnings to a significant beacon of hope for countless people, such is the story of 12 Step recovery. There are other programs of addiction recovery in existence today that have helped many men and women, aside from AA. However, the 12 step method is by far the most utilized regarding alcohol and substance use disorder.

    Drug and alcohol use is but a symptom of an underlying mental illness. Such that working a program of recovery has proven to be helpful for anyone regardless of how their disease manifests. Despite most discussions about use disorders focusing on drugs today, it is vital to include alcohol in the national conversation about addiction.

    April is Alcohol Awareness Month ! Now is an excellent opportunity to talk about alcohol use disorder AUD , its causes, and addiction recovery. The more open we talk about alcohol, the more lives saved. Right now, millions of Americans require help for an AUD, and fortunately, assistance is within reach. And untold millions more are on a trajectory toward having problems with the substance down the road.

    There are many myths and inaccuracies swirling around alcohol use. When people do not have the facts, they are at risk. Alcohol Awareness Month is partly about helping people develop a better understanding. It is of utmost importance that we equip young people with some of the facts, so they can make informed decisions about using alcohol.

    Substance Use and Mental Disorders: One, the Other, or Both? - January 2015

    The BMJ reported that the number of Americans, ages to , who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between and Moreover, hazardous alcohol use affects men far more often than women. However, recent studies show that women are slowly closing the gap.


    PACE Recovery Blog | Orange County Rehab

    Drinking alcohol cut the lives of some 3 million people short in Young men who engage in heavy alcohol use is an especially pervasive problem. That is the conclusion of a recent study about drinking around the world. The typical American will see , beer commercials before turning People who start drinking by 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence.

    The organization notes that young people who engage in hazardous alcohol use, like binge drinking, face higher risks of addiction. One in every 12 American adults, or NCADD estimates that almost 20 million individuals and family members are in long-term recovery. Alcohol Awareness Month is about educating young people and spreading the message that alcohol use disorder recovery is possible. Evidence-based treatments exist that can help people get on the road toward long-term recovery.

    The Importance of Treating Co-Occurring Disorders Together

    All month there are events to help educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder. Since many people do not fully grasp yet that they have an unhealthy relationship with drinking, Alcohol-Free Weekend is April , Those who struggle to abstain are encouraged to reach out for help. If you are one of the millions of men who struggle with alcohol use, then please know that you are not alone.

    Alcohol use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, and it is possible to find long-term recovery. Our male clients significantly benefit from being in a gender-specific environment. With decades of professional experience, PACE empowers men of all ages to fulfill their dreams.

    Please contact us today to learn more about our multidimensional approach to bringing about lasting recovery. Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans. Moreover, a significant number of people struggling with mental illness are under the age of How mental health disorders impact a young person varies from case to case. However, when young people ignore or fail to seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, grave complications can arise.

    In recent years, public health experts and various campaigns have sought to raise awareness about mental illness. The goal is to erode the stigma that prevents individuals from finding the courage to discuss their symptoms with friends, family, and professionals. The effort to dissolve the shame around mental health has been considerable.

    Still, society has a long way to go in encouraging those who are suffering to seek help. Diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and a program of recovery are essential for any person living with mental illness.