Having a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse has been difficult to manage. I started feeling the effects of living with a mental health issue several years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized it was more than just “being down” or feeling overwhelmed. After seeking help from a professional, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It was then that I started to understand how intertwined my mental health and substance abuse were, and why treating them separately would never offer any sustainable relief.
I decided to seek treatment for both my mental health and my addiction together through an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Since beginning the program, I have acquired the skills to manage my symptoms in combination and have gained so much insight into what I have gone through in the past. Professionals in this specialized field helped guide me toward creating healthier coping mechanisms to deal with the urge to turn back to drugs or alcohol when feeling low, anxious or stressed. Additionally, they provided me with strategies that assist me in functioning more successfully on a daily basis; with managing relationships better; setting realistic expectations and mastering stress management techniques; all of which are essential for lasting recovery from dual diagnosis.
The profound impact that treatment has had on my life cannot be understated - not only am I thriving, but my improved mental well-being has closely accompanied physical health improvements too! With continuous work towards recovery each day without reverting back to old coping mechanisms, the progress achieved is extremely rewarding.