When two disorders occur at the same time, it’s referred to as comorbidity, dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders. Each person’s experience with this is different and, because of this, it can be hard to tell which disorder actually came first. In some cases, one can lead to the development of the other, while in other cases, one disorder can make symptoms of the other one worse. It becomes tricky to safely manage both at the same time, which is why having a healthcare team at Avalon Malibu could be the best option for recovery. Studies suggest that it’s not all that uncommon for a person to experience both a mental disorder, such as depression, and an addiction, such as alcoholism or drug addiction, at the same time. In fact, people with mental health disorders are actually more likely to abuse substances. So, if you are experiencing co-occurring disorders, the sooner you seek help, the better.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed by the symptoms of mental illness or even life stressors in general, it becomes easier than ever to reach for the nearest thing to take the pain away. Nobody likes to go about seeking professional help right at the beginning, and that’s generally why a lot of people use alcohol or drugs to mask their discomfort. Unfortunately, this method of self-medication only makes the situation worse. A clear example of this happening could be with someone who is severely depressed, so they begin drinking every night to try and drown out their sorrow. It might seem helpful in the beginning, but it all adds up to one major problem over time: substance abuse.
Previous studies have shown that people choose alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate because they truly underestimate the dangers these substances are in terms of the development of addiction. Not to mention, those who utilize these substances often feel more in control than they really are. The problem with this, however, is that the brain is wired to feel good. We have a chemical in our brain called dopamine, and whenever something releases this chemical (such as food, sex, drugs, shopping, gambling, etc.), that instance becomes stored in our memory bank as a great memory and the brain can easily recall this as time goes on. It feels harmless in the beginning, but then the memories come back sub-consciously and we find ourselves reaching for substances again just to feel better.
Tips for Recovery
Recovery isn’t for the faint of heart, and there’s a reason why so many people hold tokens and post about their years of sobriety. There’s no one “right way” to recover, so you truly must discover what types of treatment work best for your healing journey. For many people, recovery should include a strict schedule. Both mental health concerns and substance dependence each tend to have their own competing schedules, which means that you must find certain aspects of your recovery to prioritize in order to make the most of your time. It may seem tricky, but it is possible.
One aspect of treatment offered at Avalon Malibu is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which can greatly help with both mental illness and substance use disorders. This type of therapy approach helps us to identify old, negative thought patterns, while giving us insight into how much importance we’re placing on those thoughts. Ultimately, CBT places the control in our hands by giving us a chance to determine which thoughts are worthwhile and which ones we can let pass.
Nutrition and Exercise
Depression often manifests itself through low energy, irritability, sadness, hopelessness, isolation, and so many other symptoms that can make daily life difficult. On top of that, substance abuse can cause us to eat less (or eat more unhealthy foods), sleep and exercise less, and damage some of the vital organs that are used to absorb what nutrients we do obtain from our daily diet. Depression can make it so hard to get out of bed in the morning, and substance abuse can multiply those feelings by causing a person to feel regret for entering recovery. Proper support for nutrition and exercise is vital, especially during recovery.
There are several types of food that you can incorporate into your diet, such as:
- Grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Tofu, kale, and other foods rich in calcium (including dairy products)
- Meat, fish, or tofu for protein
- Good fatty oils like canola, olive, and flaxseed
The emotional walls we’ve put up, the way we’ve closed ourselves in, the moments we’ve let slip by, the friends and family members whom we’ve hurt, and the substances we’ve relied on can only be healed by choosing to move forward. Sometimes taking a deeper look within can help this healing process. At Avalon Malibu, there are several types of activities that can bring out a sense of spirituality or “oneness”, such as meditation, art therapy, music therapy, massage therapy and more.
If you’re ready to seek help, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and wellbeing, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life, and there are people here ready to help you.