I found this helpful article on causes and solutions of having dual diagnoses (substance abuse AND mental illness.) I wanted to bring to you some interesting facts and highlights. To view the handout in its entirety click here to download the Hazelden Foundation’s pdf.
Factors involved in the development of psychiatric disorders:
1. Vulnerability (determined by genetics and early life experiences)
2. Stress (challenges faced in life)
Factors that can help reduce symptoms and relapses:
1. Abstaining from alcohol and drug use
“Avoiding alcohol and drug use can reduce biological vulnerability in two ways. First, because substances affect the brain, using alcohol or drugs can directly worsen those vulnerable parts of the brain associated with psychiatric disorders. Second, using substances can interfere with the corrective effects of medication on vulnerability. This means that somebody who is using alcohol or drugs will not get the full benefit of any prescribed medications for his or her disorder, leading to worse symptoms and a greater chance of relapses.”
2. Take prescription medications according to your doctor’s orders
3. Learn to use positive coping skills
4. Develop social support systems
5. Engage in meaningful activities
Which factors are you incorporating into your life to help reduce symptoms and prevent relapses? Which factors do you need to add?