Thursday, November 7, 2013

Living with a Dual Diagnosis

Finding peace in your soul is difficult and almost impossible when a person is sufferingfrom a dual diagnosis of a mental and addiction disorder.  The word suffering is the operative word and is extremely different fromliving with one or more disorders.

The trend of mental disorders that usually coincide with addictions are most often:Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, Schizophrenia and Personality Disorders.  It is a scaring statistic to report that 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental disorder.  Also, of all people diagnosed as having a mental disorder, 29% abuse either drugs and/or alcohol.

It is obvious that people with mental and addiction disorders tend to have higher statistics of being violent, not taking medications, not responding to help and failure to respond to any type of treatment.  When someone is under the influence and is remains under the influence, they are not treatable for a mental disorder.  Therapy, medication and other psychiatry strategies may work for a short amount of time, but will quickly fade as the instant gratification of others saying “great job”, ‘I am proud of you” or their addiction motivates their body to give their mind peace, but using a numbing substance to the brain / nervous system.   

Through my experiences in two alcohol / drug treatment centers in Center City, Minnesota and near Kerville, Texas, I can clearly see that people that are in and out of treatment / hospitals multiple times most likely have some sort of mental disorder.  I have been in Hazelden and La Hacendia and both continue to report statistics along with the rest of the medical community that having an untreated mental disorder and a substance disorder lead to immense brain damage and eventually death.  The people that do not have sound judgement or reasoning from substance abuse are taking their treatment into their own hands by self-medicating and using substances to mask their inner-demons, thoughts, feelings, etc. Using these substances tends to quiet the ‘voices’ in the brain or the constant ‘rat-race’ that is happening between a persons ears.  I lived that way for 17 years and it is no way to live.  I literally thought I was going crazy in trying to think of ways to hide my addiction to alcohol, violent thoughts, etc.


Living with peace and serenity is a everyday challenge for me and others who live with a dual-diagnosis.  I say the word challenge instead of using other words to describe the way of life, because unlike others, I have to consciously think about the decisions I make from which sock to put on first, how many times I click the lock button to lock my truck to which way I drive to work that day.  This has become a way of life for me and I am working on some of these obsessive thoughts and emotions, but learning to revamp a ‘brain’ from years of abuse is difficult.  I do take 6 pills a morning, two for blood pressure and 4 for my mental disorder of bipolar.  I also take another pill at night to help calm my brain and body so I can sleep. I take these to survive everyday and to be in control of my life with continuing to educate myself on treatments, neurological science, addiction science, psychiatry visits, etc.  It is an on-going process and is one that has made me a better person. 

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