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A bit about co-occurring addiction & mental health disorders and what support is available to people with multiple diagnoses and complex needs…
TRAINING, SUPPORT , & TOOLS
Here’s a selection of useful training, tools, & support to aid complex recovery needs. This section will expand and grow as we develop our database and add content to this site.
Who We Are & WHAT WE AIM TO DO
We aim to partner with organisations to ensure that everyone with co-occurring addiction and mental health issues has the resources, tools, & support they need.
Do you struggle with your mental health condition in recovery?
Drug addiction or alcohol abuse on their own can be tricky. Addiction problems or alcoholism alone can be powerful foes.
Having concurrent mental health problems can make addiction recovery even more complicated.
If you have both an addiction and mental health problems, then you certainly aren’t alone.
This problem is known as having co-occurring disorders or addiction and complex mental health recovery needs.
The Dual Diagnosis Network aims to develop tools & resources to be used by individuals in their recovery.
Everyone in dual recovery needs to develop their recovery tools and develop our recovery support network(s).
There is a whole range of tools, psychological techniques, & support groups available but they’re not always easy to access or find at times. This website aims to sign-post the best tools & resources or add them to this website.
Developing awareness of the things that help us in recovery and those that don’t will help improve our chances of developing a healthy drug & alcohol-free life.
Whatever your addiction or mental health condition, we know from our own experience that we can recover when we have the right support, tools & techniques.
The ‘Big Book’ of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about us in one part and states that:
There are those, too , who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
What do we mean when we’re talking about alcohol abusers or drug misuse?
Alcohol abuse or drug addiction often manages to slip through the net in mental health services. Often, alcohol has appeared to be a reasonable way of coping with complex mental health conditions to some of us but on top of that, there is a clear problem with services picking up someone’s alcoholism &/or addiction in some areas.
Specific dual diagnosis treatment can be thin on the ground and people have to generally rely more on recovery through their addictions treatment programme.
Even when experiencing withdrawal symptoms from their drug or alcohol addiction, someone with concurrent mental health problems may still genuinely believe that they may be using alcohol or non-prescribed drugs to help them cope.
These beliefs are common, but some medications’ efficacy is severely affected by someone’s alcohol or drug misuse.
Drug misuse is also prevalent in people with concurrent mental health problems. Using illegal drugs can have a detrimental effect on someone’s mental health. Still, it may be more evident to someone on the outside. It is common for people with co-occurring disorders to honestly believe that their drug use helps counteract some symptoms of their mental illness.
- Someone who has to take medications that heavily sedate them may end up taking ‘uppers’ to make themselves feel more alert.
- Someone who has anxiety may believe that their abuse of drugs like Valium are medicinal and thus justified.
- Someone with bipolar may see drinking as a valid method of taking the edge off their manic episodes.
Substance use disorders and substance abuse mental health-related problems are on the increase.
With the arrival of Covid-19, more people have turned to alcohol or drug abuse as a coping strategy. Calls to organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous are increasing as more people run into problems with drug or alcohol addiction.
Some common mental health conditions in people with a dual diagnosis
Some of the most common mental health problems for dually diagnosed are:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Personality disorders
- PTSD or CPTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Eating Disorders
Common problems that come with having a dual diagnosis
Common problems and consequences that can be connected by someone’s dual disorder(s) could include:
- Family problems or difficulties in close relationships.
- Isolation and social exclusion.
- Financial problems.
- Employment or issues in education.
- Drink driving
- Multiple referrals or admissions to services either for addiction issues for severe mental health symptoms.
- Admissions for emergency psychiatric care.
- Admissions to A&E or emergency rooms.
- Legal problems and possible problems with the Police.
- Becoming homeless is also a common problem for those with co-occurring disorders.
- And ultimately, people with complex mental health and addiction problems often are at a lot higher risk of death.
Helpful approaches for people with co-occurring disorders
Often people with co-occurring disorders cite experiences of having a trained dual diagnosis worker as helpful. Integrated treatment for both their addiction and mental health condition can be beneficial.
However, these services can be sparse in the provision, depending on where you are (due to poorly funded and overstretched services).
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options:
An individual’s support and care plan will be most likely written and delivered by their mental health team and hopefully, with professionals support from addictions services and may include:
- Providing general information to clients and their carers about alcohol &/or drugs’ effects on someone’s mental or physical health.
- Trying to improve mental health problems with medication(s) &/or psychological therapies, such as symptom management or CBT
- Supporting and encouraging clients in developing recovery skills, their recovery capital, & their support network(s).
- Assistance with helping to manage or reduce alcohol and drug use.
- Encourage a client’s desire to reduce their alcohol and drug misuse.
- Provide support in developing supportive and healthy social networks.
- Help sign-post organisations that can help a client to develop interests and activities.
- Addressing underlying issues which may affect someone’s alcohol and drug use.
- Creating a risk management plan to reduce the possible harms to the client or others.
- Providing clients with detox or assisting with stabilising the amount of alcohol or drugs they consume.
- Encourage the client to seek support from local alcohol and drug services &/or self-help groups.
Support groups and tools for those with co-occurring disorders:
There are some useful & helpful support options for individuals when they’re ready to do something about their dual disorders, including:
- Addiction service’s support groups & programmes
- WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)
- Dual Diagnosis Anonymous
- Diagnosis-specific support groups
- Symptom-specific support groups
- Counselling & psychological therapies
Please also check out our ‘Things that can help in recovery’ article for more tips on things people can do to aid their recovery.
How we’re going to pay for this website
Next Level Web Design will become a CIC. It will use its profits to pay for the development of this dual diagnosis website.
We aim to provide information, advice and support to:
- Those with complex recovery needs
- The carers of those with complex needs
- Professionals who need tools to help their clients with.
The dual online dual diagnosis meetings directory will sign-post healthy 12 Step meetings from all Fellowships as long as they consider themselves as safe places for those with hidden disabilities or mental health problems and for those who have to take medications as part of their recoveries.
It also means that people who have to take medication as part of their recovery won’t get told that they shouldn’t be on them or to stop taking them.
If you’re a professional in recovery and are aware of a meeting that is a safe place for those with co-occurring disorders, please submit the group to this site’s directory website using this form.
Don’t forget that if your clients need help with learning how to join a Zoom meeting for the first time to access dual diagnosis Zoom meetings then we have tutorials of how to use all of the online meeting platforms.