Dual diagnosis is a condition where a person having a mental illness has an addiction towards a substance too. Individuals having depression, anxiety, PTSD or bipolar disorder may not be able to come out of their addiction even after the best anti-addiction treatments.

The treatments will fail unless the mental health issue is also taken care of, and that is why it is important to learn more about addiction caused by dual diagnosis to proceed accordingly. The real issue to understand is that patients who are dealing with two issues at the same time are likely to have low self-esteem, and they often end up dealing with severe emotional pain when they realize that they are mentally ill. It is therefore important to understand how to manage the addiction, mental illness, and emotional pain at the same time.

What is Dual Diagnosis

Credit: Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Why It Is Important For You To Know How To Manage Emotional Pain

The biggest challenge that patients with dual diagnosis face are to accept that the substance abuse is directly related to their mental and emotional health and if they are undergoing any emotional pains or problems, it is more likely for them to be addicted to a certain substance.

It is important to make such people understand that one problem leads to the other and hence it's important to treat both for the treatment to be successful. Which one comes first depends from person to person.

Some might be addicted to the substance as an immediate remedy for their emotional pains or depression, while others may get depressed or mentally ill because of substance abuse.

It is important to get a proper diagnosis done in the initial stages itself to know what caused each of these problems to develop.

Since the mind controls the rest of the body functions, for the treatment to work, the mind has to be prepared. This means making the individual understand how important it is to deal with or manage the emotional pain, depression or any other emotional problems. This is the biggest and most important hurdle, and once this is crossed, it's easier to proceed with the rest of the treatment.

Being emotionally stable is very important to have a sane mind and to think positively, emotional pain and anxiety are the main reasons for people to opt for drugs, alcohols, and other such temporary reliefs.

A person temporarily feels better with alcohol and drugs and forgets stress and worries for that moment because of these release endorphins, dopamine and other hormones that lift your mood leading to increased high spirits and frenzy.

Many people use these in controlled amounts as some stress is inevitable in everyone’s life. But for some, it goes out of control. They are unable to manage stress and are overly-dependent on these substances or quickly addicted to these and can be classified as having clinical mental health disorder.

If mental health is not treated on time, the situation will only get worse over time. The emotional pain never reduces, it only piles up with time and leads to more addiction – unless these negative emotions are negated before the damage is irreparable. However, it can be difficult to get good results without working with a right professional or seeking professional help.

Rehab centers will certainly help, but so many other things go into affecting your mental state and changing the course of treatment. Something that is directly going to affect your recovery is how you perceive emotional pain and whether you decide to deal with short-term pain or opt for the long-term pain. Here is more about it:

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Pain

When you have decided that you do not want to suffer because of your addiction, you have taken a step in the right direction. However, you need to understand that it all depends on how you decide to take on the thing.

If you choose the rehab, you will have to deal with some short-term pain. Whether you're dealing with drug addiction or alcoholism, you are going to experience symptoms when you stop using that substance. Those symptoms will make you feel disturbed, exasperated, annoyed, discomforted, and pained.

Many people avoid going through that pain, but to do so, they end up embracing the long-term pain.

Not taking a step to break the addiction would make you deal with ever-present sadness, loss of self-esteem, shame, guilt, and problem relationships.

The long-term pain is going to become unbearable when you're a victim of dual diagnosis and has a mental disorder along with your addiction. This is not a good situation to be in, but again, you will be the best judge, and unless you decide to take the bull by the horn, things are not going to change for you.

It is also worth mentioning that people do not choose the long-term pain, but they fail to find a way to resist the temptation to have that short-term blast of happiness and pleasure that they get when they abuse a substance. They do not realize that the short-term pain that they experience while undergoing treatment will lead to long-term gains and help you experience happiness, joy, and serenity.

The fact of the matter is that receiving treatment for addiction is important, but it is also going to test your nerves and patience, as there will be emotional, physical, and mental pain involved in the process.

If you fail to find a way to focus on the long-term gains, you will lose track of things and may end up having a relapse. Therefore, you should make yourself understand the importance of having your sight fixed on bigger goals and be sure to work with the right professionals with the right experience to help you sail through the tough times.

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

A senior academic researcher, reviewer, and editor, Dr. Declan Pouros is also an internationally accredited psychotherapist. He earned his PhD in Psychological Counseling and Guidance, and in the years since, he has taught in the Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance himself.He has also authored papers that have gone on to appear in such world-renowned journals as the European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Psychological Reports, the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Asia Pacific Psychiatry, and Computers in Human Behaviour.

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