What Is the Best Long-Term Strategy for Men with Co-Occurring Disorders?
By: Cumberland Heights
Co-occurring disorders, such as having alcoholism and depression at the same time, can significantly affect day to day life. The addiction side of things constantly demands more and more, while the mental illness side can bring about a lot of unpleasant symptoms, whether you’re prepared for it or not. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is much more intricate and complex than one or the other, which is why a treatment center should specialize in integrated treatment, which is highlighted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Men and women differ by the way they process information, and men can experience unique issues when co-occurring disorders are involved. Recovery is a lifelong process, and men have to find tools that work for them in order to maintain their recovery. How do they do it?
A few years ago, researchers published a study in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis that aimed to answer this very question. Twelve men receiving treatment for both psychosis and a substance use disorder (SUD) who achieved and maintained sobriety for at least one year were interviewed, and these are some of the things they said factored most into the success of their long-term recovery:
- Building a supportive community
- Engaging in productive activities
- Carefully monitoring their own attitudes towards substances
- Mental health
The researchers found the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in particular was very helpful for many of the men to build up these assets. The men interviewed talked about the ways they’ve become more engaged in their life now, rather than living a passive existence. One person stated, “I’ve achieved a healthy state of mind. Playing my guitar, participating in a music group – I’m becoming a successful musician.”
School, work, and volunteer opportunities seemed to help these men form long-term routines that helped keep them away from the potential for relapse. They noted the importance of monitoring your own thoughts to recognize when triggering feelings arise. In doing this, they were better able to counteract it – by reaching out to their support network, practicing meditation, praying, getting involved in a hobby, changing the way they think about the situation and more.
The biggest part of recovery, and perhaps the hardest/most simple thing you could do, is to continue practicing the tools you’ve learned so far. Rely on your support system. Practice self-care. Get involved in the recovery community. Last but not least – don’t give up.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.