Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to any circumstance where an individual deals with two disorders at once, of similar or differing severity, such as battling addiction at the same time as anxiety or depression.
With co-occurring disorders, one disorder may lead to or worsen the other, making treatment even more important, but potentially more complicated. However, a dual diagnosis needs to be diagnosed and treated appropriately in order to effectively treat and promote recovery from both conditions.
Here’s the good news: you can do more than simply survive if you’re someone who is experiencing co-occurring disorders. With the right approach to co-occurring disorders, you can learn to manage life’s challenges, work with a counselor on how to treat your co-occurring disorder and get back to living a life of peace and freedom.
Tips for handling your co-occurring disorder
1. Don’t wait to seek and receive treatment
The most difficult step in seeking help for any co-occurring disorder is simply admitting that we can’t handle everything on our own. Far too many individuals have not received the treatment they need for a single or a co-occurring disorder, simply because they haven’t admitted to a healthcare provider that they need help.
Don’t wait to receive the treatment you need for a co-occurring disorder; rather, reach out to a licensed medical professional today to begin addressing the disorder. Professional counselors can help you understand the diagnosis, identify triggers and minimize symptoms through a personalized co-occurring disorder treatment program.
2. Pursue a healthy diet and sleep pattern.
So much in our lives is affected by the food we consume and the amount of sleep we register each night. To give your body a fighting chance against co-occurring disorders, especially if you’re taking medication to limit symptoms, it’s important that you steer clear of potentially damaging ingredients. Even small amounts of artificial sugars can make a big difference, and can negatively affect how easy your co-occurring disorders are to manage.
It’s also important that you take the time to get sufficient sleep every night. Because of how accessible technology is in our lives, we often find ourselves surfing the internet, flipping between television channels or browsing through items on our phones, instead of heading off to bed. We find it often helps to set parameters for your end-of-day activities, which include turning off all technology in anticipation of winding down for the evening.
3. Celebrate the victories
Take time during your day to celebrate the small victories. Especially when you’re battling co-occurring disorders, the small victories can make all the difference. Maybe you have successfully managed to avoid substances for a certain period of time. Maybe you’ve found a new way to manage symptoms, or you’ve noticed medication begin to take effect. No matter the good news, large or small, take time out of your day to appreciate your own resolve and don’t be afraid to celebrate in your own unique (healthy) way.
4. Understand that you’re not alone
This step is so critically important to your long-term success while battling co-occurring disorders. Especially when disorders can prevent us from feeling the happiness or the fulfillment we want to feel on a daily basis, it’s easy to get discouraged or to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. We suggest that no matter what this looks like in your own life, take the time to get connected with other individuals who are experiencing many of the same struggles that you are.
If that means connecting with an online community, do it. If that means taking time to attend an in-person group therapy session where you can share your thoughts, struggles and celebrations in a judgment-free zone, it’s important that you make the time for it. Ultimately, anything you can do to foster community not will go a long way toward making co-occurring disorders more manageable—and even inspiring— on a day-to-day basis.
Get the help you need to manage your co-occurring disorders
Learning how to manage co-occurring disorders isn’t a practice you learn overnight. Rather, you’ll slowly learn productive habits to minimize symptoms and promote healthy, happy living, often with the help of licensed medical professionals.
At Pyramid Online Counseling, we’re well familiar with co-occurring disorder treatment modalities. In fact, our licensed therapists are well-versed in administering treatment virtually, so that you can follow a treatment plan for a co-occurring disorder without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Schedule your first appointment today with Pyramid Online Counseling, to discover how online counseling can help you fulfill the life you know you deserve to live or call us anytime at 833-525-3077.