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How Life Skills Training Can Help with Dual Diagnosis 23 Mar 2018

How Life Skills Training Can Help with Dual Diagnosis

Even though drug addiction often has innocent beginnings, either through experimentation or accidental dependence, people who struggle with addiction and mental disorders know that in the end, they have affected almost every single area of their life.

Life Skills Training can help reverse these sometimes catastrophic effects, and be beyond comparison in the recovery of people with a dual diagnosis.

What is a Dual diagnosis?

Primarily, a person is diagnosed with a dual diagnosis or dual occurring disorder when they struggle with an addiction or substance abuse disorder as well as any other mental disorder. The most common mental disorders that coincide with drug addiction are:

  • Anxiety and Panic Disorders
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Life Skills Training?

Despite the enormous amounts of treatment programs offered for dual diagnosis individuals, the relapse rate continues to be very high for people who suffer from addiction. This is because it is very common for treatment programs to be divided into two major categories of thought: becoming clean and sober vs. staying clean and sober.

Life Skills Training provides a happy marriage between these two lines of thought, which allows increased growth and development from not only substance abuse, but also for coping with mental disorders.

How Does Life Skills Training Work?

The main goal of life skills training is to provide people, not only those with a dual diagnosis, but anyone who wishes to increase their own daily functioning, independence, and quality of life.

Life Skills Training work by emphasizing a better life through creating and maintaining healthy relationships, coping with mental and physical health needs, creating a stable living and home environment, maintaining employment, improving decision-making skills, and fostering other daily functioning skills such as cooking, cleaning, hygiene, and healthy habits.

man listening to music

Why are Life Skills Important?

For many, addiction and mental disease are still something of an enigma, and a lot of people still don’t understand how they can affect the lives of their friends and loved ones so dramatically. However, Life Skill Awareness for people with dual diagnosis disorders is crucial in creating a healthy and functioning life and recovery.

Throughout the course of addiction, people can lose the ability to live normal lives. It sounds strange, but everything that is not feeding the addiction or mental state tends to fall by the wayside. This can include:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Social interactions
  • Goal setting
  • Time management
  • Managing thoughts and emotions

After leaving an intensive treatment program, it can often be easy for daily life to pile up on an individual with a dual diagnosis disorder, so a rigorous life skills education program during the treatment process can be crucial in the long-term recovery after addiction.

Finding New Outlets

One of the hardest parts of not only getting sober but staying sober is learning to rely on and trust in others and in ourselves. For a long time, many people with dual diagnosis disorders shied away from a lot of human interaction, especially those with past traumas or anxiety. There is a lot of inherent guilt and shame that come along with addiction and mental disorders, so learning to be able to trust in others is essential for creating healthy coping skills.

Treatment programs that provide life skills training are providing patients with an opportunity to develop healthy coping mechanisms through working with others, including their therapeutic team and in group counseling settings.

Life Skills also encourages individuals to find healthy outlets for coping with emotional and mental states. For example, for people who find music therapeutic, channeling one’s energy through learning an instrument or music appreciation therapy. For people who like to create art, creative writing, poetry, painting, and sculpting are often extremely beneficial activities that a person can utilize in their day to day life.

For people with dual diagnosis disorders, being able to identify how these healthy coping tools can change their mental and emotional state will encourage them to keep practicing them in times of distress.

Managing Medications

One of the main benefits of Life Skills Training for people with a dual diagnosis disorder is learning to manage their medication regimen. For people who struggle with addiction, it can often be very easy to fall into an unhealthy dependence upon their medicine, and many individuals often first became addicted to drugs from their own medication dependence.

This is a fine line for many people in recovery, so life skills training encourages individuals with a dual diagnosis to work very closely with a psychiatrist and their therapist to find the right medications for their needs, and to abandon the ones that aren’t necessary.

This sometimes means that individuals will be encouraged to find healthier coping mechanisms for some of their emotional states, rather than being quick to pop a pill. This can look very different for every person, but often, healthy diets, frequent exercise, and healthy hobbies and social interactions can help build those self-coping tools.

Relapse Prevention

Staying sober and healthy is not so much a destination, but a journey. It often took some time for a person to get to the point of needing outside assistance, and it can often take longer to fully recover. For this reason, the relapse prevention methods that come from life skills training are crucial to finding long-term sobriety.

By cultivating tools that help to improve a higher quality of life, possibility of relapse dwindles. When people discover and prove to themselves that they CAN live a happy and fulfilled life through their own actions, they will be more inclined to continue those patterns and behaviors that got them there.

This is why life skills training are crucial for many individuals who suffer from dual diagnosis disorders. Through learning to be independent, confident, and self-reliant, they will be able to continue down the path of long-term recovery.

Freedom From Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or addiction, understand that you are not alone in your struggles! If you are ready to change your life and finally be free of your addiction, then Holistic Recovery Centers can help. We can give you the jump start you need in order to experience the recovery you have always wanted. Our holistic programs are unique in that they don’t just treat the addiction, but rather they treat the whole person, so if you are interested in finding out more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call today at 1-877-723-7117.

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