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What Are Some Long-Term Sobriety Strategies for Those with Co-Occurring Disorders?

If someone has a co-occurring disorder, they are experiencing both a mental illness and a substance use disorder (SUD). Co-occurring disorders are quite common, as they affect approximately 7.9 million people, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnoses, can be difficult to treat because symptoms may overlap – this is why it’s incredibly important to seek out a reputable treatment center that specializes in this form of treatment. Not doing so could mean only getting one disorder treated over another, ultimately exacerbating your symptoms and worsening your condition. For those with co-occurring disorders, long-term success in recovery is crucial.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis sought to explore relapse prevention and recovery success strategies employed by individuals with dual diagnoses. Twelve men with co-occurring psychosis and SUD who achieved and maintained long-term sobriety were interviewed by researchers. The following strategies were used by individuals:

    • Building a supportive community – with peers from their treatment program, healthcare team, and mentors
    • Engaging in productive activities – such as creating a schedule/routine and sticking to it, tangible success such as getting an education or learning an instrument, volunteering, being part of group hobbies, and more
    • Carefully monitoring their own attitudes towards substances, mental health, and responsibility – participants mentioned staying alert to their cravings and aware of their symptoms, as well as feeling responsible for their own success in recovery

It’s important to remember that these participants have been in recovery long-term, so they’ve gone through ups and downs, twists and turns, and more to learn important lessons. You will learn as you continue on through your recovery journey, too – it’s a lifelong process, and it’s important to keep pushing through no matter how hard things seem. Rely on the people in your treatment program to help you stay strong, and practice the tools you learn in therapy every single day, even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run and, before you know it, you’ll be giving advice to others who want to be successful in recovery, too.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Clinical expertise, a compassionate team, and an outstanding attention to detail ensures each guest’s experience will be customized to their needs. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: 1-855-483-7800