You are not alone just because you have a dual diagnosis. Millions of people have a problem with substance abuse or addiction to one or more substances. A majority of them also have a co-occurring disorder. It may be caused by drug or alcohol addiction, or it may be an underlying condition that is exacerbated by substance abuse. Some get treatment for the mental health disorder, while many more do not go for it out of fear of the stigma attached to mental illness.
The reality is that mental illnesses are surprisingly common. Almost every family in America has been touched by mental illness. You probably live near or work with or know someone else who has a mental illness, and you may not even be aware of it.
Studies reveal that there’re no differences when it comes to productivity pertaining to people with mental issues and other employees.
Your return to work after treatment for dual diagnosis might be stressful. But all jobs can be stressful to one extent or another. The truth is that you or any employee will be more productive if there is a good match between what you need and your working conditions.
You Are Not Your Illness.
A good tip for fighting the stigma of dual diagnosis and is how you perceive yourself, including words you yourself use to describe your illness. Instead of saying you are or thinking of yourself as bipolar, say or think that you have bipolar disorder. Similarly, you’re not schizophrenic, but a person with schizophrenia (and substance abuse). You are not depressed; you have depression. This is called “people-first” language. It helps reduce the stigma associated with hurtful labels.
The reason this distinction is important is that you are not your illness. You are not chained to a stereotypical image of an alcoholic-schizophrenic or a drug addict-bipolar. When you view yourself as having your disease, you limit your ability to envision a future without these constrictions. That you have a dual diagnosis doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to manage both – with continuing work, support, and encouragement.
Keep Taking Your Meds
One way to really slip up is to discontinue taking your prescribed medication for mental health disorders. You might think your prescription isn’t working or not working to the extent that you’d like. But you can’t just toss it out willy-nilly. Your doctor is the one who’s best suited to figure out the correct course of action. In fact, you should advise your doctor of any noticeable side effects you experience so that your brand, dose, or frequency of medication can be changed.
It is also true that medication for depression and other psychological conditions takes some time to be fully effective. It may take altering or modifying your medication several times over the course of many months before the right combination can be achieved.
Don’t give up hope. And definitely keep taking your meds. Mental health disorders may not disappear entirely, but they can be managed. You can live a full and productive life and be reasonably happy.
Strive to make the changes necessary to better accommodate your life, whether it is at work or in building better communication with your loved ones and friends.