Some 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Many of them are managing other forms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Lasting sobriety is only possible when people with co-occurring disorders prioritize well-being.
Leading a balanced life in addiction recovery is challenging enough and having to deal with a dual diagnosis only complicates matters. Still, it’s possible to keep the symptoms of mental illness at bay and abstain from drugs or alcohol.
The work doesn’t stop after treatment or going through the steps; people with comorbidity must also continue with therapy. In many cases, both ongoing counseling and medication are required to prevent compromising one’s recovery.
While being in recovery makes the task of juggling life significantly more manageable, there will be days that test one’s program. Co-occurring mental illness is with people for life, and symptoms will crop up throughout the months and years. If you have the tools to cope and a support network to consult, then there is no reason men and women can’t overcome mental health episodes.
However, individuals in recovery are not always the best at emphasizing their needs; they are prone to mismanage their priorities. It can be hard for people who have families and work responsibilities to pause and tend to their mental needs. Nevertheless, it is essential to know when taking time for mental health is necessary. Failing to do so can and does compromise a person’s recovery.
Mental Health Days Off
As many of you well know, September is National Recovery Month. Moreover, the first full week of October is Mental Health Awareness Week. The observation’s purpose, like Recovery Month, is educating and increasing people’s awareness about mental illness.
For those currently in recovery, this time of the year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on if you are meeting your mental health needs. It is vital to consider if you are handling stress healthily and productively. Perhaps you are working too much, or have taken on too big of a class load? Maybe current life circumstances have caused a reversion to some old behaviors and mindsets? If not, then it probably means you have to keep an even keel. However, if the opposite is true, then doubling down on your recovery efforts is prudent.
When a hard day comes along, please consider taking a day off from work or school to nurture your mental health. Instead of mowing through the day despite symptoms, call out and reach out for support. People in recovery have the benefit of a vast network of peers who can help with keeping things together. Individuals with co-occurring disorders should go one step further by contacting their therapist or primary care physician.
Mental health is vital to overall health; neglecting the former will jeopardize the latter. It’s easy to convince oneself that taking time off for mental and spiritual well-being is an impossibility. What, with pressing bills to pay or course work and all, it’s hard to justify taking time off. Although, sometimes it is vital to ignore the temptation to put quotidian responsibilities ahead of mental health and recovery. If you don’t put mental well-being first, then you stand to lose far more than money or a good grade.
During National Recovery Month and beyond please take a close look at your needs to see if they are being met. Talk to your peers about ways to balance life and recovery better. Remember, there isn’t any shame in taking time off for mental health and addiction recovery.
California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital
Take the first step toward a life in long-term recovery with Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our team of dedicated professionals provides the highest degree of medical and psychological expertise in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today for a complimentary assessment and to discuss treatment options. 866-273-0868