Casey (pseudo name) is a 30-year-old medical professional who lives in Connecticut and works as an ambassador for an organization associated with ending the stigma of addiction. Today, she helps thousands of people who are in the grip of addiction and struggling to come out of it.
However, until a few years ago, she herself was a victim of substance abuse coupled with co-occurring psychological disorders that further complicated matters. The seeds of the problem were sown in her school days, the time when she had actually started abusing substances. She had a normal and happy childhood bereft of any traumatic incident that could have triggered her addiction. Moreover, she had doting parents who greatly cared for her.
So, what coerced Casey to seek solace in drugs and alcohol? Unfortunately, she had the problem of anxiety disorder from a young age, which kept her out of school most of the time. This led to drinking alcohol and smoking pot at a tender age of 12 or 13, and before she realized she had become completely addicted to them.
Drinking alcohol provided the anchor
Although she was timid from within, drinking alcohol helped Casey put up a brave exterior, projecting her as an outspoken and party girl. While under the influence of alcohol, she ensued abusing other drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and prescription painkillers. She realized that prescription painkillers helped her in calming her nerves. Soon, they became a part of her life. Her life began to crumble thereafter. Left with no interest in friends and studies, her scores in school tanked. So, her parents decided to put her in a rehab. During her senior year in high school, Casey found herself attending an inpatient rehab.
She was inducted into an adolescent rehab—half rehab and half school—which also didn’t help at all. As she entered college in Boston, after somehow managing to get through school, she met a guy who was into painkillers. Things turned for the worse as drugs became the norm and Casey once again found herself in the abyss of addiction. During this phase in college, she saw many tumultuous events in her family life, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, her grandmother passed away and her boyfriend also became a total disaster—drugs, gambling, stealing and living off his parents’ credit cards.
Soon, she turned to her parents and somehow convinced them to let her stay with them. However, she began to steal from her parents to feed her addiction. They kicked her out again. She became sick as she was not getting her drugs and withdrawals were getting the better of her. She thought that she would soon die. When she called her parents, they did not allow her to come home, rather advised her to enter a rehab in Florida. Although reluctant, Casey had no other option, but to enter the rehab at her parents’ behest.
Rehab proved to be a watershed moment
Her treatment in the Florida rehab proved to be successful this time, unlike her previous attempts. The 45 days spent at the rehab while undergoing various programs helped her become sober. She made friends with the fellow inmates during the treatment and together they pledged to stay sober. After staying in Florida for seven years, she decided to move back to Connecticut and reunite with her family, which she did. She now works full time with an organization that helps people affected by addiction.
When she turned sober, she was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She was declared to as patient of dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. She had OCD and substance use disorder (SUD). Rather than succumbing to her condition, she maintained the spirit of fortitude learned during rehab and took medication. She eventually experienced a paradigm shift in her attitude toward life. She is a now a completely different person, accomplished, sharing close bonding with her family and devoting herself to the cause of destigmatize SUD.
Dealing with dual diagnosis
The best way to approach dual diagnosis is to intervene both, underlying mental conditions and addiction problem, in parallel. Such coexisting diseases need a holistic treatment and adequate support of loved ones. It is often difficult to distinguish the symptoms of mental disorders from SUD. Therefore, in case of doubts, seek guidance from an expert.
If you or your loved one is struggling with dual diagnosis, seek immediate help from a dual diagnosis rehab. Sovereign Health offers comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment programs to patients. Call our 24/7 helpline number to know more about our various dual diagnosis treatment centers.