Co-Occurring Disorders: There Is Help Through SMART Recovery!

The definition of a co-occurring disorder is simply one whom has both an addiction and a mental illness. They go hand-in-hand with each other. The physiological aspect of mental illness means that it is genetic. People can live their entire lives without living with a mental illness, yet have the genes that they pass on down to their children. For this, it takes an environmental trigger. This trigger can be perpetuated by drugs, alcohol, an addictive behavior, or a trauma. On the other hand, the use of drugs and alcohol can be the trigger that sets off the mental illness.
The biophysical side of a mental illness is that the neurons, or nerve cells, either don’t have enough or produce too much serotonin, dopamine, GABA, or GBH. This chemical imbalance can cause manic anxiety, panic attacks, severe depression, delusions, or hallucinations. When this happens, instead of getting a proper diagnosis due to cost or being prescribed medications also because of cost, people have the tendency to use drugs or alcohol, go on wild spending sprees, engage in risky sexual acts, etc.
Somehow, this acts upon the brain at times to self-correct the chemical imbalances of the brain–albeit temporarily. At times, the depression can get worse, even leading up to suicidal ideation. Other times, narcotic stimulants can heighten the anxiety disorders or cause more fearful hallucinations to the schizophrenic. When in recovery, these same people may avail themselves to behavioral therapy and medications once in recovery. SMART Recovery’s stance on psychotropic medications is one of acceptance.
There is hope. SMART Recovery’s tools can help with the co-occurring disorders you may be living with. As a person with an co-occurring disorder, one might find themselves more accepted about there illness as some of us went down that same road. With the REBT exercises to help with exchanging irrational beliefs with rational beliefs, our stance on psychotropic medications and behavioral therapy, and urge logs, the person with co-occurring disorders can live a rich, meaningful life.
Robin Williams, which the following quote is taken from, lived with bi-polar disorder. He used drugs until the mid-1980s. His drug and alcohol use made him one of the most famous comedians out there, but it also nearly killed him. He stopped when his son Zack was born. He remained sober most of his life past that. Unfortunately, he met death through suicide after learning he had the fatal disease Lewy body dementia in 2014. He is still very much missed today!