About half of all Americans who are struggling with a substance use disorder are also suffering from a co-occurring mental health disorder like anxiety or depression. They also say that about 50 percent of Americans who are living with a mental health disorder are also struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.
This means that in recovery, for about half of all people working to stay sober, it is likely that the symptoms related to that co-occurring mental health issue can make it more difficult to remain clean and sober. For this reason, just as it is important in recovery to remain actively engaged with addiction treatment therapies and resources, it is just as important to proactively seek out continued treatment for the co-occurring mental health disorder.
A support system can make all the difference in a person’s addiction recovery. Support groups that focus on the specific symptoms or mental health issue can be similarly uplifting and helpful to the individual seeking support in recovery.
Depending on the issues you are facing, one or more of the following may be of help to you during outpatient treatment and/or during your transition into independent living in sobriety:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: This group is for people who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide, who are grieving and/or managing related depression. Getting support and tips from others who have been and are currently where you are can make you feel less alone and confused as you learn coping mechanisms that will help you avoid relapse.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America Support Groups: You can use the resource lists and information provided by ADAA to connect with a group that is tailored to meet your needs based on the unique issues you face in recovery. If you are struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) specifically, then the International OCD Foundation can help you to find a group nearby that will be able to assist you as you learn how to manage symptoms.
Co-Dependents Anonymous: Relationships are never easy, and in recovery especially, it can be difficult to objectively gauge what is healthy and what isn’t. Co-Dependents Anonymous groups are structured like 12-Steps groups, such as AA and NA, and they may be familiar for this reason for people who are in recovery from substance use and addiction. They help participants to rebuild self-esteem, get needs met healthfully, and identify and alter any habits that may be self-destructive in relationships.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: There are more than 700 groups in this alliance across the country, all available free of charge. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and support one another without bias. If you are struggling specifically with complicated grief, then Heal Grief may help you to connect with others who understand what you are feeling and who will be there to listen and support you.
Emotions Anonymous: Another 12-Step option, Emotions Anonymous meetings can help you to address disruptive feelings that may trigger the urge to drink or get high, including loneliness, low self-confidence, negative thoughts, and others. There is no judgment at the more than 1,000 meetings around the world, so participants are free to share whatever they are facing in recovery.
National Eating Disorders Association
: Eating disorders are other mental health disorders that can co-occur with drugs and alcohol use and abuse. If you are living with an eating disorder, NEDA can provide you with a number of informational resources as well as a connection to support groups in your area – or help you find a peer support guide using NEDA Navigator
. If anorexia is the eating disorder that is your obstacle in recovery, then go to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
and connect with one of the different types of support groups available near you, many of which are led by nutritionists.
Sidran’s HelpDesk: Trauma can hit anyone who has experienced a natural disaster, a near-death experience, sexual or physical assault, war, and/or witnessed trauma happen to someone else, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be the result. The symptoms of PTSD can be both emotional and physical. After treatment, Sidran’s HelpDesk can connect you with support groups in your area.
GLBT Near Me: If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender then you may find that recovery is somewhat complicated by issues related to sexuality and stigma. If that is the case, GLBT Near Me can connect you to support groups in your area.
If you are the friend or family member of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person, and you would like to connect with others in a similar situation, learn more about social outreach, and find educational resources, then Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) can help.
The more support you have in recovery, the better able you will be to manage relapse triggers as they arise. Having someone to talk to, and a safe and nonjudgmental forum to vent your concerns and frustrations as well as share your “successes,” can help you to stay on track and connected to your recovery. Additionally, you can learn from the experiences of others who have been where you are today and learned through trial and error how best to manage different issues as they arise. The stronger your support system, the stronger you will be in sobriety.