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Fighting addiction is certainly a trying and challenging experience. Since addiction has the power to warp your brain’s reward processes, it forces you into thinking that you need to engage in your addiction to achieve happiness. However, what is especially difficult about addiction is that a disproportionately high number of addicts struggle with a co-occurring mental illness. This phenomenon, called dual diagnosis, makes the challenges of addiction even more serious. However, there are several important life skills that are crucial to develop to cope and fight a dual diagnosis.

Use social support

One of the hardest things for both addicts and people with mental illnesses is that they often feel alone and alienated. However, there are people who love you and want you to get better. Use your family and allow friends to get close to give you that support network. It really does make it easier. On top of those who are close to you, most recovery centers will utilize group therapy sessions to help addicts see that they are not alone in their struggles.

Use a healthy diet to your advantage

It is so much easier to gain control of your body and mind to fight addiction and cope with mental illness when you are engaging in healthy living habits, such as a fulfilling diet and good sleeping habits. Eating nutritionally and sleeping well help keep your body balanced and in check. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds, since many mental illnesses inherently work to undo such healthy habits.

Be physically active

In addition to being eating and sleeping well, the other aspect of keeping your body chemistry balanced is by being physically active. It’s a good life skill, in general, to allow your daily routine a space for your to get out pent up energy. This can be everything from going to the gym and working out, to playing recreational sports, to even just taking a daily walk to clear your head. Being physically active takes some the pressure away from your mind, and allows you to do our final step…

Take moments to breathe

Just make sure that you don’t get caught up in your own head too much. Take some moments everyday to simply breathe. Deep, long breaths. Breathing helps calm you down, and helps you remember to relax and take one step at a time.