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This post is for everyone, even people without the substance abuse Dx. 

So I have this feeling I am not alone here.

Are there any people out there who have a substance abuse Dx mixed up with other Dx and or stand alone in the substance abuse Dx?

It is pretty common for someone with a MI to develop substance abuse disorders, especially if they self medicate before they get an official Dx. I do not have stats to post at this time but I can later if people would like to know. 

Now the purpose of this post is to find out people's opinions on what I think is a problem in the MI community. The rejection and or dismissal of someone with a substance abuse disorder Dx. 

I have seen it where a person with a substance abuse Dx is sharing in a group setting, and the other attendees will automatically shift in their seats uncomfortably and either try to change the subject or dismiss it outright when the person is done sharing.  I know that it is an uncomfortable subject, and that if you have not dealt with a substance abuse issue then you can not relate to well. I am sorry for saying it that way, you may be able to relate indirectly, which is also very valid.

Why is it though that sometimes people do not take the other Dx that people have seriously? I have been in this situation; I was sharing in a group and when I mentioned the drug use and my issues with that and how it affected my other MI's. I was then interrupted by another attendee, that person said, then you do not really have Schizoaffective then. Thankfully the moderator jumped in and said that minimizing and discrediting someone else is not allowed. which caused a few in the room to cross their arms and stop sharing. As did I because I felt like I was not allowed to share my experience any longer.

So what is the deal here? Are we (drug users) not allowed to come and share on equal terms? This can apply to CB or really any group. Are we truly in our own grouping and our story has no impact or value anymore because we are just useless junkies? Is it that having a MI is very hard for anyone in this world, and adding a Dx of drug use is just a slap in the face for people actively pursuing treatment? Do people without a Dx of substance abuse think that we (drug users) have failed or have taken an easy way out? 

I would encourage anyone to post here, answer the questions, or create new ones. I would like to hear everyone and their side to this. No judgments will come from me, I just want to know where I stand within the community. 

 

 

Edited by dancingphantom
punctuation and added an apology
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I don't think this will answer any of your questions, but from what I've seen, as bad as the stigma of mental illness is it still doesn't come with the judgment that substance abuse problems come with. So basically you are judged not favorably the moment you admit to substance abuse problems. I have never shared my (past) problem with alcohol anywhere but here for that reason. Not even my doctors know.

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  • 4 months later...

I've noticed a divide in the way people talk about the two. As if mental illness is about who you inherently are, but substance abuse is just something you do. Like how a lot of people don't seem to understand that it's possible to be a teetotal alcoholic, or people who think that stopping doing drugs is purely about the physical withdrawal symptoms.

When my doctor took my medical history she was very blase (to the point of being almost dismissive) about my psychiatric symptoms but looked at me like I was a monster when I said I very occasionally smoked weed when I was younger. Like, twice a year at most, and not at all for the past 5 years. She really made me feel like I'd done something awful when actually plenty of people do it, and it hasn't had an impact on my mental health. So when she asked how much I drank I kind of downplayed it because I didn't want to overcomplicate things.

Maybe the overlap between the groups would be more noticeable if psychiatrists didn't put so much pressure on the mental health patients that they lie about their drinking/drug use. And if people like that one from your group didn't tell people they can't have a mental health diagnosis if they also have substance abuse problems.

So yeah, I can totally believe that people are jerks in your group but it's shocking to hear that it's as bad as that. I'm sorry they've treated you like that. You deserve better. Even if someone thinks that mental health and substance abuse are two totally different ball games, there's no call for them to be like that about it.

 

You might find this article interesting, sort of the flip side of the coin (but presumably a lot less frequent this way round?):

http://www.xojane.com/relationships/my-in-laws-accept-addiction-but-not-mental-illness

BTW it's a total fluff website but sometimes the personal experiences people share are quite interesting.

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