COVID-19: Challenges Faced by People of Faith
The past few years have been especially isolating for members of our community. Christians who are used to gathering on a weekly basis for worship and support have missed out on countless in-person services. Instead of fostering fellowship within the four walls of their sanctuary – a word which literally means “a place of refuge or safety” – people of faith have been confined to their homes, often alone. This seclusion is a recipe for distress.
When faced with such troubles, David penned Psalm 25:
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
Similarly, the solitude and separation of the pandemic have caused many of our brothers and sisters to face anxiety, depression, and even substance use disorder. Fortunately, healing is available for those dealing with addiction and a co-occurring disorder.
Dual Diagnosis Explained
Dual diagnosis is the clinical term for a combination of disorders: a mental health condition and a substance use disorder. The most common co-occurring conditions are depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, and personality disorders.
Often, people who have turned to drugs or alcohol will also experience issues with their mental wellbeing. This relationship can be formed one of two ways.
1. In some cases, those with depression, anxiety, or a history of trauma will try to “self-medicate” their symptoms. This self-destructive coping mechanism eventually causes them to develop a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol or drugs.
2. In other instances, a substance use disorder can make people experience strong negative emotions. Drinking and drug use change the brain’s structure and systems, resulting in low mood, manic episodes, and increased anxiety.
People in isolation are especially vulnerable to addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Megan Evans and Edwin B. Fisher wrote about this topic in an article titled “Social Isolation and Mental Health: The Role of Nondirective and Directive Social Support.” Their research, published in The Community Mental Health Journal, demonstrates the strong link between loneliness and mental health problems. They found that levels of depression and anxiety were significantly higher among those who were socially isolated. They also found social support to be a crucial factor in restoring one’s emotional health. At Celebrate Hope, we provide Christian dual diagnosis treatment rooted in community, fellowship, and faith.
What is Christian Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
To fully address substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness, integrated treatment is required. This means that both conditions must be addressed at the same time. The Celebrate Hope program begins by unraveling the factors driving one’s substance use, anxiety, depression, or trauma. Often, the issue at the heart of one’s addiction and unhappiness is a life led selfishly – not spiritually, personal struggle, traumatic event, or other concern that emerges due to a crisis of faith.
Once the underlying causes have been identified, we help Christians to reconnect with God and other people of faith. We believe that the strength provided by spiritual connection is just as important as the science of addiction treatment. In this way, we are able to aid clients through a combination of faith-based and evidence-based practices. Our holistic, whole-person approach prioritizes the values outlined by the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With these skills, the support of others, and the love of Christ, our clients are able to build a firm foundation for lasting recovery.
Healing for Christians in Southern California
If this has been a difficult season for you, you are not alone. Celebrate Hope offers a place of rest for those seeking freedom from alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. We invite you to learn more about our Christian dual diagnosis treatment program.