Dyslexia and Addiction Treatment

Our confidence in ourselves and connections to the world around us are deeply informed by our ability to make sense of information. Dyslexia disrupts that ability, often leaving you feeling frustrated, isolated, disoriented, and misunderstood. For some, the struggle to read, write, and remember can have profound and painful implications for your sense of self, your relationships, and your ability to function socially and professionally. When the emotional distress caused by dyslexia is combined with drug addiction, the results can be devastating.

When Words Scramble

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that causes your brain to mix up letters and words, interfering with your ability to read, write, and spell. As a result, you may have trouble remembering both spoken and written words and face difficulties learning new information, despite the fact your intelligence and theoretical capacity for learning are not diminished.

Although dyslexia is common and many people can learn to effectively manage the disorder, for some, dyslexia causes serious psychological distress. Emotional problems, feelings of inadequacy, low-self esteem, and problems forming and maintaining positive peer relationships are all associated with dyslexia, often resulting in isolation, anxiety, and depression. Without the proper supports, you may have grown up believing that you are not as smart as other people and you may be reluctant to participate in the social, educational, and professional pursuits that interest you for fear of ridicule or failure. These experiences can be deeply damaging to your sense of self, your confidence, and your quality of life.

The causes of dyslexia are not fully understood, but researchers have linked the condition to genes that control brain development, specifically those associated with language-oriented activities. Because dyslexia tends to run in families, experts believe that these genetic modifications are heritable.

Symptoms of Dyslexia

The first symptoms of dyslexia typically emerge in early childhood, often in the form of late talking, rhyming problems, slow language acquisition, and problems following directions. At older ages, symptoms of dyslexia include:

  • Problems reading or spelling single words or sentences
  • Trouble associating letters with sounds
  • Mixing up short words
  • Reversing the shapes of letters
  • Difficulty grasping complex instructions
  • Problems remembering things in sequence
  • Problems processing auditory information

The symptoms of dyslexia may vary in degree from person to person; while some have only mild comprehension problems, others are overwhelmed by severe difficulties.

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Dyslexia and Addiction

Dyslexia can leave you feeling alienated from others and you may experience great frustration that you cannot fulfill your potential. Many have painful memories of being overlooked by teachers, family members, and peers who did not understand your struggles or how to help you overcome them. Too often, people with dyslexia have been treated as if they are lacking in intelligence and this message of inadequacy can seep into your image of yourself as a person, limiting your ability to participate in everyday activities and fulfill your dreams. These emotional, social, and professional effects of dyslexia can greatly increase your risk for developing a substance use disorder.

Drugs may at first appear to offer you a way to cope with the pain dyslexia has caused in your life and give you a temporary reprieve from feelings of depression, anxiety, self-loathing, and inadequacy. Over time, however, addiction only aggravates your pre-existing suffering and creates a new, dangerous health condition that you must now overcome.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition with no known cure, but specialized therapies can help you develop better reading, writing, and comprehension skills to improve function and, ultimately, your self-esteem. If you are struggling with dyslexia and co-occurring drug addiction, however, your treatment needs go beyond enhancing your ability to read and write.
Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to treat addiction and the psychological distress of co-occurring disorders such as dyslexia simultaneously to create complete healing experiences. Through a personalized treatment plan that addresses the full scope of your unique situation, you are able to engage in the therapies necessary to establish emotional and behavioral stability and make meaningful, sustainable changes to promote long-term recovery. The most effective therapeutic modalities for people struggling with addiction and the psychological effects of dyslexia include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Holistic Therapies
  • 12-step support groups

Although no pharmacological treatments exist for dyslexia, medications may be used to alleviate symptoms of co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
Specialized dual diagnosis treatment gives you the opportunity to delve deeply into the relationship between your dyslexia and your addiction to understand the complex ties between them. With the guidance of experienced clinicians and compassionate peers, you can explore what it is within that relationship that is keeping you from healing and create strategies to remove barriers standing in the way of your success. Although treatment may include a focus on your functional abilities, the most important piece is fortifying your sense of self and engaging you in a healing process that allows you to love and nurture yourself regardless of your abilities. By establishing a newfound sense of confidence and inner tranquility, you can rejuvenate your capacity for joy, connection, and trust.

If you would like more information about drug addiction and dyslexia, or have any questions about dual diagnosis treatment, we encourage you to contact us at any time. We are always available to offer support and guidance to help you find the help you need to create a sustainable recovery that can last a lifetime.