Topsail Addiction Treatment

Why Is Mental Health Treatment Essential for Successful Long-Term Recovery?

Struggling with an addiction is a challenging dilemma. If you’re dealing with mental health issues as well, sustaining long-term recovery is almost impossible. People with substance use disorders are at an increased risk for developing one or more mental health conditions—or having an existing underlying disorder. According to the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 9.2 million American adults have a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder.

Comorbid disorders often affect each other, making navigating long-term recovery without addressing underlying mental health issues a minefield. Understanding the relationship between mental health and addiction and the importance of holistic treatment during recovery can help you or a loved one break the addiction cycle and achieve long-lasting sobriety.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

In addiction recovery, a co-occurring disorder is the coexistence of a substance use disorder and mental illness. When disorders co-occur, they typically interact with each other and can exacerbate symptoms, making it difficult to overcome either. That’s why many rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment to address substance abuse and mental health issues simultaneously.

Some of the most common co-occurring mental health disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders

Since there are many combinations of co-occurring disorders and it’s possible to have more than one co-occurring mental illness, signs and symptoms can vary. However, there are a few common identifiers to look for, including:

  • Loss of control over substance consumption
  • Social isolation or interpersonal relationship issues
  • Reckless or harmful behavior
  • Poor hygiene
  • Lack of motivation
  • Emotional distress or physical pain
  • Personality or behavioral changes
  • Mood swings
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Missing school, work or other social obligations
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Not caring about anything other than using drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming oneself

What Can Cause Mental Health Issues?

Despite social stigmas surrounding mental health, more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults are impacted by mental illness. There’s no singular reason why someone may develop mental health issues. Several factors are usually involved, including life experiences and family history.

Life Experiences

Adverse childhood experiences, traumatic events and prolonged stressful situations can increase your risk for developing mental health issues. Specific scenarios include:

  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Challenging family dynamics in the childhood home
  • Homelessness or poverty
  • Discrimination or stigma such as racism
  • Domestic violence or sexual assault
  • Poverty or debt
  • Unemployment or job loss
  • Homelessness or unsafe housing conditions
  • Long-term physical health conditions

However, two people experiencing the same traumatic or stressful event will process it differently, and one person may be more deeply impacted than another.

Family History

Mental health disorders can run in the family, putting you at a higher risk of developing one. This is typically due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, if you grow up watching a close relative think, behave or cope a certain way, you may develop these same habits, even if they’re unhealthy. That said, not everyone with a family history of mental illness will automatically struggle with mental health issues.

How Mental Health Issues Can Lead to Addiction

Although not everyone with an addiction has a mental illness, a substance abuse problem can form when someone uses drugs or alcohol to cope with negative emotions or feelings. There are many reasons why someone may use substances to self-medicate their mental health symptoms.

Overlapping Risk Factors

Many risk factors that result in mental health issues, such as trauma, poverty or lack of social support, are also risk factors for substance use disorders. Experiencing one or more of these events can lead to poor mental health, which may influence drug or alcohol use to numb unpleasant feelings or emotions. Although substances may provide genuine temporary relief, they ultimately negatively impact the same brain circuits responsible for mental illness. This can create a never-ending cycle that’s difficult to break free from without addressing both disorders.

Lack of Accessible Care

People may face multiple barriers when trying to access mental health treatment. For example, they may have inadequate insurance coverage, have trouble finding a suitable provider or not fully understand their insurance benefits, which may deter them from seeking answers.

If you’re unable to access mental health care, it can be difficult to fully understand what’s causing your symptoms or how they’re affecting you. A lack of understanding may lead to low self-worth and self-destructive coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

Social Stigma

Unfortunately, mental illnesses have mistakenly been viewed as character defects or personal weaknesses and not diagnosable medical conditions. While substance abuse also carries social stigma, it’s usually easier to pass off drinking or taking drugs as something you do to party and have fun. This is why some people may use substances to mask their symptoms instead of seeking help.

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A Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

To maintain long-term recovery, it’s important to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. By uncovering the root cause of your substance abuse issues, you can better understand how your mental health impacts your addiction and work on developing healthier coping skills addressing both disorders.

This holistic approach to treatment focuses on incorporating lifestyle changes into your daily routine that encourage healthier habits. These methods are frequently used alongside traditional treatments, bringing your body, mind and spirit into alignment during your recovery journey.

Although exact methods vary depending on the facility, examples of holistic treatments include:

  • Yoga
  • Guided meditation
  • Life skills development
  • Mindfulness-based therapies
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Art therapy
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Breathing exercises

Prioritizing your mental health and learning healthier coping mechanisms to deal with unpleasant symptoms can not only improve your mood, but also help you avoid harmful substances during recovery. This can reduce your risk of relapse and help you lead a more fulfilling life.

Address Your Mental Health Concerns and Sustain Long-Term Recovery

At Topsail Addiction Treatment in Boston, our customized treatment programs are designed to help you navigate the challenges of long-term recovery. By incorporating mental health services into our addiction treatment programs, we address the physical and psychological aspects of substance abuse to help you break the cycle for good.

Our treatment programs include:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): Individuals in our PHP attend 5-6 hour sessions 5 days a week to discuss their specific addiction and mental health struggles. Your treatment plan may include individual therapy, group therapy, educational or training programs, group activities and peer support.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): In our IOP, you’ll attend treatment sessions for 3-4 hours during the day or at night, 3 days per week. You’ll have access to the same services offered in our PHP, but with more flexibility to maintain work, school or family obligations.
  • Outpatient program (OP): Our OP sessions meet anywhere from one to five times per week, providing you with resources to maintain long-term recovery while you actively participate in work, school or social responsibilities. You’ll receive a customized treatment plan and have access to the same services as our more intensive programs.

If you believe your mental health is interfering with long-term recovery, Topsail Addiction Treatment can help. Our supportive staff is trained in helping patients reach their recovery goals and break the addiction cycle for good. Contact us today to see which treatment option is right for you and achieve long-lasting sobriety.

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