Many people suffering from addiction also suffer from a co-occurring mental illness. Because of this, mental health institutions treat a lot of addicted individuals. Conversely, drug rehabs provide mental health treatment for many of their residents. In many ways, treatment for drug addiction and treatment for mental illness overlap.
Can you expect good mental health treatment at a drug rehab? Due to their indisputable connection, reputable drug rehabs provide excellent treatment for a range of mental illnesses. This is called dual diagnosis treatment, and for many people, it’s important for a successful recovery. To find out more, call us today at 424.235.2009.
How Are Addiction and Mental Illness Connected?
In order to understand why treatment so often overlaps, it is necessary to explain just how addiction and mental illness are connected.
The correlation between addiction and mental illness goes both ways. Many individuals suffering from mental illnesses turn to substances for relief. Individuals suffering from OCD, for example, often turn to alcohol or other downers to quiet their minds. People suffering from depression may turn to alcohol and drugs for a pick-me-up. People suffering from anxiety may use them for increased confidence. There are many such examples.
On the other hand, mental illness can come about because of addiction to alcohol or drugs. Instead of developing and maintaining healthy coping mechanisms, addicts begin to depend on substances. Their coping mechanisms break down with disuse, and eventually lead to patterns of mental illness. Furthermore, there is evidence that some substances can trigger latent mental illnesses.
As such, drug rehabs need to treat mental illnesses if they are to be successful at treating addiction. Here is how they do so.
For a start, drug rehabs assess every resident for a dual diagnosis. This means that they check for symptoms of mental illness and diagnose underlying issues. Good drug rehabs employ psychiatrists with experience working in both addiction and mental illness. They are intimately familiar with the signs of both and are able to distinguish which are actually symptoms of mental illness and which are caused entirely by substance use.
A psychiatrist will also provide medication when necessary. This may include antidepressants, antipsychotics, sleeping aids, and more. In a drug rehab center, they will be particularly careful not to prescribe any medication that is at all addictive.
While group sessions are fundamental to addiction recovery, individual therapy is better suited to treating mental illnesses. Good drug rehabs provide individual therapy for all residents, but it is especially important in dual diagnosis cases.
There are a number of methods in individual therapy ideal for treating mental illness in a drug rehab, including:
Talk therapy delves into the individual’s history, searching for clues as to what events led to the person’s difficulties. Finding these answers helps to identify what basic assumptions and beliefs need to be changed in order for the person to heal. It can also unveil where the person’s attitude towards substances came from.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on challenging thoughts which cause a person’s dysfunction. It is particularly useful for treating anxiety disorders. The simple process helps the individual identify problematic thoughts, then test the thoughts against reality. Over time, the person begins thinking in a healthier, more productive way. It is also very useful for challenging a person’s thoughts about substance use.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) combines CBT methods with mindfulness. The core of the practice is about finding a new way of perceiving pain, including difficult emotions and thoughts. Rather than challenging thoughts (although reality testing is a supplementary technique), DBT asks individuals to cease their judgment of thoughts and feelings, helping them become less reactive and more at peace.
Addiction is known to be a family illness. One way or another, the whole family is affected, and in order for the individual to recover, some work needs to be done with the family. Family therapy has therefore become a significant part of addiction treatment.
This is as helpful for individuals struggling with mental illness. A tough family situation can be a constant barrier against progress, as the person finds unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms a natural alternative to family dysfunction. On the other hand, a healthy family can provide the support that helps the person progress, growing along with their family. Instead of the family being an obstacle, they become a helpful part of maintaining mental wellness.
Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Centers Are Key To Recovery
At Seasons in Malibu, we understand that the path to recovery from addiction and mental health issues can be difficult. We also recognize that proper treatment is essential for lasting sobriety and improved mental well-being. That’s why our team of experienced professionals provides evidence-based, holistic care tailored to each individual’s needs.