While mental illness often drives individuals into substance abuse as they struggle to cope with feelings of anxiety, loss, low self-esteem, or suicidal ideation, it is also understood that substance use can result in the development of mental illness.
This occurs because most abused substances, from alcohol to opiates, change brain chemistry.
The result is that users can no longer feel “normal” with the substances, and they may even experience extreme depression, mood swings, violent tendencies, and physical pain during withdrawal.
As a result, nearly anyone who enters a rehabilitation center struggles with a mental illness that either motivated or resulted from substance use.
Effects of Integrated Treatment
Addiction and recovery are more complicated than they are portrayed in popular culture.
And, as we’ve seen, it can be difficult to understand where a mental illness stops and a substance abuse issue begins.
This tangle of emotions, chemical imbalances, environmental factors, and substance use effects can make it difficult for individuals to manage their care.
So, contrary to the notion that a “strong” person can “stop whenever they want,” most individuals struggling with addiction find themselves lost in co-occurring disorders.
Integrated treatment can help untangle these disorders, treating them individually, until a recovering user begins practicing their new, healthy coping skills in the real world.
Another advantage of integrated treatment is that it is flexible and able to incorporate other treatment elements as desired in the clients best interest.
For instance, if one patient finds comfort in prayer, while another appreciates participating in a 12-step program, these techniques can be included in the integrated treatment plan, allowing for flexibility and recognition of their needs.
In light of this focus on individualized care, integrated treatment has been shown to improve the motivation for recovery in those seeking care.
Given the evidence suggesting its effectiveness, it can address a variety of co-occurring substance and mental health issues, so integrated treatment is becoming increasingly easy to find.
Treatment centers like North Jersey Recovery Center can employ these techniques to offer life-changing recovery opportunities, helping patients realize their potential for recovery and succeed in achieving their dream of a drug-free future.
Mental Illness and Integrated Treatment
Integrated treatments are more effective in treating individuals with substance abuse disorders than more traditional forms of therapy.
This is because this integration is better at adapting to the whole person’s needs – responding to their emotional needs, family dynamics, cultural background, mental health issues, and other considerations that will impact their journey.
This is not to say that everyone who enters a rehabilitation center for substance abuse is necessarily suffering from a serious mental health crisis, such as untreated schizophrenia.
However, it is highly likely that some form of struggle or disfunction in their life has compromised their mental health. If left unaddressed, this issue will re-emerge to compromise treatment.
For example, a medical professional suffering from a combination of burnout and PTSD may turn to alcohol as an escape. This has caused conflict within their marriage. This conflict results in further alcohol consumption, as feelings of failure set in.
Even after successful detoxification, this individual may lack the coping skills required to return to their job or communicate their stress and emotional needs to their spouse.
If they return to their position unable to handle additional stress and trauma, further unhappiness and relapse become likely.
However, integrated treatment would provide strategies to understand why the medical professional has come to this point – such as fear of appearing weak, inability to recognize their stress, poor marital communication, or an unhappy work environment.
By better understanding these underlying causes, the clinical team may be able to provide marital counseling, a peer support group, and perhaps insight regarding whether a workplace change is appropriate.
Integrated treatment can also be effective at addressing underlying issues of shame or low self-worth.
These feelings can drive high-risk behavior like alcohol abuse but can also result from self-directed anger and beliefs that addiction means weakness.
But, combined with medical detoxification and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it becomes increasingly likely that the individual will be able to remain sober by recognizing and managing emotional triggers, letting go of self-directed anger, and focusing on the life they want for themselves and their family.
Thus, integrated treatment helps to create a new healthy lifestyle by addressing needs in different areas of your life.
In addition to addressing co-occurring mental health issues, a treatment program designed to provide lasting healing must include a “big picture” understanding of your life, as well as practical strategies to foster healing in all possible areas.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it?