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Why Should Mental Health Care be a Part of Addiction Treatment?

Mental health and addiction are like two peas in a pod. More often than not, individuals seeking treatment for addiction also have co-occurring mental disorders that must be addressed. Mood and anxiety disorders are commonly diagnosed in chemically dependent people. The percentage of individuals with severe mental disorders and substance use disorders is also high.

Substance abuse can mask symptoms of mental illness, and mental illness can mask symptoms of substance abuse. A person may have been using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate a mental health issue, but once that stops working, an even larger problem of addiction exists alongside the underlying disorder. This is a delicate situation that requires professional treatment.

Drug and alcohol use worsen mental health issues. It is important to treat the co-occurring disorders with an integrated approach. Treating one disorder does not automatically improve the other. Treating them separately doesn’t involve an all-encompassing and effective treatment plan. Treating them together, by the same team and in the same place, may have a higher success rate.

Sometimes treatment for mild mental health issues may only involve learning new techniques for calming anxiety, going through cognitive behavioral therapy, or meeting with a counselor. Moderate or severe mental health issues may need medically-supervised pharmacology treatment. This can be a tricky area for individuals in recovery, because medical professionals not fully versed in addiction medicine may prescribe drugs that will put the individual back at square one.

If you are seeking continuing care for mental health and addiction, it is imperative that you are your own advocate. Some doctors won’t think twice about doling out medication that could ruin your life. Why is this? Quite simply, they aren’t fully educated on the perils of addiction. Many medical schools only require three hours of addiction education; three hours over the entire span of a doctor’s schooling. Add in mental health disorders, and there could be a serious treatment problem. Thoroughly research your treatment options, and if in doubt, contact your treatment center for more information and recommendations.

The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401