What is the Importance of Mental Health?

How to Improve Mental Health

If you want to know how to improve mental health, the key may be halting your substance use.

In any given month, over 165 million Americans use an addictive substance.

That is more than half of the teen and adult population.

And whether or not you realize it, your drug or alcohol use may be damaging your mental health.

In fact, substance problems are a major source of mental health issues.

And without a sound mental state, it is impossible to maximize your sense of well-being.

No one should be left to deal with these kinds of issues on their own.

If you feel that your substance use is impacting your mental health, seek help as soon as possible.

This is by far the best way to avoid further problems and return to a healthier, happier way of living.

What Exactly is the Importance of Mental Health? - Pathfinders - A clinician who specializes in addiction treatment if discussing the importance of mental health, especially during recovery.

How to Improve Mental Health: Addiction as a Mental Illness

When thinking about how to improve mental health, it is important to keep something in mind.

Today, experts classify substance addiction itself as a form of mental illness. The term for this illness is a substance use disorder, or SUD.

You also qualify for a diagnosis of the same illness if you suffer from major, non-addicted substance abuse. Tens of millions of Americans have a substance use disorder.

The SUD category is an umbrella for multiple types of mental illness. Each of these illnesses is named for a class of addictive substances.

Examples of these names include:

  • Alcohol use disorder, or AUD
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Opioid use disorder, or OUD
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • Sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder

Why are these conditions considered to be forms of mental illness? Because they significantly alter your state of mind and reduce your ability to function. They also change the way your brain works, and may physically damage your brain. In addition, SUDs alter your behavior and cause you to do harmful things you would not normally do.

A doctor can check if you have the symptoms of a substance use disorder. There are 11 different possible problems in affected people, including:

  • Losing control of how much or how often you use drugs or drink
  • Making substance use and related behaviors the focus of your daily routine
  • Growing less and less sensitive to the effects of drugs or alcohol
  • Having a habit of using addictive substances in risky or dangerous situations
  • Not being able to quit drug use or drinking, even with repeated efforts
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities because of your level of substance use
  • Substituting drinking or drug use for other activities you once loved to do
  • Experiencing social or relationship issues as a direct result of your substance use
  • Feeling powerful urges to drink or take drugs throughout your day
  • Developing symptoms of substance withdrawal if you quit or cut your consumption

Some of these problems are strictly related to addiction. Others reflect the presence of non-addicted abuse. From a mental health standpoint, addiction and major, non-addicted substance abuse are equally serious. What is more, they often occur simultaneously.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis

Unfortunately, some people with SUDs also have other mental health issues to deal with. This is not a rare problem. In fact, for every two people with a SUD, roughly one will be affected by an additional mental illness. The same statistic holds true in reverse. In other words, roughly one out of every two people with a mental illness also has a SUD.

What kinds of mental illnesses are most likely in people with drug- or alcohol-related SUD? The list of these conditions includes anxiety-based disorders such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD

Other commonly found illnesses include:

  • Depressive illnesses like major depression
  • Bipolar illnesses like bipolar I disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and related conditions
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

The current standard term for co-occurring SUDs and additional mental illness is dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a serious concern because it often has a double negative impact on your well-being. This is why it is so vital to understand the importance of mental health.

When it is present, it can make both your SUD and additional mental illness symptoms worse than normal. This double whammy on your mental health poses significant treatment challenges. For this reason, the question of how to improve mental health in people with dual diagnoses is vital.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for SUDs

If you have a SUD, professional treatment should be a top priority. There is a range of treatment environments available, including:

  • Medically supervised detox, or detoxification
  • Inpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Standard outpatient programs

Your doctor can help you find the right option for your particular SUD symptoms. Once you are enrolled in the right kind of program, you will receive help tailored to your needs and understand the importance of mental health. This help may include:

  • General supportive care
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapy or counseling

While in treatment, you will benefit from the experience of addiction specialists. You will also learn how to improve mental health through your own efforts. As a rule, you should pursue some kind of follow-up treatment once your primary rehab program is over. You can also further your recovery by joining a mutual self-help group.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

It takes a special effort to improve mental health if you have a dual diagnosis. Why? Not only must you get help for your SUD symptoms. You must also get help for your particular form of additional mental illness. This two-part treatment is essential. Without it, your mental health will likely continue to suffer.

Mental health and addiction facilities may use medication for two aspects of your dual diagnosis treatment. First, you may receive a medication targeted at your SUD symptoms. In addition, you may receive something targeted at your other mental illness symptoms.

Other forms of treatment are also used in dual diagnosis programs. For example, you will almost certainly be treated with behavioral therapy or counseling. There are specialized therapy options available for people with dual diagnoses. One such option is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. You may also receive a more widespread use SUD therapy such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Contingency Management Intervention

What Exactly is the Importance of Mental Health? - Pathfinders - A group in a dual diagnosis facility is discussing what a dual diagnosis is, and the importance of mental health and how it can drastically impact your recovery process if not treated appropriately.

Get More Information on How to Improve Your Mental Health

More than 20 million Americans suffer from mental illnesses called substance use disorders. And many of those affected must also cope with additional, serious mental health issues. If you feel you may have a SUD or dual diagnosis, professional treatment is a must. Otherwise, you may find yourself caught in a worsening spiral of mental and physical despair.

Most people with SUDs do not seek help. It is crucial that you do what you can to escape the ranks of the untreated. Every day, mental health and addiction facilities support recovery from SUDs and dual diagnoses. Some of the very best facilities provide all of the services you need in a single location.

Need more information on how to improve your mental health and protect your well-being? After all, the importance of mental health is crucial during and after recovery. If your concerns are substance-related, just called the specialists at Pathfinders. Our deep expertise gives us the ability to answer any question you may have. Pathfinders is also a top destination for the treatment of SUDs and dual diagnosis. We offer programs suited to anyone affected by these pressing mental health issues and the importance of mental health overall.

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What is a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

A Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program Can Be Essential

Many people with substance problems need a dual diagnosis treatment program to complete their recovery.

That’s true because they also suffer from other serious mental health issues.

If you are affected by these additional issues, you may wonder if it’s even possible to get better.

But with the effective treatments available today, this is indeed a realistic, achievable goal.

Recovery from dual diagnosis is not easy.

In fact, you may find yourself facing more difficult problems than people only affected by addiction or mental illness.

However, with time, effort and expert care, you can turn things around.

There is always hope, even for people severely affected by dual diagnosis symptoms.

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Basics of Dual Diagnosis

Until recently, dual diagnosis was widely known by another name: co-occurring disorders.

All people diagnosed with this issue are simultaneously affected by two significant problems:

  • A substance use disorder, or SUD
  • A separate mental illness

Some people with a SUD are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

However, some are not. Instead, they have serious, substance abuse-related problems even though they are not addicted.

You can also suffer from symptoms of addiction and non-addicted abuse at the same time.

There are many types of mental illness.

The list of these conditions includes such things as:

  • Major depressive disorder and other depressive disorders
  • Bipolar I disorder and other bipolar disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Anorexia and other eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia and other schizophrenia-related disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder and other personality disorders

There is a strong, two-way connection between mental illness and SUDs.

If you have a mental illness, there’s a roughly 50/50 chance that you will also have a SUD.

There is also a 50/50 chance that people with SUDs will have a separate mental illness.

That figure includes people affected by all kinds of mental illness.

A smaller number of people with dual diagnoses, roughly 3.6 million, suffer from serious or severe mental illness symptoms.

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Substance-Induced Disorders

Sometimes, substance use itself directly leads to significant mental health problems. When that occurs, you do not actually have a separate mental illness. Instead, you have a substance-induced mental disorder.

All major addictive substances can trigger this type of disorder. Specific problems you may experience include:

  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Serious anxiety
  • Extreme disorientation, also known as delirium

When diagnosing you, your doctor will look for these kinds of issues. If they are directly caused by your substance use, you do not have dual diagnosis. However, it is possible to be affected by dual diagnosis and substance-induced problems at the same time.

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Typical Rehab Vs. a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

If you have dual diagnosis, you cannot recover your health just by treating your substance problems. Instead, you must get help for your mental illness, as well. Why? Untreated mental illness creates a major roadblock for your ability to quit drugs or alcohol. The connection also works the other way. An untreated SUD creates a serious drain on your odds of recovering from mental illness.

Since the two issues affect each other, they must be treated together. This is the big difference between a typical rehab and a dual diagnosis treatment program. Standard substance rehab just helps you recover from an SUD. In contrast, treatment for dual diagnosis also helps you cope with additional mental health problems.

Not all addiction specialists offer dual diagnosis treatment. This means that you must take the time to find a program that meets your specific needs. You may find help in a facility that also offers standard substance rehab. However, some dual diagnosis treatment centers operate independently.

What Are Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs? - Pathfinders Recovery - A woman is sitting across from her addiction therapist to discuss dual diagnosis treatment programs.

Features of a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

Assessment of Your Condition and Situation

What happens in a dual diagnosis treatment program? When you first enter this kind of program, you should receive a thorough assessment of your condition. This assessment helps your treatment team uncover a range of crucial details. That includes such things as:

  • The exact nature of your substance problems
  • The type or types of mental illness affecting you
  • Whether or not you actually have a dual diagnosis
  • How badly you’re affected by your SUD and mental illness symptoms
  • What kind of care you’ll need to make your recovery
  • How much care you’ll need
  • The strength of your personal support network
  • Any important details of your personal background
  • Potential problems that could make your recovery process harder

Substance Detox

If you’re being treated for a dual diagnosis, you must stop your drug use and/or drinking. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment programs place a heavy emphasis on detox or detoxification. That’s the name for a supervised process where you halt your substance use and go through withdrawal.

People who only have a SUD can sometimes go through detox on an outpatient basis. However, as a rule, you need inpatient detox if you have a dual diagnosis. That’s the only way to protect you from any unforeseen problems while withdrawing from drugs or alcohol.

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Active Substance and Mental Illness Treatment

Inpatient care is also often necessary for dual diagnosis patients once they finish detox. Why? You may need this kind of 24/7, live-in program to protect your health and well-being during treatment. However, some people may be eligible for outpatient treatment, instead.

Integrated intervention is recognized as the most effective option for dual diagnosis care. What does this term mean? From the very beginning, your dual diagnosis treatment program will address both your SUD and your mental illness. That way, you will never have to worry about continuing to suffer from untreated symptoms.

To treat your SUD, your program may rely on medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. The specific approach depends largely on the substance that triggered your problems. One type of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy or DBT, is becoming increasingly common in dual diagnosis treatment. Evidence shows that this therapy makes it easier for people with mental illness to stop their substance use.

You may also receive medication specifically targeted at your mental illness symptoms. There are many different options available. Your dual diagnosis treatment program will ensure that the medication you receive meets your unique needs.

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Find Out More About Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

On its own, a SUD is enough to throw your everyday life far off track.

The situation is even direr if you also suffer from additional mental illness.

That’s why dual diagnosis receives special attention from addiction specialists.

It is also you need this kind of expert care if you are affected.

Without it, you have little chance of recovering from your combined substance and mental health problems.

The good news is that effective help is now available.

At a dual diagnosis treatment center, you receive focused care that addresses all aspects of your health.

This care can make all the difference between a successful recovery and months or years of fruitless struggle.

Need more information on dual diagnosis treatment programs?

Contact the specialists at Pathfinders today.

Our knowledgeable staff will answer any question you may have about these modern facilities.

We also feature first-class dual diagnosis care that meets the highest standards.

No matter how badly you are affected, we have the expertise needed to help restore your total well-being.

The Stigma Of Addiction: How Do I Break It?

What is Alcoholism?

In 1956, alcoholism was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association. The definition of a disease is “a quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or a group of people.”

The AMA’s conclusion is fitting to say the least. Today, alcoholism is a part of a much larger epidemic – the disease of addiction. Unlike physical ailments, alcohol addiction has become a serious societal issue, one plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. People often say, “Addicts are weak, they just need to toughen up and quit,” or, “Addicts are liars, burnouts and waste of space,” and “Addicts are bad people and criminals.”

All too often these types of judgmental statements are spoken. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a glimpse into what it is like to be an addict.


How Alcoholism Starts

stigma-of-alcoholismOutside circumstances vary drastically, but internally most addicts, including myself, have similar experiences although it can often feel like they’re the only one.

You’re introduced to a substance, you try it, and you like the way it makes you feel. In the beginning the substances make you feel euphoria, and for the potential addict, you just want to do it again. It’s a slow and gradual decline of one’s power of choice and into dependency.

 


Becoming An Addict

beginning-of-alcohol-addictionAs time goes on our tolerance for the substances gets greater. Leaving us needing more of our drug of choice in order to become intoxicated. So, what does any motivated addict do at this point?

More drugs and alcohol of course.

A non-addict may be able to anticipate what might happen if they continue down this path and decide to turn it around. This isn’t so with the real addict from our experience. What we see is delusions crop up, and from this altered reality we are able to find justifications for our actions.

Here is an example: a close friend of yours approaches you and says, “I think you should slow down with partying. I’m worried about you and you do not seem like yourself lately.” The non-addict’s thought process might lead to some introspection like, “Are they right? Am I getting carried away? Maybe I should take it easy for a while.” An addict on the other hand may say, “They don’t know what they’re talking about! I’m fine and if they can’t accept me for who I am, then I don’t need them in my life.” This defensiveness and sometimes anger comes quickly when someone challenges them or they think they may lose their drug, which is one reason so many addicts become alienated from the people in their lives. This cycle goes on until you have reached the no man’s land of dependency.


Active Full Blown Addiction

Once an addict has reached the stage of full-blown dependency, it is incredibly difficult to stop. When I was using, you could have given me a lie detector test and I would have been telling the truth when I said I believed to my core that there was no chance that I could stop.

The physiological make-up of my body had changed. This is true with all addicts. As a person in long term recovery, I wanted to get clean for years before I was actually able to make it stick. Allow me to emphasize the important part of that statement. I wanted to get clean for years.

When an addict feels like they can’t stop using, they often feel ashamed, weak and like a failure. Having the world say the same and worse, contributes to an addict’s need to detach from those feelings on some level, so they just keep using. Punishing and condemning addicts, bad mouthing them and judging them will never help this problem. It doesn’t help the addict, nor does it benefit the world as a whole as society continues to perpetuate the cycle. What is needed is an educated society that understands the issue and its complexities, and how best to approach it.


The Recovery Process

Since the founders of Pathfinders Recovery Center have been in recovery we have found that addicts, and people in general for that matter, are capable of great things. The same men and women that come from dark, selfish, and lonely pasts are now selfless and caring, with a unique compassion for their fellow man. One in ten adult people in this nation are struggling with some form of addiction, and only one in ten of those people get help. These statistics are staggering. This disease does not discriminate. There are politicians, lawyers, policemen, doctors, pilots, therapists, and all other professions. We are your neighbors, your friends, your pastor, and your child’s school teacher. Before judging and condemning addicts, please remember that these people you are talking about are sick. Very sick. The power of choice is more than likely no longer in their grasp. They need compassion and understanding. They need help, and to be shown there is a way out.

For more information and the science behind each chemical’s effect on the body view our earlier blog posts or contact a Pathfinders Recovery Center founder directly at (855) 728-4363.

5 Important Things To Do After Addiction Treatment

post-addiction-treatment

Many people attend detoxes, short-term and long-term addiction treatment centers. A common issue for clients exiting these facilities is a lack of a sound aftercare plan. This article is meant to address this issue and provide you with some tips on what to do when you have graduated from your treatment center in order to optimize your chances of success in recovery. Before we begin, and before even checking into a treatment center you should discuss in detail their practices regarding aftercare planning. Here is an article on what to look for in a treatment center.

1. Be Open To Feedback

Not sure where to turn after treatment? Gather your resources, seek information and ask those around you. Sometimes what we think want and what is best for us are two very different things. That is why it is so crucial to be open to feedback from professionals and your peers when leaving your treatment center. They only want to see you succeed and become a more healthy and active members of your community..

2. Consider Sober Living After Primary Treatment

Sober living is a great option when leaving an addiction treatment center. Here you gain the freedom of being independent and self-sufficient with just enough structure and people around to help you through the transition of leaving your treatment center. A good sober living home will allow you to work, have a late curfew, and help you with practical life skills such as budgeting finances, relationships, healthy communication, nutrition, health and wellness and more. They will help you stay on track to long term recovery, reducing the risk of a relapse.

3. Develop a Sober Network

addiction-aftercare-planningA good group of peers is so imperative during the recovery process, people that we can trust and stay committed to.  Not to mention people to enjoy life and have sober fun with. We call this having an “A-Team” and it will save your life time and time again. Make sure you choose your A-Team wisely and be sure to stick with the winners. If you don’t know anyone sober outside of treatment, or if you have a fear of meeting new people, don’t worry we were all there once. We recommend looking into your local intergroup and attending, 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy. There you find a bountiful amount of sober people that will be willing to help you anyway that they can. A solid, safe support system can be the difference between sobriety and relapse.

4. Set Goals To Work Towards

A wise man once told me after years of sobriety, “You’ve wanted to die before…you have wanted to get sober before…now that you ARE sober…you have to find a reason to live.” This was a powerful statement for me because he was absolutely right.

I related to this on many levels; in regards to my son, towards helping others, having fun with friends, respecting myself on a daily basis, supporting my family and friends, and many more. It is important to figure out what is important to you and go for it.

Do what you love and love what you do.

5. Remain Humble And Hardworking Even After Treatment

It is all too common and very easy to stop working on ourselves and growing in recovery. After years of suffering, then months of feeling good it is impossible to remember the suffering you endured at all times. This ties into the last entry, as well, but you have to find a life worth being sober for. There is a catch here. Once you get the job, a place, a car, a relationship, and some money in your bank account, it becomes easy to become complacent and lazy. Don’t get caught in this trap, don’t let your sober life get in the way of what sobriety has given you.  

Until next time… stay humble and love yourself, life is what you make it.


Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752