How to Get Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

mental health and addiction treatment
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There are millions of people today who have mental health issues. Substance abuse disorders have a direct correlation with them. When you need mental health and addiction treatment, what you’re looking for is “co-occurring disorder treatment.” This treatment is necessary for 7.9 million Americans today.

Who Needs Mental Health and Addiction Treatment?

Unfortunately, it's difficult to know whether someone needs mental health help, addiction treatment, or both. This is why many treatment facilities will take a mental health analysis when a patient enters detox and when they’re ready to be discharged. In doing so, professionals are looking for the following signs which are commonly associated with a mental health concern:

  • Issues with sleeping or eating
  • Feeling ill physically without a reason
  • Heightened irritability
  • Suicide ideations or attempts
  • Giving up on hobbies that use to be important
  • A markedly increased or decreased libido
  • Extreme emotional highs or lows
  • Distancing oneself from family or friends
  • Fear that happens frequently and for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or focusing
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Being debilitated by their mental disorders (e.g., paranoia, delusions, hallucinations)

What Does Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Entail?

In the past, you’d have to decide whether you need help for your substance abuse problem or your mental health. This meant that many people who wanted to get sober wouldn’t receive the help they needed for such debilitating issues as obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or schizophrenia. So, when they’d graduate from drug rehab programs their co-occurring disorder was still present and oftentimes unaccounted for.

Since the 1990s, the treatment of co-occurring disorders has steadily grown and this growth is expected to continue for the unforeseeable future. Dr. Kenneth Minkoff, a pioneer in mental health and addiction treatment, helped establish standards and best practices for it. 

While in the past it was common to exclude individuals with co-occurring illnesses from treatment, Minkoff says it’s important to welcome them instead. Once admitted for mental health and addiction treatment, it’s important for the patient to receive equal attention and care for both their addiction and their mental health issues. This means that the treatment team must be experienced in treating both issues.

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Minkoff goes on to say that while it’s tempting to see these both as temporary conditions, they’re not. Instead, what you have are two conditions, both of which require long-term assistance. However, he believes that if patients were to receive treatment for their psychiatric issues early on they’d be better off and may not find themselves in need of mental health and addiction treatment.

Regardless of whether someone is experiencing a mental health crisis or an addiction, Minkoff stresses the importance of treating everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. Therefore, it’s important that patients receive treatment for both their psychiatric needs and their addiction at the same time. He suggests that both of these needs also be addressed in both therapy and group therapy sessions.

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What Does This Mean for You?

Until recently, nobody sought to offer mental health and addiction treatment at the same time. Instead, they believed that the two could be treated separately. Thus, care was provided at different facilities using very different strategies. Now that this is no longer happening, patients are able to get the help they need in one place.

If you believe that you or someone you love needs both mental health and addiction treatment, I encourage you to get it. Once you do you’ll be well on your way to healing, but your journey doesn’t end there. It’s important to remain invested in yourself and your wellbeing. Whether you do this alone or with the help of your therapist, I encourage you to check out the resources I’ve created for you.