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How Mental Health Disorders are Treated in Addiction Recovery

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there is a definite connection between mental health concerns and substance abuse. Eliminating drug or alcohol dependence is a major achievement, and mental health treatment through counselling is one of the most effective ways to prevent the occurrence of relapse. Forms of psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), family counselling, and other types of talk therapy can help individuals stay clean and integrate back into their everyday lives.

Let’s look at the ways how mental health disorders are treated in addiction recovery. 

Mental Health Treatment in Addiction Recovery: Counselling 

Addiction creates bigger problems than the actual, physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. Even after the body has rid itself of substances, there is still a big risk of relapsing, especially when substance abuse started years before seeking treatment. There are social factors that can trigger relapse episodes, such as:

  • All forms of stressors
  • Environmental cues, such as visiting an old neighbourhood that supported the addiction
  • Social networks, such as spending time with friends who continue to use substances

There are also risk factors involved during addiction recovery surrounding mental health concerns that resulted from years of substance abuse. A mental health diagnosis is needed in order to determine if the patient is experiencing a co-occurring disorder. The types of mental health disorders that can be related to addiction use and recovery are:

  • Mood and anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia)
  • Sexual or gambling disorders

When this is the case, an integrated, holistic approach is put into action, with a tailored addiction treatment plan that is dependent on the type of mental health disorder diagnosed. Integrated treatment for mental health concerns in addiction recovery heavily includes different forms of counselling tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can be a powerful counselling tool to prevent the desire to use substances again, as it teaches individuals to cope with their cravings in a rational manner. Counselling also aids individuals in learning how to manage their lives without resorting to substance use when challenging times present themselves.

a group counselling session

 Individual and Group Counselling 

While both types of counselling in addiction recovery are practiced for mental health treatment, group counselling is generally recommended over individual therapy. There are certain benefits of group therapy, such as peer support and the sharing of like-experiences, that lessens the risk of the patients relapsing. On the other hand, individual therapy is recommended when a patient experiences personality and mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or other serious types of mental health concerns that require a separate treatment plan.

12-Step Program 

12-step programs have proven their efficacy throughout the years and can be a useful part of mental health treatment for recovering individuals. A 12-step program that is guided by mental health experts can provide a nurturing and caring atmosphere for individuals who wish to lead sober lives and make amends with the people that were negatively affected by their unhealthy past behaviours. It is important to note that no method of mental health treatment is better than another. The mental health treatment plans are always tailored by experts to each individual’s needs and goals. 

Mental Health Treatment for Recovery: Outpatient and Inpatient Programs 

Depending on the severity of an individual’s mental health symptoms, recovering patients might be admitted to an outpatient or residential treatment plan in order to fully assess the concerning condition and monitor their recovery progress. 

Residential/Inpatient Mental Health Treatment 

For some individuals experiencing severe symptoms, residential mental health therapy is recommended in order to separate them from the place and people that may have contributed to their addiction and behavioural patterns. This type of treatment is also recommended for patients experiencing persistent personality disorders or eating disorders. The expected amount of time someone may spend in residential treatment ranges from weeks to months, depending on the severity of their condition. 

Mental health treatment in the form of counselling sessions will regularly occur to determine other underlying concerns that can be connected to substance abuse. While in inpatient care, patients will learn new habits, or life skills, in order to lead sober lives once they leave the facility. 

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment 

Outpatient mental health treatment plans for recovering addicts incorporate different types of psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioural therapy. CBT teaches individuals how to recognize and respond to moods, thoughts, and situations that intensify drug or alcohol cravings. A trained therapist teaches the patients how to avoid or deal with these triggers in a positive manner. Patients learn to replace harmful feelings with healthy thoughts that help in staying clean. The skills learned in CBT can be long-lasting and effective, making it a powerful mental health treatment method for recovering individuals. 

Family Programs 

The family of the recovering patient plays an important role in maintaining sobriety. The success of a combined addiction and mental health treatment plan can oftentimes require strong support from family and close friends. Family programs also act as a healing mechanism for affected loved ones whose own lives were impacted by the patient’s substance abuse. 

a couples therapy session

There are certain benefits from engaging in family programs. These include the following reasons: 

  • Including family members in the recovery process increases the likelihood of staying on track with the mental health treatment plan.
  • Family members have the power and capacity to inspire positive change, such as staying sober.
  • Family therapy results in lower relapse rates, as studies suggest.
  • Family therapy inspires increased happiness and forgiveness within the family unit.

Relapse Prevention as Mental Health Treatment  

Addiction is considered a chronic illness. According to recent statistics, 85% of individuals who have completed addiction treatment reverted back to their old patterns and behaviours after a year of being sober. Relapse prevention is a necessary mental health treatment program to help individuals navigate their everyday life while avoiding temptation, especially within the context of social gatherings or inducing environments. In order to be effective as a form of mental health treatment, relapse prevention programs incorporate a wide array of activities, such as skill-building and problem-solving, with tailored counselling tools such as support therapy or psychotherapy. 

Mental Health Treatment Plans in Addiction Recovery 

The path to addiction recovery is a long road, but anyone with proper support and determination can reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Freedom From Addiction’s mental health treatment plans during addiction recovery are expertly tailored for each individual so all their needs are met. 

For more information about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly.


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