To treat substance abuse, you must treat mental health too

By Published On: May 18th, 2017Categories: Alcohol Addiction, Blog, Drug Addiction, Family

In observance of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week (May 12-18, 2019), we wanted to talk about mental health and substance abuse, and shine a light on the importance of integrating mental health and substance abuse treatment. These two issues, although seemingly different, are more commonly co-occurring than many people may realize. That’s why the two should be addressed simultaneously when treating those with a drug addiction.

According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), about 45%National Prevention Week of Americans seeking substance use disorder treatment have been diagnosed as having a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. That statistic refers to those that have been officially diagnosed with a mental disorder, but according to Romas Buivydas, Ph.D., Spectrum’s Vice President of Clinical Development, up to 85% of Americans struggling with substance abuse also face mental health issues that go undiagnosed and sometimes untreated.

It’s important that both substance abuse and mental health disorders be observed and treated simultaneously in order to place the substance abuser on an effective and lasting path to recovery. If a mental health issue or past trauma is the underlying cause of addiction, leaving it untreated will likely result in repeated relapses.

Our clinicians closely evaluate all incoming clients to assess their level of addiction and identify any mental health concerns in order to create an integrated treatment program, depending on the level of assessed need. Many individuals have experienced some sort of trauma in the past, which may have resulted in a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression. It’s vital that we recognize such disorders as being just as important as the client’s substance use disorder, and treat them accordingly, whether that be therapeutically or medicinally.

All treatment is designed to address each client’s individual needs and struggles. For instance, we offer gender-specific programming.  The therapies remain the same, but women and men are addressed differently based on their unique needs.

We also utilize a trauma-informed approach, recognizing that clients may have suffered a traumatic experience that led them on a downward spiral of addiction, and if this experience is not addressed, their chances of a successful recovery are diminished.  In fact, we recently implemented a Trauma Informed Care Certificate Program for our employees – it is designed to build understanding and capability in practicing a trauma-informed approach in all client interactions, regardless of an employee’s job functions.

We also work with family members and friends affected by a client’s addiction and strongly encourage their involvement in our family renewal program so they can better understand and support their loved one. At Spectrum Health Systems and the New England Recovery Center, we are here to help you heal from addiction, mental health issues and more.

If you or someone you love needs help and support for an addiction, Spectrum Health Systems and the New England Recovery Center are here 24/7. We provide the treatment you need, when you need it. Learn more on our website or call us at (844) 233-6372.

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