Treating Both Mental Health Problems and Addiction Together Could Secure a More Successful and Positive Outcome for Patients

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Listen to Gary, one of our many success stories, describe his experience with us:

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There are certainly a number of similarities between mental health issues and addiction. Often, in many treatment settings, the two diseases are treated simultaneously. Those with a serious mental health disorder like Bi-Polar disorder or Schizophrenia are at a much higher risk to abuse certain substances, primarily alcohol, marijuana, MDMA and stimulants like speed in order to get them through the tough symptoms they have to deal with. Some experts believe that the reverse is also true, that an addict can develop a serious mental disorder due to their prolonged exposure to and use of a wide variety of narcotics or alcohol. When considering those factors it quickly makes sense that these two diseases should be treated together by a mental health professional as well as a team that specializes in addiction, but at times the overall wellness and mental health of an addict is not exactly what is being treated due to the severity of one problem versus the other. If a schizophrenic is hearing voices and believes he or she is about to be abducted by aliens, they are quickly sent to a hospital or facility that specializes in treating those symptoms, but they may also be self-medicating in a very serious manner with drugs or alcohol that could hinder their potential recovery due to the fact that many psych wards and hospitals that deal with the mentally ill are not equipped with the same staff and know-how that may be needed to tackle both issues and ensure the over all verdure and complete care that may be required to ensure that patient’s course is a positive one. The same, of course, can be said about a treatment facility that focuses only on the addiction side of things because they do not have a trained psychiatric nurse or psychiatrist as part of their team.

When two diseases come together in this manner so often, perhaps steps need to be taken to ensure that more facilities whether mental or addiction related are better armed and stocked with the tools needed to treat those people suffering from both. There is absolutely no way that a treatment plan or stay in a psychiatric facility can be fully successful and guarantee success if the patient or client they are dealing with cannot get a well rounded, well thought out and thorough treatment for both issues.

These ideas regarding a more wholeness style of treatment don’t simply come from reading articles or research on the subject. Years ago I spent a month and a half in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital and while staying there I noticed the rampant and secretive trade in booze, marijuana and pills which could very well have been anything from Ecstasy to painkillers. I saw first hand how many people suffering like I was were accepting their anti-psychotics and other supervised treatments with a smile, knowing full-well that later, away from prying eyes they would be treating themselves with a variety of illicit substances without the knowledge of the doctors or nurses. Even when talking to my psychiatrist I learned that a huge number of her patients were addicted to one substance or another, and that there wasn’t much they could do about it within the limits of their practice.

Perhaps then it is time to unify the treatment approaches for these two issues in order to offer a more successful and balanced conclusion to the many sad stories that occur all the time when these diseases fuse together. The overall wellness of the patient is the most important thing, and if more resources existed to treat both mental health disorders and addiction, the respected experts in both fields would find more motivation to assist their patients and clients and offer them the best care possible.

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Sobriety Foundation

Treating Both Mental Health Problems and Addiction Together Could Secure a More Successful and Positive Outcome for Patients

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