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What You Should Know About Mental Health and Substance Abuse Before Planning an Intervention

James Malervy

Authored by James Malervy

Some Advice from Our Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

More than 90% of individuals who are struggling with addiction agree to undergo substance abuse treatment when confronted with an appropriately performed intervention. But even when the proper steps are taken, one important factor is frequently overlooked—the potential for co-occurring mental health disorders. There is a strong connection between mental health and substance abuse; addiction itself is a classified as a mental disorder.

More than 50% of people who have a severe mental illness also struggle with addiction.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Addiction and the Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her.” Addiction is considered a disease because it actually changes the way the brain functions and responds to stimuli. Addiction particularly affects the parts of the brain associated with reward, decision-making, and impulse control. It’s important that the people involved in an intervention understand this interaction between mental health and substance abuse. Further, they understand the subject is no longer fully in control of her or his decisions and actions.

Comorbidity and Addiction

Another crucial aspect of understanding the mental state of the person struggling with addiction is the potential for comorbidity. Comorbidity occurs when two or more disorders exist in the same individual. Comorbid disorders have the potential to interact and frequently worsen the course of all the disorders involved.

Susceptibility to addiction often means susceptibility to other psychological disorders and vice versa.

It’s advisable to pursue a substance abuse treatment program that provides dual-diagnosis and comprehensive treatment for co-occurring disorders. Whether the disorder causes the addiction, is a symptom of addiction, or simply occurred independently does not ultimately matter. The existence of multiple disorders complicates the recovery process. It’s critical to treat all potential disorders simultaneously, for success in recovery. If comprehensive treatment isn’t provided to address the mental health and substance abuse issues together, then lasting recovery is unlikely.

Getting Treatment

If you are performing an intervention for an individual who will need treatment for both mental health and substance abuse, Recovery Centers of America provides comprehensive care for co-occurring disorders. They understand the need to restore the entire wellbeing of an individual  in the recovery process, and provide mental health treatment for co-occurring disorders.

To learn more about how the substance abuse treatment programs at Recovery Centers of America address the complex needs of mental health and substance abuse, contact us today at 1-800-RECOVERY.

Authored by

James Malervy

James Malervy

Jim Malervy is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing for Recovery Centers of America (RCA) and is passionate about helping RCA in achieving its mission of saving over 1 Million Lives.


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