People with substance addiction tend to develop co-occurring mental health problems because both conditions share many root causes and affect similar areas of the brain. The interconnectivity between these two conditions has been seen more acutely during the pandemic. In any case, full recovery requires that both addiction and mental health issues be treated simultaneously. If you are supporting a loved one going through recovery, you should know about the symptoms and treatment for their potential mental health needs.
What Are the Warning Signs?
If your loved one has not been diagnosed with a particular mental health condition, but you suspect they may be struggling in this area, educate yourself on the common warning signs. Without education, it is hard for people to grasp the severity of the disease. Family members often wonder why their loved ones just cannot snap out of a certain mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. These complex conditions need treatment and support.
Mental illnesses are disorders that affect a person’s mood and behaviors. People with mental health issues often display social withdrawal, memory problems, changes in sleep and hygiene habits, extreme mood shifts, and more. Severe mental health problems are out of the control of the person experiencing them. If you notice someone you love is acting strangely or displays sudden changes in behavior, these may be signs that they struggle with a mental illness and need your help.
How Do You Support Their Treatment?
Supporting a loved one through mental health treatment comes in many forms. You might work closely with their treatment team. Ask questions about anything you’re confused about or need more education in. Ask your loved one if they’re comfortable having you be included in the treatment conversations. Work with mental health professionals to see how you can best support the one in treatment. Some treatment centers offer family counseling to coach you in this area.
Even though your loved one is struggling with mental health issues, they still have a voice. Allow them to make decisions when it comes to treatment plans. Express concerns lovingly and without judgment. Encourage your loved one to talk with mental health professionals when problems arise. For example, if your loved one decides to stop taking the medication because of some side effects, encourage them to speak with the health provider first.
How Do You Provide Emotional Support?
Going through mental health treatment can make a person feel alone and ashamed. Emotional support from family members is important, especially for assurance that they are not to blame for their illness. Listen to how they feel and affirm their feelings, but gently guide them to the reality of the situation if those feelings don’t line up with what’s really going on. The ability to communicate and verbalize one’s feelings is a way of restoring emotional health, which is related to mental health recovery.
Emotional support is critical in a crisis, and mental illness is often a crisis situation. Many healthcare providers require patients to have a crisis management plan with the support of their families. Help your loved one prepare such a plan. Determine things that might spark a crisis, then brainstorm ways to avoid or manage those things.
Seeking Dual Diagnosis Treatment
If your loved one is struggling with both substance addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, there is a professional medical approach known as “dual diagnosis” treatment. Under normal circumstances, people qualify for mental health treatment only after they have achieved sobriety, but dual diagnosis treatment combines various approaches—such as individual therapy or the 12-step group counseling paired with medication or EMDR—to treat both at the same time.
Addiction treatment facilities that cater to dual diagnosis clients usually provide individualized treatment plans. The most commonly dual-diagnosed disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, and behavioral health disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment also targets a range of addictive diseases, including alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling addiction, sexual addiction, etc. For the best possible chance of full recovery, specialists in substance addiction and mental health fields work together to design a treatment plan specific to your loved one’s needs.
Many dual diagnosis treatment programs expect family members to be actively involved. This is because having a co-occurring disorder with substance addiction is much more challenging than recovering from only one or the other. Your loved one needs all the support they can get. While caring for your loved one, you and other family members should prioritize self-care, including seeking out the strength, support, and wisdom of others in similar situations. There are support groups and programs for families of individuals with dual diagnoses. Remember that you are not alone and there is hope.
Did you know that people with substance addiction are more susceptible to co-occurring mental health problems? This is because substance use disorders and mental health disorders affect similar areas of the brain and share similar causes. Full recovery is often only possible when addiction and mental health issues are treated simultaneously. If you are supporting a loved one through recovery, being educated about the process and how best to support them is crucial. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our team of licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists can coach and counsel you. Your loved one will be welcomed by a compassionate team of professionals, most of whom are in recovery themselves, so they understand the struggles. Our full medical residential facility offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, and 12-step programs to help your loved one. Whether your loved one is ready for treatment or you need pointers to help get them to that point, call (866) 906-3203.