Finding the Right Mental Health Service

If you are battling an addiction, you may be considering several different options for treatment. If they do not include an inpatient treatment facility, perhaps they include a mental health clinic. There are various mental health clinics and mental health facilities located throughout the US. Which one you attend and where depends on your financial means, your drug of choice, and your willingness to make a change for yourself. If attending a mental health clinic several times per week will boost your chances of recovery without relapse, will you sacrifice your weekday nights to fulfill this recommendation? The more willingness the patient has, the better his or her chances of staying sober/clean/abstinent.

The majority of mental health clinics begin with an initial assessment of the patient and result in a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when there is an addiction as well as an underlying mental disorder such as bipolar disorder, depression, or generalized anxiety disorder. It is easier to identify in patients who are willing to go to any lengths to stay sober and clean, thus have moved on from the denial phase of their disease. The mental health facility will do a physical examination as well as set up an evaluation involving several mental health professionals. Mental health facilities will then determine the best treatment regimen per patient. The exact dual diagnosis varies across patients, but is the overall case 9 times out of 10.

Examples of how underlying mental disorders feed a substance abuse problem, according to HelpGuide.org:
  • Alcohol or drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, substance abuse causes side effects and in the long run worsens the very symptoms they initially numbed or relieved.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can increase underlying risk for mental disorders. Mental disorders are cause by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other outside factors. If you are at risk for a mental disorder, drug or alcohol abuse may push you over the edge.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse also interact with medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and mood stabilizers, making them less effective.
In the event of a dual diagnosis, mental health professionals will begin by educating the patient on his/her afflictions. Information is power. Following the educational piece, mental health professionals will meet with the client on a weekly basis at a minimum. Patient and clinician will create goals together, treatment-wise and personal.

Fundamental objectives of substance abuse and recovery programs are to:
  • Establish a solid support network of peers in the program
  • Generate a written relapse prevention plan
  • Recognize the underlying disorder and stick to a regular mental health counseling schedule
  • To prioritize recovery over other obligations
  • Maintain rigorous honesty throughout the process
Mental health professionals can more effectively help patients who are completely honest and open with them. Holding secrets keeps people sick. To be able to be completely honest provides the patient freedom from his or her personal burdens. Addiction and alcoholism comprise a “disease of the mind”, so it is important to talk to others who have gone through similar experiences conquering their demons. Whether or not the mental health professional is in recovery or not is moot if he or she is well educated in the field.

Overall, if you are struggling with substance abuse, and/or an underlying mental illness, you are encouraged to seek mental health counseling. In the event that an inpatient treatment facility is not feasible or logistically possible for you, please consider consulting with a medical health facility to help you in taking the next step toward peace of mind, sobriety, and prosperity

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