Here are a few lines from one of the most popular and influential books of all time on drug and alcohol recovery:
Some will be willing to term themselves “problem drinkers” but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. Sanity is defined as “soundness of mind”. Yet no alcoholic [or addict], soberly analyzing his destructive behavior…can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.
This, of course, is entirely true. No sane person would ever willingly allow toxic levels of addictive substances into their own body – certainly not on any regular basis. They would never spend their hard earned money to poison themselves time and time again, of their own free will.
In fact, drug abuse on its own, with no diagnosis of a pre-existing mental condition, is officially considered a mental illness by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Therefore, it makes sense to view addiction rehab not as something separate from mental health treatment, but as two sides of the same coin, to be treated simultaneously. This is the approach of Cornerstone’s Co-occurring Services Program.
“Rarely do we see a person with just addiction,” says Barbara Hernandez, licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and program director of co-occurring services at Cornerstone Recovery Center. “Once we identify a client who is self-medicating for a mental health condition, we put together an integrated treatment plan that includes therapy and the proper medication.”
Mental Illness Often Leads to Addiction
There are many forms of mental illness that are not severe enough to prevent people from functioning in today’s society. People often laugh that they are “a little OCD” because their desk is exceptionally neat, or joke that “my ADD is coming out” when they lose their train of thought.
But make no mistake: both those conditions have been statistically shown to contribute to alcohol and drug abuse. The Co-occurring Services Program at Cornerstone treats both these issues very seriously, as well as more severe mental health conditions that can result in hospitalization.
Here is a list of some common mental illnesses with a clearly established link to alcoholism and drug addiction:
- ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder)
- Trauma and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Bi-Polar Disorder
- Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder
This is by no means a complete list, but it should provide some idea as to the link between mental illness and addiction.
Addiction Treatment is Mental Health Treatment
Mental illness presents itself in many forms and severities. Unfortunately, it is the milder, manageable forms of mental illness which so often contribute to alcoholism and drug addiction.
Many people seeking help in drug treatment centers are confronted with the reality that a chemical imbalance, to one degree or another, is a contributing factor–and sometimes the root cause–of their drug and alcohol abuse.
In other words, people with manageable mental disorders often abuse drugs as a form of self-medication. Of course, other people have aggressive forms of mental illness, which must be addressed just as aggressively.
A New Approach to Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Cornerstone Recovery Center is at the forefront of treating addiction as a mental illness. Experience has shown that identification of any underlying mental illness is essential in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. Once a client enters a rehab program at Cornerstone, they receive integrated treatment, including:
- The Co-occurring Services Program, which treats primary mental health disorders.
- The traditional, twelve step program approach, which has proven very effective over time when followed thoroughly.
- The Smart Recovery® system, which is a scientific, curriculum-based recovery to help clients cope with the many pitfalls of drug and alcohol withdrawal, helping them re-enter society by anticipating the issues that lead to relapse.
For more information on Cornerstone’s Co-occurring Services Program – or on any aspect of alcohol and drug addiction treatment – feel free to call us directly at 888-711-0354 or contact us online. Our experienced admissions counselors will be happy to answer any questions you may have.