In 2014 alone, about 7.9 million adults had co-occurring disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That means millions of people also had mental illnesses in addition to addiction concerns. People like this most certainly can get better and overcome their mental health challenges, but they often need specialized care to make a real and lasting recovery possible. People with those concerns can get the care they need through a residential treatment program that specializes in assisting with addiction and mental health. Here’s how a program like that typically works.
Creating the Treatment Plan
For people dealing with both addictions and mental health concerns, counseling can be a wonderful help. In fact, in a study in the Journal of Addiction, researchers interviewed 379 people and asked them to name the one factor that was most closely tied to their sense of satisfaction with a treatment program. The researchers found that the quality of the group counseling provided was closely tied to how satisfied people felt with the program as a whole. Clearly, counseling matters, and it is likely to play a major role in any treatment program people might enroll in.
A residential treatment program might devote several hours each day to counseling. People might spend time in individual counseling for their mental health concerns, and then they might spend time in group counseling sessions for addiction. They might also spend time in family counseling sessions, so they can mend fences with the people they love. Some might go to topic-specific counseling sessions to pick up the skills they might need to stay sober and healthy in the long run.
In addition to counseling, people who enroll might spend time in 12-Step support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These meetings provide people with the opportunity to learn from their peers in a supportive and structured environment that is made specifically to assist with the common problems people might have when they are living with addictions.
Support groups in this 12-Step model were not specifically designed to assist with mental health concerns, but they can have a profound impact on people in treatment. For example, in a study in the American Journal on Addictions, researchers found that 12-Step meetings were associated with better outcomes in people who had a dual diagnosis. Studies like this show that these meetings can provide people with the learning opportunities they might need, and they can be a good option for people in residential programs.
Medications help to soothe the chemical and electrical imbalances that can lead to these mental health concerns, and studies show that they can be very effective. For example, in a study in The Lancet, researchers examined 15 different types of antipsychotic drugs and measured their impact on schizophrenia. They found that all of the drugs were better than placebos in controlling symptoms. Clearly, when they are used in the right way, medications can help.
The risk of medication abuse is reduced in a residential program, as there are supervisors and staffers available around the clock to monitor the use of the drugs. The medications are kept in locked cabinets, and they are handed out at specific times. This means less risk of diversion or abuse, and a higher likelihood that the person will take them properly.
Who Can Help?
Running a residential treatment program is not easy, and often, it takes an entire team of professionals to do the job right. That means residential programs might have mental health providers on staff, including physicians, psychiatrists, and counselors, but they might also have recovery coaches, therapists, and sober peers. Every person has a different role to play in the recovery process.
That process might extend long after the formal treatment program is complete. As an article in Everyday Health points out, addiction can be considered a chronic and relapsing condition. Despite treatment, some people return to their drug use in time. Residential programs can help by providing aftercare services that bridge the gap between inpatient care and home life. Those services might include alumni programs, sober support groups, touchup counseling, and more.
Inpatient programs like this could be just right when a mental health issue and an addiction issue strike at the same time. Enrolling soon could be exactly what people need in order to get well.