Can You Go to Rehab for Depression

Can You Go to Rehab for Depression?

When you think of rehab, you probably think most often of drug and alcohol addiction. However, many people seek help at residential treatment centers every year for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more mental health disorders. Inpatient treatment for depression can make a huge difference in the life of someone struggling with this difficulty.

If you are having thoughts about harming yourself, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Understanding Depression

Depression is not something to be taken lightly. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 3-5% of American adults are experiencing major depression in any given moment. Pause for a moment and think about this. Take a sports stadium holding 40,000 people. Statistically, that means 1,200-2,000 people in the crowd are experiencing depression. Of course, this is a generalized statistic and may not be true for any specific crowd, but it puts into perspective just how many people struggle with this difficult issue.

There are multiple different types of depression that one may experience. These may include major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, substance-induced depressive disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. As there are many types of depression, it is important to seek help from a trustworthy professional.

Although there are many resources available like anxiety and depression worksheets, self-help books, and support networks, dealing with depression often requires clinical expertise and therapeutic relationships. By working with a therapist and/or psychiatrist, you can get the help you need to address the depression and recover fully. Without help, depression can cause a number of dangerous symptoms throughout our lives.

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, people with depression are four times as likely to experience a heart attack as those without depression. Depression is the cause of over ⅔ of suicides in the United States, and the National Institute of Health estimates that about 80% of those who find help show an improvement of symptoms in only four to six weeks of treatment. Unfortunately, over half of people who suffer from depression never seek clinical help.

Rehab for Depression and Anxiety Near Me

rehab for depressionAlthough psychotherapy, support groups, and psychiatry can all be useful in treating depression, sometimes the individual benefits from a higher level of care. There are many different treatment centers that care for people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Some of these rehabs address co-occurring disorders, or the presence of both a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder.

At a treatment center for depression, individuals are offered professional care to help them recover. Through various methods of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and more, the person works with a trained clinician to address their experience and build a life of recovery.

In many cases, medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are prescribed. These medications are prescribed by a trained psychiatrist at the treatment center, and the person’s state of mind is closely monitored to see the way the medication is working. Together with the support network and therapy offered, the person can slowly begin to climb out of the depressed state.

Treatment centers that are primarily addiction treatment centers may not have the appropriate staff or program to address mental health disorders. Can you go to rehab for depression? Yes. But make sure you find a facility that is truly equipped to help. With proper help, people have the opportunity to fully recover and return to the lives they once knew or dreamed of.

When to Seek Inpatient Treatment for Depression

It may be helpful to seek help from a psychologist as a first step. As you build a relationship with a therapist, they will get to know you and your situation. Although depression often manifests in specific ways, we are all individuals. When a trained professional sees you in a clinical setting and begins to work with you to understand what’s going on, they can give you an educated recommendation.

If you think you may need help, reach out. Find somewhere that offers inpatient treatment for depression and give them a call. We can guess all we want, but the truth is that we generally can’t see the situation as clearly as an objective, trained third-party can. Although you may not feel that you need inpatient treatment, it could perhaps be beneficial.

The biggest piece here to remember is that there are professionals out there to walk you through your situation. Suffering from any depressive disorder is painful, difficult, and can leave us feeling hopeless. Nobody has to go it alone. There are people willing to guide you through finding treatment, but you need to seek help. Although it may not feel like it, depression can be treated. Sometimes it takes time and finding what works, but there are many methods of depression treatment, and psychologists and neuroscientists are continuing to learn more every day.

losing touch with reality

The signs may be quite subtle at first. A friend or loved one may seem “off” recently, with an unkempt appearance that is not their norm at all. A coworker may have let their quality of work slip, becoming incrementally substandard over time. Maybe you are plagued with an unsettling sense that someone is watching you, or have become increasingly suspicious of others.

These early signs of a potential psychotic break from reality may not seem worrisome when seen in isolation, but when a cluster of unusual symptoms begin to gather steam it may indicate that you or someone you care about is experiencing the sense of losing touch with reality.

Psychosis—including such features as hallucinations and delusional thinking—is the symptom of an underlying mental health disorder, not an illness itself. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, an estimated 100,000 Americans experience psychoses annually. Early intervention is key, so do not ignore the symptoms. These will center on difficulty recognizing what is real and tangible versus a figment of their imagination. Behaviors and thoughts will be unusual, not the norm for the afflicted person.

When you notice that you or a loved one seems to be losing touch with reality it is important to seek professional help. It may be that the symptoms are related to a physical or neurological condition that needs attention. If it is indeed the early signs of a psychotic disorder, receiving timely, proactive care is essential in containing the effects of the psychosis.

What are Psychotic Disorders?

Psychotic disorders represent the types of mental illnesses that feature around losing touch with reality symptoms. These disorders are characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and emotions, including seeing or hearing things that are not really there. When a mental health condition has psychosis as a primary symptom, it will be classified as a psychotic disorder.

According to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry, about 3.5% of the U.S. adult population will experience psychosis at some point. Psychotic features can be associated with severe anxiety, severe depression, and bipolar disorder, as well as identified as its own standalone mental health disorder.

The cause of psychotic disorders is still mainly unknown, although there are some theories exists to explain the cause. These include neurological malfunctioning, certain viral infections, extreme trauma or prolonged excessive stress, certain drugs of abuse, and genetics.

Treatment for this complex mental health disorder will rely on a comprehensive approach of multiple elements for the best recovery results. Generally, an individual with a psychotic disorder can learn to manage many of the symptoms associated with the disorder.

Different Types of Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders emerge in varying ways and with differing features, while sharing core characteristics. The different types of psychotic disorders include:

  • Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is the most common type of psychotic disorder. Symptoms of a schizophrenic episode embody the sensation of losing touch with reality, with audible and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thoughts, angry, erratic behavior, and extreme moodiness. Schizophrenia is diagnosed when the behavioral changes and psychotic features persist for more than six months.
  • Schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder involving depressive or manic episodes. This equates to someone with schizophrenia having extreme and unpredictable mood shifts between manic and depressive episodes, further complicating treatment protocol.
  • Brief psychotic disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is a short-lived disorder that is sometimes triggered by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a serious accident that lasts less than a month. Brief psychotic disorder is characterized as a burst or short, sudden episode rather than a persistent state.
  • Schizophreniform disorder. Schizophreniform is similar to schizophrenia but tends to affect young adults and teens, and lasts 1-6 months in duration. About one individual out of 1000 will develop this form of psychotic disorder. Schizophreniform occurs equally between men and women, but in men it may emerge at a younger age.
  • Shared psychotic disorder. Shared psychotic disorder, or shared delusional disorder, is a rare form of psychosis that involves two people who both believe in a delusional situation, such as a husband and wife who both believe the same delusion. The two individuals will transfer the delusional beliefs back and forth to each other.
  • Delusional disorder. Delusional disorder features false and often suspicious beliefs that the individual believes are true, such as thinking someone is out to murder you or your spouse is having an affair. The types of delusions involve real-life situations that could actually be true, with features of paranoia. Most delusional disorders last for one month or longer.
  • Substance induced psychotic disorder. Substance-induced psychotic disorder is the presence of hallucinations or delusions occurring as a withdrawal symptom for several drugs, including alcohol, LSD, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and PCP. The intense psychosis experienced during the withdrawal phase reflects the impact of these substances on the brain structures.

What Are the Symptoms of Psychosis?

Generally, psychosis comes on gradually, with signs that indicate a developing mental illness. Those might include inappropriate emotions, a decline in personal hygiene, difficulty thinking straight or concentrating, a decline in job or academic performance, emotional detachment or intense inappropriate emotions, isolating behaviors, and acting highly suspicious of others. These are psychotic features, early symptoms of a possibly emerging psychotic disorder.

The primary feature of psychosis is losing contact with reality. While the different types of psychotic disorders will have unique features, there are some general symptoms that can indicate the onset of a psychotic disorder. The common symptoms of psychotic disorder include:

  • Insomnia. Individuals will have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Persistent feelings of being watched. Individuals feel certain that they are being observed or followed.
  • Increasingly disorganized thinking. Disorganized and disordered thought patterns increase in number and intensity.
  • Mental confusion. Individuals may not recognize their surroundings or those around them, even if these are usually familiar to them.
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations. Hallucinations involving things that are heard and things that are seen, but which in reality do not exist.
  • Delusional thoughts. Delusional thoughts involve the false belief that certain events or objects have a grandiose quality, or some special personal meaning attributed only to them.
  • Strange or disorganized speech or writing. Along with the mental confusion and disorganized thinking, the individual struggles to articulate their thoughts in spoken or written formats. They speech may come across as gibberish or nonsensical.
  • Inappropriate behavior. The individual may lose the ability to control their behaviors to align with social norms, and begin to exhibit behaviors that are socially inappropriate, such as removing their clothing or urinating in public.
  • Avoidance of social situations. When someone has a psychotic disorder they are unable to function appropriately at a social function or event. They may be ostracized or removed from an event, leading them to begin to avoid social situations altogether.
  • Decline in academic or work performance. As the disorder worsens, there will be a marked decline in functioning at work or at school. The individual may be repeatedly absent, may be unable to keep up with projects or assignments, and may be terminated as a result.
  • Unusual body positioning or movement. Unusual postures or uncontrollable muscle movements are sometimes caused by the medications the individual is one, or from an active psychotic episode when they are experiencing a break from reality. They may also exhibit spasms or pacing back and forth.
  • Suspicious or paranoid behavior. The symptoms of paranoia or suspicion may be a response to perceived delusions, in which they feel they are being targeted for harm.
  • Unusual preoccupation. The psychotic disorder may lead to a type of tunnel vision, where the individual becomes highly focused on or fearful about a particular person or situation.
  • Irrational or angry behaviors. Angry outbursts or impulsive irrational behaviors are often a result of the person’s decreasing ability to communicate effectively.
  • Inability to concentrate. Disordered and confused thinking contribute to an increasing inability to focus and concentrate.
  • Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene. A common sign of severe mental illness is the loss of interest in maintaining personal hygiene habits. The person may become disheveled and do not bathe or practice dental hygiene, and may discontinue laundering their clothing.
  • Personality changes. One of the first signs of psychotic disorder is a distinct change in personality. Someone who was formerly kind and caring may become distant, withdrawn, and cold. In some forms of psychosis, the individual may acquire more than one personality.

The earlier the emergence of losing touch with reality symptoms are recognized, and being proactive in getting the loved one professional help from a psychiatric practitioner, the better the clinical outcome.

Treatment for Psychotic Disorders

Generally, a residential setting provides a more intensive and tailored treatment approach in a setting that is safe and offers 24-hour monitoring and support. However, if the individual is displaying signs of a psychiatric break or has become a danger to themselves or others, they should be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for stabilization.

Treatment of psychotic disorders relies primarily on psychotherapy and psychotropic drug therapy will likely involve an integrated approach, including:

Psychotherapy: While in a residential treatment the individual will be involved in various types of psychotherapy. The focus for therapy involves helping the individual recognize irrational thoughts and behaviors and to replace those with healthy thought-behavior patterns. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are all provided in a residential program as part of the psychotherapy piece of treatment for psychosis.

The individual cognitive behavioral therapy sessions allow the therapist to help the individual identify irrational thoughts and fears and maladaptive emotional responses.

Group therapy: Group sessions provide opportunities for small groups to discuss and share their mental health issues while being facilitate by a therapist who guides the topics. These intimate group settings provide a safe environment for sharing and foster peer support in the process.

Psychosocial interventions: An important component of treatment is assisting the individual in improving their ability to get along with others. These interventions can offer new communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, and vocational rehabilitation.

Medication: Medication will be prescribed depending on the specific diagnosis. In many cases medication will include antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. For some individuals with a psychotic disorder, these medications will necessary to help manage the disorder on a daily basis, and will likely be prescribed for a lifetime.

Adjunctive therapies: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is reserved for the most severe forms of psychosis in individuals who are not responsive to the medications.

Holistic therapies: Increasingly, holistic therapies, most of which are derivative of Eastern practices, are utilized for the treatment of psychosis or other mental health disorders with psychotic features. Activities such as yoga, mindfulness training, guided meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy are helpful in controlling stress and promoting relaxation. Patients can learn how to initiate mindfulness exercises on their own at any time of day, which is helpful when sudden symptoms emerge.

Transitional housing. In some instances, it may be beneficial for the individual to reside in a transitional housing environment following residential treatment. This type of housing provides a safe, supportive home environment that allows the patient to gradually readapt to regular daily life, while having the therapeutic support available at all times.

When Does a Psychotic Break Require Hospitalization?

When someone experiences a psychotic break, or the sense that they are no longer tracking with reality, it may be appropriate to consider hospitalization. This might be a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric wing within a general hospital. This level of care is distinct from residential care, in that the hospital environment is equipped to manage a psychiatric emergency. In the hospital setting the individual will likely be segregated from other patients and may be need to be restrained to avoid the risk of self harm or harm to others.

In the hospital settling, the individual will receive very close observation. Medications will be reviewed and adjusted, and the emphasis will be on acute stabilization measures. This process of stabilizing the individual may take a couple of days, before they can step down to a residential mental health treatment center.

When Severe Depression Causes Psychosis

In some severe cases of depression, the emotional anguish may cause an individual to exhibit a break from reality with symptoms of hallucinations or delusions. The actual diagnosis may be coined depression with psychotic features or psychotic depression. In the case of depression that is so profound that it sparks feelings of losing touch with reality, there may be a co-occurring medical condition or substance use disorder that is contributing to the symptoms.

Psychotic depression features the following symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Experiencing hallucinations, voices or visions, telling them they are worthless or evil
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Falsely thinking they have another disease or illness

In the case of major depression with psychotic features the risk for suicide is heightened. Extra attention must be paid to identify the warning signs of suicide, such as the individual talking about taking his or her life, acquiring the means by which to commit the act of suicide, giving away their prized possessions, commenting that they are a burden to loved ones, isolating behaviors, or increased substance abuse.

When Severe Anxiety Causes Psychosis

Can severe anxiety cause psychosis? Research suggests that symptoms of psychosis may be preceded by an extreme even, such as a panic attack or trauma. The intense emotional distress suffered as a result of anxiety can trigger psychotic symptoms. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, OCD, or PTSD can result in psychotic symptomology. These symptoms resolved with treatment involving both benzodiazepines and antidepressants.

When this condition occurs it may be referred to as a psychotic break or a nervous breakdown. The symptoms are clearly related to the anxiety disorder, rather than a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Stabilizing the individual should be the first step in care, followed by enhanced treatment for the core anxiety disorder.

Co-Occurring Psychotic Disorder and Substance Abuse

There is still not a coherent causal relationship between psychotic disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder. However, there is a high prevalence of these two disorders coexisting. Whether the substance abuse is in response to the unsettling effects of a severe mental health disorder or if the symptoms of psychosis are drug-induced are two valid examples of how the psychotic disorder and substance use disorder become intertwined.

In addition, the treatment picture can become muddied when the patient is using drugs or alcohol. According the authors of a study on this type of dual diagnosis, entitled Substance abuse and schizophrenia: Pharmacotherapeutic intervention [Green, M.D. et.al.], “The typical antipsychotic medications are effective for the treatment of psychosis but may have only limited efficacy in patients with these co-occurring disorders because patients continue to use substances while taking them.” The study examines the benefits of MAT for co-occurring alcoholism in this population, showing that naltrexone has shown positive benefits in an integrated treatment plan.

When treating an individual for dual diagnosis, success is dependent on the individual receiving individual psychotherapy to address the thought patterns and self-talk that may perpetuate the cycle of substance abuse. A comprehensive rehabilitation program will provide specialized dual diagnosis programming that includes both one-on-one psychotherapy, peer-based therapy, 12-step programming, and continuing care services.

Elevation Behavioral Health Leading Residential Mental Health Center in Los Angeles

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health program featuring an intimate, home-like environment. Elevation Behavioral treats all forms of mental health disorders, including psychotic disorders, using a proven integrated approach. If you are feeling you’re out of touch with reality, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral today at (888) 561-0868.

 

yoga and mental health

Those who have ever taken a yoga class know firsthand the sense of calmness and well-being that follows, and they’ve probably experienced the sensation of lightness in the muscles brought on by long, gentle stretches. The health benefits are well-documented, but its benefits for those in addiction recovery go far beyond improving physical health.

Any high-quality treatment program will take a holistic approach to treatment that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit. At Elevation Behavioral Health, yoga is an integral part of our program because it strengthens and soothes body, mind and spirit, promotes mindfulness, reduces stress and fosters good physical and mental health.

Yoga and Mindfulness

Yoga brings the mind and body into the present, where focus is on what’s happening in the here and now. How does the body feel? What is the state of mind? What emotions are present? Being in tune with one’s physical and mental state is the cornerstone of mindfulness, and practices in mindfulness, including yoga, are fast becoming proven therapies for preventing relapse, according to an article published in the journal Substance Abuse.

Mindful recovery is all about being aware of thoughts and attitudes, accepting them as they arise, observing them non-judgmentally, and learning to reshape them. Practicing mindfulness through yoga can help people in recovery navigate cravings, make healthy lifestyle choices and—perhaps most importantly—recognize the early signs of relapse.

Stress Relief

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, stress is a major trigger for relapse. Stress and the body’s response to it can be mitigated through yoga practice, according to Harvard Medical School, which cites a study that shows it helps to reduce the body’s stress responses like muscle tension and increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Yoga can even help the body learn to respond to stress in healthier ways.

Mental and Physical Health

Regular yoga practice bolsters the immune system and improves overall health, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga. It strengthens the muscles, and it improves flexibility and promotes balance of mind and spirit. A healthy body is central to long-term recovery, as is a healthy mind. Yoga can help improve mental health by relieving anxiety and depression, enhancing a sense of self and helping to heal emotional wounds, according to the American Psychological Association. This can be particularly helpful for those whose addiction is rooted in trauma.

A Holistic Approach to Treatment is Best

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that everyone’s pathway to recovery is different, and a holistic approach to treatment should include a variety of research-based alternative and complementary therapies. As one of a number of holistic therapies offered through our program, yoga can help individuals in recovery develop a higher level of self-awareness, improve self-esteem and foster other healthy lifestyle choices that can improve the chances of successful long-term recovery.

Holistic Meditation

Every morning, the clients of Elevation engage in mindful meditation to start out the day with calmness and mental clarity. In recent years, practicing this mindfulness has become a mainstream practice, and for good reason. According to Mayo Clinic, physicians recommend meditation to help their patients manage the symptoms of a wide range of conditions, from cancer to asthma and heart disease to insomnia.

What Exactly is Meditation?

When someone thinks of meditation, images of people sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “ohm” may come to mind, but the truth is, it is simply the act of quieting the mind and focusing your attention on the present moment, and it can be done anywhere and in any position.

During meditation, when conscious thoughts arise, they’re simply acknowledged and then sent along like a leaf floating downstream. the practice has a number of far-reaching benefits for people in recovery.

Meditation and Stress, Anxiety and Depression

It’s understood that stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are major factors for substance abuse and relapse.

Meditation is a potent stress reliever, according to Journal of Substance Abuse. The study found that practicing the holistic method reduced incidents of stress-related relapse among participants in an outpatient addiction treatment program. Meditation also helps the brain and body respond better to stress in general, further mitigating stress as a factor in relapse.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness helps ease anxiety and depression, which are also associated with substance abuse and relapse. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, notes that mindfulness helps people recognize unhealthy thoughts and mindfully replace them with those that are healthier.

Becoming free of negative thought patterns is a major consideration in addiction treatment, because negative thoughts foster negative behaviors. Clarity of thought gained through mindfulness is associated with making better choices that positively impact life in recovery.

Meditation and Cravings

Regular meditation can have a big impact on cravings as well. Increased mindfulness leads to fewer negative automatic responses to cravings as practitioners learn to listen to their body and mind and respond to its cues and sensations with mindful awareness and deliberateness. As they learn to accept thoughts and feelings without judgment, evaluate their attitude and quiet the mind’s chatter, it becomes easier to respond to cravings and other negative experiences in healthy and productive ways.

Meditation as Part of a Holistic Approach to Treatment

A large body of research points to the range of benefits of mindfulness in recovery. A high-quality treatment program that takes a holistic approach to treatment offers the best chances for long-term recovery.

Beating an addiction isn’t easy, but a holistic program that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit through various traditional and non-traditional therapies like meditation can lead to real and meaningful change and a better chance of successful long-term recovery.

What is Dual Diagnosis

What is Dual Diagnosis

When a person has a substance abuse problem and also has accompanying mental health issues, this is known as a dual diagnosis. Also known as co-existing disorders, a person might find themselves chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol while also experiencing a disorder like depression, anxiety, or bipolar.

Addiction specialists need to discover all co-existing disorders to ensure a comprehensive dual diagnosis is reached. After complete identification, rehab programs need to treat all issues for successful recovery.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports:

  • A third of people with mental illness and half of people living with severe mental illnesses also have substance abuse problems.
  • A third of all alcohol abusers have been diagnosed with a co-existing mental illness.
  • More than half of all drug abusers have been diagnosed with a co-existing mental illness.

Dual Diagnosis Signs & Symptoms

Since dual diagnosis is a mental health and substance abuse disorder occurring simultaneously, there are many combinations of disorders that exist. The symptoms of dual diagnosis vary widely. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Using substances under unsafe conditions
  • Acting out risky behaviors while under the influence
  • Loss of control over using substances
  • Doing things out of character to obtain drugs or alcohol
  • Developing tolerance to substances
  • Relapsing on substances after treatment
  • Legal problems
  • Showing withdrawal symptoms from substances
  • Feeling like drugs or alcohol are needed to function
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Confused thinking
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Thoughts of suicide

Diagnosis of Co-Occurring Disorders

To properly diagnose dual disorders in a person, a professional performs an assessment that details the signs and symptoms being experienced. Since symptoms of substance abuse can mimic the signs of mental health disorders and vice versa, it might take a few days or weeks of observation before an accurate assessment can be made.

The following methods are used to evaluate and diagnose addiction and mental health disorders:

  • Interviewing the client, family and friends about past and current psychiatric symptoms and substance use.
  • Conducting lab tests to detect the presence and quantity of drugs or alcohol that are currently in the body.
  • Holding a physical exam and/or lab tests to look for any physical problems that could cause psychiatric symptoms.
  • Completing a checklist regarding alcohol or drug use, psychiatric history and health.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Treatment for dual diagnosis is usually a program of medication, therapy and behavioral counseling. All disorders must be treated at the same time to be effective and to prevent relapse.

There are several treatments available for dual diagnosis: psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.

Psychopharmacology treats each disorder with prescription medications. Ongoing assessments are made to track the effectiveness of treatment of each disorder.

Psychotherapy uses counselors and therapists to help resolve mental or emotional problems by discussion. Root causes of substance abuse and trauma are uncovered and analyzed.

Behavioral therapy examines behaviors, focusing on the negative consequences and harmful effects. Positive behaviors are developed to avoid these negative consequences using improved judgements. Positive and negative reinforcements are used to foster better decisions.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When someone who suffers from a mental health disorder also has a substance abuse problem, they have what is called co-occurring disorders, also commonly called dual diagnosis.

Co-occurring disorders could come about as an individual with mental illness subsequently develops a dependency on drugs or alcohol as they seek relief from unpleasant psychiatric symptoms. It could also happen when someone who has a substance abuse disorder then develops mental health disorders from the changes in the brain’s chemistry and structure that addiction can cause.

Typically, it’s difficult to determine which condition came first. Either way, all conditions need treatment at the same time for effective results. Many different variations exist with co-occurring disorders.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders and Addiction

Eating Disorders and Addiction

The brain is stimulated by pleasurable activities. Using drugs and alcohol can stimulate the same reward center of the brain, producing pleasurable effects. Gratifying stimulation comes from eating and enjoying food, and that experience can also block any unwanted, negative feelings and emotions. When pursuit of gratification to avoid negative feelings increases, an addictive cycle develops.

When food or the denial of food is the stimulus, it can lead to eating disorders such as bingeing or anorexia. People in this type of cycle frequently incorporate illicit substances to get the same stimulation, leading to the development of co-occurring disorders.

Depression and Addiction

Depression is found to be a common mental health issue among substance abusers. People who are depressed often use drugs and/or alcohol to block painful thoughts, memories and emotions.

On the other hand, people who frequently drink alcohol—a depressive substance—may bring on sadness as alcohol affects the brain with its depressive properties. Unfortunately, depression and substance abuse feed upon one another, which creates a continuing cycle of both.

OCD and Addiction

It is currently thought that OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is likely caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. There are theories that this imbalance of brain chemicals also causes alcoholism and drug abuse, so the two are tightly interrelated. OCD sufferers also use substances for relief from obsessive thoughts, and regular use can lead to the development of addictions.

PTSD and Addiction

People who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) experienced traumatic events. Difficult symptoms from PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, mood instability and paranoia. Many PTSD sufferers turn to readily available drugs or alcohol for relief and to numb themselves.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Proper treatment from trained professionals helps people suffering from co-occurring disorders to reach sobriety and manage psychiatric symptoms, opening up a healthy and productive life made possible by effective and comprehensive addiction programs.

Psychopharmacology: Medication is needed to treat any remaining psychiatric symptoms once detox is completed.

Psychotherapy: Group and individual therapies are needed to address mental health and addiction issues at the same time.

Behavioral Management: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches coping skills for how to respond to negative thoughts and actions. It teaches individuals to replace negative behaviors with positive ones, and rewards are given for positive actions. CBT has been proven effective in modifying addictive behaviors.

mental health during covid 19

As Americans settle into very lengthy stay at home policies enacted across the nation, many might begin to experience some mental health concerns. After all, we are not built to go through weeks or months without our daily freedoms. Losing those personal freedoms for the sake of national health is something we have had to get accustomed to, whether we are comfortable with the edicts or not. It is the way it is, and the best thing we can do to protect our mental health during the COVID-19 crisis is to come to a state of acceptance.

In fact, the way people have responded psychologically to this event has been lined up alongside Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s infamous work, The 5 Stages of Grief. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Collectively, many of us are now experiencing the depression phase as shelter orders have lost their luster. While the measures are in place for good reason, to prevent loss of life, many are now coming to the realization that the coronavirus has caused significant unwelcome changes in daily life.

So how do we go about protecting our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? What steps can we take to shore up our resolves and get through this event psychologically intact? While there is no magic wand to make all of this go away, there are some protective steps to take that will help us maintain our sanity for the meantime.

10 Steps to Protect Mental Health During COVID-19

It is true that our emotions have been all over the map since this began back in early March. One day we are calm and reflective, and the next day we feel agitated and irritable. These fluctuating emotions are to be expected as we wade into uncharted waters, not know what each day will bring. To help offset some of the anxiety and feelings of depression that might be taking root, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Practice gratitude. You wouldn’t think that there would be anything to be grateful about when every normal daily activity has been removed from your milieu. It is surprising to discover that there are plentiful things to be grateful for, especially when you realize you are still healthy and safe. Count your blessings for having a loving family, a cute pet, a roof over your head, and hope for the future. Each day, try to list 3 things for which you are grateful.
  2. Turn off the news. News overload can have negative effects on our mental health. Mainstream news outlets are enjoying their surging popularity and may enhance the dramatic in order to keep viewers engaged. This can lead to feelings of anxiety or distress for individuals who are sensitive or have experienced a past trauma. While it is fine to grab the headlines once or twice during the day, instead of keeping the news on all day long turn the TV off and enjoy some old reruns on Netflix for balance.
  3. Enjoy a simpler lifestyle. Now that we are slowly adjusting to living a very small life, we are beginning to notice some benefits of a simpler lifestyle. Instead of rushing around, racing between this or that appointment, lesson, sports practice, or a long list of errands, we are slowing down and actually smelling the roses. There is something to be said for a quieter, more leisurely pace of life.
  4. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us redirect distracting and negative thoughts that keep us feeling off-balance, drawing the mind back to the present moment. Train yourself to focus attention away from anxiety-provoking and fear-based thoughts that rob you from the pleasures of that moment in time. Be in that cozy moment, focus on the aroma of the coffee, enjoy drifting off to a different world through the book you are holding, and feel safe and secure inside that soft, snuggly blanket.
  5. Enjoy the sunshine. Health professionals are reminding us how important it is to have a strong immune system during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the best actions to take that will improve immunity and boost mood is getting plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a byproduct of sun exposure. So, grab any opportunity you can to enjoy some time outside on a sunny day. Fresh air and sunshine are essential to our health and wellbeing, and you will also enjoy a noticeable change in your attitude for the better. If sunshine is scarce in your region, be sure to supplement the diet with some vitamin D3.
  6. Revisit your passions. With our usual busy lives, how many times have you looked at your bookcase and lamented having no time to read? With plentiful free time available now, grab the moment and indulge in the things you never had time for before. Read some books, make some artwork, explore new musical artists, or write a novel. We may never have the luxury of time again like we do right now to rediscover old passions or to discover brand new ones.
  7. Stay social. Social distancing has shown us a powerful truth—people need people. We all have varying degrees of sociability, with some of us wired toward being introverts and others as more extroverted. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, enjoying both social time and time for introspection. To nourish our need for social connection during COVID-19, which will have positive effects on our mental health, make the effort to reach out to friends and family members. With so many ways to connect with people, don’t be shy. Just check in, say hello, and ask how your friend is doing. We actually need human connection for our mental health during COVID-19.
  8. Stay physically active. For those who are free to get outdoors, take a couple of hearty walks, a bike ride, or a run every day. This will expose you to vitamin D through sunshine, which can help improve mood, as well as provide the many mental health benefits from regular exercise. If movement is tightly restricted, indoor exercise activities can be achieved through yoga or workout routines posted on YouTube. The videos offer a variety of toning, stretching, and movements that can keep you in shape during the lockdown.
  9. Keep a journal. Whether it is a leather-bound journal, a spiral notebook, or a Word document on the computer, recognize that we are living through an historic event and it would be very interesting to look back someday on the coronavirus pandemic from your own perspective. Jotting down thoughts and feelings is also therapeutic, as writing allows you to offload feelings of unrest, sadness, fear, or stress onto a piece of paper. This practice somehow releases the effects of these emotions on your psychological health.
  10. Stay flexible. With the coronavirus crisis, no one really knows how it will unfold over time. This virus is novel, meaning it has never existed before. As we all cycle through the cascading events together, it is good to remain as nimble and flexible mentally as possible. Try to avoid having firm expectations about how long we will have to remain at home or how the virus affects people. Collectively we will do better psychologically if we roll with events as they unfold, rather than having rigid expectations.

Signs of Deteriorating Mental Wellness

It is difficult to predict who among us will be able to manage our mental health during COVID-19 and who will struggle. Many factors play into the way we will respond to the stress and uncertainty, both in terms of the health scare and the financial fallout. We all are going to struggle from time to time as we experience the impact of the virus on our lives. However, when mental health begins to seriously deteriorate it is critical to get the professional help you need.

Be aware of the following warning signs of a serious mental health issue:

  • Sudden changes in eating habits leading to unintended weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns, disrupted sleep, nightmares, or insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Heart palpitations, racing heart rate
  • Increase in somatic symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, diarrhea
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Loss of interest
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Angry, violent behavior
  • Experiencing delusional thoughts or hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation, obsessed with death

Most mental health providers are offering tele-mental health video services during COVID-19. If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of deteriorating mental health during the pandemic, reach out to a mental health provider for immediate support.

Getting Mental Health Treatment During COVID-19

Mental health treatment is still readily available during this event. Many outpatient mental health programs are now providing psychotherapy and group therapy via Zoom platforms, where a licensed mental health provider will be able to offer therapy and support. There are outpatient intensive outpatient programs that are designed to be administered through video conferencing platforms.

Residential mental health providers are still operating during the COVID-19 event. These facilities have adopted all of the CDC safety guidelines to provide a clean, sterilized therapeutic environment.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Residential Mental Health During COVID-19

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health center in Los Angeles. Elevation Behavioral Health has made the safety of our residents and staff the top priority, and have adhered to all the CDC safety recommendations including personal protective equipment, thorough cleaning and disinfecting of our facility, screening protocols for the virus, and practicing social distancing the best we can. If you or a loved one is in need of more intensive, customized mental health treatment, please contact our team today at (888) 561-0868.

Is Drug Addiction a Mental Illness

Drug addiction is a complex issue, and so is mental illness. Both disorders display serious and persistent symptoms.

When the best treatment options are being decided, it’s crucial that all issues are included. An addiction treatment program that addresses all these points results in effective recovery and helps to prevent relapse.

The Effects of Addiction on the Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction can be considered a mental illness in and of itself because using substances causes fundamental brain changes.

The results of these brain changes alter the priorities of the person suffering from addiction. After addiction has taken hold, obtaining and using drugs or alcohol becomes the person’s main priority. Compulsive behaviors—those with little impulse control—dominate the person’s life without regard to the resulting consequences, which is one indication of mental illness.

The Relationship of Addiction and Mental Health Issues

Research has shown that most people who abuse drugs or alcohol also have mental health issues, and the reverse is true as well.

  • People who have anxiety or mood disorders are twice as likely to also have a substance abuse disorder.
  • People with mental health disorders, such as antisocial or conduct disorders, are also twice as likely to have addiction problems.
  • People with substance abuse problems are also twice as likely to suffer from mental health disorders like mood and anxiety disorders.

Some areas of the brain are affected by both substance abuse and other mental illnesses. One affected area is the pathways that are used by neurotransmitters. Since common areas of the brain are affected by addictive substances, they may also be involved in mental health disorders like depression.

Drug Addiction Treatment Options

The first and most important step in addiction programs is to evaluate a client to understand all the mental health issues, besides addiction, that are present and need treatment. Many individuals need qualified help for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as alcohol detox can be quite dangerous. A comprehensive assessment by trained professionals is needed to do this.

People entering addiction treatment programs need screening for additional mental health issues. Also, people entering mental health treatment need screening by trained healthcare professionals to uncover any substance use disorders.

Once all the symptoms a person is experiencing are diagnosed, it’s crucial to treat all disorders at the same time. Substance abuse and mental health disorder symptoms are typically persistent and resist treatment in someone with co-existing disorders, so a plan of treatment that recognizes this will be most effective.

Finding the Right Help

Drug Addiction treatment plans that will be most effective include:

Medications: Using medicines that are effective in the treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues. Sometimes these medications will help multiple problems.
Behavioral Therapies: Behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy that modify behaviors, when used alone or with a medication program, have proven to be effective in helping clients with co-occurring disorders.

Finding the most effective treatment involves multiple approaches. This creates a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program that supports clients who are struggling with addiction to reach sobriety, and it helps to prevent relapse.

Bipolar and Substance Abuse Is There A Link

Studies indicate that between forty and seventy percent of those with bipolar disorder also have a current or previous history of substance abuse. Compared with those without a co-occurring disorder, those with co-occurring illnesses may derive less benefit from treatment for their mood disorder, recover more slowly from episodes, spend more time in hospitals and have higher risks for suicide than those without a dual diagnosis.

These facts demonstrate the importance of considering both the bipolar disorder and any substance use disorder when determining the best treatment and management strategy.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic mood swings that can go from elated and joyful to sad and hopeless, often with normal mood periods in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Along with these mood swing episodes, bipolar disorder also causes severe changes in energy and behavior.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be quite severe, and they are not the same as normal ups and downs that everyone experiences from time to time. For those dealing with bipolar disorder, the symptoms make it very difficult to engage in everyday life. This can result in damaged relationships, diminished performance at school or work and even suicide.

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse

It is difficult to explain the high rate of substance abuse and among individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, and there are numerous factors involved.

One contributing factor may be that many individuals attempt to self-medicate to reduce the troubling symptoms of their bipolar disorder. Rather than experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and pain, some turn to drugs and alcohol to temporarily escape.

An individual’s age and gender may also play a role, according to some research. For example, based on a study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders, drug abuse is more common in young men with bipolar than in females or older age groups. However, alcoholism is seven times higher among women with bipolar disorder than among the general population.

Clinical researchers are studying additional factors that influence both mental illness and substance abuse, including the effects of brain chemistry on both.

In individuals with bipolar disorder, there are often abnormal levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals affect numerous bodily functions and directly contribute to one’s mood and emotions. Drugs and alcohol further interfere with the how the brain processes these chemicals, causing even more severe emotional instability, erratic energy levels and depression.

It is unclear whether the mental disorder is causing people to turn to drugs or alcohol out of an unconscious need to stabilize their moods, or whether the substance abuse is triggering or intensifying the symptoms of the disorder. But whatever the precise nature of the link, substance abuse has a detrimental effect and makes the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse.

Treatment Options

Regardless of which came first, bipolar disorder or substance abuse, effective treatment necessarily involves addressing both problems. There are varying approaches to treating a dual diagnosis, depending upon the specific needs of the individual. According to Mayo Clinic, finding an effective treatment may include:

  • Initial treatment. It is vital to work with a doctor or other professional who can prescribe medications to balance your moods. Once the symptoms of bipolar are under control, you’ll be better able to determine the best long-term treatment.
  • Ongoing treatment. Because of the underlying causes of bipolar disorder, it requires lifelong treatment, even when you’re feeling better. Maintenance treatment may involve medications, psychological counseling and education or support groups.
  • Substance abuse treatment. If there are problems with alcohol or drugs, substance abuse treatment is essential. In some cases, this issue must be dealt with first, before effective treatment of bipolar disorder is possible.
  • Hospitalization. If your symptoms are particularly severe, hospitalization may be recommended. This is important if you’re behaving dangerously, feel suicidal or become detached from reality. Psychiatric treatment can help keep you safe while stabilizing your mood.