National Recovery MonthPat Fontana
Everyone deserves the opportunity to do what it takes to recover from a substance use disorder and mental health issue. That is the focus of National Recovery Month for September 2021 and the focus of treatment professionals throughout the year.
Recovery is for Everyone
National Recovery Month is now in its 32nd year. Each September is set aside to celebrate the gains made by people in recovery and to promote and support evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. The theme for 2021 is “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”
What Recovery Means
Recovery from substance use disorders and mental health concerns deserves to be celebrated just as individuals may celebrate successfully managing other health conditions. Recovery is the process of change through which people affected by the disease can improve their health and well-being, as they learn to live self-directed lives, and work toward reaching their full potential.
When an individual is in recovery, they voluntarily adopt a lifestyle that includes these positive changes and values. Recovery from a substance use disorder is not just living without drugs or alcohol. Rather, it is the ability to handle daily life, including negative feelings, without using those addictive substances. Recovery also involves managing the symptoms of a mental health disorder, moving forward with living a life that is meaningful and productive.
Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health
It is quite common for someone with a substance use disorder to also have a mental health condition and vice versa. In fact, research has found that about half of the individuals with a mental illness also experience a substance use disorder. Likewise, about half of people with substance use disorders also have a mental illness.
The same is true for these conditions in younger people. Adolescents with substance use disorders have been found to have high rates of co-occurring mental illness. More than 60% of adolescents in substance use disorder treatment programs also meet the criteria to be diagnosed with a mental illness.
Those individuals of all ages with anxiety disorders show high rates of co-occurring substance use disorders. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental health disorders such as depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychotic illness also show a high rate of co-occurrence with substance use disorders.
Substance use includes the nonmedical use of prescription opioids, which data suggests poses a greater risk for individuals with mental health, personality, and substance use disorders. Approximately 43% of people receiving treatment for misuse of prescription painkillers also have symptoms or a diagnosis of mental health disorders, especially anxiety and depression.
There are three possibilities, according to research studies, that could explain the co-occurrence of the two diseases.
- There are common risk factors for both conditions. They can both run in families, so genetics can be a risk factor. Environmental factors, including trauma and stress, can cause genetic changes that can then be passed down through the generations.
- Mental health disorders can contribute to substance use disorders. Individuals who experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope with their symptoms. Brain changes involved in mental health conditions may also enhance the reward effects of drugs and alcohol. Of course, these substances only make the symptoms worse.
- Similarly, substance use disorders may contribute to the development of mental health conditions. The drugs or alcohol can trigger changes in the brain’s structure and function, which could lead to the development of a mental health disorder.
Treatment Options for Recovery
Substance use disorders and mental health conditions that occur together should be treated together, so the individual can move toward a more successful recovery from both. Treatment should also be tailored to the individual’s specific situation and symptoms. Treatment can include a combination of behavioral therapies and medications designed to effectively address the person’s substance use and mental health.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we offer the tailored treatment your loved one needs to overcome their substance use and mental health problems and gain control of their life again. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer telehealth and in-office therapy services for your continued well-being.
Please contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno for help with your recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol or management of mental health issues. Call R&A Therapeutic Partners at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.