Improving Your Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

When you start to look into addiction treatment programs, you may notice that one of the most important parts of the recovery process is mental health care. As addiction affects both your body and your mind, it’s crucial to get help for both at the same time. In this post, we take a look at the importance of improving mental health in addiction treatment.

What is Mental Health?

According to Psychology Today, mental health is a person’s capacity to think, feel and act. It is often used to describe someone’s emotional well-being and refers to one’s ability to achieve their potential and live productively. 

You might be surprised to learn that mental health disorders are far more common than most people think. Some estimates suggest that up to 60% of Americans deal with a form of mental illness every year. With such high prevalence, it’s no wonder that so many individuals encounter issues with mental health during their time in addiction treatment programs. Improving mental health in addiction treatment is of the utmost importance. 

Comorbid Issues with Addiction

Mental health conditions are common in people who are living with substance use disorders (SUDs). Comorbidity is defined as a disorder occurring at the same time as another, and it can have a significant impact on your recovery. People living with mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, and SUDs are often more at risk for relapse and less likely to stay sober.

Often, when someone is diagnosed with both a SUD and a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, they’re more likely to go through withdrawal multiple times.  Furthermore, if you’re struggling with addiction without any other underlying issues (such as PTSD), you may have experienced ongoing trauma in your life that never gets resolved because no one ever makes it a priority. 

Addressing issues Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

It’s no secret that mental health is linked to substance abuse. However, many people don’t realize just how deeply mental health issues are tied to substance abuse. 

The disorders often overlap and each can fuel or exacerbate the other. This means it’s important for addiction treatment centers  to provide adequate resources for treating mental health issues alongside alcohol and drug problems. Fortunately, there are ways to help address these needs:

1-Talk About Your Needs

The best way to improve your mental health in addiction treatment is by speaking up about your needs. 

If you need help coping with an underlying mental health disorder, ask your counselor about group therapy sessions or individual counseling sessions focused on addressing these issues. 

If you need more time between appointments because you’re struggling with transportation costs or childcare responsibilities, talk to someone about scheduling accommodations so you can attend all your appointments on time. 

And if you feel as though your counselor isn’t taking into account any specific concerns related to your background or experiences (e.g., immigration status), speak up!

2-Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Your health is no doubt your top priority. Addictions are often a sign that you are suffering from an illness, whether physical or mental. Regardless of what type of treatment you decide to pursue, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you have as much energy and clarity as possible. For example, eating a well-balanced diet will provide you with both immediate and long-term benefits while regular exercise can help keep your mind clear. You’ll also feel better about yourself, which can be a crucial part of recovery.  If you want to make sure that your body is at its best during treatment, there are several steps you can take. A few good ones include drinking plenty of water each day, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, keeping up with dental hygiene, and taking time for self-care.

3-Reduce Stress

There’s no question that stress plays a significant role in addiction. In fact, drug cravings and increased substance use are often triggered by stressful situations or emotional pain, according to SAMHSA. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that drugs cause changes to neurons that create long-term problems with stress management and emotional health. So, it’s critical for recovering addicts to monitor their stress levels and develop coping strategies. If you can reduce your level of stress and live an overall healthier lifestyle, it will be easier to remain sober after the treatment ends.

4-Regular Exercise

Exercising regularly, regardless of your fitness level, can help with depression. Regular workouts release endorphins which improve your mood. Working out also boosts self-esteem and confidence levels as you start to feel better about yourself. Exercise has also been linked to lower levels of stress and anxiety, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself sleeping better too!  What’s more, regular exercise is a great way to get into a positive cycle. By feeling happier from exercise you are more likely to keep exercising regularly, and because you are exercising regularly you feel happier. So, start small and work out for 5 minutes today – add another 5 minutes tomorrow – then just keep going!

5-Practice Meditation

Meditation helps create a state of mindfulness, where you live more completely in each moment and perceive it more clearly. It also teaches you to drop negative thought patterns and refrain from taking life so seriously that it affects your mental health.  Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve mental health, and even some research suggests it can help boost creativity by clearing away extraneous thoughts that interfere with problem-solving. In addition to reducing stress, increasing focus, and improving creativity, there’s evidence meditation can even improve physical health by fighting inflammation, which contributes to heart disease and diabetes. And if that’s not enough reason to try meditation out for yourself or a loved one struggling with addiction treatment, studies suggest it could make you happier too.

6-Get Treatment

Individuals facing substance abuse problems may also be struggling with issues related to mental health. It is important that they receive quality addiction treatment services that take into account their mental health needs as well. Seeking help from a trained, licensed therapist or counselor can go a long way toward creating an environment conducive to recovery and achieving long-term sobriety. 

Improving Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

Improving mental health in addiction treatment is extremely significant when it comes to effectively treating addiction. Sometimes, addiction is rooted in an untreated mental illness that can only be treated by seeking professional help. 

Whether you’re struggling with a substance use disorder or need to work on improving your coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and other life circumstances, at North Jersey Rehabs in New Jersey we’ll help you to identify underlying mental health issues and work on them as part of your overall recovery plan. Our goal is to help you lead to a better overall quality of life – and improve your chances at successfully beating addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our mental health and addiction programs.  

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