“I grew up in a household filled with alcoholism and co-dependency,” says Gene. When he was 13 years old his parents divorced and he moved to Northern California from Southern California. He began using alcohol and drugs in his early teens. “I was introduced to marijuana at 13 years old and from that point I did all type of drugs,” says Gene. For the next decade he was abusing alcohol and drugs regularly. In an attempt to quit, he entered military service in his early 20s. But, that proved ineffective as the urge to use drugs was more powerful than military life. “I was asked to leave because of cocaine use,” says Gene. In the mid-1980s, Gene’s family and friends staged an intervention and he went into a treatment program. “I was able to stay sober for 13 years and I got my life back on track,” says Gene. But, Gene relapsed “while sober I didn’t take care of the underlying issues that caused my addiction and expand my spiritual life,” he says. During an especially difficult life changes – divorce and job layoff – Gene slipped into taking prescription pain pills and illegal narcotics. For the next decade Gene went through the darkest moments of his life. “I dealt with alcohol blackouts, started using cocaine again, and overdosed,” says Gene. “I was tired of living this way.” A few friends of Gene found Summit Estate. In summer of 2015, they encourage him to give it a try. “Summit Estate’s approach to recovery was different – a holistic view of overall health,” says Gene. Summit Estate introduced him to healthy ways to deal with his addiction and how to live differently – without drugs and alcohol. “Summit Estate thought me how to just sit with myself, how to breathe when confronted with difficult situation, how to mediate, and I even started practicing yoga – simple steps that helped a lot,” says Gene. “Summit Estate introduced me to a holistic approach to recovery – it felt like recovery 2.0 – they taught me to take care all the aspects of life to gain true recovery,” says Gene. Gene is continuing with his recovery and he is also helping others who are on their own journey of recovery. “At Summit Estate I learned to identify those triggers that would cause a relapse and how to deal with them without jeopardizing my recovery,” he says. Now 55 years old, “I am in a good place spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically,” says Gene. His sense of humor also continues to be a source of strength by living life on life’s terms. “I am in the 3rd quarter of my life and looking forward to overtime,” jokes Gene.
The challenges of mental illness often go hand-in-hand with drug or alcohol abuse. This makes both conditions difficult to diagnose and to treat.
The link between addiction and psychological problems is complex and not completely understood. What is known is that mental illness can increase the risk of drug abuse and alcoholism. Very often, the individual suffering from a mental illness will use a substance to self-medicate and cope with side effects that aren’t being properly managed.
The flip side of this common link is that drug and alcohol abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions. Very often, untreated addiction and mental illness will propel each other, leading to a self-perpetuating cycle that is very difficult to treat.
Common Mental Conditions Connected With Addiction
Some of the most common mental conditions that are connected with drug or alcohol dependency include:
Anxiety – Alcohol is commonly abused by individuals who suffer from addiction. Often the addiction begins at a young age to deal with the challenges of being in social situations and to overcome feelings of shyness and being overwhelmed by everyday challenges.
Depression – Some individuals begin abusing drugs or alcohol to mask symptoms of depression. This is particularly common in females who have depression.
Bipolar Disorder – Alcohol is also frequently used by men and women who suffer from mood swings associated with bipolar disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Substances are commonly used by those suffering from the very difficult symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include flashbacks, sleep disturbances, regression, and anger.
Schizophrenia – Hallucinations, delusions, and other psychotic symptoms lead some to drug use to ease symptoms of distress and fear.
Other Connections Between Addiction And Mental Illness
There are also other proven links between addiction and mental illness. These include neuro-chemical and environmental factors. Genetics also play an important role. While the connection between mental illness and addiction is multi-faceted and not completely understood, it is necessary to proactively treat the conditions simultaneously.
What To Do If Your Loved One Is Struggling With Mental Illness And Addiction
A common question that people ask when they have a friend or family member who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness and is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, is “What do I do if my loved one is struggling with mental illness and addiction?” The first step is getting them evaluated to determine the best possible treatment program for them. A one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming addiction is not wise for someone who is suffering from co-occurring disorders.
For effective and individualized treatment for co-occurring disorders in Northern California, call Summit Estate now for immediate help. We’re here to answer your questions and to begin the admissions process.
The time when children leave home for college or careers can bring on feelings of sadness, loneliness, and grief in many parents. Coined “empty nest syndrome” by health professionals, this transition can lead some men and women to depression and even to turn to drugs or alcohol.
As a parent, the focus is on providing a loving, nurturing environment for children. When they begin to establish their independence, it can bring on a sense of loss and negative feelings that persist and lead to depression.
Although many “empty nesters” find freedom and a sense of relief in an empty house with more time for hobbies and interests, others find themselves emotionally vulnerable. Some even dwell on lost opportunities or begin to feel like they’re no longer needed.
Who Is At Risk Of Empty Nest Syndrome?
Those who have experienced depression in the past or who have a family history of the condition are more likely to develop empty nest syndrome. Major life changes such as a child leaving home can spawn negative feelings and the desire to self-medicate with alcohol, prescription pain medications, or other substances.
Factors That Can Cause Empty Nest Syndrome
There are often multiple contributing factors that cause this type of depression including:
Loss Of Identity – As a primary caregiver, it’s easy to become engrossed in the role of being a parent. When an adult child leaves home, there sometimes is a loss of an identity that has been present for 18 or more years.
Guilt – Many parents fear that they did not adequately do their job to prepare their children for the real world. This can spawn feelings of guilt and regret.
Financial Issues – Worries about college tuition and other college-related expenses can place many parents under a high level of stress.
Relationship Changes – Without the time-consuming task of raising children, many couples are unprepared for how to live life without having to manage the daily responsibilities of being a parent.
Getting Help For Depression And Addiction
For many parents struggling with empty nest syndrome, it’s wise to get help from an experienced mental health professional. If there is also a co-occurring addiction, a recovery program might be the right first step in recovery.
Summit Estate offers in-patient co-occurring disorders treatment in Los Gatos, CA for substance abuse and depression. If you need help for the feelings you’re experiencing since your children have left home, don’t delay in getting help.
You Don’t Need To Hurt Another Day – Call Us Now – We Are Here For You 24/7
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that 6 in 10 individuals who suffer from substance abuse also have at least one mental illness. Many suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress (PTS), and other mood disorders. Because of this, substance abuse treatment for many must also include treatment for mental illness.
There has been substantial research that indicates that individuals who are suffering from addiction and have a co-occurring mental illness have better outcomes when their disorders are treated together with a combination of therapies and medication.
The Connection Between Substance Abuse And Mental Illness
Substance abuse and mental illness are frequently experienced together, and the relationship is cyclical. Individuals with co-occurring disorders are likely to use alcohol or drugs to combat symptoms of their mental illness. This is particularly the case for those who don’t have their mental illness managed effectively. As well, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to the development of mental health issues partly because of the depletion of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain.
Treatment for co-occurring disorders can be particularly challenging because psychiatric symptoms are often covered up by the use of substances. This is compounded by the fact that the process of detoxification can also resemble mental illness.
In a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), researchers found that less than 10 percent of those suffering from co-occurring disorders get treatment. While this number is small, it is increasing as more healthcare professionals, as well as the general public become more aware of the connection between addiction and mental illness.
For those who enter into a dual diagnosis treatment program, the chance of sustaining recovery is substantially greater than for those who enter into a recovery program that doesn’t address underlying mental illness.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Northern CA
At Summit Estate, our inpatient program includes individualized co-occurring disorders treatment for both substance abuse and mental illness. At our dual diagnosis treatment center in northern, CA, each client receives the care they need to start on their journey to recovery, along with mental health treatment to provide a strong foundation for long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one needs help with co-occurring disorders, contact Summit Estate Recovery Center today.
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It can be overwhelming to find out that your loved one is suffering from a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. You may be wondering where you should begin when it comes to getting help and moving forward.
Dual Diagnosis Stats – Your Loved One Is Not Alone
First, it’s important to know that your loved one is not alone. Dual diagnosis is common. Here are just a few statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association that may surprise you:
- Approximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental illness are also affected by substance abuse.
- More than one-third of alcohol abusers and over 50 percent of drug abusers have at least one significant mental illness.
- Of all individuals diagnosed with mental illness, nearly 30 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.
Unfortunately, many individuals who have co-occurring disorders never receive proper treatment. In fact, less than 10 percent are treated for both their substance abuse and their mental illness.
So, it’s a positive first step that your loved one has been diagnosed. Now, it’s time to get help.
Finding The Right Treatment For Dual Diagnosis
Getting effective treatment for a dual diagnosis isn’t always simple. Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are solely focused on treating addiction and not mental illness. Likewise, anxiety and depression treatment centers may not have the resources to effectively address addiction.
Until recently, addiction problems and underlying mental illness have been treated separately. However, significant new research has shown the benefits of treating substance abuse and mental health problems as part of an integrated, holistic recovery program.
At Summit Estate, we are dedicated to helping individuals obtain the best chance of recovery with personalized, co-occurring disorders treatment in CA. Our team is highly experienced in treating dual diagnosis by using a recovery strategy that is focused on the individual’s specific needs, challenges, and long-term goals. Treatment can also include individual, couples, and family therapy sessions to help strengthen damaged relationships and support your loved one’s recovery.
Taking The Next Step With Your Loved One
Now that your loved one has received a dual diagnosis, you can help them on their journey to recovery. We encourage you to call us now to learn more about our treatment programs.