According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of alcoholics and 53% of drug users suffer from at least one form of serious mental illness. In conjunction with National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Westwind Recovery is advising that those with these duel diagnoses seek treatment for both conditions simultaneously to achieve the best outcome. According to Dr. Deena Manion, Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery in Los Angeles, focusing on one and not the other only increases the chance of relapse and developing severe mental illness.
“We understand that there’s a correlation between substance use and mental illness,” says Manion, who points out that the changes that take place in the brain when using substances are the very same area impacted by conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia. “In some cases, an individual with mental illness will start relying on alcohol or drugs to cope with their pain which leads to addiction. And then there’s the substance user whose habit has caused a chemical reaction in their brain thus giving rise to mental illness. Regardless of cause and effect, it’s critical that the client be properly diagnosed and that co-existing conditions be treated simultaneously to achieve the best outcome.”
Westwind Recovery offers an integrated approach so that substance use and mental disorders are treated simultaneously. While mental health care might include medication, individual and group therapy, lifestyle changes and peer support, substance use treatment often involves detoxification, managing withdrawal symptoms, undergoing behavioral therapy and participating in support groups like AA to maintain sobriety.
“If you or someone you know might be showing signs of substance abuse and/or mental illness, seek treatment right away from a qualified mental health care provider as the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to fight,” advises Manion, a regular expert guest on “The Dr. Phil Show” who will make several appearances on the program during National Mental Heatlh Awareness Month in May.
Cited by Newsweek magazine as “one of the best addiction treatment centers in the United States,” Westwind Recovery in Los Angeles is also a recognized mental health treatment facility boasting a staff of highly trained and experienced specialists who treat patients with myriad conditions. Westwind Recovery operates an outpatient treatment center and seven supportive living homes in LA. To learn more about Westwind Recovery, visit www.westwindrecovery.com or call (855) 231-5787.
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Guardian Talks journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.