In behavioral health, there are people who suffer from chemical dependency, people who suffer from mental disorders, and people who suffer from both. In fact, about 50 percent of patients with severe mental health disorders are also affected by substance abuse. Also, 30 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers have at least one serious mental illness.
Why is this?
One theory is called the “downward drift.” Individuals who suffer from a mental illness have a very hard time making it in the social world. They often find themselves among the socially unaccepted parts of society, where drugs abound. It is much easier for people who have a mental disorder to mask themselves within a community of drug users than it is in the rest of society. So they settle in and begin using.
Another explanation is that people with mental illness have a desire to feel better or happier. They decide to self-medicate, and from that stems the addiction or dependency.
A study done by the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA), found that individuals with severe mental disorders were at a significant risk of developing a substance abuse problem. They found that:
· 47 percent of individuals with schizophrenia also had a substance abuse disorder (more than four times as likely as the general population).
· 61 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder also had a substance abuse disorder (more than five times as likely as the general population).
Here are most common mental disorders that are linked to substance abuse problems:
- bipolar disorder
- anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- personality disorders
A person who suffers from both a mental disorder and a chemical dependency is called a person with co-occurring disorders. This person, in order to receive the proper help, must be treated for both disorders simultaneously. They need a special, more personalized method of treatment called dual diagnosis.
It starts with the rehabilitation—getting them off of the crutches of substance abuse and then taking it from there to a personalized rehabilitation. Aventura Hospital and Medical Center has an experienced staff in our behavioral health facility, including psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, social workers, mental health technicians, and occupational therapists. We work in a format that allows more flexibility to find the right treatment for our patients. We also work very closely with family and friends and include them in the planning and implementation process. It is important that every patient has the support he or she needs to recover.
Some of our program components are:
- group psychotherapy
- individual therapy
- occupational therapy
- case management
- family therapy
- medication management
Behavioral health illnesses are very serious. If you or someone you know suffers, please contact Behavioral Health Services at Aventura Hospital. Visit us online or call our intake department at 305-682-7245, and we will provide answers to all of your questions and find the right program to fit your needs.