Starting Conversations about Mental Health

 

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May marks Mental Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and reducing stigma. To start our month-long conversation about mental health, we started asking some questions:

Who is affected by mental health disorders?

Millions of people in the United States alone deal with mental health disorders. Yet less than half receive help. Chances are you know someone with a mental illness or someone who is affected by a person struggling with a mental illness.

According to recent studies, adults between the ages of 18 to 25 make up the highest percentage of people struggling with mental illness, but compared to other age groups, they also report the lowest rates of seeking treatment.

Why don’t more people seek treatment for mental health?

One of the main hurdles preventing people from seeking necessary treatment is the stigma surrounding mental health. Many people feel their mental health is not as important as their physical health or feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit they have a mental problem. As a result, some ignore their mental health concerns while others try to treat their symptoms by themselves.

What are some signs of a mental health disorder?

The signs of each mental health disorder are unique to that disorder, but here are a few to look out for:

  • Extreme changes in mood and behavior
  • Changes in work or school performance
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Prolonged feelings of anger or sadness
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Struggles with carrying out day-to-day tasks

What are some examples of mental health disorders?

Depression and anxiety are the two most prevalent mental health disorders in the United States; however, many Americans also live with obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorders, among others. The severity of mental health disorders also varies by individual.

Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

Nearly 80 percent of people with mental health disorders have substance use disorders. In an effort to cope with the symptoms from their mental health disorder, many people turn to drugs and alcohol. The most common substance people turn to for help is alcohol. However, alcohol and many other drugs can exacerbate symptoms.

How can we reduce stigma?

In the past few years, there has been a change in the conversation around mental health. Mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, have garnered more attention due to more celebrities, such as Mariah Carey, sharing their battles. If we continue asking questions and normalizing conversations about mental illness, then we can continue investing in and improving treatment for mental health.

Gateway Foundation’s ASPIRE Program Achieves Top, Dual Diagnosis Rating

Chicago Independence _Preferred

Gateway is proud to announce the ASPIRE program at Chicago Independence is the first in Illinois to be certified as a Dual Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE) site. This means ASPIRE is now officially able to treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. ASPIRE is the only women’s program that has met the DDE standard, as determined by an independent rater, and one of the only women’s programs American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) deems appropriate for clients who have severe or unstable mental health disorders and need residential treatment.

The ability to treat substance use and mental health disorders is extremely important, as 80 percent of individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, also have substance use disorders. In order for a person to have the greatest chance of a successful outcome, both aspects must be treated. When either disorder goes untreated, the probability of relapse is much higher.

In order to ensure the staff is thoroughly prepared for treating clients with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, Gateway hired employees who established many techniques to develop a training program to spread the knowledge. Ensuring the staff is properly prepared to treat both disorders allows for patients to have the best chance at lifelong recovery.

What is ASPIRE?

The ASPIRE program was first implemented six years ago and provides evidence-based treatment for women suffering from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. While addiction does not discriminate based on gender, addiction has often been painted as a male issue. In reality, millions of women in the United States are also battling addiction. A program like ASPIRE helps bridge the gender gap of addiction while still ensuring women receive a tailored, personalized treatment plan for their individual needs.

“The program gives women everything that exists in the best non-gender specific programs, with the added benefit of women-specific programming that addresses how gender roles impact substance use disorders and related co-morbid conditions, such as trauma,” says Chicago Independence Clinical Director Gilbert Lichstein. “The program is a safe space where participants are not addressed in a confrontational manner or judged.”

ASPIRE is one of many Gateway initiatives that demonstrates our commitment to treating not only substance use disorders but the underlying causes of addiction.

The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

Dual Diagnosis in Drug Rehab is More Common than You May Think

Expert Insight from Gilbert Lichstein, Program Director, Gateway Chicago West

4 in a Series of 4

Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers employs evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, personalized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. This series explores some of those methodologies.

Dual Diagnosis in Drug Rehab

dual diagnosis and drug rehabThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that 80% of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring Axis 1 mental health issue, also known as a dual diagnosis. Axis 1 disorders include depression, mania, excessive anxiety and psychosis.

One of Gateway’s distinguishing features is the depth with which we are able to address both issues. Upon arriving at Gateway, clients are given a comprehensive assessment. Should they be found to have both a substance abuse and an Axis 1 mental health issue, they are admitted to our dual-diagnosis unit.

Treating both diagnoses simultaneously truly helps the person free themselves from a destructive cycle, which greatly enhances the likelihood of successful treatment. Gateway’s personalized drug rehab plans address each individual’s specific needs.

Another unique aspect of Gateway’s methodology is our dual diagnosis group, which is offered in inpatient treatment. Individuals in treatment may also elect to involve family and loved ones in their recovery by participating in our family group component.

It’s very important to Gateway that our systems and staff reduce the stigmas that may be attached to substance abuse or a mental health disorder. We value a shame-free approach to treatment and want people to feel like themselves; like they are thriving rather than just getting by. Given the appropriate support, knowledge and skill building, clients are able to recover.

The dual diagnosis program at Gateway is measurable, using established tools that help us to assess, reassess and continually strengthen integrated treatment within our programs. This and many other features contribute to making Gateway a recognized leader among behavioral health providers offering substance abuse treatment as well as dual diagnosis treatment.

Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health Issues Are a Common Dual Diagnosis

In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, proclaimed by President Obama in 2013, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to help you better understand mental health issues, how they can relate to alcohol abuse, and the treatment options available.

Author: Jim Scarpace, MS, LCPC,, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora

alcohol abuse, mental health, gateway alcohol and drug treatment centers

Expert Insight:
Jim Scarpace Explains Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health Issues

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), 80 percent of clients with addiction issues have a co-occurring Axis 1 mental health issue. These can include depression, mood disorder, psychosis and attention deficit disorder, among others. In my experience the number of people with a dual diagnosis may be even higher.

Alcohol abuse and many mental health issues go hand in hand because both are tied to similar centers of the brain. Depression and anxiety, for example, deplete certain of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Alcohol temporarily energizes that system, decreasing those symptoms for a person.

The effects of using alcohol to self-medicate are fleeting, leaving a person feeling substantially worse than prior to using. Still, many use this “band aid” approach because it helps them obtain some manner of immediate relief –medications for mental health issues that are prescribed by a medical professional can take three to six weeks to work and finding the right medications can be hit or miss. When a person drinks to make themselves feel better, they create a cycle that repeats, so both the alcohol abuse and mental health issue worsen.

Caught in the spiral, it is almost impossible to stop the cycle without help and support….Read Full Article or Watch Video >

Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Substance Abuse And Mental Health Issues

drug abuse treatment carbondale

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Carbondale, IL

For men and teens with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provide the kind of experience and knowledge needed to help them get life back on track. Our Carbondale center has expertise in integrated treatment, which means our clinical professionals treat both issues—addiction and mental health—at the same time, in the same program, by the same clinical team. Research supports that integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is the most effective approach— more so than concurrent or sequential treatment models—and decreases one’s chances for relapse.

In addition to understanding the impact of mental illness and addiction issues on them and their loved ones, men and teens with co-occurring disorders will learn
how to:

  • Manage their condition and unique circumstances with a healthy lifestyle and prescribed medications.
  • Regulate their emotions using techniques like mindfulness.
  • Nurture gratifying relationships by improving communication and coping skills.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Often times people abuse alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape their distressing thoughts and painful feelings created by an underlying mental health concern. In fact, it’s more common than not for people with a substance abuse problem to also have a mental health issue, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. When someone has both issues it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder.

For lasting recovery, it’s extremely important for people with co-occurring disorders to take the necessary measures to manage both concerns. That’s because untreated mental health problems increase the likelihood for substance relapse.

SPECIALIZED DRUG TREATMENT FOR MEN

The Men’s Residential Co-Occurring Treatment Program caters to the unique challenges confronting men who struggle with co-occurring disorders. With increased staffing ratios, our clinical team seamlessly addresses the intricacies involved with co-occurring disorders, such as medication management,
behavior modification therapy and post-treatment recovery planning.

Grounded in Gateway’s empowering treatment philosophy, men in this program get the responsiveness they need in order to thoroughly understand substance abuse as well as their mental health diagnoses. While treatment is personalized based on individual needs, men in drug treatment experience enhanced self-awareness and improved coping/social skills through classroom work, individual counseling and group therapy. Activities in group may include tasks like recreating a negative experience with a positive outcome and/or practicing difficult conversations in a safe environment. When the time is right, men can invite their loved ones to family counseling sessions where problems may be addressed through honest yet respectful dialogue moderated by solution-seeking counselors.

ENHANCED CARE FOR TEENS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

Gateway’s Carbondale center has the specialized expertise to instill in teens the tools and knowledge needed to manage their addiction and mental health concerns on an on-going basis. In fact, both our Male and our Female Adolescent Residential Programs at Carbondale have been independently rated as Dual-Diagnosis Capable (DDC) to Dual-Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE). This esteemed designation underscores the expertise of Carbondale’s clinical team and the organization’s dedication to evolving treatment of alcohol and drug abuse.

For more information about the Co-Occurring Treatment program for Men and Teens at Gateway Carbondale, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in Chicago Suburbs Offers Dual Diagnosis Program

Group Treatment at Gateway Aurora

Group Treatment at Gateway Aurora

To meet the unique needs of individuals struggling with addiction as well as untreated anxiety, anger or trauma-related concerns, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Aurora offers an Adult Co-Occurring/Dual-Diagnosis Residential Treatment Program (Co-Ed) wherein both concerns may be addressed at the same time by one collaborative team.

Research supports integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis—and decreases the odds for relapse. Through this effective treatment program, individuals with co-occurring disorders can learn not only how mental illness impacts their lives, but how to:

  • Manage their condition with a healthy lifestyle and prescribed medications.
  • Regulate their emotions using proven techniques like mindfulness.
  • Nurture healthy relationships by improving communication and coping skills.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder/Dual Diagnosis?

Often times people abuse alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape their distressing thoughts and painful feelings created by an underlying mental health concern. In fact, it’s more common than not for people with a substance abuse problem to also have a mental health issue, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. When someone has both issues it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. For lasting recovery, it’s extremely important for people with co-occurring disorders to take the necessary measures to manage both concerns. That’s because untreated mental health problems increase the likelihood for substance relapse.

For more information about our Aurora Treatment center visit RecoverGateway.org/Aurora.

 

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