Alcohol and Mental Illness Treatment

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It is important for the patient to work through alcoholism and any other mental health disorders that they may have. Alcohol is often used as a way to self-treat different disorders including depression and anxiety. If the patient only detoxes from the substance and does not work on the underlying cause of the illness, namely the mental health issue, they will not be able to get better.

It is not uncommon for alcohol abuse and mental illness to go together. When they do co-occur, it is possible that each condition is going to influence the other, and it does not seem to matter much which one developed first. When they are not treated well, these disorders are able to cause worse symptoms in both problems, compared to just having one or another.

Understanding Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are simply conditions that will involve changes in the behaviors, emotions, and thoughts of the individual. Because of these changes, it is possible that mental illness will result in a number of problems with social functioning, family, and work. Mental illness is common inside the United States and many people struggle with issues like depression, anxiety, or even more severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

In some cases, the mental illness will happen on its own thanks to genetics or the brain chemistry of the other. In these cases, the medications the person is on, or the lack of medications in some situations, can lead the person to self-medicate with alcohol. In other instances, the individual could start abusing alcohol and that can lead to a mental illness occurring.

It is possible for the mental health of an individual to change over time depending on their life circumstances and other stressors or medical events. Someone who is normally healthy could have a very high stress load over time and may have the risk of getting a mental health problem. There are situations in life that can push someone into dealing with a mental disorder.

Understanding Alcoholism

Mental illnesses can easily take over your life and make things difficult. When alcoholism is added to the mix, they will make your mental health even harder to keep up with. Alcohol is often used to self-medicate when there is an untreated mental illness at play. However, it will often make the symptoms worse than before.

Alcohol use disorder is going to be an issue where the person is unable to stop drinking, even when there are health problems, occupational problems, and social problems that are caused by the alcohol. The compulsiveness of drinking can often lead to a dependence on the alcohol. This means that the individual who is drinking is more likely to continue it in order to feel normal and to function.

There are a number of symptoms that come with alcoholism that can make the mental illness worse than before. People who struggle with both may stop doing activities that they once enjoyed or seeing others, which can result in anxiety and depression. They may not be able to handle some of the responsibilities that they have at home, work, or school because of the drinking and this can make anxiety worse.

Many times, the alcohol is going to make a mental issue worse. Other times it is going to be the main reason that the person has a mental health issue to start with. When both of these conditions occur, it can lead to a lot of issues and the patient will need to seek alcohol and mental illness treatment in order to get better.

Understanding the Co-Occurring Disorders

When we talk about addiction treatment, you may see the term co-occurring. This is basically the term used to describe a patient who has a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness at the same time. This can be alcohol and schizophrenia, alcohol and ADHDalcohol and eating disorder and others. Treatment centers for alcohol and mental illness need to be willing to work through both conditions at the same time to provide the best chance of sobriety for both conditions.

If the patient only works on their mental health and not the alcoholism, they are only dealing with half the problem. They will still have the alcoholism and all those symptoms to work through as well. And if the patient only works through the alcoholism, they are not focusing on the mental health issues either. It is always best to work with a dual diagnosis treatment center that will be able to work through both conditions at the same time for the best results and to help prevent a relapse of either condition.

With the right treatment for alcohol and mental illness, the patient will be able to get some of the help that they need. This will ensure that they treat both conditions at the same time, rather than missing out on one or the other. Not all facilities will be able to handle this for you, so finding the right team that can handle the specific mental health issue that the patient has along with the alcohol abuse is important. This will lead to the best chances for success for the patient.

Treatment Options for Alcohol and Mental Illness

The right alcohol and mental illness treatment center is going to allow for treating both of these disorders at the same time. This will help the patient to deal with the symptoms of both and makes it less likely that there will be a relapse for the patient. Some of the therapies that your medical professional may decide to do with you include:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This is a good therapy to use because it helps the patient address their harmful or unhelpful behaviors and thoughts. Often, something known as dialectical behavioral therapy will be added to the mix to reduce the potential for self-harm if that is a concern for the patient.
  2. Assertive community treatment: This treatment is going to help the patient find a lot of support in their community to make sure they can promote their recovery. This can be useful while the patient is in the treatment facility and when they leave and go back to their normal life.
  3. Therapeutic communities can be used to help the person learn the basics of re-socializing while they are in a long-term residential treatment facility. This can help the patient to be ready to face the world with their mental health intact.
  4. Contingency management: This part is going to help the person get incentives for the good changes they make. It will include a lot of rewards for all positive behaviors.

It is important that the patient find a facility that is able to handle the mental illness and the alcoholism. Many alcohol treatment centers can do a great job handling the alcoholism, but they may worry about using medications and other treatments that would help the mental illness. Without dealing with both issues at the same time, the patient will miss out on some of the treatment they need, which makes a relapse for both disorders more likely.

How Is a Dual Diagnosis Treated?

Patients will quickly notice that there is not really a one size fits all when it comes to treating alcohol and mental illnesses. It will depend on the individual patient and what seems to work the best for them. The type of mental illness and the severity of the alcohol abuse will likely play a big part in this as well.

No matter which mental illness is to blame, the alcohol and mental illness treatment will often include a comprehensive plan to help the patient recover from both and live a safe life with minimal chance of relapsing later on. The medical professional will work with the patient when they first enter the treatment center to learn more about them and to figure out which options will be best during the treatment program.


The first step is the admittance phase. This is the time where the patient will get signed into the alcohol and mental illness treatment center. During this time, they will fill out all of the paperwork and then discuss their condition with a medical professional. They will learn more about the treatment that will happen including therapy, support, and help after the treatment is over.

The goal is to give the patient a personalized treatment based on their condition and what is going on. The amount of time that the patient plans to be in the treatment center will make a difference as well. They can then work through the treatment doing a detox as necessary, therapy and group support, and a variety of options to help the patient as they go through recovery after the facility.


Most of dual diagnosis treatment centers are going to include a time to go through a detox. Many patients are going to come to the center with the alcohol still in their system. Dealing with alcoholism and a mental condition has some special issues that come up. Stopping the alcohol on their own can be difficult and dangerous for the patient. Going through a detox with the medical facility is often better.

During the detox for the alcohol and mental illness at a treatment center, medical professionals will be right there to help out. This allows the patient to have time to work through the withdrawals and get some of the help and assistance that they need. When it comes to withdrawing while dealing with a mental illness, the patient may notice that symptoms are worse. Having medical professionals there to assist can keep the patient safe.

Should I Go to an Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab Center?

When you are looking through alcohol and mental illness treatment center, you may wonder whether the inpatient or the outpatient rehab center is the best option to choose. There are benefits to using both of these. Knowing how each of them works can help you decide which one is right for treating your addiction and mental health issues.

Consider an inpatient rehab center. This is the type of center where the patient will go and live in, getting 24/7 care while there are there. This can be an effective option to use, especially with these two co-occurring disorders. These treatment centers are going to allow the patient to handle the issues that come with both. This is also a good option for some of the more difficult cases that need more help.

During the inpatient treatment, the patient is going to get all the assistance that they need. This includes things like therapy, support groups, medications, and help with the underlying mental health condition. This will help the patient get through both conditions and learn how to manage their lives with them.

Then there are options for outpatient rehab centers. These will allow the patients to recover from a co-occurring disorder while still going about their daily responsibilities, both professionally and personal. If the individual can’t go to the facility due to work and supporting a family, then the outpatient option will work the best for them.

An outpatient treatment center is going to ask the patient to come to a rehab facility several times during the week to help participate in different programs and to meet their support group as well. This can sometimes take longer and may not have as much success. The patient will work harder to avoid their triggers and avoid going back to the alcohol abuse and other issues of the mental illness as well.

Choosing the Right Treatment Center for Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse

When it comes to finding the right treatment center to work with alcohol abuse and mental illness, there are many options to go with. Make sure that you take the time to find a treatment facility that is able to effectively handle both of these conditions at the same time. That can help provide the best results possible and will reduce a relapse along the way. Regain your life back and your health, check out an alcohol and mental illness treatment center to get the help that you need.

Directory of Alcohol and Mental Illness Treatment Centers