Let’s face it, 2020 has not been our year. Between the coronavirus, ongoing wildfires, and the deaths of George Floyd and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it feels like we’re living in a poorly-scripted movie. Most of us have reached our wit’s end looking for ways to cope with the fallout from these events, but this year has been far worse for some than others. If you struggle with mental health or substance abuse problems, the added stress and uncertainty can take a greater toll and make it even harder to get through the day.
Not all hope is lost, however. The silver lining among all of this may be increased access to mental health care. With concerns rising over the impact of social isolation, heightened anxiety, and increased drug or alcohol use during the pandemic, mental health has become a priority and efforts have been made to make treatment more widely available. Most providers now offer both on-site care and telehealth services, increasing treatment options, and accessibility for those with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.
The Impact of Co-Occurring Disorders
Even before the pandemic, co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders were a challenge for both patients and health care providers. Many people who seek help for drug or alcohol addiction also have an undiagnosed mental illness, but medical professionals often treat these conditions separately or not at all. Almost 40 percent of adults with a substance use disorder reported mental health problems, but only 9 percent received treatment for both.
Because mental health and substance abuse are closely related, addressing only part of the problem makes treatment less effective and doomed to fail. Lingering issues are likely to trigger a relapse or decline in mental health, with a negative impact on the overall quality of life. Left untreated, co-occurring disorders are even linked to higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness among sufferers, making it critical to provide timely, adequate care as soon as possible.
The key to improving treatment outcomes for those with co-occurring disorders is increased access to high-quality, integrated care. Providers that specialize in mental health and substance abuse understand the complexities of a dual diagnosis and promote meaningful progress by treating both conditions simultaneously. If you or a loved one is dealing with co-occurring mental illness and addiction, learn more about your options below.
Seeking Hope and Healing
Amidst a sea of treatment options for mental health and substance abuse, it can be hard to know what’s best for you or your loved one. The first step to seeking help is often an assessment at your treatment center of choice, where your needs will be evaluated to determine the proper level of care. Now, this can often be done either online or over the phone. More serious conditions may require an inpatient stay, and facilities have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of clients and staff during the pandemic. At Avalon Malibu, this includes increased housekeeping, online meetings, health screening, and other preventative measures.
If you’ve been to treatment before, have recently relapsed, or need extra support, options like extended care, partial hospitalization, or outpatient programs may be more suited to your needs. These solutions are also appropriate for those who don’t need to attend a residential program and allow for more flexibility while still providing a high level of quality, integrated care. You’ll have the opportunity to refresh your recovery skills, regain some accountability, and learn how to manage any stressors, triggers, and cravings that you’re experiencing.
Telehealth has also become a viable option for mental health and addiction treatment, creating new opportunities that make it easier to get the care you need. By utilizing available technology, telehealth allows people to connect with their physicians, therapists, and other health care providers from the comfort of their homes. Now you can manage your prescriptions, talk to a therapist, or participate in support groups in a virtual environment without the cost, inconvenience, or safety risks of traveling to a doctor’s office during a pandemic. To make things easier, many insurance companies are now expanding coverage and waiving co-pay fees for this type of remote care. Depending on your needs, Avalon Malibu offers telehealth solutions for our extended care and intensive outpatient programs.
At Avalon Malibu, we know how challenging this year has been for everyone, but especially for those with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Things may seem hopeless if you’re struggling to cope, but we’re working hard to ensure continued access to high-quality, integrated care when you need it most. Whether this is your first time seeking treatment or you’re looking to get back on track in your recovery, we are open and available to accept new clients. Contact or call us today at 844-857-5992 to learn more.