Most people who suffer from substance abuse disorder have dealt with some form of trauma in their lives, be it: childhood trauma, physical or emotional abuse, PTSD, rape, neglect, homelessness, and more ad nauseum. These traumas may not be necessarily the cause of the substance abuse disorder, but it is most definitely a mitigating factor in it.

Most detox/residential programs, although extremely effective in helping clients overcome the physical addiction through medical alcohol detox programs as well as offering a variety of therapies to help the client re-enter life, the majority do not deal with a dual diagnosis or any other underlying mitigating issues that might be exacerbating the substance abuse disorder.

From personal experience as an outreach director for a detox/residential facility, I have seen a growing number of facilities taking a slight shift in their modality and philosophy when dealing with people suffering from substance abuse disorder. The shift seems to be trending more to a “mental health primary” with substance abuse issues as an adjunct to the former.

alcohol detox programs

Iris Healing Retreat in Woodland Hills, CA has shifted their focus from primarily detox/residential to a mental health issue focused facility utilizing different modalities of treatment philosophies to better serve their clients considered dual-diagnosed or dealing with co-occurring disorders. In fact, they have opened three facilities focusing on the different mental health issues coupled with substance abuse disorder.

50% of people who suffer from severe mental disorders are affected by substance disorders. 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness (Joanna Sailsan. M.S.W, Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal Ph.D., HelpGuide, 2018).

I think it is safe to say that a majority of people suffering from substance abuse disorder are also suffering from some sort of mental health issues, be them trauma, eating disorders, PTSD, self-mutilation, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and depression, etc.

According to HelpGuide: Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems. (HelpGuide). Unfortunately, this system of self-medication to alleviate the mental health issue ultimately exacerbates and worsens the underling mental health issue. Depression and anxiety are closely linked to substance abuse, and what started out as a way of easing the symptoms of depression or anxiety heightens these problems and can lead into more severe and damaging mental health issues.

With this new understanding of the close link between substance abuse and mental health issues, more and more facilities or incorporating therapies to directly address the co-occurring disorders. Therapies like EEG or biofeedback are proving instrumental in helping clients identify underlying mental health issues and allow them to focus on co-occurring disorders simultaneously.

When you come to Iris Healing Retreat, you’ll receive a thorough evaluation by one of our experienced professionals. Drawing upon these results, together we will collaborate to provide an individualized therapy plan to fit your specific needs. For more information about getting started with our center, simply give us a call at (818) 435-3936 for a risk free, complementary phone evaluation.