More than half of people seeking help for addiction also have significant mental health issues.
When a person is struggling with both addiction and mental health issues it is referred to as having a concurrent disorder or co-occurring disorder. A person with a mental health disorder is twice as likely to have a co-occurring substance use problem as the average person. This can become complicated when you consider that different drugs have very different chemical composition and when they interact with each other they can deeply influence how effectively the brain works with respect to making decisions, self-control and compulsion.
Oakhill delivers an integrated approach to recovery.
In the past, the complex problem of treatment for addiction and mental health was highly compartmentalized. As a result, clients were either directed towards programs that were mental health focused or addiction focused. Current research is underlining the importance of treating these two problems together and the result has yielded much better results. Here at Oakhill, to address the needs of our clients with concurrent disorders we have developed a program which equally focusses on addictions and mental health. Our team of mental health and addiction counsellors together assure that the underlining issues and their relation to each other are addressed with each of our clients.
While certainly not a complete list, some of the concurrent disorders include:
- Street Drugs such as cocaine or heroin, meth etc.
- Prescription Drugs / opiates such as Percocet, oxycontin, etc.
- Benzodiazepines such as valium, Xanax, Ativan and other tranquilizers
- Hallucinogens such as LSD, Mescaline, Psilocybin and other dissociative drugs
- Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD
- Depression, bi-polar and other mood disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and other anxiety disorders
- Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders
- Conduct disorders (mostly in younger people)
- Attention deficit disorder ADD
- Personality Disorders
While not everyone with an addiction problem has a co-occurring disorder, in many cases, drugs or alcohol are being used to cope with feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress, or trauma. The combination of two separate serious issues generally compounds, masks and makes treatment of both more difficult. For people suffering from a co-occurring disorder, unless addiction treatment is combined with treatment for the mental health issue, recovery is unlikely to take place. For example, research has identified the relationship between anxiety and addiction. In at least 75% of people with both an anxiety disorder and a substance dependence, the anxiety disorder developed first. Anxiety disorders resulting from substance use appear to be relatively rare: in people with both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder, treating one without also addressing the other leads to poorer short-term outcomes and a high risk for relapse.
At Oakhill we recognize the importance of treating both addiction and mental health conditions together and so we have developed a professional, experienced, well-trained team that delivers an integrated recovery program, designed for individual needs and targeted to provide the best chance of a successful recovery.
Program for Clients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Stage 1: Detox and Assessment
In the first week after a client has detoxed, an informal assessment is done by the counsellor followed by a formal assessment which includes a battery of psychological tests. These assessments are used for clinical purposes while the client is at Oakhill. The assessment will then be used to build an individually designed program for each client. After the assessment phase, we determine the specific program needed for the client. The only clients who would not be deemed appropriate for Oakhill would be those with a psychosis, or severe mental health problems which are not stabilized enough for treatment or active suicide ideation.
Stage 2: Stabilization
Our clients go through the PTSD stabilization process for the first month or longer if needed. At this time, the program is primarily focused on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training. In additions, all clients work with psycho-educational groups daily, have two individual therapy sessions a week, and attend a group therapy session every week.
Stage 3: Integration into general programming
When clients are deemed ready, they will be gradually integrated into the other parts of LH programs. LH has extensive psychoeducation sessions on mental health issues and recovery.
Stage 4: Processing the Trauma
Direct PTSD work is done individually using Cognitive Processing Therapy. Exactly when the direct therapy on the PTSD origins begins will depend on the client’s readiness and success with the aforementioned DBT training.
To process the trauma, the therapist will focus on thinking through parts of the trauma memory. The therapist may ask a client to write a description of the trauma (called a trauma account). Writing and re-reading this trauma account helps many people connect with the feelings related to the trauma and to identify stuck points created by the event. During therapy the client learns to challenge thoughts about the trauma itself. Trauma themes will also be identified. Typically these themes are safety, trust, power and control, esteem, and intimacy.
Stage 5: Transition Planning
The final part of the program will be transition from the facility. Ongoing group therapy focusing on transition is a part of the program once the client has finished the first half of the DBT training. Within the last month of the client’s stay individual after-planning will begin.