67,367 people died of drug overdoses in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dealing with a substance use disorder is a challenge all on its own, but many people that suffer from addiction also suffer from a mental health disorder like bipolar, depression, and anxiety. Co-occurring disorders such as these occur in nearly 50% of all people that have substance use disorders.
Dealing with a mental illness on top of a substance use issue can be especially complicated because both issues need to be dealt with to achieve lasting sobriety. In the meantime, mental addiction can fuel the addiction and addiction can fuel mental illness, leading to poor decision making and possibly dangerous situations, like suicidal ideation and/or attempts.
Suicide rates have been climbing over the last decade. Suicides have risen 33% to 14 suicides per 100,000 people in 2018. Hearing a family member or a loved one talk about suicide or suicidal ideations can be terrifying, and it is even more terrifying for the people that are experiencing these thoughts and feelings. It is hard to know what to do or how you can help, especially if they are using and have no desire to get help at the moment.
Suicide Risk Factors
46% of people that commit suicide have or had a known mental health disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Colorado, the rates are even higher at 20.9 people per 100,000 people.
Some of the risk factors of suicide are:
- Family History of Suicide
- Drug Use
- Alcohol Misuse
- Serious or Chronic Medical Illnesses
- A History of Trauma and Abuse
- Prolonged Stress
- Recent Loss
- Copycat Suicides (suicides are more common when heavily publicized)
It’s recently come to light that a significant number of overdose deaths that have been recorded over the past 10 years may also be “passive suicides” or “deaths of despair”. Many factors can play into this. Wages have been stagnant, health care is on the rise, and “good jobs” are being shipped away. All of this leads to feelings of despair that affect mental health, drug use, and overall health. This seems to affect middle-aged white males more than any other demographic.
This makes it tricky to distinguish whether people need help for mental health issues, substance use disorders, or both. Even death records reports have found that the opioid crisis may be much larger than we originally thought.
In many cases, autopsies are not performed or the drug may not be able to be pinpointed. In many counties across the country the coroner, or the person that determines the cause of death, may not even have to hold any sort of medical degree.
This is what makes dual-diagnoses centers so important. Dual-Diagnosis Centers deal with co-existing conditions where people are affected by both mental health issues and substance use disorders.
Dual-Diagnosis centers are able to focus on the root cause of underlying issues that led to the mental health issue, the substance use disorder, or both. Once the root cause is determined, then efforts can be made to resolve the underlying issues so people can get relief from or properly medicated for their mental health issue, and achieve lasting sobriety.
Mental health issues can be brought on by a number of different reasons. Some people may have been exposed to past trauma or abuse, some may have an underlying genetic predisposition. Excessive and/or prolonged stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance use can all be underlying causes for a mental health issue as well.
Healing from mental health disorders often takes a multipronged approach. At the Denver Recovery Center, when dealing with co-existing conditions, we like to take a whole-person approach focusing on mindfulness, trauma-informed yoga, and holistic activities that encompass spirituality, exercise, and nutrition.
Mindfulness? How Does That Aid in Recovery??
Mindfulness puts us back into an active role in our lives. We observe thoughts and feelings as they happen, but without judgment. We can recognize that we are angry, sad, or guilty but NOT assign a good or bad connotation to those feelings.
In this way, we can examine what it is that makes us feel a certain way, and make changes accordingly. Meditation can be a good way to start practicing mindfulness, but even just recognizing what is going on around you as you sit, or go about daily routines can help.
Mindfulness is also a good way to relieve stress because it doesn’t force us to feel like we need to immediately react to a situation. Instead, we can feel all of the feelings that are going on in the situation and take a moment to figure out why we are reacting a certain way and to determine if that is the correct approach to the situation or if we are just reacting based on our feelings at the moment.
Another good way to overcome feelings of past trauma and develop new coping mechanisms to deal with mental health conditions and substance abuse is trauma-based activities, such as yoga, outdoor therapy (link to outdoor therapy page), or even art therapy.
Dealing With Past Trauma
Dealing with past trauma can be especially difficult. Not only are the memories painful, but often we don’t want to bring them up because then we have to relive the situation. Pushing down those feelings, however, can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Instead of coping with past events, we hide them and repress them. And this can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but it can also cause substance use issues as we try to self-medicate to keep from having to deal with repressed emotions.
Trauma-based counseling can help people that have faced past trauma to overcome those emotions so they can start living life to the fullest again and start them on the road to recovery.
At the Denver Recovery Center, we offer trauma-informed counseling and yoga to help people recover from traumatic situations that they have lived through.
For people that have trouble with meditation, they may find that yoga is more to their liking. It has the same benefits as meditation, but there is also the mind-body connection that’s achieved as they move through the different poses.
Trauma-sensitive yoga not only helps a person become more comfortable in their own bodies, but it also helps to counteract negative thinking, and improve self-control. Trauma-based yoga is not about dredging up old memories but rather putting you in connection with how you and your body is reacting in the moment. Practitioners of trauma-based yoga learn to release tension, reduce and control fear and arousal, and tolerate sensation. All of which are good coping mechanisms to deal with life, mental health issues that may arise, and issues that may come up in the process of recovery
All of these methods help to take on a more holistic approach to addiction treatment and mental health disorders.
Whole Body… Whole New Person
At Denver Recovery Center, we have found that taking a more holistic approach to treatment has helped our clients to achieve personal wellness, a sense of confidence, and the ability to start on their road to recovery.
Holistic refers to the healing of the whole person rather than just focusing on the immediate problems. We want people to be able to experience life again through recovery, and that often takes more than sitting in therapy and abstaining from substance use.
When a holistic approach is taken, people are given valuable tools to look inside themselves and, to not only make better decisions but live better lives as well. They are taught to fill empty hours with new recreational hobbies. They are taught about nutrition and how to feed the body and soul. We also teach the importance of physical activity and how a healthy body can help with a healthy mind.
To achieve a holistic approach, our clients are offered outdoor adventures where they can hike, camp, and bicycle. There are obstacle courses that they can complete to learn to work together and to build confidence in their decision-making skills. There is also recreation therapy where you can explore different leisure activities that will enrich our clients’ lives, filling the empty time that was once spent using.
Each activity is meant to help a person get back on the road to recovery.
Are You Ready to Change Your Life?
Are you ready to finally get your life back? Deciding to get help for your addiction is the first brave step in creating lasting change. Luckily, you can take this step any time of the day or night.
By simply calling Denver Recovery Center at (844) 602-3175, you will have access to a dedicated professional who can help you understand how our services can finally help you get out of the downward spiral of addiction. Don’t wait until your life has spun out of control. Make the call today to secure a healthier, fulfilling future. Denver Recovery Center is ready to help.