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Managing Mental Illness after Drug Rehab


January 28, 2018

Drug addiction does not exist in a vacuum. Countless influences are involved in addiction and successful recovery, including a person’s general mental health and physical health.

Co-occurring diagnoses along with addiction are common. Around one-third of people with psychiatric disorders also have substance abuse disorders, and this figure rises to nearly one-half when considering people with a serious psychiatric illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Furthermore, about one-third of alcoholics meet criteria for mental illness as well, and over half of people with addictions also have some sort of psychiatric disorder.

Once drug rehab is completed, the process of sustained recovery is only beginning. It is essential that people in recovery take deliberate steps to improve or maintain their mental and physical health after completing drug rehab to minimize the chances of relapse.

Where Services May Be Available in Your Community

Ideally, before completing drug rehab, you should know where in your community you may be able to access mental health services if you have a co-occurring mental illness. Independent providers are an option for some, as are community health centers, and peer-run organizations. People who live in rural communities may be able to access home-based mental health services or even telemedicine-based behavioral care. Developing a plan for managing mental illness along with post-drug rehab recovery improves your chances for sustained, long-term recovery.

Medication May Help

Even if you did not take medications during drug rehab to treat mental illnesses like depression, it may be appropriate to do so after you return to your community and home. Do not be afraid of seeking help for mental health, because many medications used to manage conditions like depression and bipolar disorder are effective without being addictive. Antidepressants can make a measurable difference in the life of someone with depression, and when a person is also in recovery from drug abuse, these medications can be extremely helpful for maintaining energy and motivation to continue working on recovery.

Coordination of Care Important

Drug rehab

Fragmented healthcare is a major problem in America, particularly among people without health insurance who may be accustomed to receiving acute care in a variety of settings. Making the effort to coordinate care pays off. If you are unable to have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician due to lack of insurance or other resources, it is important that you maintain your own medical records so that, whenever you seek care, you can relate your physical and mental health history effectively. You may be eligible for programs that can help you with chronic mental or physical health problems, so it is worth asking before leaving drug rehab, or afterward when you need healthcare.

Why Coordinating Mental Healthcare with Recovery Aftercare Is Worth It

Integration of mental, physical, and behavioral healthcare is associated with better outcomes after drug rehab. Specifically, when care of mental illness is coordinated with post-rehab recovery, outcomes typically include reduced substance use, better functioning, decreased psychiatric symptoms, less chance of hospitalization, better housing stability, lower chance of incarceration, and generally improved quality of life. In other words, making that extra effort to ensure good physical and mental health after drug rehab makes it more likely that you will enjoy sustained recovery.

Completing drug rehab is an accomplishment you should be proud of, but you should not consider your recovery “complete” at this point. Long-term recovery happens throughout life, in your home, work, and community. Co-occurring mental illness is common among those with substance abuse disorders, so it is absolutely essential that you continue getting help for mental health issues after completing drug rehab. If you have questions about long-term recovery or mental health care, we encourage you to contact us today.

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