Mood Disorders and Risk of Substance Abuse
Many people who are contemplating entering into the addiction treatment process are dealing with a mood disorder. Our alcohol and drug rehabilitation staff is both highly educated and experienced at intervening with clients who have such mental health issues. These are issues such as Depressive Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Bipolar Disorders. Whether our disorder is due to a medical condition, is substance-induced, or just generalized anxiety, these disorders are illnesses that can create disturbances in our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Mood disorders frequently cause people who have not had adequate treatment for their illness to self-medicate, using alcohol, drugs, prescripiton drugs or other forms of substance abuse. Unfortunately drugs and alcohol invariably exacerbate our problems, leading to more drastic symptoms and more life-damaging consequences.
Evaluation and Assessment
Before we can solve a problem; we need to know what the problem is, as well as the risk of substance abuse. If you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health disorder, you will typically require treatment that will address both conditions at once. We call these co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. Once a client enters addiction treatment at Cirque Lodge, they receive a thorough evaluation and assessment conducted by a sophisticated, and educated, multidisciplinary team of professionals. This includes gathering a history of previous illnesses and treatment experiences. We conduct rigorous physical assessments and gather as much collaborative information regarding the patient as humanly possible.
Addiction is a Brain Disease
Our philosophy is that addiction is a brain disease. When a co-occurring disorder is present, it takes a highly skilled clinician to ferret out what is chemical dependency and what is a mental health issue. According to M. E. Charness, in his article, Alcohol and the Brain, "alcohol has profound effects on the brain, and can alter the properties of nerve cell membranes and interfere with many of the chemical systems that transmit and process information" (p.85). It is believed that mood disorders also result from imbalances or physical changes in the brain. It is extremely important, therefore, to enter alcohol treatment or drug treatment where these illnesses can be treated effectively, and concurrently. It is where you can gain an understanding of your own mental health issue and its relationship to your substance abuse problem.
Types of Mood Disorders
Mood disorders include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, with hypomanic, manic, mixed, or depressed episodes, Bipolar II Disorder, or Cyclothymic Disorder. All of these mental health disorders are further specified using a variety of features, which vary from person to person. Although it may be tempting to try and diagnose yourself or your loved one, this is strongly discouraged.
It is crucial that a psychiatrist and medical professional complete a thorough evaluation that reviews all pertinent medical and psychiatric information. Depression may include symptoms of depressed mood, tearfulness, irritability, loss of interest or decreased ability to enjoy activities, insomnia/hypersomnia or disturbed sleep, changes in appetite, psychomotor retardation, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt, or thoughts of death or suicide. Mania may include symptoms of expansive/euphoric mood, grandiosity, increased physical activity and decreased need for sleep, rapid/pressured speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas, distractibility, agitation, impulsivity, impaired judgment, risk-taking, or mood swings.
Causes of Mood Disorders
Although the exact causes of a mood disorder are difficult to determine, they are believed to result from imbalances of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Several other factors are viewed as possible contributors, including: heredity, biology, early experience, genetic factors, psychosocial influences, personality, and environment.
Recovery from Mood Disorders
Change is difficult. Getting better takes work, time, motivation, consistent action, and support. At the Cirque Lodge rehabilitation center, we have an established program of providing quality care in a mountain setting that supports spiritual and emotional growth as well as recovery from mood and substance abuse disorders. Along with abstinence from all mood-altering chemicals, and proper treatment, a strong aftercare plan is also an absolute requirement. With medication, counseling, and other proper addiction treatment modalities most people can recover and achieve the mood stability that will allow them to lead more fulfilling and productive lives.