How Can Mental Health Help Addiction?
When addressing addiction, we believe it is just as important to access a client’s mental health and spiritual health as it is to treat their substance use disorder. One of our outpatient clients, Janine F., has had success coping with addictions by learning skills through mental health counseling.
Janine never thought that she would want to go to a mental health counselor, because she didn’t want to be forced to talk about her past experiences. However, she was pleasantly surprised to find that she was in control of what was discussed during a counseling session. No one made her talk about anything before she was ready. Janine describes her counseling sessions as a safe place to express herself without judgment.
Rather than using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, she now has positive outlets for her trauma, and she has tools for handling life’s stresses. Some of her past symptoms were anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and night terrors. Through the use of breathing exercises and positive self-talk, she can calm herself down so that she can make a thoughtful decision instead of responding automatically like she had in the past. After one year of counseling, Janine is off all her psychiatric medicines. Her relationships and her self-worth have improved, and most importantly, she is able to maintain her sobriety.
Her weekly sessions have helped her stay stable and she no longer has “worst case scenario” thoughts. Janine is enjoying the mental and emotional freedom she has gained through counseling, and she would highly encourage others to explore this aspect of addiction treatment.