When treating addiction issues, it is important to tackle the physical elements and the mental ones in tandem. When somebody develops an alcohol addiction, there is a physical impact on their body, causing them to feel withdrawal symptoms, and they will experience a lot of long term health effects too. Managing these physical symptoms is a central part of alcohol addiction treatment and this is usually achieved during a detox program. However, the most effective alcohol rehabilitation programs focus on addressing trying mental health issues as well as managing the physical aspects of addiction. 

There is a strong link between alcohol addiction and mental health and a large percentage of people suffering from an addiction have underlying mental health conditions. Unless the root cause of the addiction is dealt with, it is more likely that the patient will relapse in the future. But by addressing the mental health issues that lead to alcohol addiction in the first place, rehabilitation programs can help patients achieve long term sobriety. 

The Link Between Alcohol Addiction And Mental Health

The link between alcohol and mental health is well-documented and it can be quite complex because it’s a relationship that goes both ways. 

The number of people diagnosed with mental health issues like anxiety and depression is increasing, but there are still many that go undiagnosed. Often, when people are not getting adequate treatment for problems like anxiety and depression, they use alcohol to self-medicate. In the short term, drinking alcohol has a relaxing effect and it can boost your mood. So, if you are suffering from anxiety or depression, it appears to make you feel better. 

However, the long term effects of alcohol on the brain and body will make mental health problems worse over time. As the mental health issues become worse, you are then more reliant on alcohol to self-medicate. This becomes a vicious cycle and the underlying causes of the mental health problems are never addressed in the first place. 

Low feelings and anxiety are particularly bad after drinking large amounts. The physical impact of the hangover is coupled with these mental symptoms and this leads people to drink more to make themselves feel better. Once people begin using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with their mental health problems, they often develop an alcohol addiction. 

The Role Of Mental Health Treatments In Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs 

When people are being treated for their alcohol addiction, it is crucial that mental health treatments are a central part of the program. Even if you put somebody through a detoxification program and give them tools to help them manage their cravings, the mental health problems that they were medicating with alcohol are still there. 

In order to prevent a relapse, rehabilitation programs must provide an alternative method of managing mental health problems. This is done using a series of different techniques. Regular counseling sessions, both individually and in groups, are one of the most effective ways for people to work through their mental health issues. These kinds of sessions are a big part of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. 

In some cases, patients will be given medications to manage feelings of anxiety or to boost their mood. Mental health specialists can also teach patients tools for managing anxiety, like breathing exercises or meditation, for example. 

The majority of alcohol rehabilitation programs begin by dealing with the physical effects of addiction. It is important that people with an addiction are slowly weaned off alcohol so their body and brain can adjust. Coming off too quickly can be dangerous. Once all of the alcohol is out of their system, they must then find ways to manage their cravings. However, this is only the beginning of the journey and the most successful alcohol rehabilitation programs focus on addressing mental health issues after initially managing the physical symptoms. 

This focus on mental health treatments continues after patients have finished their rehabilitation program. Aftercare services are designed to help the transition back into normal life and prevent relapses. Through continued mental health support, patients can grow and improve outside of the rehabilitation facility. This drastically increases their chances of staying sober for longer. 

At the Robert Alexander Center, we recognize the importance of mental health support in the long term treatment of alcohol addiction. That’s why we always take a comprehensive approach to help patients manage the underlying cause of their substance abuse. As a result, the people that we treat leave our facility much happier and they are more likely to stay sober for good. 

Download this article

Call Now Button