Addressing Co-Occurring Substance Use at Our Young Adult Mental Health Treatment Center
Our focus is on clinical care and in order to address substance use, we process the trauma, anxiety, depression, or any other underlying emotional issues that often contribute to the substance use. Sometimes these issues predate drug and alcohol use, and sometimes it is the other way around. We believe in addressing all issues in a simultaneous, holistic, and integrated fashion. Our Master’s level clinicians hold dual credentials, licensed in both mental health and clinical addictions. Below is a list of some of the modalities we use to utilize in order to really make breakthroughs when we are working with our young adult clients.
Gender-Separate Young Adult Mental Health Treatment Center
Because men and women often face unique mental health challenges, our gender-specific programming can greatly benefit those seeking treatment for substance use, co-occurring disorders and healing from traumatic events. Men and women often experience differently:
- Social reinforcers of substance use
- Disorders accompanying addiction or substance use
- Biological factors of dependence
- Triggers for relapse
Addressing Trauma at Our Young Adult Mental Health Treatment Center
We experience trauma when we cannot effectively process what happens to us, whether on an emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical level. How someone experiences trauma can have nothing to do with how strong or weak they are. It only has to do with how they are processing an experience.
To put it another way, someone who is physically strong may not be able to properly digest milk or gluten. Similarly, some of the most emotionally strong people may experience seemingly small events as traumatic if they cannot effectively “digest” them.
Trauma is often in the background of those struggling with substance use. Drugs and alcohol can be a means of managing or numbing the hurt and confusion young adults carry with them. For recovery to be successful, they have to be able to address the traumas that fueled their substance use. When trauma work is effectively integrated into the treatment experience, it allows people to get at the roots of their behavior and lets them walk more freely toward a life no longer dominated by destructive habits.
Importance of Nutrition
Nutrition is often an overlooked part of effective young adult mental health programs. Many people who struggle with mental health issues, trauma, and substance use have diets that emphasize “hyper-palatable” foods—i.e., those high in salt, sugar, and fat. These foods are what we crave most when hungry, as they are most likely to protect us from starvation and give us short-term energy. However, when starvation is not an issue, over-dependence on these types of food creates addictive responses in our brains, which can be just as powerful as dependence on alcohol or drugs.
The addictive pathways in our brains also can be linked together. Therefore, if someone is in recovery for alcohol, but is still indulging their cravings for junk food, their eating habits can trigger a relapse into alcohol use. Young adult mental health programs like ours, which encourage healthy eating and exercise, can reinforce sobriety by rebuilding the body’s constitution. When young adults physically feel good, they are less likely to fall back on old patterns and behaviors as a coping mechanism.
Research shows that when nutritional education is a part of a treatment program, it improves outcomes of recovery by 68%. Foods high in omega-6, omega-3, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12 have been shown to decrease anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. Paying attention to issues like blood sugar levels and caffeine intake can help improve the overall recovery process.
As an essential component to recovery, research has shown time and again the effectiveness of the 12-step philosophy. Studies show that when 12-step-based support is combined with good clinical care, individuals are more likely to achieve long-term recovery, have fewer relapses, and re-engage in their recovery after a relapse.
Healthy 12-step-based communities allow for social support and encouragement when individuals need it the most. During early recovery, people are often disconnecting from old social groups and friends that had encouraged their substance use, negative behaviors, or ways of prior living. This is a positive factor, but it also leaves the individual isolated and feeling lonely while in a vulnerable state. 12-step-based support provides practical ways to encourage young adults as they take their first steps toward recovery.
Furthermore, 12-step-based groups provide ongoing support for people in recovery, whether they have just started on their journey or have been at it for many years. The 12-step philosophy of personal surrender, reconciliation, and support of others has helped pave a well-guided path to true recovery.
Social Skills Development During Our Young Adult Mental Health Programs
Social impairment is an effect that is typically overlooked when struggling with mental health, trauma, and substance use issues. Young adults can become emotionally and developmentally “stuck” as a result. Because these issues are often related to avoidance, the individual may develop patterns of “checking out” on much of life. This leads to them missing countless opportunities to grow emotionally and acquire the social skills necessary for becoming productive adults.
So much of what goes on during the adolescent years has to do with developing an identity. Being able to conceptualize a future career becomes increasingly important as vocation is seen as the primary means of one’s future expression and identity. When a young adult’s emotional growth is stunted, he or she can experience severe forms of an identity crisis. With an inability to push past the anxiety this crisis creates, young men and women can develop chronic avoidance, leading them to rely more and more on the substances or behaviors that led to the crisis in the first place. Dealing effectively with mental health disorders, co-occurring substance use issues, or traumatic experiences means helping young adults get a firm grasp of who they are as individuals and how they can find their own place in the world.
In order to send our young adults back into the world as best equipped as possible to succeed in life and recovery, we offer a variety of ‘life skills’ related groups and activities, a partial list is below.
Educational Groups and Workshops:
- Nutritional Education
- Boundary Setting
- Goal Setting
- Communication Skills
- Social Skills Development
- Mindfulness Training
- Family Systems Work
Issues of Grief and Loss
In many ways, substance use or behaviors can be like an unhealthy relationship. It may be bad for you, but it still gives you excitement and solace. As inconsistent and hurtful as it may be, it provides for you in ways that no one else can. It makes you feel better when no one else does. In the end, you find it hard to imagine your life without it.
Consequently, those struggling can experience grief when walking away from their prior way of living and being. This grieving process is necessary; it naturally follows the loss of something that you have grown to depend on, and it prepares the way for you to find new ways to fill the void.
Filling the void is where an effective recovery community becomes so important. Many young adults who undergo treatment don’t know how to have friends or be social or even manage their own emotions. Encouragement and support are key ingredients for a successful journey into recovery.
Reach Out to Our Young Adult Mental Health Treatment Center Today
To learn more about how our young adult mental health programs in North Carolina promote lasting change, call Red Oak Recovery now at 866-457-7590.