What Is Mental Illness?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illness is a health condition that involves changes in a person’s emotions, ways of thinking, behaving, or a combination of any or all of these. Someone suffering from mental illness is typically dealing with some distress or with issues that are interfering with their social, work, or family life.

The good news is that mental illness can be treated, allowing individuals to continue their daily functioning, learn ways to cope with life changes and adversities, and go on to lead happy, productive lives and sustain healthy relationships.

At Resurgence, we work with adults who are experiencing psychiatric, emotional, and/or substance use problems. Our caring team works to quickly assess and stabilize patients experiencing psychological symptoms. Our goal is to manage and reduce patients’ symptoms and help them better understand their condition and how to manage it effectively.

Mental Health Disorders We Treat

Patients come to Resurgence Behavioral Health with a wide range of mental health conditions including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts
  • Self Harm Behaviors
  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Violence Toward Others (threatened, attempted, or engaged in)
  • Schizophrenia, Delusions, Hallucinations
  • Substance Use
  • Medication Adjustments / Stabilization on Medication

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Our Holistic Approach to Treating Mental Health Conditions

Our dedicated team works with each patient as an individual to assess their unique needs and provide a holistic treatment plan that’s suited to them.  We help patients with mental health conditions learn how to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Appropriately express emotions
  • Manage anger
  • Develop healthy boundaries
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Develop life skills

Our multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, nurses, and behavioral health therapists provide a range of evidence-based treatment approaches including: 

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Recreational and expressive therapies
  • Movement therapy (yoga, tai chi, meditation)
  • Stress management
  • Coping Skills
  • Life Skills
  • Education to help patients understand their illness
  • Medication management and education
  • Aftercare and discharge planning

Signs of a Mental Health Disorder

The signs that someone is experiencing a mental health disorder can vary. Some of the main symptoms are:

  • Extreme feelings of paranoia
  • Excessive fears, worries, or anxiety
  • Feeling sad or irritable for long periods of time
  • Social withdrawal
  • Distinctive changes in dietary or sleeping patterns
  • Constant fatigue, low energy
  • Physical pain
  • Distorted perceptions of self and others
  • Lack of emotion
  • Mood changes that become extreme

If you believe that you or someone in your life has a mental health disorder, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis so the illness can be treated. In order to determine which type of mental illness you’re suffering from, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms and to be honest with your medical practitioner. 

Diagnosing mental health disorders can involve:

  • Getting a physical exam to rule out other issues that may be causing your symptoms
  • Going through some lab tests, such as thyroid function testing or alcohol and drug screenings
  • Undergoing a psychological evaluation to discuss your symptoms, thoughts, emotions, and behavioral patterns. 

Many different classes of mental health disorders exist, with some of the most common are:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders
  • Trauma-related disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse and addictive disorders

Mental Health Disorder Statistics

Having a psychiatric problem is actually quite common in the U.S., with up to 19% of adults experiencing some form of mental illness. One in 24 people suffers from a serious mental health disorder, while one in 12 adults is diagnosed with a co-occurring substance use disorder.

For example, it’s estimated that 3.6% of American adults suffer from PTSD. PTSD can develop when a person suffers through a traumatic event, such as an assault, a disastrous occurrence, accidents, violence, or combat. 

Individuals suffering from PTSD may have persistent, disturbing thoughts of the triggering traumatic event. They can also have sleep issues, feelings of detachment from others, be easily startled, or even become unable to function appropriately at work, home, or in social situations.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

If someone is diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, these diagnoses are considered to be co-occurring disorders. The two conditions may be very different from one another, but when they occur in the same individual, it’s typical that the symptoms of each illness become magnified. 

This dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction can be made simultaneously, or a physician can diagnose one condition and then realize the other is also present. However, both health conditions exist at the same time for that individual.

A mental health professional is the appropriate person to diagnose either a mental health disorder or substance use disorder. It’s advantageous to have a practitioner who understands the common symptoms of co-existing disorders that can overlap with either disease. Symptoms that often co-occur with mental illness and addiction include:

  • Distancing oneself from family and friends
  • Drastic, sudden behavioral changes
  • Trouble managing everyday tasks
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Neglecting hygiene and health
  • Using drugs or alcohol in an unsafe manner
  • Not having control over one’s substance use
  • Developing a higher tolerance for certain substances
  • Displaying symptoms of withdrawal
  • Needing drugs or alcohol to function normally

Some mental health disorders are more commonly associated with substance use disorders in certain individuals. The types of psychiatric health issues that co-occur most often with addictive issues fall into these categories:

  • Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Eating Disorders

Mood disorders can include major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. These illnesses are often co-diagnosed with substance use disorders. One disorder clearly feeds on or affects the other.

Anxiety disorders that may coexist with addiction include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. A person who is diagnosed with both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder is a common co-occurring condition, as people suffering from anxiety can self-medicate with substances to help relieve their symptoms.

Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, for example, can become worsened, with temporary hallucinations or delusions taking place if substances are also being abused. A person abusing substances may make psychosis difficult to diagnose if an individual is also engaging in substance use. Drug or alcohol withdrawal can also instigate hallucinations and psychotic symptoms. It’s important to be properly diagnosed if a co-occurring disorder is suspected so the appropriate treatment can begin. Schizophrenia, by way of its very nature, can also place a person at risk for developing a substance use disorder.

Personality disorders that often coexist with substance use disorder include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder

These types of mental health disorders more commonly co-exist in individuals who abuse drugs rather than those suffering from alcohol use disorder.

Eating disorders, such as binge eating, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, are dysfunctional eating habits that often co-occur with substance use disorders. Individuals who engage in binge eating and purging habits are at a heightened risk for developing an addiction to substances. A genetic link may be at the root of this type of dual diagnosis.

Other common risk factors, aside from genetics, for developing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are:

  • Family history
  • Environmental factors
  • The ways a person experiences and responds to stress or trauma
  • A history of trauma or adverse experiences in childhood

Physicians diagnose co-occurring disorders according to the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This professional handbook assists clinicians in diagnosing mental health or substance use disorders based on commonly noted symptoms. 

According to the latest version of the DSM, an individual with a co-occurring disorder tends to have the same mental health symptoms as someone with a mental health disorder, even someone who doesn’t suffer from a substance use disorder. The diagnostic symptoms also state that having an addictive disorder isn’t necessarily worse in someone with a mental health disorder. Symptoms of both disorders will be exhibited for a dual diagnosis to be made.

Treatment Options for Mental Health Disorders

A combination of psychiatric medications integrated with psychotherapy is very helpful in the treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders. Medications can improve the symptoms associated with many mental illness issues, and they also work to make psychotherapy treatment more effective.

What’s most important in the treatment of co-existing mental health and substance use disorders is that both disorders are addressed. Dual diagnosis treatment helps you gain control over substance use while also relieving the symptoms that accompany your mental health disorder.

Some of the common psychiatric medications used to treat mental health disorders include:

  • Antidepressants: Used to mainly treat depression and anxiety. These medicines can help improve feelings of sadness and lack of interest in daily activities. They also help increase energy and concentration levels. These types of medication are not addictive.
  • Anti-Anxiety Medicines: Help treat anxiety disorders, including panic disorders. The long-term formulations are antidepressants that do double duty as anti-anxiety medications. The fast-acting types of these drugs provide short-term relief, but some have the potential of causing dependency.
  • Mood-Stabilizing Drugs: Used mainly for bipolar disorders, these drugs are sometimes used with antidepressants to also treat depression.
  • Antipsychotic Medications: Antipsychotics are typically used to treat psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia.

Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy”, is when you speak in confidence with a mental health professional about your symptoms and related issues. As you work through therapy with a trained counselor, you will gain greater insights into your deeper feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and learn ways of coping with your illness in healthier ways. This will usually include learning stress management skills and, for those dealing with a co-occurring substance use disorder, ways for coping with triggers and the urges to return to drug or alcohol use.

While a person is being treated for substance use disorder, through counseling, 12-Step Programs, group therapy, and other methods, the co-occurring mental health disorder can be treated at the same time through the methods listed above and often in conjunction with substance use treatment modalities.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a mental health disorder, an addiction to substances, or both, effective treatment and help for both conditions is available.