At least 50 percent of the two million Americans that suffer from severe mental health illnesses also abuse drugs or alcohol.* This statistic is likely not a surprise to those whose loved one is mentally ill. What is important to know is that substance abuse makes it very difficult for mental health providers to make an accurate diagnosis. Many mental health disorders can be masked or aggravated by substance abuse.
A mental health disorder combined with substance abuse is known as a “dual diagnosis.” Often patients with a dual diagnosis use one disorder to shield the other because he or she is in denial, ashamed, or wants to hide one of the disorders. Even when properly diagnosed, treatment for a patient with a dual-diagnosis may be difficult. Many who take medication for a mental disorder continue to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Mental healthcare patients with a substance abuse problem are almost twice as likely to drop out of outpatient treatment as patients without a substance abuse problem.
“In the short term, we need to address (both disorders) simultaneously,” said Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “So for acute treatment and stabilization, focus on both disorders at once.”
A comprehensive residential mental illness program such as Pasadena Villa does just that. This approach provides mental health patients with the consistent care, medication, counseling, reinforcement and life skills they need to face, manage, and treat their disorders. Extended recovery time in a safe, professional environment enables patients to ultimately live a happy, productive and healthy life.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.
*Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration