Nearly every addiction client that comes to the Kiloby Center arrives with some form of mental health issue as well. For many, the two go hand in hand, but why is that? Addiction is not a black or white situation; there are several shades of gray evolving at different stages as it progresses. During the first stage of addiction, alcohol or drug use starts in social circles, during special occasions, and just for enjoyment. There are typically no consequences to your actions––yet.
Soon life can take a turn for the worse and waiting for the weekend or an upcoming holiday will be an agonizing delay. You may become obsessed with seizing that next drink or hit, but now, there will likely be consequences to your actions. Feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse will overshadow every binge, and the lies you tell yourself and others catch up with you. Your worth and self-esteem, as well as your relationships, will take a downward spiral on your way to rock bottom.
Then your dark transformation into an entirely different person will begin as you start using it daily. You may not even recognize your reflection in the mirror. Who is that shell of a person looking back at you? You become physically sick when the addictive chemical isn’t in your body. You stay in bed all day paralyzed with thoughts of needing more. You may not be able to hold a job and spend all your money on your addiction. Your friends and family will plead with you to stop and get help. You may even be ready to agree because you don’t want to hurt the people you love, but quitting isn’t easy. Is it even your choice at this stage? Have you passed the point of quitting on your own?
Finally, the addiction will completely overtake your life and be calling all the shots. It will dictate your every thought and control your every move, but you won’t even care. You will lose everything and even fear death, but you still won’t break free from your addiction. You can’t because it owns you. This is some terrifying imagery of what addiction looks like.
Of course, the addiction spiral doesn’t have to end tragically. In fact, many people recover. But they need to first recognize the problem and then want to work on it. That last part isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many people try to get better because loved ones want them to, not because they want to, and it’s essential for addiction recovery that the person going through it wants to heal.
How does mental health factor into addiction?
It’s a case of the chicken or the egg: is the addiction causing mental health problems or are the mental health issues causing addiction? A person may be drinking too much because they are grieving, depressed, anxious, or dealing with one of life’s traumatic events. This coping mechanism is the root of addiction: avoiding pain by self-medicating or avoidance.
Addiction is rarely seen by itself. Having mental health issues sets you up for addiction and vice versa. If you don’t have a mental health issue, but you immerse yourself in addictive substance abuse or behaviors long enough, you will likely develop mental health issues. Plus, addiction magnifies mental health problems, which can lead to an even faster downward spiral.
Having two issues to work on – addiction and mental health, can seem impossible. Thankfully you can (and should) work on both at the same time since both fuel each other. The Kiloby Center for Recovery, Inc. helps people who are living with addiction and mental health issues every day. Our mindfulness and presence work is a leader in the addiction field.
With groups, private sessions, and somatic work, our non-12 Step approach to addiction recovery helps clients gain focus and set simple goals. We’ll help you become more aware of your actions, impulses, and mind for long-term recovery. There is nothing to be ashamed of or hide when it comes to addiction, but there is everything to be gained by seeking out a guide at our center. We’ll help you understand what it means to live peacefully in the present moment so you gain a fresh and balanced perspective on painful patterns.
Contact The Kiloby Center for Recovery, Inc. in Palm Springs, California, today to get the personalized care you deserve. Don’t fight your addiction and mental health issues, leave them behind. Call us today at 833-474-4064 to find out how we can best serve you.
Marla McKenna, guest writer