KING OF PRUSSIA, PA — Recovery Centers of America (RCA), a healthcare network of substance use disorder treatment facilities, this past week kicked off May as Mental Health Awareness Month with a call to end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and tips to help anyone – including those in recovery – improve their mental and emotional well-being.
“Despite improved understanding of how commonplace mental illness is, there remains a great stigma surrounding it, particularly for those in recovery from drugs and alcohol,” said RCA Chief Executive Officer J. Brian O’Neill. “Recovery Centers of America sees first-hand how prevalent mental health issues are – both as a root of substance abuse and a result of it. Helping to improve our patients’ mental health and normalize this issue is a vital component of what we do every day.”
The coexistence of both mental illness and a substance use disorder is what’s known as a co-occurring disorder. About 17.9 million U.S. adults had co-occurring mental illness and an illicit drug or alcohol use disorder in the year leading up to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. About 53% (or 9 million adults) received either substance use treatment at a specialty facility or mental health services, though 84% received only mental health services, according to the survey.
Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background. Individuals using drugs and alcohol may benefit from seeking the proper support and treatment resources, which should include a comprehensive approach that considers their physical, mental and emotional health. The most effective treatment plans often include evidence-based practices such as cognitive behavior therapy, medication for addiction treatment (MAT), psychotherapy, peer support and additional holistic approaches.
Individuals and families seeking treatment centers should ensure the facility offers addiction treatment delivered by a clinical team of master’s level or higher therapists, psychiatrists, doctors and nurses. The center should have the experience, education and understanding to effectively treat substance use alongside mental illness.
Mental health is often associated with self-care, but this can be different for everyone. Those who want to improve their mental well-being can start with some basic behaviors that promote it:
- Get proper nutrition. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet has positive impacts on your mental health. Nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins and healthy fats directly affect the body’s energy levels and mood.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise doesn’t just help maintain physical fitness; it also reduces stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Engaging in physical activities for 30 minutes per day — at least four times per week — can make a meaningful difference in mental health and wellness.
- Join a support group: Support groups provide a safe and caring environment where people can discuss mental health issues, grief, addiction, recovery and other struggles with experts and peers. Not only do support groups allow participants to unload emotional burdens, but they can also help people gain a new perspective on life by listening to others’ stories, receiving advice and learning the tools to cope.
- Socialize: Human beings are biologically social creatures, which is why it’s important to spend time with close friends and family members. Volunteering or trying new activities will further increase a sense of belonging and purpose.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is an important part of maintaining good mental health. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause an increase in stress and anxiety levels. Getting enough sleep can help to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and improve concentration and memory. It can also help to improve overall physical health.
Taking steps to care for one’s mind and body can help people take control of their mental health, which in turn can mitigate associated shame and stigma. If you or your loved one are struggling with addiction or mental health issues associated with addiction, the staff at Recovery Centers of America is available to help. Call 1-844-5-RCA-NOW (844-722-2669) for help today.
For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News.