Twin Rivers and Mental Health
Mental Health can be somewhat of a minefield as there is so much not known about the mind and what is known is not always applied well, such as misdiagnosis! Yes, there are happier stories whereby mental health sufferers have improved their lives via therapy and/or medication but generally mental health is not well understood.
At Twin Rivers we recognise that each client is unique despite carrying out similar traits to the other clients. All clients are mentally compromised due to past traumas which directly impacts the way a person thinks and behaves which need to be addressed prior to making any formal diagnosis.
Yes, if a client is psychotic (Out of touch of reality) then they will require psychiatric medication so as they can in turn be able to respond to psychotherapy. We do not rush to make mental health conclusions as clients in early recovery display a great number of signs-symptoms and traits that may tick the boxes for a mental health diagnosis but its too early and so the team observe each client underpinned by the observations from our Clinical Social Worker.
What Is It Like To Be Mentally Healthy?
Does it mean we are happy all the time, free from stress, and super-intelligent? No-not at all! perfection is not the answer here but functionality is. Some clients are heavily impacted by their mental health such as depression and yet their lives and functionality can be vastly improved with medication and individual therapy.
Mental health should be seen as more of a spectrum rather than an actual state – just like physical health. We are all going to be somewhere on this spectrum. Mental health also refers to a number of different attributes including:
• Psychological well-being
• The ability to regulate emotions
• Mental resilience – the ability to deal with problems and not get stressed
• The mental fortitude to reach goals
• Social skills – the ability to develop and maintain close relationships with other humans
Those of us who do not have a decent level of mental health are going to find life to be a bit of a struggle. We may be able to hide this inner-turmoil from the rest of the world but it is not possible to really enjoy life due to our poor inner-state. Our poor mental health can be due to psychiatric diagnosis such as:
• Bipolar disorder
• Borderline personality disorder
• Anxiety disorders
• Obsessive compulsive disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Addiction disorders
Addiction and Mental Health
There is a very strong link between substance abuse and mental health. In a lot of cases, it will have been an undiagnosed problem such as anxiety disorder that drove a client to abuse alcohol or drugs in the first place – this is referred to as ‘self-medication’. Even if we have relatively good mental health prior to substance abuse, our inner-state will deteriorate as we continue with this destructive behaviour.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process