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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Canada Reevaluates Addiction and Mental Health Treatment


In the last few years there has been a lot of talk about dual diagnosis treatment, or as it is called now - co-occurring disorders. Mental conditions that accompany addiction make recovery more difficult, most of the time one or the other is neglected which increases the chance of relapse. If only the addiction is addressed, the mental disorders like depression or anxiety will still be controlling one's life. Drugs and alcohol use are a symptom of a much bigger problem which resides inside the mind; proper treatment of mental afflictions is ever so crucial for a successful recovery to take place. Thankfully the majority of drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the United States offer co-occurring disorder treatment. The disease of addiction is an all encompassing problem, one which needs to be treated in its entirety; leaving just one aspect of the addict's life alone or untreated can be tragic to one's recovery.

Researchers from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse (CCSA), said that half of individuals with addictions also have mental illnesses, while up to 20 percent of people with mental-health problems also have addictions, Canwest News Service reported. Canada is now realizing that they need to reevaluate their addiction and mental health treatment practices throughout the nation. Canada's health care system does not integrate addiction and mental-health treatment very well; the result is ineffective treatment all around. Treatment programs often require that one or the other disorder be designated as the primary problem, they fail to accept that both problems are one in the same and should be treated congruently, the report claimed. Canadian addicts are, and have, been denied treatment at mental-health programs, and vice-versa.

"These people are not getting the effective treatment that they need and deserve and therefore will come back to the health system seeking help over and over again," said Rita Notarandrea, deputy CEO of CCSA.

The CCSA is working to have the health care system transformed in order to effectively treat those co-occurring disorder patients; addiction treatment and mental health services need to coordinate and join forces in order for successful treatment to take place. With addiction, every aspect, every demon needs to be addressed equally; allowing unchecked mental problems to fester is devastating to one's recovery, in many cases it was the mental disorder that caused the addict to use drugs and alcohol with hope of some relief. "We need a unified national approach for the treatment and care of those that are suffering from concurrent disorders and, for example, integrated clinical practice guidelines," Notarandrea said.

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