Is Mental Health Treatment Always Part of Addiction Treatment?

Addiction was largely misunderstood for several centuries. In fact, even today, scientists and researchers are still working to understand everything they can about addiction and how it affects the brain and other areas of the body. Through that research, however, new developments have been made for rehab treatments that have been more effective in healing those who are addicted.

As more research is performed, the results can be immediately utilized to help those who are suffering from addiction. One of the key areas that are focused during a rehab program now is mental health. This is largely due to the discovery of how addiction treats the brain. Because of its impact on the brain, mental health treatment is a vital part of addiction treatment. This article will explain why and what kind of mental health treatments you might expect in rehab.


To begin, you must understand how addiction works in the brain. Your brain is wired in such a way that it pursues activities it finds pleasurable. There is a pleasure receptor in your mind that goes off every time you eat something. This is to forge the habit of eating. Your body requires food to live and if your brain kept telling your body that it found eating unpleasant, you would be less inclined to eat. As a result, your health would start to fail. Self-preservation is what the brain performs primarily, and so a receptor was linked from the act of eating to pleasure. Because of this wiring system, it can be easy for drugs to hijack it and essentially burn out pleasure stimulants in your mind. One of those neurotransmitters that stimulate pleasure receptors is dopamine.

The brain regularly produces dopamine to make you feel happy or joy or pleasure throughout your life. Drugs come with their own batch of dopamine. When they enter your system, the brain no longer needs to produce its own dopamine and instead eagerly sucks up the huge dose of dopamine that the drug provides. This instant feeling of pleasure is something the brain enjoys. The link is forged. Your brain literally drives you to seek that explosion of dopamine again and again. After all, it is wired to pursue pleasurable activities because it believes it is helping the body to survive.

Meanwhile, the receptors in your brain start to become fried. You require more and more of the substance to receive the same effect. Your own dopamine production has been reduced, and so you feel terrible. In fact, you may feel as though you are in pain or depressed if you’re not under the influence of the drug. Because it can be difficult to resist the impulses and needs of the brain, you may feel as though you’re stuck in your addiction. Luckily, that is not the case. Rehab can provide you with the tools and support you need to help your brain re-wire itself. Mental health treatment is vital to ensuring that you do not relapse and return to your habit.

Mental Health Treatment

After you have gone through withdrawal at a rehab center, you may initially believe that the job is done and you can return home. Unfortunately, withdrawal is only the process of the toxins leaving your body. Your mind is still addicted and you will likely still feel some sense of craving. Or, at the very least, you’ll feel a little depressed. This is especially true for those who have abused for a long time and have made lasting damage to their dopamine production. While certain, approved, medications can help your brain produce dopamine and other pleasure neurotransmitters again, mental health will help you develop habits and strategies to avoid a relapse. You may not know what situations and events trigger your use of drugs.

Luckily, a therapist can help you uncover each one. By understanding these triggers, you can avoid those situations or people or environments and make healthier decisions instead. You may also feel quite alone and isolated. Your brain is re-wiring itself, but in the meanwhile, you feel unhappy and depressed. Group therapy is designed to bring you closer to people who are also going through the same thing you are. That sense of camaraderie and understanding can push you to support one another as you make your way into a sober lifestyle. Without mental health treatment, you stand a greater chance of relapsing. If you’re tired of being addicted, give us a call at 844-639-8371. We can help you thrive.

Scroll to Top