Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Connecticut – How These Twin Problems Are Tackled by the State


The government of Connecticut is very particular about mental health being a major issue within the state. People with a vast array of mental problems are being provided relief under the various initiatives that are run by the Connecticut government. These problems include schizophrenia, anxiety and panic disorders, bipolar disorders and the like. Figuring prominently among these mental illnesses is the issue of substance abuse in Connecticut.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) of Connecticut has devoted a major share of its health provisions to the treatment of the twin disorders of mental illness and substance abuse. Mental illness is considered to be a biological as well as a psychological problem that is caused due to several problems triggered by factors in the person’s external surrounding. The state government considers that mental illness does not affect a particular niche of people but can affect anyone and that is the reason it has planned statewide initiatives for awareness of mental problems and provided means for people who need treatment from such conditions.

One of the main topics under discussion when speaking about mental health in Connecticut is that of substance abuse. In fact, substance abuse in Connecticut is placed on the same pedestal as mental illnesses. The main reason for this kind of belief is that addiction is a progressive disorder that worsens with passing time and is very difficult to treat completely. The problem is such that it makes a recurrence even if it is treated through therapies such as detoxification and aftercare.

The reason behind this lies in the fact that addiction is controlled by the person’s brain. Though it is the person’s body that takes the substance of addiction, the effect is definitely for the brain. It is in the brain that the euphoria of the addiction is felt. The central nervous system records the effects produced on it due to the consumption of the addictive substance and it signals to the person to continue this consumption. The state program for substance abuse in Connecticut understands quite emphatically that substance abuse is a mental problem, and that is the reason you will find mention of both these conditions on the same page in the state health website of Connecticut.

The state program also understands the need for treating these two kinds of problems simultaneously. The conditions are branded as co-occurring conditions on the state health website and methods to treat them simultaneously are indicated. The method that is followed is the dual diagnosis program. When two co-occurring problems are such that the treatment of one of them is liable to be affected by the presence of the other, the two problems cannot be tackled one by one. A simultaneous approach becomes necessitated. This is what the dual diagnosis provides. The DMHAS has in fact launched a very progressive Co-Occurring Disorders Initiative whereby these twin problems are looked after in the same breath, as they need to be done.

It is quite understandable that the rehabilitation centers needed for patients of mental illnesses who have taken up substance abuse will be different from the centers for patients who haven’t. The prominent body for setting up dual diagnosis treatment centers for mental illnesses and substance abuse in Connecticut is the Regional Network of Programs, Inc., abbreviated as RNP. RNP operates through Bridgeport. It conducts residential services within the state of Connecticut. There are two main residential rehabilitation centers for patients of mental illnesses who have taken up substance abuse. In these centers, they are provided all necessary treatment methods to cure them of their condition, including detoxification facilities followed by the necessary aftercare methods.

Detoxification for patients who are going through a dual diagnosis treatment program for substance abuse will be different because of the presence of the mental ailment. The biggest impediment will be the weal mental constitution of the patient which will not allow them to focus on the recovery. In fact, their unstable mind will create in them an antipathy for the treatment and they will push further into denial.

The residential rehabilitation centers run by the RNP focus on both therapeutic and counseling methods. Through the counseling programs, they convince the patients to go through the treatment, which is extremely important if they are to respond to it. The detox programs are also extensive to cater to their individual needs.

It can be seen that the state government of Connecticut places substance abuse and mental illnesses in the same category and treats them accordingly. This approach is quite common all across the US today, but Connecticut has made it quite official through its implementation.


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