Crisis to Courage: How Recovery Centers are Helping Americans with Mental Health Triumphs

When working with people who have mental health struggles, addiction often goes hand in hand as a cause and a symptom. Addiction can intertwine with one’s emotional and mental well-being in complex ways, making recovery a challenging uphill battle. 

Mental health concerns among Americans continue to be a hot topic of conversation, especially on the heels of the pandemic we all endured. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness every year. 

Substance use and abuse often come in tandem with mental health concerns as people attempt to self-medicate. Nick Padlo, founder of Sophros Recovery, is well-acquainted with the connection between mental health challenges and addiction. It is a road he has traveled himself. 

“While I was a successful entrepreneur, I struggled with both mental health issues and substance abuse,” Padlo explains. His first-hand experience led him to understand that only by addressing both concerns holistically can true, lasting recovery be possible. 

America’s substance abuse crisis 

Addiction has become a crisis issue in the United States. According to last year’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 49 million Americans reported having a substance use disorder in 2022 alone. 

The addiction crisis only worsened during the pandemic, with some areas of the country reporting a 40% increase in emergency calls for drug overdoses. The combination of loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty connected to the pandemic took its toll on a nation already reeling from a mental health crisis, and many turned to drugs or alcohol to self-treat mental health concerns that worsened during the unprecedented time. 

The complex interplay of socioeconomic concerns, lack of access to affordable healthcare, and an uptick in the availability of deadly drugs such as Fentanyl have exacerbated the substance abuse issues in the United States. Opioids, in particular, have a grip on the nation, contributing to 112,000 deaths in 2023 alone.

When experiencing his own addiction and mental health issues, Padlo came to realize that there were precious few places for people to turn to get help with both. “When I looked at the entire spectrum of services available to support people with mental health, this part of the care continuum was underserved, and we owed people more,” he told GoSolo. “Within my own recovery, I learned that nothing changes if nothing changes.”

The addiction crisis in the United States transcends simple statistics. According to Padlo, we are now witnessing the profound social and economic ramifications of a crisis that has spiraled out of control. 

Mental health and addiction connection

“I often think about the mental health crisis that America is experiencing,” says Padlo, “with so many people experiencing PTSD, trauma, and depression — especially veterans — it’s clear that they are not getting the help they desperately need.” 

Mental health issues can both predispose a person to addictive behaviors or come as a result of addiction, creating a complicated relationship for recovery experts to untangle. The need for integrated, holistic approaches to treatment becomes more apparent as the connection between mental health challenges and addiction is unraveled. 

Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can cause profound emotional distress, leaving people vulnerable to turning to substances to find some relief. While the substances may provide a temporary respite from mental health concerns, they can also worsen the issues long-term, thrusting individuals into a vicious cycle that is nearly impossible to break on their own.

Helping people break that cycle is why Padlo opened Sophros Recovery, which offers a 4-step intensive approach to recovery — one that directly addresses the connection between mental health challenges and addiction. 

“The first step is therapy, both group and individual therapy, as well as family therapy,” Padlo explained to First Coast News. “The second step is medical treatment from our doctors and nursing team. The third is what we call life skills, which is really case management and ensuring that everything in your life is in the right place to have the conditions set for success and recovery. Finally, the last step is alumni support, and we will have 12 months of ongoing alumni peer support after recovery.” 

By weaving together a focus on mental health support and addiction, Padlo and his team are increasing the chances for long-term success for their patients. 

Restoring hope

Holistic recovery centers that go beyond simple addiction treatment, like Sophros, are ushering in a new approach to recovery that meets the country where it is in its addiction and mental health crisis. “We want to help people restore the hope they have lost by showing them that there is still a healthy and holistic way to move forward with recovery,” says Padlo.

There is a strong relationship between spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The impact of recovery centers that acknowledge this connection stretches far beyond facilities’ walls, impacting families and communities. 

Centers like Sopros Recovery are challenging stigmas and forcing the hand of a society that has long ignored the needs of those with mental health conditions and co-occurring addiction. Through the power of compassion, community, and an insider’s knowledge of what it takes to heal fully, recovery centers that focus on mental health, as well as addiction, are offering a beacon of hope to people mired in the cycle of addiction and mental health struggles. 

As the co-occurring mental health and addiction crisis in the United States rages on, innovative approaches will be necessary to offer people a light at the end of the long tunnel toward lasting recovery. 

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