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Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health:

Why We Believe in Dual Diagnosis Care

Alcohol abuse and addiction can aggravate and/or cause new mental health conditions, leading to a host of negative consequences.

In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that people with mental health disorders are more likely to misuse alcohol than those without such disorders.

Renewal Lodge, a dual diagnosis treatment provider in Austin, TX, recognizes the importance of addressing both addiction and mental health conditions in order to achieve successful recovery. In addition to traditional addiction treatment, Renewal Lodge employs a range of strategies to support the mental health of their clients. Here are five things that Renewal Lodge suggests doing differently to improve mental health:

1. Address the Root Causes of Addiction and Mental Health Issues

At Renewal Lodge, clients undergo a thorough assessment process to identify the underlying causes of their addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions. By addressing these root causes, clients can develop a deeper understanding of their addiction and mental health struggles and begin to develop healthier coping mechanisms.

For example, many people turn to alcohol as a way of self-medicating underlying mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. By addressing these underlying issues through therapy and other interventions, clients can learn to manage their symptoms without resorting to alcohol.

2. Use Evidence-Based Therapies

Renewal Lodge utilizes evidence-based therapies to help clients address both addiction and mental health issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one such therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating both addiction and a range of mental health conditions.

CBT helps clients identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors, which can contribute to addiction and mental health issues. Through CBT, clients can learn to develop more positive ways of thinking and coping with stressors.

3. Emphasize Holistic Approaches

In addition to traditional therapies, Renewal Lodge also emphasizes holistic approaches to promote mental health. These approaches may include mindfulness meditation, yoga, and exercise.

Mindfulness meditation can be especially helpful in promoting mental health as it can help clients learn to be more present in the moment and develop greater self-awareness. Similarly, yoga can be a helpful tool for reducing stress and improving overall well-being.

4. Foster a Supportive Community

Renewal Lodge recognizes the importance of social support in promoting mental health. Clients at Renewal Lodge are encouraged to develop relationships with their peers in treatment and to participate in group activities such as outings and sober social events.

By fostering a supportive community, clients can build a network of individuals who understand their struggles and can provide support and encouragement as they work towards recovery.

5. Provide Aftercare Support

Recovery is an ongoing process, and Renewal Lodge understands the importance of providing aftercare support to clients as they transition back into their daily lives. Aftercare may include ongoing therapy, support groups, and sober living arrangements.

By providing aftercare support, Renewal Lodge helps clients develop the tools and resources they need to maintain their recovery and manage their mental health over the long term.

Peter Piraino, LMSW, LCDC, LISAC

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Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health: The Connection

Alcohol use can have a range of negative effects on mental health. For example, alcohol can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to changes in mood and behavior.

Additionally, alcohol use can interfere with sleep patterns, which can exacerbate existing mental health conditions.

For individuals with co-occurring mental health conditions, alcohol use can be particularly problematic. Alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of medications used to treat mental health conditions, leading to worsened symptoms.

In addition to exacerbating existing mental health conditions, alcohol use can also lead to the development of new mental health issues. One of the most significant risks associated with alcohol addiction is the development of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), a mental health condition characterized by the compulsive and harmful use of alcohol.
AUD can arise from a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. When an individual becomes addicted to alcohol, their brain chemistry changes, and they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit drinking. These symptoms can include tremors, seizures, and hallucinations, which can cause further mental health issues.

Moreover, alcohol addiction can lead to other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. These disorders can arise from the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain and body, as well as the social and psychological consequences of addiction, such as strained relationships and financial difficulties. The chronic use of alcohol can also lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, and dementia, which can further worsen mental health.

In summary, alcohol addiction can lead to the development of AUD, which in turn can lead to a range of mental health issues. It is crucial to seek professional help to address alcohol addiction and associated mental health problems. With proper treatment and support, individuals can recover from addiction and improve their overall well-being.

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness