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May: Mental Health Month and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

Understanding the Connection

May is Mental Health Month. More than one in five adults in the US live with a mental health illness. A CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation poll put a number to it: 90% of Americans feel we are in a mental health crisis. They are right. A report in JAMA Health Forum has noted that 38% more people are in mental health care since the onset of the pandemic than before.

According to the 2022 United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 20% of Americans (aged 12 and over) battled with a substance use disorder. Overdoses are the #1 cause of accidental and preventable death in our country. According to recent CDC data, there were more than 107,000 drug-related deaths in the 12 months ending in December 2023.

Mental health problems and substance use disorders often co-occur, due to reasons such as changes in the brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.

More than one in four adults with mental health problems also have a substance use problem. Anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorders often co-occur with substance use disorders.

Recognizing if your loved one is struggling with Substance Use

Some of the symptoms in people who have a Substance Use Disorder may include behavioral changes, such as dropping their work or school attendance, secretive behaviors, and sometimes legal problems. Physical changes may include bloodshot eyes, unusually small or large pupils, weight fluctuations, and tremors. Social changes may also occur and may include sudden changes in friends and sudden financial improvement or financial problems.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) offer structured, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. An IOP Program provides group therapy, individual counseling, as well as education and prevention techniques, via both professional help and peer support. Clients attending an IOP attend treatment while maintaining daily life routines, such as work or study schedules. An IOP allows the individual to live at home while attending treatment. The cost of an IOP program is a fraction of higher-level inpatient treatment.


At GreenLifeIOP, we provide outpatient Substance Use treatment. Our Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Outpatient Programs (OP) are offered both daytime and in the evenings 5 days a week from Mondays to Fridays, allowing maximum flexibility for our clients to attend treatment. The professional staff of GreenLifeIOP is trained to recognize the existence of possible co-occurring mental health disorders that must be treated along with one’s recovery from substance use.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Substance Use, call us today at 954-968-9100.

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