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Why building support systems is key in mental health and addiction recovery.

latest blog by Ibiza Calm

Ibiza Calm - Why building support systems is key in mental health and addiction recovery.
11/04/2024 | category: News

Why building support systems is key in mental health and addiction recovery.

The phrase, and belief, that “the opposite of addiction is connection,” has been expressed in fellowship meetings, support groups, and encouraged by mental health and addiction specialists for many years.

British journalist Johann Hari popularised the saying and highlighted the concept, in his June 2015 TED Talk titled “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong.” The theory being that addiction is not driven by the effects an individual derives from drinking alcohol or taking drugs, it is more about their lack of ability to connect with other people – to form healthy relationships.

This theory would explain (in part) why roughly 10% of people who pick up an alcoholic drink; use a substance, (whether it is an illegal street drug or prescription medication); or place a bet, will eventually become addicted. That there is much more behind developing an alcohol, drug, or process addiction; that the root cause is in underlying issues, whether they are genetic or extraneous.

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Isolation and loneliness are one of the biggest contributors to a decline in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, or the increase in the use of substances and behaviours. In addition, psychological conditions and substance use disorders, in their nature, isolate sufferers and users from family, friends, and loved ones, which can exacerbate their struggles.

What is universally agreed is that the power of connection cannot be overstated. Connection lies at the heart of mental health and addiction recovery. Building strong support systems is essential for fostering healing, resilience, and lasting recovery.

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The crucial role of connection in mental health and addiction recovery.

Human beings are inherently social creatures, wired to seek connection and belonging. The journey toward recovery can be tough at times, marked by everyday challenges and unique setbacks that crop up as part of life. Having a strong support system can make all the difference in navigating these obstacles and difficulties.

Connection serves as a lifeline, offering solace, encouragement, and understanding during times of distress. It provides a sense of belonging and validation, reducing feelings of loneliness and alienation. Moreover, supportive relationships can bolster self-esteem and resilience, empowering individuals to persevere in their recovery journey.

Creating a support system tailored to your own needs and requirements is essential. Identifying reliable, empathetic, and non-judgmental trusted allies; friends, family members, or peers who can offer unwavering support. Learning to establish healthy boundaries within relationships, setting clear expectations for support whilst also respecting your own needs and limitations.

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Knowing when to seek guidance from mental health professionals, therapists, or counsellors; ones who specialise in mental health, addiction, and recovery. These professionals can provide invaluable insights, therapeutic interventions, and personalised treatment options.

Engagement in fellowship meetings, peer support groups or community-based programmes where you can connect with others who share similar experiences. These groups offer a sense of camaraderie, understanding, and mutual support. Developing open and honest communication within these support networks, feeling safe enough to express thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment.

Developing a rounded approach to wellness. Including – good sleep hygiene (getting to bed on time, 7-9 hours of rest), physical activity (walking, yoga, gym, classes), mindfulness and meditation practices, healthy diet and nutrition, and fostering creative outlets – remembering some of these healthy activities can create connections (gym buddies, art or cookery classes).

Being flexible and adaptable with support systems. You will need to continually reassess your needs and alter your support network depending on what you are specifically dealing with at any given time.

By identifying trusted allies, seeking professional guidance, engaging in peer support groups, establishing healthy boundaries, and embracing holistic approaches, individuals can construct effective support networks tailored to their needs.

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Fostering connections and building a support system during residential treatment.

Accepting that you need help, whether it is for a drug and alcohol problem; an addiction or compulsion; a mental health condition such as depression and anxiety, is a huge first step, and one that should be congratulated.

The treatment approach required entirely depends on the level of care needed by the individual. Residential rehab can supply that support. Engaging in regular therapy, individual and group; learning to manage symptoms; employing structure and order; adjusting to any essential medication; and laying the foundation for building a robust support system.

Plus, it can create a distance from any negative influences (people and places) and give a measure of relief from everyday burdens or demands, to have some time and space to develop healthy coping strategies; and start the groundwork for constructing a support network.

At Ibiza Calm we encourage strong therapeutic partnerships between our clients and their therapists. Through regular individual therapy sessions, individuals can develop trust, rapport, and open communication with their therapists, who will serve as guides and mentors, offering support, guidance, and encouragement throughout the recovery journey.

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We offer a range of therapeutic approaches, EMDR, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), logotherapy, person-centred (also known as client-centred); to name just a few. We have a TMS machine on-site, and we use equine-facilitated therapy as a part of our broader treatment programme.

We emphasise the importance of peer support and community integration. Individuals are encouraged to participate in group therapy sessions, peer support groups, and recreational activities that promote social interaction and camaraderie. These experiences lay the groundwork for building connections with peers who understand and empathise with their struggles.

Building a supportive family environment can significantly enhance the individual’s long-term recovery prospects. At the clinic we offer weekly online support sessions for the families of all our clients. We understand that psychological conditions impact on those around the sufferer. We can also arrange family and/or couples therapy, as a part of an individual’s broader treatment programme, on a case-by-case basis, dependent on need.

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Following a stay in a rehab treatment centre, support is vital to ensure ongoing abstinence from addictive substances, or behaviours, and continued mental health well-being. As individuals progress through residential treatment, the focus gradually shifts toward preparing them for life after they leave the rehab centre. Aftercare planning involves identifying potential triggers, developing coping skills, and establishing a network of support resources in the community.

Included within all our treatment packages is a free aftercare service, for six months; consisting of a weekly group support session, held on zoom, and facilitated by one of our therapists. Clients are introduced to the aftercare group before they leave treatment, thus ensuring they get continuity of care, and confidence in the ongoing process.

By laying the foundation for building a support system within the structured and caring environment of residential treatment, individuals are better equipped to cultivate meaningful connections, develop coping skills, and sustain long-term recovery beyond the confines of the clinic.

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Mental health and addiction treatment clinic in Spain.

Here in Ibiza at our luxury residential rehab centre, we offer a range of therapies suitable for the treatment of substance abuse, compulsive or addictive behaviours, and other mental health disorders.

Our highly qualified team of doctors, therapists and counsellors use a carefully designed programme, tailored to an individual’s needs, which includes individual and group therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, EMDR and equine- assisted therapy.

For further details and information on admissions to our Spanish rehab centre, contact [email protected]


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