Addiction as Mental Illness
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It is used by professionals and serves as the principal authority to diagnose and classify mental disorders. It contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. Examples including but not limited to anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder (BPD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance use disorder. Based on it, symptoms associated with substance use disorder fall into four major categories: impaired control, social impairment, risky use and pharmacological criteria (i.e. tolerance, withdrawal). Diagnosis occurs when a person meets a minimum of two criteria (out of 11 total), within a 12-month period; depending on the total number of criteria met, the disorder is then classified as mild, moderate or severe.
Recognition of Co-occurring Condition(s)
Research suggests that successful outcomes for those with co-occurring disorders are not only increased but also often contingent on simultaneous, integrated treatment of both. Thus, we put equal emphasis on the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of any additional mental health issues.
The integration of principles and associated techniques from multiple therapeutic approaches is a necessary practice in personalizing treatment. Diversity of effective intervention strategies acknowledges the diversity in individual experiences, needs and limitations. Perhaps most importantly, we strive to empower individuals through the establishment of a collaborative client-counsellor relationship, built on unconditional empathy, respect and acceptances
Our clinical program is founded on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, an intervention method whose significant effectiveness is indicated by widespread research findings. In addition to classical CBT training, we often apply other treatment processes that have also been studied and supported with regards to rehabilitation from addiction and potential co-occurring mental illness.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
A psychotherapeutic approach designed to challenge persisting cycle(s) of negative beliefs and corresponding behaviors. This is accomplished by helping a client RECOGNIZE, AVOID and COPE with the situations in which they are vulnerable. Two core components of cognitive-behavioural intervention include functional analyses and skills training. Emphasis is on appropriate cognitive-behavioural change.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
A branch of cognitive-behavioural therapy focused on developing the skills to manage attention (mindfulness), emotions, distress and interpersonal relations. Emphasis on the importance of appropriate change, with the added dimension of practicing necessary acceptance.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
A technique employed by clinicians to access intrinsic motivation within a client to seek change(s), as well as capitalize on their readiness to do so.