Jennifer was 30 when she found herself in residential treatment for alcohol and drug addiction that had devastated her life for nearly five years. Though she struggled at first, she began to experience freedom in sobriety and became increasingly excited about the proposition of recovery. She became so committed, in fact, that she decided she would never take pills of any kind ever again.
Unfortunately, Jennifer struggled with more than just substance use disorder (SUD). Around the age of 20, she learned she had a significant mood disorder that responded very well to psychiatric medication but that was debilitating without it. This story is common, as many people who struggle with addiction and/or substance use disorders also struggle with symptoms and conditions that may require medication. For those in recovery and their families, this inevitably brings up several questions.
Is my child really in recovery if he/she takes psychiatric medication?
Mental health conditions are just that: health conditions. They involve the brain, a major organ. Sometimes people have conditions where organs are not working as they should and we treat these issues in different ways, the two most common being change of lifestyle and medications. When the organ needing help is the brain, it is unreasonable to expect we should do otherwise.