Many young adults with mental health concerns have a problematic history with alcohol, drugs and other addictions. At Spruce Mountain, we are keenly aware that this age group is in a developmental stage where recreational substance use and experimentation is a common part of life. It can be difficult to identify what is “addiction” at this age, but we find it extremely important to explore our residents’ relationship with substances and compulsive behaviors in order to identify what has caused problems in the past. This includes looking at how folks have been managing or masking mental health symptoms with substances, the impact on family and other relationships, and what role substances and compulsive behaviors have played in the resident’s struggles to transition to independence and achieve goals such as school, employment and living on their own. Spruce Mountain Inn employs a full-time Addictions Counselor who provides assessment, 1:1 addictions counseling, groups, and consultation to the resident’s primary clinical team.
Our comprehensive approach to addressing substance use and addictions includes many elements:
- Assessment: All new residents complete a comprehensive assessment that looks at alcohol and drug use (including prescription drugs), eating and food behaviors that may indicate eating disorders, technology use, and other “process addictions” such as spending/shopping addictions. The results of this assessment process may indicate the need for specialized supports while in treatment at Spruce.
- Education: All residents participate in psycho-education in a required Addictions & Compulsions Group. This curriculum addresses how substances impact mental health symptoms and medications, how to identify addiction, food compulsions and disorders, and non-substance related compulsive behaviors such as online gaming or internet addiction.
- Recovery supports: Residents with strong evidence of problematic relationships with substances or compulsive behaviors will attend Living Sober Group weekly and meet 1:1 with the Addictions Counselor. Additionally, outside support activities such as attendance at 12 Step meetings will be added to their treatment plan.
- Sober Community: Spruce Mountain Inn requires all residents to abstain from recreational drugs and alcohol while in treatment. This provides a safe and supportive environment for people in recovery, and allows us to assess and treat mental health issues in the most effective way. Staff conduct regular random urine screens and breathalyzer tests to support resident sobriety while at Spruce.