Mental Health Stabilization

Pre-Rehab Services and Mental Health Stabilization

Stabilizing your mental health is an important first step to addiction recovery. 

What Is Mental Health Stabilization?

By utilizing mental health stabilization in crises and by taking the time to assess, understand, and develop a specific plan of action for an individual, the chances of a successful rehabilitation increase significantly.1 Mental health stabilization is the first step in aiding a person that is undergoing an addiction crisis. This stabilization is typically short-term and is more often referred to as in-patient care, acute stabilization, or behavioral health stabilization. It is commonly used both in cases of addiction recovery and in cases of a mental health crisis.

Understanding Mental Health Stabilization

It is like acute care that would be provided for a physical injury such as a heart attack or broken bone. This type of care does not constant professional monitoring for a period of a few days to ensure that the patient’s condition doesn’t worsen.

Short-term mental health stabilization, or acute stabilization, is typically used in extreme situations such as psychosis, catatonia, suicidal tendencies, etc. It can. however, also be used for cases of severe depression, nervous breakdowns, or addiction recovery.

Stabilization for Addiction Recovery

In addiction recovery, mental health stabilization works in three steps of acute stabilization to help a person recover from addiction. These include:

  • Medical rehabilitation: This phase of acute stabilization consists of helping the patient to medically detox from whatever substance is in their system. In addition, doctors provide any additional care that may be needed due to underlying health conditions that occur as a result of addiction.
  • Psychological rehabilitation: This phase focuses on mental health and behavioral health stabilization by treating any mental health conditions that may be present and that may have contributed to the patient’s substance use.
  • Sociocultural rehabilitation: The final phase focuses on ensuring that the patient has a solid support system to help them through their recovery and rehabilitation, a home or other safe place to stay, and helps them apply for any governmental aid that they may need to succeed.  

What is Pre-rehabilitation (Pre-rehab)?

Compass Recovery - Orange County Drug Detox and Rehab
Pre-rehabilitation is a series of steps that should be taken before any attempt at lasting addiction recovery treatment begins.


This step determines readiness to begin treatment. An individual’s motivation and readiness to undergo therapy and treatment for their addiction is measured before full-blown treatment begins.3

On-site Intake

Once pre-assessment has been determined, a patient will be taken into a rehabilitation facility where they will meet with professionals to determine what the best treatment plan for their situation is. A customized plan will be made for each patient. 

Clinical Evaluation

This process is where a counselor reviews all the information about a patient’s medical history, past relapses, and potential triggers to determine if the patient will be a good fit for the facility and if the facility will be able to help them. 

Start Recovery Treatment

Finally, the patient will be admitted to the recovery center and treatment will begin according to their specific treatment plan. There will be certain milestones that will be set for them to achieve with an end goal date that they can be released. When the patient completes rehab, they will then be set up with extensive outpatient appointments and treatment options as well. 

Connection Between Mental Disorders and Addiction

There is a significant correlation between mental disorders and having an addiction. While substance abuse does not cause mental disorders, it can exacerbate them and trigger relapses of certain conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.4

How Do Mental Disorders Lead to Addiction?

Unfortunately, many people with mental disorders will turn to drugs, alcohol, or other illicit substances to help them numb their feelings or to help distract them from their symptoms. This issue often happens when a person does not have access to mental health care, therapists, or support groups that can help them understand their symptoms or provide them with medication to manage their conditions.

It leads many to self-medicate to feel better, if only for a short period. From here, the addictive substances end up making the underlying mental health condition worse, which then leads to more substance abuse in a vicious cycle. 

Treating the Core Problem

It is imperative to treat the underlying mental health conditions that can lead to substance abuse when symptoms first occur or as soon as possible. By treating the symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or any number of other conditions first, substance abuse can be avoided and prevented.

It can be done by providing patients with accessible mental health care, medication, and therapy to help them manage their symptoms. 

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan for Addiction

relapse prevention plan is an essential part of addiction rehab that is typically made during therapy, psychiatric treatment, or during a patient’s stay at a drug recovery center or rehabilitation center. It is necessary because relapse doesn’t typically happen in an instant. There are usually several factors including emotional, mental, and physical ones that pile up and contribute to a person’s relapse. There are three main steps involved in creating a relapse prevention plan.

Assess History with Drugs and Alcohol

This is the first step, and it involves getting personal and honest with the patient about their history with drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Some specific questions to address are:

  • Is there a certain time, place, or person that makes you more likely to use substances?
  • Is there a certain mentality that you find yourself falling into before you use substances?
  • What has caused previous relapses?   

Determine Relapse Signs

Next, look to understand the warning signs that you may be about to experience a relapse. Some common signs include:
  • Sudden mood changes or mood swings
  • Depressed or anxious thoughts
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming others
  • Trying to hide things from others or other secretive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Being impulsive in decisions or purchases
  • Avoidance behavior
  • Cravings for drugs or alcohol

Establish the Actions to Take to Avoid Using

This step is the most important one in the process, as it is the one that stops you from acting on your impulse to use drugs or alcohol. The action plan may look slightly different for each patient, but it should include:

  • A friend of family member to contact for help
  • A therapist or support group that you can go to
  • A creative outlet that you enjoy that can distract you

The more detailed that your plan is, the better that your chance of success is. If there is anyone on your plan that you might contact, make sure that they know what role they play and that they are available to help you in a crisis. 



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