Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Your Health Magazine
Mindful Recovery: Incorporating Mental Health in Addiction Treatment
Your Health Magazine
. http://yourhealthmagazine.net

Mindful Recovery: Incorporating Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

Mindful Recovery: Incorporating Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

With a reported 7.7 million Americans having co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues, it’s clear that addiction and mental health challenges often coincide. Frequently, people who are grappling with undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, turn to substances in an attempt to self-medicate. 

Nick Padlo recognized the connections between mental health challenges and his own substance abuse issues early, but it didn’t make them any easier to confront. “I was struggling with depression and anxiety,” he says, “but it’s not something I could clearly identify at the time.”

Padlo’s mental health struggles eventually led him to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Like many addicts in recovery, it took Padlo a couple of tries to get sober, but once he found sobriety, he also found a new passion for holistic treatment approaches to co-occurring mental health and addiction issues and followed this passion in opening Sophros Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida.

A personal connection to recovery

Padlo is a combat veteran who spent 27 months during tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Following his service in the military, he moved on to a successful time as an entrepreneur, but eventually, the stress of his lifestyle took its toll. Anxiety and depression led to self-medication, which ultimately led to Padlo seeking help. 

“After my first round of residential treatment and subsequent relapse, I learned the credo that  ‘nothing changes if nothing changes,’” Padlo says. “Even though I’d spent time in 12-step meetings and rehab, I realized nothing had changed for good.” 

Padlo came to understand that recovery was not a sprint but a marathon, and found success with a more holistic approach that incorporated healing the mind, body, and soul. Padlo traveled to Cambodia, where he learned about meditation and mindfulness, which quieted his anxious mind, and learned that recovery had to be his priority if he wanted it to last.

Treating the whole person

Padlo recognized that for treatment to be ultimately successful in the long term, it needed to incorporate a multifaceted approach. He opened Sophros Recovery with the idea of weaving together medical treatment, group and individual therapy, case management, and ongoing support after a person leaves treatment. 

“Even as someone working in the treatment space, I knew that I would still have to work with my sponsor, attend SMART or 12-step meetings, and practice mindfulness every day to maintain my sobriety,” Padlo explains. “In many ways, the aftercare support recovering addicts receive is just as important as the initial decision to attend treatment.”

Padlo began planning Sophros Recovery during the COVID-19 lockdowns and finally opened his Jacksonville, FL location in 2021. The program has a bespoke approach that integrates evidence-based research, combining the most effective parts of partial-hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and a year of aftercare alum support. At Sophros, treatment goes beyond substance abuse recovery support to cover mental health treatment as well. 

Addiction issues frequently impact not only the one in the addiction but also their family and friends, which is why Sopros extends services to encompass this extended support network. The resources they offer are designed to aid loved ones in their healing journey from addiction, teaching them the necessary skills to love and support the substance user in their lives but avoid enabling or hurting over helping. 

Treating mental health and substance abuse together offers numerous benefits, as those in recovery can expect more comprehensive and effective outcomes if they tackle both issues concurrently. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), integrated treatment such as that offered by Sophros can lead to reduced or discontinued substance abuse, an increased chance for a successful treatment, improved quality of life, and even increased housing stability and fewer arrests. 

Reinventing addiction recovery with Sophros

Padlo’s goal with Sophros is to promote long-term wellness and successful outcomes for his clients. No one can fight the issues of mental health and substance abuse alone; there needs to be a collective effort of support combined with world-class treatment approaches. 

“At Sophros, our goal is to be somewhere that people can navigate the difficult challenge of overcoming addiction,” Padlo says. “We want to help people restore the hope they have lost by showing them that there is still a healthy and holistic way to move forward with recovery.”

Padlo is especially interested in the unique needs of veterans, having an inside knowledge of the post-traumatic stress that can often occur — especially with veterans who have seen combat. 

“I often think about the current mental health crisis America is experiencing,” Padlo remarks. “Veterans are at a greater risk of suicide than the average population. Personally, I’ve lost more friends to suicide now than to enemy combat. To me, it indicates that veterans are struggling with PTSD, trauma, and substance abuse. It also tells me that we’re not getting the help we desperately need and deserve.”

Embracing an approach to recovery that includes a focus on mental health and substance use acknowledges the relationship between physical, mental, and spiritual well-being — a whole-body approach that has proven positive results. Through various treatment modalities, Sophros is making a difference in the substance abuse treatment space. 
According to Padlo, Sophros has plans to expand to the Tampa, Florida region in early 2024. By addressing mental health and substance abuse concurrently, their approach fosters lasting recovery and empowers individuals to lead fulfilling lives free from addiction.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130