Battling Addiction and Mental Health Issues

girl battling addiction and mental health issues

Case Study: Ella battles addiction and mental health issues

Battling addiction and mental health issues at the same time is something I am familiar with as an interventionist Jeff reached out to us for help while his 33-year-old daughter, Ella, was in the hospital for a suicide attempt. Jeff suspected that she had a problem with drugs or alcohol. He acknowledged that he had not recently seen her very intoxicated, but that she had had problems in the past. He was devastated about her suicide attempt and very afraid that he might lose his daughter.

She was smart and motivated

Ella did very well after college, quickly moving into a sales job and making a good salary. Jeff described Ella as very smart and very motivated, but also said that over the years she had become almost reclusive and had shut many people out of her life.

I looked for clues about addiction in Ella’s history. Her story was full of traumatic incidents, despite a good home life. In high school, one of her close friends died in a car accident. Another in college she survived a sexual assault. Soon after that her drinking seemed to take off. Sometimes she was angry at family function, and sometimes she appeared intoxicated.

A bottle of wine every day

After college Ella’s job took her far away from her family, and though she seemed very successful she didn’t call home much.

Jeff’s world crashed in on him when he got the call that Ella was in the hospital, and he was determined to do everything he could to help her. We quickly arranged for a meeting with Ella’s close friends and her siblings. They gave details of which her parents were entirely unaware. Her friends had pulled away from her several years ago as she was often drunk, and an ex-boyfriend said that she drank a full bottle of wine every day.

We planned to transition her from the psych ward to rehab

After that conversation, we knew what we were dealing with. All of the clues pointed to an alcohol addiction. This was actually a relief for Jeff and we quickly made a plan to transition Ella from the psychiatric hospital to a drug and alcohol rehab.

Is it addiction or a mental health issue?

To determine how to help someone, it is necessary to hear the stories of the people around them. To find the right facility for a person in need, we need to know whether the issue is an addiction, a mental health problem or both.

Because Ella had attempted suicide, she needed to have a psychiatric evaluation before she could goto a traditional drug an alcohol treatment center. We chose a treatment center that has a strong psychiatric component that could take her directly from the hospital. After completely detoxing, she received comprehensive evaluations and was started on a medication for depression.

After 3 months Ella was able to return to work

Ella was ready to work hard to overcome her depression and addiction, she reminded at the facility in “extended care” for 3 months, she was able to return to work. She chose to live in “sober living” for close to a year.

While Ella still struggles with depression, she continues to do work to keep it under control, she knows she can no longer drink, continues her medication, and consistently works with a therapist.


About Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and the owner of Adam Banks Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping others achieve long-term sobriety. His work has guided executives, pilots, and physicians on paths to recovery. Adam brings families together through a loving and inclusive approach.

Adam has authored four books on addiction. His recent work, Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery, educates families on the entire intervention process. He also offers a free video course for families considering an intervention for a loved one. 

Adam is available for alcohol and drug intervention services in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. 

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