Neurological disorders are those that affect the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. Neurological disorders can also affect cognition as well as sensory and motor function. These altered neural pathways can produce symptoms that complicate daily life. Although age-related incidence, mortality, and prevalence of many neurological disorders have declined in many countries, the absolute number of people affected by neurological disorders over the past 25 years has been increasing globally.
For those living with a neurological disorder, some of the simplest aspects of navigating the world can become challenges that require planning, practice, and therapies. At SoCal Mental Health, we offer community-based residential programs that address the emotional and social aspects of these disorders. The changes that can come with a diagnosis can be overwhelming, but with specialized care plans and evidence-based treatments, we address the problems clients face with caring and compassion.
Neurological disorders affect the nerves, which are specialized cells that use chemicals called neurotransmitters to transmit electrical signals from our central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of our body. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord, and it controls the body, experiences pain, and takes in the world through our senses using nerve fibers projected out from the spine. Neurological disorders involve a disconnection, degeneration, or alteration in the neural pathways that carry this vital information to and from the CNS. Problems with the nervous system can manifest in a number of disease processes. The causes of neurological disorders can range from genetic to developmental to injury-related. Common categories of neurological disorders include:
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Injuries to the spinal cord and brain
- Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy
- Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida
- Degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
- Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke
- Cancer, such as brain tumors
- Infections, such as encephalitis
- The effects of alcoholism and substance abuse
Structural, biochemical, or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord, or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. Examples of symptoms include:
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of sensation
- Altered levels of awareness
For many of those studying neurological disorders, the focus is often on the physical symptoms. However, it is important to keep in mind that emotional symptoms can also be a part of neurological problems. For instance, individuals might experience:
- Mood swings
- Sudden outbursts
Disorders and Substance Abuse
The regenerative cycle for neurological disorders takes time and the pain of symptoms or frustration with lack of progress can lead to depression for those battling these disorders. Untreated depression can cast a shadow over the positive gains that are achieved. Anyone suffering from a neurological disorder who finds themselves dealing with depression should seek help from a professional. Depression is a serious mental health disorder and it should be treated as such, just like physical conditions like epilepsy.
The stress of adjusting to a different way of living, often with physical pain, can also lead some to turn to alcohol or substance use as a way to self-medicate the symptoms they are experiencing. People with neurological disorders are at a higher risk for substance abuse disorders (SUDs) and may find recovery to be challenging without professional assistance. Several different treatment options are available that can assist with the treatment of depression, including medication and therapy. Recovery from SUD is possible through social medicine like the 12-Step programs and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Living With Neurological Disorders
At SoCal mental health we understand the everyday lives of people with neurological conditions who are doing their best with the hand they’ve been dealt. They pay bills, put food on the table, raise their family, or work to improve their community. We empower individuals to live the life they choose. We work with clients to resolve issues that are disruptive to their everyday life. Together we help our clients develop strong support networks and community resources to help them sustain a lasting recovery, both during and after treatment.
How We Treat Neurological Disorders
At SoCal Mental Health, we offer several therapeutic modalities to alleviate symptoms and improve coping skills to help with stress reduction. Our licensed practitioners provide care in community rehabilitation environments, covering all aspects of healing and social adaptation that a client may need. Neurological disorders affect a person’s mind as much as their body and require a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses the psychological, physiological, and social needs of each client.
Case managers and clinical teams work with clients to define their preferences regarding the environment they live in during residential treatment. We develop and implement strategies to assist the person in planning, achieving, and maintaining rehabilitation goals. Clients often have a journey of recovery that extends beyond the time we have with them.
We provide aftercare programs to ensure that the breakthroughs and skill development that takes place here result in thriving and self-sufficiency for our clients. Regardless of how long you have suffered, it is important to know that assistance is at your fingertips. With professional medical treatment, it is possible to manage your neurological disorder while also treating any other comorbid conditions, such as depression or substance use disorder.