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Legal Issues and Mental Health

Legal issues and mental health often go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, this topic isn’t explored as often as it should be. If you’ve faced legal issues because of struggles with addiction, you may be left with feelings of guilt, shame, or other negative effects. Learning how to navigate these issues is crucial so you can find lasting success in recovery.

Legal Issues and Addiction: Statistics

Legal issues are a very real and frightening consequence of addiction. The most recent statistical data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was for 2019. In that year, it showed that drug abuse violations constituted the highest number of arrests. They were estimated at over 1.5 million.

Driving under the influence was a close second, with around one million arrests. When put together, those with substance use disorder (SUD) make up a huge majority of arrests. This becomes a lose-lose scenario for people who are experiencing an already difficult life as someone struggling with addiction.

The Negative Cycle of Legal Issues, Addiction, and Mental Health

According to a 2021 study in Health & Justice, individuals with mental illness are “disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.” People with mental illness are more likely to be arrested and repeatedly cycle through the system. According to the study, they typically receive “less than adequate mental health services while incarcerated,” and many also have a co-occurring SUD.

But what about those who may not have had mental health issues prior to their arrest? For many, experiencing any aspect of the legal system can be highly traumatic on its own. People with SUD who already harbor feelings of guilt and shame can have these feelings magnified as they go through the legal process.

Legal Issues and Trauma

Trauma is a common denominator for many negatively affected by the legal system. People may get caught up in the legal system as a result of previous exposure to trauma. Then, having legal issues can be a traumatic event on its own. This exposure to trauma can worsen one’s mental health. It can also cause people to use more substances or even relapse in an effort to mask painful emotions.

Previous Exposure to Trauma

According to a 2016 study in Society and Mental Health, numerous criminological studies have “reported an association between exposure to trauma (e.g., being victimized) and perpetration of crime.” After trauma exposure, there is a greater chance for a person to engage in externalizing behaviors such as substance use or petty crime. This can lead to a higher rate of arrest, incarceration, and legal issues.

Trauma as a Result of Legal Issues

There have been many studies linking previous trauma with legal issues. The fact that trauma can actually be the result of going through the legal system hasn’t been studied nearly as much.

According to BMC Psychology, research suggests that prison sentences “have a null or a criminogenic effect on recidivism and a critical impact on inmates’ mental health.” This impact can negatively interfere with an inmate’s successful reintegration into society. It can even lead to increased recidivism rates, adding to the perpetual and vicious cycle even more.

In order to break the cycle, it’s important to seek out a trauma-specific program. The Guest House’s program, for example, specializes in all elements of trauma, mental health, and addiction.

Legal Issues and Mental Health: Lasting Effects

When you experience any kind of legal issue, it can create a negative ripple effect throughout your life. Getting arrested can be an extremely frightening experience in and of itself. Incarceration can have lasting effects on your mental health. Attending court can create amplified feelings of stress each time you go.

Having any kind of legal issue can also exacerbate feelings of guilt and shame. For people who experience SUD, these effects can be devastating. You may develop a negative view of yourself. This can make it even more difficult to overcome your challenges and live a happy, healthy life.

Overcoming Negative Effects of Legal Issues

Healing the mental health effects of legal issues can be a complex process. It’s first important to understand that your experiences do not make you a bad person. In fact, if you’re seeking help and recovery, this is something to be celebrated.

These issues are very delicate, so it’s important to seek help as you learn to navigate and unravel them. A trauma-specific program like that at The Guest House can help you not only heal legal-related trauma but also find lasting freedom from addiction and mental health wounds.

Healing and Recovery at The Guest House

Here at The Guest House, we understand that healing legal trauma and its related conditions is a very delicate process that’s unique to each individual. We work closely with every guest who comes through our doors to help them create a recovery plan that best suits their needs.

At The Guest House, you will find tried-and-true talk therapies to help you process your wounds by using the spoken word. We are also proud to offer a wide range of holistic modalities to help you experience profound healing. Therapies like somatic healing, yoga, and breathwork can help you process trauma on a deeper level, heal feelings of guilt and shame, and strengthen your connection with yourself.

No matter what issues may bring you here, you will find strong support and the right tools for lasting recovery at The Guest House.

Way too often, legal issues and mental health go hand-in-hand. Getting arrested, being incarcerated, or even having to shuffle back and forth to court can create or exacerbate trauma, addiction, and mental health conditions. At The Guest House, we understand that getting caught up in the legal system can be a frightening and highly traumatic experience. Our trauma-specific program was created to help you get to the root of addiction or mental health conditions. We employ a wide variety of therapies and tools, like traditional talk therapy practices paired with holistic techniques like yoga and somatic therapy. This comprehensive approach will help you heal your mind, body, and soul for lasting success in recovery.  Call us today at (855) 483-7800.