You have probably heard that admitting that you have an alcohol or drug problem is the first step towards your substance abuse recovery, along with the realization that you need professional help.
The next step is to visit with your primary care physician or mental health counselor to talk about what treatment program would be a good match for your needs.
Substance abuse recovery & treatment is not the same for everyone and requires consideration of various variables and your choices with the answers to the following questions:
- Does the program work for your age and sex?
- What is the cost of treatment and will insurance cover it?
- What is the length of the program? Inpatient program lengths of time vary. However, it is recommended the program treatment offers a minimum of 90 days.
- Do you have any Medical and Mental Health Problems? Have you been told you have a Dual Diagnosis?
- What type of drug or drugs are you abusing?
- Does the program offer treatment for Dual Diagnosis?
- Does the program offer family treatment and aftercare treatment?
- Do you have social support?
- Does the program offer “whole patient” treatment?
- Does the program offer independent living skills and support?
As you research the various treatment programs available, you will notice a combination of various modalities which are used to address substance abuse.
If you have suffered from depression or anxiety and found yourself using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, then you will want to find a program that offers treatment for Dual Diagnosis.
Dual Diagnosis is not a new concept.
The cases where substance abuse and mental health conditions coexist it is very common. I
n fact, the publication Psychiatric Services Vol. 52 No.4 says that about 50% of those with severe mental health problems have substance abuse problems (Drake, 2001). Just because these instances are common, doesn’t mean that treatment is simple.
Dual Diagnosis treatment is especially complex and requires a highly skilled team with the correct training and experience.
Residential Substance Abuse Recovery Treatment Programs
Often the mental health of the patients is neglected while treating addiction or substance abuse. The relationship between the two is very complex and varies from person to person.
Generally, treatment programs ignore the person and try to treat the “problem.” What many don’t understand is that the person suffering from outward problems also brings a great deal of the harm inward.
The whole person needs to be treated. Research has shown that residential treatment is the best way to begin rehabilitation by offering an environment that is safe and offers new living arrangements offering a new perspective and clarity of thinking.
This is why New Roads Behavioral Health offers Dual Diagnosis the term that helps identify mental health conditions in tandem with addiction or substance abuse problems.
When the core issues are not addressed then the chance of recovery sustained is jeopardized.
We cannot go on just treating the resulting illnesses and behaviors presented by trauma-exposed patients, i.e., substance abuse, medical, and mental health issues.
Therefore, we must pay attention to the underlying core cause of all of these health conditions. Residential treatment programs offer a safe and controlled environment reducing the external forces.
External forces are many times triggers for people who have a history of trauma-exposure and struggle with a substance abuse problem.
Trauma triggers can come from smells, sites, and sounds from familiar places, and people who can trigger painful memories for someone who has experienced traumatic events or severe mental breaks.
Residential treatment provides a barrier for clients while they work on developing skills to know how to deal with these kinds of challenges without the fear of environmental triggers.
Therefore, when checking on the various treatment programs, it is important to look at their treatment philosophy.
Also, do they offer psychiatric oversight for psychotropic medication management?
Do they offer an aftercare program which should include outpatient counseling and social support for you and your family?
Considering the additional social determinants to “health” within the multiple ways that class, race, and socioeconomic status interact with the trauma-exposed individual and social health, we understand the need for integration along with a true continuum of care.
This continuum of care includes treating the “whole person” mind, body, emotions, and spirit.
Outpatient Substance Abuse Recovery Programs
Outpatient services include individual, family, and group counseling offering people who struggle with addiction and/or a mental health disorder some structure and support to help people get their lives back on track.
Some residential treatment programs offer after-care by combining individual/group counseling sessions, relapse prevention planning, and random drug testing.
Outpatient services are open to all ages and genders and allow clients to continue to work and go to school.
Individuals with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder will often benefit more from a less intensive and more integrated level of care.
Over half of those with substance abuse disorders have also been diagnosed with mental health or personality disorder and require all levels of care.
Some Evidence-Based Therapies
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a “psychotherapeutic approach” utilizing talk therapy, which aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and cognitions (thoughts) through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. CBT is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders including phobias, addictions, depression, and anxiety. CBT is generally short-term and focused on helping clients deal with a very specific problem.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has been proven effective and an evidence-based therapy which helps patients with dual diagnoses. The dialectics in DBT is the movement between acceptance and change. The use of validation to move toward acceptance and CBT techniques to move toward change. DBT also looks to treat the “whole person” rather than the disorder or illness. The whole emotional system is focused on with an understanding that the parts are connected and changing one aspect of a person which then affects all aspects of that person.
- Mindfulness is also a focus of DBT helping the patient learn to give nonjudgmental attention to the present moment and connect to their life. Learning to connect through your feelings, thoughts, behaviors, senses, and the world around you. Taking hold of your mind and choosing “what” to focus on and “how” to do it effectively. Also, learning acceptance of “what is” over judgments. Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness author and instructor, states, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”
- Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an effective, evidence-based method for helping patients with a variety of health and behavioral concerns. These approaches were developed by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick, seeking to foster the intrinsic drive people have for healing, positive change, and self- development. Motivational interviewing is a way of being with a client, not just a set of techniques for doing counseling (Miller & Rollnick, 1991). Essentially, motivational interviewing activates the capability for beneficial change that everyone possesses (Miller & Rollnick, 2002).
“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.”
Recovery begins at the fork in the road, and you realize that you must decide on which path to take. The right path is found in your heart and will save your life and change the lives of those who love you.
If you decide to take a new path that does not include substance use you will understand that treatment does work, but it truly is a lifelong process. The keyword is “lifelong,” and the journey will take you home to love.
Follow the path which allows others to help and chose a treatment program that can help you begin to address your needs and considers the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social parts of your addiction.