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Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Author: StevenGifford
Blog URL: http://www.wellnessweb.com/blogs/addiction
Tags: addiction, drugs, alcohol, rehab
Description:
What to expect, how it impacts your family, and how to break the addiction.
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Differences Between Outpatient and Residential Treatment Programs
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For patients needing drug and alcohol treatment, outpatient and residential treatment programs can provide an essential level of care to achieve long-term recovery. But how do you know whether you or a loved one would best benefit from a residential or outpatient program? Both types of treatment have distinctions which make them more or less appropriate for a patient's needs, depending on the patient's level and length of addiction.

It is important to first note that this is a general overview of the major differences between residential and outpatient treatment programs. In order to truly understand which type of program is most appropriate for you, a friend, or a family member, an in-person diagnostic assessment with a qualified professional is needed.

Residential Treatment Programs

Residential treatment programs are 28-day minimum programs in which patients voluntarily enter a safe, secure facility in which intensive drug and alcohol treatment programs are the cornerstone of the patient's daily activities. Often, patients who have attempted outpatient treatment programs but have ultimately relapsed back into drug and alcohol use, or have found outpatient programs difficult to complete, achieve success in a residential program. Patients who require detoxification services due to concerns about withdrawal also benefit from residential programs, as detox services can be included as a part of residential treatment programs. After detox (if necessary), patients undergo an intensive, daily drug or alcohol treatment regimen to learn about the disease of addiction in a supportive, immersive environment.

Residential programs are safe, structured environments in which patients are removed from stressful circumstances that promote or fuel the urge to use. Because negatively influencing factors are removed from a patient's daily experience, participants in residential treatment programs can begin to work on building life skills that had been interfered with due to addiction. Because of this intensive level of care, residential treatment programs are ideal for people who have unsuccessfully attempted to overcome addiction in outpatient programs, or for people who have identified that they need drug or alcohol treatment and want to "do it right" the first time. As previously stated, the level of care necessary for a patient should be determined by an in-person assessment with a qualified medical or counseling professional. Most often, patients who have attempted outpatient programs without success do require residential care, but some patients who have not yet undergone outpatient treatment may not require this high level of care.

Some patients are wary about voluntarily beginning a residential drug or alcohol treatment program because of the intensity, but residential programs are highly emotionally supportive and focus on helping the whole body and mind through treatment. For this reason, many residential centers encourage family participation, including evening family education programs and weekend programs. In addition to immediate family, patients benefit from having a "therapeutic community" in residential treatment programs - a community of patients who support one another through treatment by encouraging others to stay on task. In addition to the other differentiators of long-term residential care, it is this camaraderie gained through empathy and shared experience that often helps patients overcome addiction while completing drug or alcohol treatment.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs share many similarities with residential treatment programs, but in a differently structured environment. Outpatient programs provide patients with more freedom of movement which allows them to maintain a regular commitment to family, work, and educational responsibilities. Because of the ability to go home after a daily or evening program, patients are able to have a greater level of privacy and anonymity as they often do not need to explain a prolonged residential absence to friends, coworkers, or family members.

But unlike residential treatment programs, patients are not provided with the safe, secure environment that isolates them from negatively influencing factors. Patients return to their own environments after outpatient drug or alcohol treatment, and must voluntarily abstain from drug or alcohol use, which requires a greater amount of diligence. However, the benefit of this is that outpatient programs (like residential programs) provide a support network for patients in the form of official support groups, individual counseling, and family counseling so that patients are never alone in their recovery. Patients are provided with a strong support network of non-using peers and sponsors. Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment requires a component of group therapy and support groups like NA and AA, which provide a new, positive element of social change in a patient's life and facilitates long-term recovery.

Like residential treatment programs, outpatient programs also focus on family support and involvement, and an immediately positive element of outpatient treatment is that patients can automatically apply the lessons learned from outpatient treatment programs to their daily experiences.

Which Type of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program is for You?

You and your medical or counseling professional are best equipped to know which type of treatment is ideal for your situation. Be honest with yourself about how independently dedicated you can be in an outpatient program. Do you feel like the temptations to use based on daily stresses, friends and acquaintances, or lack of social support would be an issue in successfully completing outpatient treatment? Have you tried and been unsuccessful time and time again at stopping your drug or alcohol use by yourself or in outpatient treatment? Are you physically addicted to drugs or alcohol and absolutely require a medical detox prior to receiving treatment services? When you speak with a specialist about voluntarily entering drug and alcohol treatment, talk about your personal circumstances in order to figure out which aspects of outpatient or residential treatment programs would best suit you. Outpatient and residential drug and alcohol treatment programs both have life-changing benefits, and understanding which program will best help you achieve long-term recovery is one of the first steps toward becoming sober.

About the Author

Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC, currently serves as Senior Counselor at The Ridge, a residential treatment center in Ohio. Since 1998, he has worked in the Licking Memorial Hospital -- Shepherd Hill treatment center located in Newark, Ohio. Mr. Gifford's areas of competence include individual counseling, assessments, group counseling, diagnosis and treatment, children and adolescents, marriage and family therapy, addictions and smoking cessation. He is a member of the Ohio Counseling Association and is a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LICDC (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor), CTTS (Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist) and has a Masters Degree in Education in Community Counseling. For more information about the Ridge, please visit www.theridgeohio.com.

04/22/2011 0 Comments | Add Comment
 
The Importance of Addiction Assessment - How, When and Why it is Valuable for Drug and Alcohol Treatment
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When you or your loved one decide to make the important step toward seeking drug or alcohol treatment, the next critical step in the recovery process is determining the level of appropriate care by receiving a professional addiction assessment. This is the first intake procedure to evaluate the extent of addiction as it determines the type and level of treatment a patient needs. A professional addiction assessment is critical to the recovery process as there are important distinctions between inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory care, and it is essential to understand the best level of drug and alcohol treatment required to approach recovery.

Approaching the Addiction Assessment

It is important for patients and loved ones of an individual requiring drug and/or alcohol treatment to understand that family involvement is often a successful method of helping the patient seek treatment in the first place. Of all assessment calls received by outpatient and inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers, about 50% are from patients, and 50% are from families. Assessments do not necessarily need to involve the patient the first time around, and can often help family members receive qualified and informative medical information about their loved one's addiction in order to make the next step toward an intervention. Often, family members struggle with the decision to even approach the issue of addiction, and do not know how to kick start the recovery process. By seeking a professional addiction assessment, the patient can be served with quality, professional medical information and attention, and family members can be educated about the medical components necessary for professional, effective care.

Assessing the Situation

Before the recovery process can begin, the patient's needs must be assessed. While the approach to drug and alcohol treatment is similar across recovery programs, the intensity and need for inpatient care vs. outpatient care is dependent upon a patient's circumstances, means, accessibility, and many other factors. An addiction assessment can determine what type of care is best for each patient. For example, individuals who have repeatedly enrolled in outpatient treatment programs with limited success (i.e., relapsing, not completing a program, not attending ongoing NA or AA meetings) may likely benefit from inpatient treatment. This type of residential drug and alcohol treatment is often ideal for drug and/or alcohol users who need to be isolated from accessibility and influence. Conversely, an individual who displays the desire and potential to complete an outpatient treatment program would not be an ideal candidate for an inpatient treatment program, as this type of program would be overkill, and more intrusive than necessary. An addiction assessment allows medical professionals to speak either with the patient or members of their family, and determine the most appropriate and necessary level of care to address the addiction treatment program. As a result, the patient receives the best level of care appropriate for their situation, and can work toward recovery in a manner best suited for their needs.

Determining the Level of Care

Like many things in life, starting slow and building up to a more complex solution is the ideal way to address a problem. By approaching drug and alcohol treatment from the bottom up, the patient and his or her family can receive professional medical assistance, while reducing the level of interference with their daily lives. A professional addiction assessment is the first step toward determining an appropriate level of care, and helps to ensure that the recovery process is just right for the patient's needs. If the patient has insurance, providers are most often willing to pay for outpatient procedures before paying for inpatient procedures. While the inpatient drug and alcohol treatment recovery process can be highly beneficial for patients who need this type of treatment, it is most always more expensive than outpatient treatment, and does require a residential stay away from family or friends. An addiction assessment will determine whether the patient needs this type of in-depth treatment, or if he/she can be equally served in an outpatient setting.

During an assessment, medical professionals will work to learn not only what the patient needs help with, but also who they are, and why drug and alcohol addiction is a destructive element in their life. Any other conditions that can perpetuate drug and alcohol abuse can be determined and logged, such as psychological factors, health problems, family involvement, spiritual needs, etc. At its root, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, but there are multiple potential compliments to the disease that must be addressed during an addiction assessment to determine an appropriate level of care. For example, if a patient suffers from a psychological imbalance which requires medication, is an outpatient or inpatient facility equipped to serve that patient appropriately? If the patient is deeply religious, does the drug and alcohol treatment facility offer spiritual services or resources to help the patient through the recovery process?

Overall, an addiction assessment is invaluable as the first step toward recovery, as they help patients, family members, and medical professionals understand the best approach toward treating an individual's addiction problem. They are a professional, discreet, and caring step toward overcoming addiction, and resuming a life free of drugs and alcohol.

About the Author

Since 1998, Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC, has worked in the Licking Memorial Hospital -- Shepherd Hill treatment center located in Newark, Ohio, and currently serves as Senior Counselor at The Ridge, a residential treatment center in Ohio. Mr. Gifford's areas of competence include the following: individual counseling, assessments, group counseling, diagnosis and treatment, children and adolescents, marriage and family therapy, addictions and smoking cessation. He is a member of the Ohio Counseling Association and is a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LICDC (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor), CTTS (Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist) and has a Masters Degree in Education in Community Counseling. For more information about the Ridge, please visit www.theridgeohio.com.

03/14/2011 0 Comments | Add Comment
 
The Importance of Family Involvement in Substance Abuse Treatment and Addiction Therapy
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For family and friends of drug and/or alcohol addicted individuals, addressing addiction is one of the most difficult aspects of seeking substance abuse treatment. Often, drug and alcohol addiction has built a destructive cycle over a time to the point where daily family involvement actually enables the addicted individual. Family members frequently do not know how to bring up the issue of addiction therapy, and opt to ignore the problem for fear of pushing their loved one away during a confrontation or intervention. These are legitimate concerns, and while families should understand that approaching their loved one should be a gentle and supportive process, they also need to understand that most patients seek substance abuse treatment because of positive family involvement and intervention.

Prior to Substance Abuse Treatment/Intervention

Each family is different, and the way you should approach family involvement with addiction therapy will differ with every person. There are counselors in your area who are trained to work with drug and alcohol addicted patients and their families, and while they can be useful to mediate the intervention process, your family may decide to have a private, non-confrontational and honest talk with a family member or friend to implore them to seek substance abuse treatment. Whichever approach you take, it is important to understand that the family dynamic in drug and alcohol addiction is incredibly powerful, and that addressing an unhealthy imbalance in communication is your first step in moving your loved one toward inpatient / outpatient addiction therapy. This type of positive family involvement can also help lead the rest of your family toward a journey of recovery and self-discovery.

During a Patient's Substance Abuse Treatment Program

After an intervention, the best case scenario is that the individual suffering from drug or alcohol addiction will be compelled to enter either an inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment program. Each patient's needs and means are different, and outpatient and inpatient programs have varying benefits for patients and family. Involvement in an outpatient addiction therapy program means that patients are not separated from their families, they are able to attend classes in a facility close to their home, and patients can continue substance abuse treatment for an extended amount of time. In a residential (inpatient) program, patients travel to a facility where they undergo an intensive 28-30 day detoxification and recovery program. They are immersed in the recovery process and do not have the ability to leave the substance abuse treatment campus. However, family involvement is important, and inpatient addiction therapy programs often encourage frequent interaction with visiting family and friends.

As previously mentioned, patients' needs vary, but inpatient substance abuse treatment has an obvious benefit of removing the drug and/or alcohol addicted individual from the toxic atmosphere that was enabling their addiction, and helping them through addiction therapy without distraction. This same benefit is transferred to the patient's friends and family, who are often able to gain a new perspective about their loved one's addiction and their own behaviors. Family involvement, once the patient is in an off-site substance abuse treatment facility, is periodic and helps families step back and recognize patterns of negative behavior. For example, well-meaning family and friends often become trapped into a cycle of enabling and codependency with the patient prior to addiction therapy. Often, family members pretend like nothing is wrong, and unintentionally assist the patient's addiction by ignoring the problem. Conversely, family members might become distant, angry, and resentful by feeling that they cannot address the issue for fear of angering the patient or exacerbating their loved one's addiction. When the family members are able to take a break and assess their behaviors and environment while their loved one is undergoing addiction therapy, they often identify behaviors and traits that they adjust to break the cycle.

This is not to say that residential substance abuse treatment programs isolate the patient from their friends and family - quite the opposite. In a quality residential substance abuse treatment program, the focus is equally upon the patient's physical recovery from drug and alcohol addiction as much as it is on a mental recovery from the addictive disease. Addiction therapy is supported heavily by positive and frequent family involvement. The support that a family provides to a patient recovering from addiction is essential to that patient's success, and residential centers will often have not only visitation throughout the week or on weekends, but will also engage family into an educational substance abuse treatment program of their own, such as supportive and dynamic recovery workshops and sessions for family involvement.

Outside of the residential substance abuse treatment facility, family and friends of patients are highly encouraged to attend Al Anon or Nar Anon meetings. These free programs are held around the nation and are dedicated to providing group support to family and friends of drug and alcohol addicted individuals. The meetings address things such as: helping an addict seek assistance for his or her own problem, addressing a loved one's drug or alcohol addiction, building family through the addiction therapy process, supporting yourself and your loved one through the recovery process, etc. These programs are essential for family involvement, as they support friends and family during and after the substance abuse treatment program.

After a Substance Abuse Treatment Program

With drug and alcohol addiction, there is truly no clear-cut "end" to the addiction therapy process. Families struggling with the effects of their loved one's drug and alcohol addiction should continually attend Al Anon or Nar Anon meetings (perhaps both) on a regular basis to continue a constructive program of support and ongoing education. Alcohol and drug addiction are both considered "family diseases", and family involvement with people combating drug and alcohol addiction requires continual attendance of these meetings during and after the formal inpatient or outpatient addiction therapy session. Additionally, while these meetings help individuals to understand the disease of drug and alcohol addiction to help and support someone they care about, they also assist friends and family with their own emotional support during what is most often an incredibly trying and stressful time. By continuing to attend Al Anon and Nar Anon meetings, friends and family of an addicted individual can continue to stay out of the destructive cycle of enabling and codependency and fully realize the benefits of addiction therapy.

About the Author

Since 1998, Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC, has worked in the Licking Memorial Hospital -- Shepherd Hill treatment center located in Newark, Ohio, and currently serves as Senior Counselor at The Ridge, a residential treatment center in Ohio. Mr. Gifford's areas of competence include the following: individual counseling, assessments, group counseling, diagnosis and treatment, children and adolescents, marriage and family therapy, addictions and smoking cessation. He is a member of the Ohio Counseling Association and is a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LICDC (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor), CTTS (Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist) and has a Masters Degree in Education in Community Counseling. For more information about the Ridge, please visit www.theridgeohio.com.

03/14/2011 0 Comments | Add Comment
 
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