* SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
Can drug addiction be treated?
Yes, but it’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives.
Addiction treatment must help the person do the following:
Stop using drugs. Stay drug-free. Be productive in the family, at work, and in society.
Principles of Effective Treatment
The following key principles should form the basis of any effective treatment program:
Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
No single treatment is right for everyone.
People need to have quick access to treatment.
Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use.
Staying in treatment long enough is critical.
Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies.
Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment.
Treatment doesn't need to be voluntary to be effective.
Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
* Recovery support services
Recovery and Recovery Support
Recovery-oriented care and recovery support systems help people with mental and substance use disorders manage their conditions successfully.
Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. There are four major dimensions that support recovery:
Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
Home—having a stable and safe place to live.
Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.
The process of recovery is supported through relationships and social networks. This often involves family members who become the champions of their loved one’s recovery. Families of people in recovery may experience adversities that lead to increased family stress, guilt, shame, anger, fear, anxiety, loss, grief, and isolation. The concept of resilience in recovery is also vital for family members who need access to intentional supports that promote their health and well-being. The support of peers and friends is also crucial in engaging and supporting individuals in recovery.
Recovery services and supports must be flexible. What may work for adults may be very different for youth or older adults. For example, the nature of social supports, peer mentors, and recovery coaching for adolescents is different than for adults and older adults. Supporting recovery requires that mental health and addiction services:
• Be responsive and respectful to the health beliefs, practices, and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse people and groups.
• Actively address diversity in the delivery of services.
• Seek to reduce health disparities in access and outcomes.
SAMHSA established recovery support systems to promote partnering with people in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and their family members to guide the behavioral health system and promote individual, program, and system-level approaches that foster health and resilience (including helping individuals with behavioral health needs be well, manage symptoms, and achieve and maintain abstinence); increase housing to support recovery; reduce barriers to employment, education, and other life goals; and secure necessary social supports in their chosen community.
Education about substance abuse is an important part of helping individuals understand the many aspects of this topic. This information can include factual data about what substance abuse is; warning signs of addiction; information about how alcohol and specific drugs affect the mind and body; the consequences that addiction can have on one’s physical and mental health, family, relationships, and other areas of functioning; and how and why substances are abused.
Education may also include information on how to deal with a family member or friend who is struggling with a substance use disorder, and how to be supportive during the detoxification and rehabilitation process.
This could also include counseling education, which helps everyone involved—from the person abusing substances to family and friends. It is important that people who abuse substances are aware of how a drug can affect their minds, bodies, relationships, and functioning. This awareness can help them realize the potential damage that could occur or the damage that has already occurred. Substance abuse education may also include information about what treatment entails to prepare everyone involved for the potential outcomes.
Society tends to stigmatize behaviors that are seen as different and less desirable than what is considered the acceptable norm. Substance use, and moods and behaviors often associated with mental illness, clearly fall into this category. The stigma (prejudice and discrimination) associated with substance use and mental health problems creates barriers to accessing necessary care and support for individuals and their families.
Stigma refers to negative ways in which society views people with addiction and mental health problems. But if we were talking about racism, sexism, homophobia or ageism, we’d use the words prejudice and discrimination instead.
Ways to reduce stigma:
Educate people (including students, health care and other professionals, as well as the general public)
Highlight the reasons people develop problems with substance use
Address media biases and inaccuracies
Portray people with substance use problems as human beings
Personalize substance use problems
Have people who have experienced substance use problems and the related prejudice and discrimination speak about it
Use well-known spokespeople to raise awareness that substance use problems can affect anyone
Show that people with substance use problems come from a variety of backgrounds
Tell positive stories
Show the positive face of people with substance use problems rather than the negative (e.g., ways in which individuals contribute to society)