Before you decide where to send your loved one to treatment, it’s important to look at the treatment center’s clinical philosophy and the type of therapies they currently use. Unfortunately, there are many treatment centers with antiquated, ineffective treatment methods- so it’s important to do your research. One of the largest offenses treatment centers are guilty of is not providing care that is long-term enough. The typical 30 day rehabs have been proven ineffective, if they are not followed up with consistent therapy/12-step meetings. Since addictive behavior is ingrained, especially after long-term use, short-term fixes will often lead to people going back to their ways. You can often deduce the length of a typical stay at any treatment center on their website, but there are more specific things you may want to have a sit-down with the staff to discuss before you or your loved one commit to a specific rehab or program.
You will also want to consider which therapeutic approach the treatment centers use- some therapies have been proven more effective than others. Certain therapies that have been proven quite effective in combating substance abuse include: cognitive behavior therapy, motivational interviewing and relapse prevention.
Motivational interviewing entails a therapist empowering a client or patient to change a destructive behavior in their life via motivation and positive reinforcement. It encompasses four central parts: engaging (talking to the patient and establishing a positive relationship with trust), focusing (starting to discuss the unhealthy behaviors the client wishes to change), evoking (empowering the client to change by stating the importance and accessibility of change) and planning (determining specific steps the patient can implement to achieve their goals). Research has found motivational interviewing to be quite helpful- leaving 3 out of 4 patients with a significant and clinically relevant change in affect.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is another addiction treatment method that has been found to be effective. Cognitive behavioral therapy entails clients trying to change their traditional ways of thinking and trying to understand why they engage in certain behaviors. It is a short-term, goal-oriented type of therapy. And though therapy should certainly be continued past the CBT phase, CBT has been proven to show significant strides quickly, boasting an impressive success rate of approximately 50 percent. Relapse prevention techniques are also somewhat obviously helpful and imperative during substance abuse treatment. Relapse prevention therapy utilizes CBT to have patients develop self-control strategies regarding abstinence. This treatment approach includes the identification of high-risk scenarios and the creation of alternative coping mechanisms. There is significant research that suggests relapse prevention therapy increases the likelihood of continued sobriety after treatment. Some prescription drugs have also been proven to be successful in combating cravings. These include: naltrexone (manages alcohol and opioid dependence) and acamprosate (reduces cravings for alcohol).
However, there are some treatment methods that are proven to be less effective. Confrontational therapy, for one, has been proven widely ineffective in treating addicts and alcoholics. Confrontation therapy is a model that has been employed in many treatment centers (more particularly, in the past) and entails the therapist (or other patient) telling the patient who is allegedly in the wrong exactly what they feel and how they think of them, often using aggressive or pejorative terms. In a study in a treatment center in Bergen, Norway, 46 clients were either given confrontational therapy or not. No significant difference was shown in drinking after 6 months and actually the control groups had somewhat higher rates of abstinence. That’s why its important that when confrontation is necessary (such as in an intervention) it be done in a loving, supportive way, such as is the case with Recovery Care Partner.
Of course each addict is an individual and individuals will respond better or worse to certain treatments, depending on their personalities and lifestyles. That’s why it’s so important to do proper research before committing to one program- and remember, Recovery Care Partner can help you with all of your treatment needs.Learn More
“How did my days go? Well, I’d wake up each morning, that is if I even got sleep the night before, which was doubtful unless I had as much heroin as I needed, which never seemed to happen. I tried to never have less than two bundles (each bundle has approximately 1-1.5 grams of heroin in it, a collection of 10 bags, varying some state to state) on me at all times, but that was pretty unsuccessful. I’d spend all night blowing up my dealer’s phone. Then the misery, sickness and insanity of withdrawal would set in. Then I’d drive the 1.5 hours round-trip distance from Morristown to Paterson (both cities in New Jersey) to buy a brick (5 bundles, or 50 bags), which would only last me two days max.”
Mike says all of this in the way you’d talk about someone you didn’t know well whose dad had died: with resignation, sympathy and detachment.
Mike is one of 2.6 million Americans who suffers from Opioid Use Disorder. The criterion for an individual to be diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder (as stated in the current DSM-5), includes manifestation of at least two of the following in a 12 month period: opiates are taken in larger quantities than intended, consistent desire to cut down use (to no avail), large quantities of time spent to obtain, use and recover from opiates, use resulting in failure to fulfill obligations at school, work or home, using despite social/interpersonal problems caused by use, social, occupational and recreational activities given up to pursue opiates, use of opiates in situations which it is physically dangerous, continued use despite sustaining a physical/psychological issue due to the substance, increased tolerance to opiates and lastly, withdrawal, by which the user has withdrawal symptoms that match with those listed in the DSM or they use opiates to relieve or avoid withdrawal.
Mike says his use encompassed all 12 of the criterion. Surely, the habit and schedule he mentions had to arouse some attention from his loved ones.
“I would have to turn the GPS off my phone when I was making those trips to Paterson. My parents could see where I was with the Find My iPhone App and if they saw that I was in Paterson, they’d know that I was buying heroin and there’d be trouble. So on the way back from buying heroin, I’d pull off to the side of route 80 in the shoulder and shoot 7 bags right there to stop withdrawing, then I’d race back home while nodding out on the highway, frequently waking up while I was driving, which was incredibly scary.”
But after all the anticipation, all the build-up, all the lies for proper execution, all the danger he put himself in, it still wasn’t enough for Mike.
“When I got home, I’d do another 3-5 bags, smoke cigarettes, watching netflix alone in my room all day. I was incredibly sad and lonely and my life was going nowhere. I felt close to no one, I’d steal from my parents- not even when I needed money, just in anticipation that I would need it soon. I also sold heroin to get mine for free. Everything I did was for or in pursuit of heroin. I only left my room to sell or buy drugs.”
Like the criterion for Opioid Use Disorder mentioned, Mike’s use drastically cut into all facets of his life.
“I had a horrible job in the fast food industry, horrible hygiene, horrible relationships with my family and horrible mental health- I had a really bad temper and abysmal self-esteem.”
But there is hope, Mike now has 9 months sober after getting clean in a long-term treatment center, followed by living in a halfway house and filling his life with sober supports and AA.
“I came from the lowest point a human can be- sickness, mental illness, criminality, despair, to having a love for life, for my family and friends, for myself and for God- all with the help of treatment, AA and those around me. I truly think that if I was able to overcome my affliction, there is hope for anyone.”Learn More