This article was written by Danielle Feldman, LAC – Substance Abuse Counselor at Center For Wellness, with input from Dr. Gagandeep Singh – Owner/Executive Director
There is a tragic irony in the fact that this article was written before the passing of Robin Williams. If we learn anything from his passing, it is that we must be vocal and outspoken about mental health and substance abuse issues.
In 2013 the National Survey on Drug use and Health stated that out of the 23.5 million Americans who needed treatment for abusing drugs and alcohol, only 2.6 million were receiving it. Drug and alcohol addictions are among the most commonly devastating and costly problems in the United States, and seeking the appropriate treatment can greatly reduce the risk of health and financial complications while increasing quality of life. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration there are over 11,000 addiction-treatment centers in the United States, so why are so few Americans seeking help and what are their options?
The treatment of drug and alcohol addictions requires a tremendous amount of physical, emotional, and mental healing. Part of the healing process is dealing with denial, a common defense mechanism, that can be experienced by both the individual as well as their family and friends. This person may feel that they have their substance use under control, or family and friends may not believe that their loved one has a problem at all. Social stigma is another reason that an individual may avoid seeking treatment. They do not want to seek treatment for fear of admitting to others that they have a problem. Some individuals might be concerned that their addiction will portray them as weak or flawed, and therefore may avoid publicly acknowledging their need for help. Other factors that can prevent people from seeking treatment include; believing that one can help themselves without professional guidance, lack of appropriate finances and resources, fear of sharing with others, and simply not knowing where to begin.
In the throes of drug and alcohol addictions, individuals are often unable to function in their daily lives and can also experience physical withdrawal symptoms. This often can lead to a vicious cycle where the patient is unable to break free of the addictive behaviors. Treatment options vary for those suffering from addiction, and can be dependent on the type of substance(s) abused as well as the level of severity of the substance use. There are many different types of treatment programs that, when coupled with self-help groups, can be very successful at promoting and maintaining recovery.
‘Detox’ (detoxification) programs are medically monitored facilities for individuals whose physical withdrawal symptoms are potentially physically dangerous or pose a threat to successful recovery. These programs are helpful in the early stages of recovery by medically stabilizing the individual and providing them with follow up resources once discharged.
Inpatient or residential programs require patients to stay in these facilities overnight, attend daily group therapy sessions, individual counseling sessions, family involvement, recreational activities, and provide a general introduction into the recovery lifestyle. These programs generally involve commitments lasting anywhere from 28 days to 90 days.
Outpatient programs offer a wide variety of services, but typically involve involvement in multiple group therapy sessions several days a week (in NJ, 9 hours per week are required in total), weekly involvement in individual therapy sessions, and family counseling sessions as needed (usually monthly). These programs are known as intensive outpatient programs. Once patients complete such a program, they are typically referred to ‘traditional outpatient’ treatment, which may involve weekly individual and/or group therapy sessions.
Center For Wellness is licensed through the Division of Addiction Services.The clinical model is evidence-based and employs a variety of therapeutic techniques and approaches in order to best serve the consumer. Family involvement is a valuable aspect of our program. The client and the family both receive education on pertinent topics related to the presenting concerns. Patients are also encouraged to attend self-help meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and are referred to an individual therapist following discharge as part of an aftercare plan, to maximize successful recovery.
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