Category: 28 day program

Pros and Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are mixed beliefs about using products such as Methadone and Suboxone to help those addicted to drugs. Traditionally, abstinence from opiates (most prescription drugs, heroin, etc.) is very challenging. Medication-assisted treatment can be used to wean individuals from using these drugs, making the withdrawal process more tolerable. Both suppress the user’s desire to use opiates. Both drugs will produce a “high,” and in theory, this is great.

Related Blog: Recovery and Prescription Medications

However, both have a long list of potential side effects and present dangers if not used properly. In addition, both can become a crutch and are open to being abused.

Methadone is used to provide assistance to heroin users and make the detox process less uncomfortable. However, the detox from methadone can be more painful than the detox from opiates. The problem associated with it is that many people begin using it as a crutch and become dependent on the methadone. Suboxone also causes the user to lose the urge to use. If they do use, they do not get the normal high they would get if they were not using Suboxone.

While these medications may be helpful in some cases, they only treat part of the situation. Medication-assisted treatment does not address emotional or traumatic issues that may have led to substance abuse. Anyone receiving medication-assisted treatment should also be engaged in either residential or outpatient counseling sessions.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Therapy Techniques for Treating Trauma

The link between trauma and substance abuse is very strong. Many clients come to Pathways and express the challenges they have faced in their lives – physical or verbal abuse as a child or in adulthood, vehicle accidents, as victims of violent crimes and in soe cases, military experience. Treating the trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a key component to treating the individual’s substance abuse disorder because until the trauma is resolved, the person will continue to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and/or cope with the trauma they’ve faced.

Related Blog: Trauma and Addiction

Several evidence-based treatment methods have proven effective in working with trauma/PTSD clients. The most common ones are listed below.

Prolonged-exposure therapy – A therapist guides the client to recall traumatic memories in a controlled fashion so that clients eventually regain mastery of their thoughts and feelings around the incident. While exposing people to the very events that caused their trauma may seem counterintuitive, when done in a gradual, controlled and repeated manner, until the person can evaluate their circumstances realistically and understand they can safely return to the activities in their current lives that they had been avoiding.

Cognitive-processing therapy – A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, developed to treat rape victims and later applied to PTSD. This treatment includes an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event. Practitioners may work with clients on false beliefs that the world is no longer safe, for example, or that they are incompetent because they have “let” a terrible event happen to them.

Stress-inoculation training – Another form of CBT, where practitioners teach clients techniques to manage and reduce anxiety, such as breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

Certified Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) – A revolutionary and holistic psychotherapeutic approach to healing and positive behavioral change that eliminates the negative, emotional and behavioral influence of traumatic events, clearing, organizing and optimizing the mind so that the root cause of problems are cleared and positive change can endure.

Not all treatment centers hire counselors who have experience in these treatment methods. Pathways has multiple counselors who specialize in and/or are certified in PTSD/trauma methodologies and use either CBT or RRT techniques.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Sometimes it Takes Multiple Visits to a Treatment Center

Much of the work done in a treatment center revolves around retraining clients to think, feel and behave differently than they have in the past. Take “Billy” for example. Billy was a young man who grew up in a typical middle American family. As a teenager, he began spending time with “the wrong crowd,” a group of boys who introduced him to smoking marijuana and drinking. Billy began to lose interest in school; his grades were slipping. When he graduated from high school, he really wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. His parents were upset how he had lost the opportunity to attend a prestigious University due to his GPA. He enrolled in a local community college, where he dabbled in a few courses, but nothing held his interest. At a part time job, Billy met James who introduced him to other, harder drugs. Billy’s drug use escalated. He started skipping classes and lost all interest in school. He continued to go to work every day because work was his link to drugs.

Related Blog: Why Did I Relapse?

Fast forward five years and Billy has been arrested multiple times on drug related charges. He has mastered the art of manipulation and stealing to get money for drugs. All of his old friends from high school have now graduated from college and have nothing to do with him at all; his parents are beside themselves. They take a line of credit to secure treatment for Billy. He goes, but never engages in the program. He goes through the steps as instructed, but never invests in the process. When the treatment session is over, he immediately finds his group of friends and is using. Before long, he’s arrested again.

At this point, Billy is finally starting to realize that he’s made some mistakes in his life. He sees the happiness that his friends and family, who were not abusing drugs, had. He hears stories that this person is getting married, that one just got a great job and is moving out of town. In the meantime, he’s looking for a place to sleep, an opportunity to score and evading law enforcement and his parents. He attends treatment again and this time, he’s engaged. He actively listens to what the counselors are saying, he participates in the group sessions. He starts to analyze what he’s done in his life and the people he’s hurt by his substance abuse. His treatment time is coming to a close and he’s working on his transition plan and relapse prevention plan. He’s not sure where he will live because he’s burned so many bridges and his parents don’t trust him. He ends up getting a part time job and finding an apartment in a neighborhood known for heavy drug activity. Initially, he starts off okay, focusing on going to work and 12-Step recovery meetings. He’s asked to take a few more hours at work and gladly does. One day, he has a rough day and gets out of work too late to attend a meeting. He runs into an old buddy on his walk home from work. The guy offers him a beer, Billy accepts and a relapse has happened.

Billy’s drug and alcohol use spirals out of control. Finally, he is arrested again for drug-related charges and given the opportunity to go to treatment one more time. There, he really connects with his counselors and some of the other clients. He’s fully opened up about his situation, his fears and is truly engaged. At the end of treatment, he makes plans to live in a sober living community associated with the treatment center. He finds a job in a part of town that is safer; he attends aftercare meetings at the treatment center and 12-Step recovery meetings. After time, he even begins sponsoring and mentoring other people who are new to recovery.

Stories like Billy’s are not uncommon. Recovery is a process and not everyone is ready for the changes and work they have to do to chance their lives in a short treatment cycle. It takes time to buy into the process and see the fruits of the effort because it’s easier to keep going on the way things have been.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Why Did I Relapse?

Relapse is not uncommon for those in recovery. Some say that it often takes a series of relapses before someone is truly successful in the recovery world. Often, success means making great changes in your lifestyle – who your associates are, where you live, where you work, as well as “unlearning” inappropriate behaviors that could result in substance use.

Recovery is a process. Generally, the process begins with admitting that there is a problem, detoxing, getting treatment for the issue, developing a plan for aftercare, transition and relapse prevention and finally living a life of recovery.

Related Blog: What Should I Do If I Have a Sponsor and I’m Still Using?

In order for the recovery process to be successful, clients need to engage with their counselors and others in the recovery community. Additionally, if internal issues, such as a trauma that may have led to the initial substance abuse, are not fully addressed, the chances of relapse increase.

Some counselors suggest clients change everything, even music, friends, jobs, living arrangements etc. Music has a great ability to trigger thoughts and feelings. If you had a favorite song you liked to hear when you were high, don’t listen to that song. If your friends used drugs, use ties to the recovery community to make friends with individuals who will support your efforts rather than sabotage them. If you are an alcoholic working in an establishment that serves alcohol, you may want to look for other employment, if drug use is normal part of life in your neighborhood, consider moving to a transitional, sober or half-way house arrangement as you grow and strengthen your resolve to stay clean.

They key to relapse prevention is knowing your triggers and working the program and aftercare program outlined for you by your counselors on a daily basis. In some cases, repeated treatment episodes will be necessary until you are able to make recovery a full part of your lifestyle.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988 or visit our website.

Why Will Nothing Cure my Child’s Addiction?

A common misconception to addiction is that following a treatment episode, someone may be “cured” of the disease. Addiction is similar to diabetes and hypertension in the sense that it is an incurable, but manageable disease. While someone with diabetes must watch their diet and check their insulin, and those with hypertension also maintain regiment of diet, exercise and stress-relief exercises, someone diagnosed with an addiction will need to follow a daily regimen to remain sober. Those who enter a treatment program will be taught the importance of following a schedule, attending meetings, doing step work and other behavioral changes that may have been part of the treatment plan. When an individual, especially those who are new to recovery, takes a lax attitude about maintaining recovery, the likelihood of relapse increases. Addiction will not “just go away” overnight and even those who have 10 or 20 years clean can still succumb to a relapse.

Related Blog: Why Recovery Meetings Alone May Not be Working

The individuals who have the best success in treatment are those who enter a treatment facility who addresses their needs, engages in the treatment process and follows the aftercare plan and relapse prevention plan faithfully.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Reforming Recovery

Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, recently released an article about reshaping how we view substance abuse treatment. Statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse claim that more than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Of this, ONLY 11% receive treatment. Other stats she cited state that of those in recovery, 40-60% will backslide or relapse.

Related Blog: Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol is a Process

Chair and co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute, A. Thomas McLellan, compares the addiction treatment process to a washing machine, churning clients through the system before they’ve had a chance to heal. He is quoted as saying, “There are no 30-day diabetes programs, and they certainly don’t have graduation ceremonies.”

As the community accepts the fact that substance abuse is a chronic disease, treatment providers need to tailor programs to treat this model. This would include changes to the emergency treatment, residential services, housing with restorative services, case/care management, medication assisted treatment, cognitive interventions and family support.

At Pathways, many of these facets are already standard in treatment plans. While a 28-day stay is available, Pathways’ Extended Care program allows clients to stay 60 or 90 days to not only learn the basics of recovery and how to use the tools, but to spend more time dealing with the core issues that have led to their addictive disorder. Pathways provides a weekly aftercare group session for those who stay in the area, and counselors can also guide clients to local sober living facilities that will reinforce and support long-term abstinence. Cognitive interventions using evidence-based techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Moral Reconation Therapy and Rapid Response Therapy®, are all part of the Pathways milieu. Finally, family sessions not only provide relatives with a sense of progress, family members learn about the disease of addiction, the dangers of enabling, relapse triggers and warning signs.

To learn more about Pathways, visit www.pathwaysfl.org or call 855-349-5988.