Why Individualized Programs Are Utilized
When treating addiction, it is important to take into account the unique needs of the person involved and what kind of treatments may work with their personality and their health. There is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment for addiction because each case is as unique as the history that surrounds a person’s drug use, habits, and perceptions. Even cases of addiction to the same substance may be caused by vastly different situations and can cause multiple and varying concerns in a person’s life.
The Delaware Health And Social Services’ publication “Skill-Building In Treatment Plans That Make Sense To Clients” had this to say on the subject: “A diagnosis is a necessary, but not sufficient determinant of treatment. A patient is matched to services based on clinical severity, not placed in a set program based only on having met diagnostic criteria.”
What this means is that each person who checks into an inpatient drug rehabilitation program will be carefully evaluated to test the parameters of their addiction. Specialists will gauge the substances used, the severity of the addiction, how often the substance is used, underlying concerns that contribute to addiction, related physical health concerns, triggers that may contribute to use and relapse, stressors that may fuel addiction, and an appropriate approach to detoxification.
The concept beyond this is to create an approach that is likely to be more successful. For example, some people may need dialectical behavior therapy to manage the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, while others might do well within group therapy. The successful treatment takes care of addiction on every level, including the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects.
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Two Different Assessment Guides May Be Used
There are two different assessment guides typically used to gauge addiction and determine the appropriate treatment. These are known as the Locus Level Of Care Utilization System and the ASAM Criteria. Though they both use similar criteria when gauging addiction, they vary on the exact guidelines. For example, the ASAM Criteria include:
- Acute intoxication level and the dangers of withdrawal, which helps the assessor to gauge a person’s experiences with substance use and withdrawal
- Physical health conditions and complications that may contribute to addiction
- Emotional and behavioral conditions and complications
- The readiness of the patient to change or quit using substances
- Dangers of relapse or continued use after rehab is done, or evaluation of past relapse history
- Nature of the recovery environment
The concepts behind these guidelines are simple. They are used to give therapists and addiction specialists a concept of the severity of the addiction and any problems that might occur during treatment. For example, a person with depression and anxiety will need a different mental health treatment approach than someone who suffers from bipolar disorder.
Similar to these guidelines, though slightly different, is the Locus treatment methodology. The first step here is to assess the risk of harm the person’s addiction brings to them or other people and then to judge how functional they are at the start of treatment. Once this has been assessed, co-morbidity aspects (such as medical, addictive, and psychiatric problems) will then be examined to diagnose co-occurring disorders.
After that, the recovery environment (including the level of stress and support inherent in both) will be judged. This is important because some people will be able to handle a more stressful environment, whereas others cannot. Once this has been judged, the treatment and recovery history of the person is assessed as well as their level of engagement, including their dedication to the recovery process.
By going through this assessment process, a person helps their treatment specialists create a schedule that focuses only on their problems and works hard to manage them in a safe and healthy manner. Beyond this obvious benefit of an individualized approach to addiction recovery, are many others.
Benefits Of Individualized Approaches
Anyone still on the fence about individualized treatment plans needs to understand the benefits this approach offers. It may be hard for some people to commit to the rigors of the process, but it is one that must be undertaken in order for recovery to be effective. The many benefits of an individualized approach to addiction treatment include the ways it:
- Views the problem of addiction as a “disease,” not a moral failing, and treats its many symptoms in this manner
- Manages the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health concerns caused by addiction in specific and actionable ways
- Creates multiple therapy options that work in different manners
- Allows just about anybody accesses to some form of addiction therapy that may work for them
- Tests and treats any physical health problems or diseases that may have occurred alongside addiction
- Assesses any psychological problems that contribute to addiction and works to eliminate them
- Builds a strong social recovery network that bridges the gaps between alienation and socialization so often caused by addiction
With this stronger understanding of the benefits of an individualized treatment plan may help many make a decision, it is also important to understand the pattern that most recovery methods will take. Addiction rehabilitation typically follows a holistic approach, while touching on many of the same treatment concepts that drive others.
The Pattern Of Most Treatment Plans
Although individualized treatment plans will vary in the small details, each should address the following problems: withdrawal, co-occurring disorders, mental health, physical health, and aftercare needs. This simple pattern will be tweaked to your needs, making treatment more effective and easier to handle.
Medication therapy is one of the most common first steps in any individualized treatment program. This takes the form of medicines for co-occurring disorders (including antidepressants), as well as for replacement and withdrawal treatments. Commonly used with alcohol addiction (acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram) and opioid addiction (naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone), they either simulate the effect of the substance in a safe way or make it impossible to take a substance without getting physically ill.
While withdrawal and detox are being managed in this way, physical health concerns will also be assessed. For example, someone may be suffering from breathing and heart problems associated with heroin use. These conditions will be carefully tested and treated to bring the person back to a state of stronger health. Other problems, such as malnutrition, will also be diagnosed and managed to further improve physical health needs.
Beyond those two treatments lies the various mental health therapies that are used to treat addiction. Each will be carefully chosen to suit personal needs. For example, if someone can’t break the negative patterns of use on their own, cognitive behavioral therapy can help adjust those behaviors in positive ways. Individual, family, and group therapy methods are also available, as are motivational interviewing and community-based approaches.
The latter two of these methods are particularly interesting, as they are often poorly understood. Motivational interviewing helps to boost a person’s desire to quit by offering them a positive focus, such as quitting to find a job or improving their relationship with their children. Community-based methods create a support group, improve family relationships, build new friendships, and find alternative activities in the community that doesn’t focus on substance use.
After addiction has been carefully managed in this way, aftercare techniques ensure that rehabilitation lasts. These methods are designed to build a person’s confidence in their sobriety and teach them how to avoid relapse. For example, a person may learn how to identify their triggers and learn coping methods for managing the severity of these and the subsequent cravings. They may also learn relaxation techniques that help clear their minds of anxiety or even continue using prescription medications.
The point of all of these treatments, no matter what type is used, is to push a person one step closer to a life of sobriety. Each method may be successful if the person in treatment accepts the help and is willing to work for it. It isn’t easy, but it is a step worth taking.
Getting The Help You Need
If you or a loved one needs access to an individualized addiction treatment plan, please contact us today at Vertava Health. Our specialists fully understand all the information contained in this article, and can even give you more in-depth information. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get the helping hand you need to get through this difficult period.