The Truth About Rehab for Addiction and How To Recover From Opioid Painkillers

The Truth About Rehab for Addiction and How To Recover From Opioid Painkillers

It’s 2016 and most know very little about how to treat opiate addiction and recover effectively without relapsing. It’s actually pathetic, how poor a job we’re doing treating opioid painkiller addiction. For example,

“There are exceptions, but of the many thousands of treatment programs out there, most use exactly the same kind of treatment you would have received in 1950, not modern scientific approaches,” – A. Thomas McLellan, co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia

The truth is that most people recover,

(1) completely on their own,

(2) by attending self-help groups, and/or

(3) by seeing a counselor or therapist individually,” wrote Ann Fletcher

Contrary to the 30-day stint typical of inpatient rehab, “people with serious substance abuse disorders commonly require care for months or even years,” she wrote. “The short-term fix mentality partially explains why so many people go back to their old habits.”

Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said in an interview,

“You don’t treat a chronic illness for four weeks and then send the patient to a support group. People with a chronic form of addiction need multimodal treatment that is individualized and offered continuously or intermittently for as long as they need it.”

Before committing to a treatment program, Ms. Fletcher urges prospective clients or their families to do their homework.

The first step,

1. she said, is to get an independent assessment of the need for treatment, as well as the kind of treatment needed,

2. by an expert who is not affiliated with the program you are considering. Find out if you will receive therapy for any underlying condition, like depression, or a social problem that could sabotage recovery.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states in its Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment,

“To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems.”

3. Look for programs using research-validated techniques, like cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps addicts recognize what prompts them to use drugs or alcohol, and learn to redirect their thoughts and reactions away from the abused substance.

4. Other validated treatment methods include Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or Craft, an approach developed by Robert J. Meyers and described in his book, “Get Your Loved One Sober,” with co-author Brenda L. Wolfe. It helps addicts adopt a lifestyle more rewarding than one filled with drugs and alcohol.

The characteristic elements of drug abuse — craving, intoxication, dependency and withdrawal — correspond with disruptions in these circuits.

Failure to Follow Up

In 2014, more than 67 percent of Americans aged 18 to 64 had private insurance, making it the most common form of health care coverage in the United States.8 Data on privately insured individuals aged 18 to 64 from the 2010 to 2014 Truven Health Analytics MarketScan® CommercialClaims and Encounters Database show that 40.0 percent of patients did not receive any follow-up services within 30 days following an opioid related hospitalization (Figure 1). Within 30 days of discharge for an opioid-related hospitalization, 6.0 percent of patients received medication sonly, and 43.3 percent received therapy only. A small percentage (10.7 percent) of patients received the recommended combination of both medication and a therapeutic service.

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

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