Do Interventions Work for Addiction Treatment

Do Interventions Really Work?

Do Interventions Work?

Intervention and the concept of intervention are popular on television, but in regards to clinical outcomes, it’s not particularly effective. The concept is being in a position where a number of people can encourage or coerce an individual to seek treatment. That has something to do with the belief that willpower has something to do with an addiction. In reality, willpower has nothing to do with an addiction.

What we’d like to be able to do is get someone into treatment who is unwilling to get to treatment. At the current time that’s difficult because the laws have not changed since the Communal Health Act in 1963. We no longer have the legal authority to get someone into treatment against their will. So if you really want good, strong clinical outcomes it would be to put people who have an addiction in treatment for a minimum of six to eight months, not residential treatment, but an outpatient treatment. This will put them in the position so they will have the cognitive skills to know they are disturbed or have an addiction because it may take a six-month program to get their attention.

By the very definition of addiction, being a chronic relapsing disease in which the structure and function of the brain have changed, it is the prefrontal cortex where people make a rational cognitive. The prefrontal cortex has been damaged at this point, they’re not able to think rationally. The power of the drug causes an impulsion and craving to use and the prefrontal cortex, in terms of willpower, isn’t even considered anymore.

Legal Processes Need to Change

We have to be in a position where we can save people’s lives virtually against their will. The only way it’s really going to be effective would not be intervention, but rather being in the position to mandate someone to get some sort of clinical help against their will and ATS thinks that’s really where the change needs to take place, on a legal process.

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What Are Some Ways Of Treating Alcoholism IL

What Are Some Ways Of Treating Alcoholism

The most effective strategy in dealing with any type of addiction specifically alcohol or alcohol – because it is everywhere in the culture and encourages people to drink and it’s a social lubricant so lots of problems surround the use of alcohol. Plenty of people can consume great amounts of alcohol and not develop an addiction but for those patients who have developed an addiction to alcohol, the most effective treatment strategy is engagement in a scientifically approached treatment program through an extended period of time so that they can learn coping strategies. In my opinion, the best way to do that is on an outpatient basis because it is essential that people stay employed while being treated and stay in the environment in which they live.

Why Else Are Outpatient Programs Superior?

Often times, 30 days of going away lead to the loss of a job and certainly hampers development in relationships at home and also creates a different level of stress that people have to respond to once they get out of rehab. Results of rehab treatment for patients, while they are in a patient rehab, are extremely good. For patients who have gone to rehab, at the end of one year: 86% of all patients have relapsed within that year and those are national statistics for people who have relapsed in that year.

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Why Don't Addicts Just Stop

Why Don’t Addicts Just Stop?

Why Don’t Addicts Just Stop Drinking, Taking Pills, or Shooting Up?

If people could just stop using or quit using then they wouldn’t have an addiction. Consequently, the diagnostic criteria involve a compulsion and craving to use, that’s a neurological change in the brain. This is not something that has anything to do with willpower, it’s something that’s involuntary. People engage in all sorts of involuntary muscle movements.

In terms of compulsion, we do about 95% to all of our activities are a result of condition responses to things. People don’t actively think about how to turn left or turn right when driving a car, that’s a conditioned response where you calculate the speed of the automobile and what’s going on on the left, so your brain is already conditioned to do those things. You’re not actively thinking about driving when you’re driving. The same thing applies to an addiction. When you have an addiction, neurologically in your brain what’s happening is those things are going on full time. Your brain may be actively looking at the next time you can use drugs or what’s going on so that in couple with anxiety puts the person in a neurological position where the reward salience of the drug is a positive reinforcement on the subconscious level is overpowering the cognitive ability prefrontal cortex to down regulate or to inhibit those impulsive behaviors.

Addiction for sure is an impulsive behavior that gets people to use a substance to decrease that stress or anxiety they feel and they have no control whatsoever over that until they are treated successfully, which takes an appreciable amount of time, perhaps up to two years.

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How to Treat A Xanax Addiction Edwardsville IL

How To Treat A Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a benzodiazepine and ranks in the same category as alcohol in regards to withdrawal effects. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines, if withdrawn from too quickly can cause seizures in the patient. So, you have to monitor those things very carefully so there needs to be a titration schedule in order to get people slowly and gradually off benzodiazepine or alcohol. Once that has been accomplished, whatever the Xanax was treating – most generally it’s anxiety or panic attacks – then the physician can look at a different medication to treat the symptoms as well or perhaps a different combination of medication that can help patients without the risks of increasing the dependency on the Xanax or another benzo as well as decreasing the withdrawal effects of that particular medication. It takes an appreciable length of time to decrease from Xanax, perhaps up to two months.

How Would Someone Know They’re Addicted To Xanax?

Most people can use or take Xanax very safely, it comes in various doses. Some patients we see are very effectively treated on even half a milligram a day, as prescribed or as needed. Some of our patients are on one milligram. If we have a patient who has an increased demand to use that Xanax and it’s not working, what we look for is increasing demand and decreased efficacy where someone went from one to one and a half to two, two and a half milligrams as needed. They then have established a dependency on that medication and we need to look at that carefully to make sure that they don’t develop the dependency that then moves in on to an addiction on that Xanax.

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How to cope with stress when recovering from addiction edwardsville il

How to Cope With Stress When Recovering From Addiction

This question is probably one of the most common as well as complicated problems that we encounter with patients who are dealing with addictions. For the most part, a lot of our patients are using the substance that they have as a medication to cope with stress. So, what you have to do is uncouple that learned response to cope with medication whether that’s alcohol, methamphetamine, crack, or heroin – we have to teach them what we call planned alternative responses which are a cognitive behavior therapy concept where we teach people behavioral coping strategies that will uncouple the relationship between stress and immediate use “on-the-go” response to treat the stress.

Our Approach For Patients Dealing With Stress

Here at ATS, we use stress as one of the partial components of a definition of addiction. Indeed, we believe that addiction is a stress-induced impulse control disorder that leads to the use of a behavior or a substance in order to decrease the stress. What that means is if I feel stressful: I am going to engage in a behavior – whether that’s cutting, some type of self-mutilation, or even gambling to decrease the stress. It may also mean that if I am stressed, I am going to abuse medication to decrease the stress. So, you can see stress is inherent in not only the definition but as well as the solution to how you can help overcome some of the problems related to using substances to self-medicate.

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Best Coping Strategies for Addicts During the Holidays Edwardsville IL

Coping Strategies for Addicts

What are some Coping Strategies for Addicts during the Holidays?

The holidays really create a lot of chaos because it changes people’s routine. We’re talking about the holidays basically from Thanksgiving to the last part of November to about the middle of January with New Year’s Eve. In terms of family life and employment, people are off of work and there’s a very complicated daily routine. So it’s very difficult to be in a position to take care of people who are in the process of recovery and they are needing routine at the time of recovery. People aren’t going to work nine to five, the temperature is changing, and we’re having early onset of darkness. All those things make it very complicated.

The essence of treating someone who has an addiction during that time is to make sure you have a daily schedule, a daily plan, and you are getting things accomplished. Make sure to have something to get accomplished in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Those three things are really important and have some level of accountability that forces people to focus on consistent behavior. The holidays for sure for almost a two month period of time, things are chaotic with family life, people coming and going, so it’s really important to have a daily routine.

Here at ATS we really stress having a daily routine, that includes exercise every day, if you can get to the gym every day. It will release substances call BDF, which will grow your brain and improve your mood and self-esteem and make you feel overall better. So exercise in conjunction with other types of activities throughout the day, that you can have a checklist and have those things done everyday despite how you feel.

How Can Loved Ones Help Someone Struggling With Addiction?

Family members can assist with that by helping them devise what a checklist should be. Give them daily tasks that you want them to do, whether it’s helping around the house, make your bed, make sure you exercise, both physical and cognitive exercise. Whether it’s playing the piano or learn to play the fiddle, just doing something that helps your brain. The boredom or the lethargy that usually occurs at that time. Their time needs to b structured.

Anything that loved ones can do to structure their time or even spend time with them, even if it’s playing board games, all that is great. Anything you can do to encourage and get patients with an addiction engaged, well those are all positive things.

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Response To Someone Saying Treatment Doesn’t Work IL

Response To Someone Saying Treatment Doesn’t Work

Totally understandable when someone comes in and says, “Treatment doesn’t work for me” given that the national recovery rates for patients are less than 15%. That’s characteristic of being treated with a 1930’s philosophy and what we believe has created the addiction. For sure our current approaches are evolving from a moralistic point of view where patients were seen as bad as a result of having an addiction which was an attribute of the climate surrounding the 1930s.

We know now that neurobiologically there have been structural and functional changes in the brain that are characterized by increasing compulsions and cravings to use substances that are beyond a patient’s control. So, if we use old-time treatment to treat basically a new time understanding of what’s going on with a patient, the outcomes are not going to be particularly good. In my opinion, the most effective treatment outcomes are going to be achieved by engaging the patient through an extended period of time.

What Would Be Some Ways To Fix This Issue?

    Obviously, 30 days of treatment does not do much other than isolate a patient from the use of a substance for the use of 30 days. Perhaps a more effective treatment strategy would be to have people engage in treatment over a two-year period of time because if we look at the definition of structural treatment in the brain, there aren’t many structural changes that we are going to remedy in 30 days. So you have to be in a position where, if you will, we have to reboot the brain such that people develop effective coping strategies, learn to handle stress, and engage in behavioral changes so that the neurobiology of the brain has subsequently changed where people regain some type of control.

    I think extended period of time in treatment is by far the most effective treatment strategy and that this should occur on an outpatient basis because the substance abuse occurs in the real-life setting where people live and you have to be able to treat and confront the issues on a daily basis in order to get better and learn to live with your addiction.

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4 Tactics to Combat Opioid Crisis

What are Some of the Recommended Tactics to Combat the Opioid Crisis?

That’s a very complicated question only because any agency that’s been in place in regards with treatment recovery, we’ve been doing it the same way since the 1930s and it hasn’t particularly worked. The only difference is the severity of the drugs that we have now and the multiple options that people have. The lethality of heroin is a big problem because we’re losing close to fifty-five to sixty-five thousand people on an annual basis, which is more than we lost in twenty years in Vietnam. Those numbers are directly related to or attributed to a drug overdose.

Our experience here at ATS is that every person we lose directly to substance abuse overdose there are five people that die that are correlated with that whether they died of heart attack, shot in a drug bust or something like that. The cause of death may not be an opioid overdose.

A Need for Legal Changes

Significant changes have to be made both in the legislation as well as the availability of treatment. I don’t think the correct procedure is residential treatment, that’s the most costly way to treat someone and it’s also the least effective way. Going away for 30 days doesn’t do anything but keep people from using for 30 days. I believe what we need to do is set up a large number of intensive outpatient programs, make medical assistance available and then put people in a position where in order to receive their treatment they must be in compliance for treatment programs. There’s a lot of compliance with medical programs that are essential to keep people alive.

Outpatient Programs Over Residential Treatment

A combination of working with both drug courts and individuals who are in the correctional facilities as a result of their substance abuse problem should be mandated to attend minimum time in an outpatient program should be two years. Legislation should be changed so we can hospitalize people or put people in treatment against their will on a legal basis so you can mandate treatment because it’s not unusual for a patient to come here for 12 to 13 months before they began to realize how big of a problem they had. The neurological process wants the patient to keep that addiction. That seems to be a paradoxical situation in that we would think people would want to eliminate their addiction. Because of the structural changes in the brain, the compulsions, and the cravings, they’re going to engage in behaviors that are reflexes of an action. They’re not a cognitive process so what we have to do is a counterbalance that reflex, that impulse control disorder that gets people to continue using which then reinforces and conditions the neurological structure of the brain to continue using.

You Have to Treat the Whole Patient

We have to change legally, in terms of how to mandate people get treatment, we have to change the treatment format from a residential treatment to an intensive outpatient, I think we have to people engaged in treatment programming for an extended time, and then you have to work with patients on a co-occurring disorder  where we can treat anxiety, depression, and their addiction, as well as the family dynamics to help them become stable and healthy. You also need to focus on vocational choices and getting people in a position where they can maintain some level of stability by living alone and having jobs. You have to treat the whole patient. That’s what appears to be a monumental shift in programming, but in reality what its doing is treating the patient with what the patient needs through an extended amount of time and getting the patient engaged on a legal basis so their options are limited so that you can treat them and that’s for about a two year period of time.

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Methadone vs Suboxone

Methadone vs Suboxone as Treatment Drugs

Comparing & Contrasting Treatment Drugs: Methadone vs Suboxone

Methadone has been around for an extended period of time. I believe in the beginning the initial intent of using methadone was not for treatment but was to decriminalize the effects of those who have the addiction component in terms of they were needed to engage in criminal activity in order to get their drugs. Methadone was a legalized initial component of treatment.  So, methadone is a full agonist which means it activates mu receptors and there is no plateau in using methadone. Once an individual is on methadone, they are going to have to continue on methadone for an extended period of time.

Suboxone is a partial agonist, which means there is a plateau and once the secondary neurotransmitter capacity is full – it does not activate mu receptors any longer. Consequently, buprenorphine with a half-life of about 52-56 hours is an extremely effective drug in assisting people to overcome both the withdrawal and a maintenance dose of using a medication until such time that they get stable. Both of them can be components of medically assisted treatment. However, we believe that suboxone is far superior to methadone because it is a partial agonist and there is a ceiling effect with suboxone.

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Drug Addictions vs. Food Addictions

Are Food Addictions similar to Drug Addictions?

Both drug addictions vs. food addictions are very similar neurobiological processes. The brain reacts to stimulation which means in the case of an addiction to something, particular reward pathways evolved from nucleus accumbens to the ventral tegmental area which response normally to food, water, nurturing and sex. The first one being food. Food is also an extremely addictive substance to a lot of people only because it makes people feel good and they can also use it as a coping strategy. The downside of being addicted to food is it’s a slow and tedious process and there’s not much immediately validity to using that people find themselves having a difficult time stopping eating or controlling their ability to do that because of the neurological changes that have occurred in the motivations system to eat food.

In reality, the more food I eat not only is it more rewarding to me it’s also, I’m more motivated to eat food. A large component of an addiction to food is exactly like an addiction to any other substance other than the speed at which people can become addicted. Heroin addiction and food addiction are the same, other than some differences the neurobiological processes in terms of changes in the in the stomach and changes in the neurobiology of food. They both also hold lethal potential, just like any other substance addiction.

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