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EDUCATION - KEY TOPIC

Finding Your Next Step

Understanding the Range of Resources for Addiction Recovery

Your next step in overcoming a life or mental health challenge, or addiction, very much depends on your current situation. There are a range of resources that provide important aspects of treatment and support, including clinical care, safe environments, community, and the opportunity to address and resolve trauma, pain, or other items that may contribute to disconnection and / or addiction. Support groups, counselors and therapists, treatment centers — both in-patient and out-patient, and other mental health service providers can play an important role in recovery. Learn more about different types of treatment resources in the full article. Ultimately, decisions on next steps are best made with insight from trusted and trained individuals who understand your experiences and circumstances.

Do Your Homework

Finding help around addiction or other mental health challenges is a process. It can be challenging to navigate the range of options out there, and even the terminology. OneStep’s philosophy is to encourage individuals to take the biggest step toward health and hope today that they’re ready to take, in consultation with trained medical professionals. That may be through an individual’s direct connection with the medical professional, or one made by navigating recovery resources. The costs of addiction and consequences can be severe, so moving forward is important, but understanding and finding a resource that is a good fit is also important. There’s an inherent tension in this process — acting quick, versus finding the right resource — that is challenging for individuals and families to navigate. There is rarely an easy answer, but talking directly with providers and identifying trustworthy ones is beneficial in the process.

Types of Recovery Resourcs

Below is short overview of the different types of recovery services. If this is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1. Emergency services an important lifeline if there is risk of injury or death. Doctors, nurses, and health professionals that you see already can be an important place for counsel and help. Talk to your doctor, as you are able to.

Detoxification services. Detoxification centers provide short-term care for individuals in the early days of getting clean or sober, particularly when they are still under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The level of medical care and oversight for detoxification is higher, as in those first few days the body’s adjustment to the absence of a heavily-used substance or toxin can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Some treatment centers do not provide detox services, but require several days of sobriety before admitting patients. Coverage of detoxification services, known as “detox,” varies by state.

Residential / Inpatient treatment. These treatment programs require staying at a hospital or residential facility and are meant to create the safe environment that is needed to support recovery.  Programs typically range from acute medical care at 7-10 days to residential stays that can be anywhere between 30 and 180 days. In residential treatment facilities, patients are involved in therapeutic activities 5-7 days per week and live on site. Program content varies by provider, but typically involves a mixture of individual and group therapy sessions, and support groups. Amenities, living arrangements, and activities vary greatly across treatment centers. Treatment centers vary in the type of payment they accept, including out-of-pocket, private insurance and government-funded insurance. Some centers have models where participants work at the center or elsewhere in order to cover board and keep, while others offer scholarships.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP). These treatment programs generally run on an outpatient basis with clients commuting from home or staying in sober living environments.  Patients travel to the facility an average of 5 days a week and participate in treatment for an average of 5-7 hours per day. PHP can be the first step in treatment or a transitional phase from a higher level of care.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP). Clients commute from home or staying in sober living environments in an outpatient care model.  Patients travel to the facility an average of 3 days a week and participate in treatment an average of 3 hours per day. IOP can be the first step in treatment but is generally a second or third step on the continuum of care for severe addiction.  When in IOP, many clients will also be working and participating in outside recovery activities. This is a supportive environment to begin transitioning back into normal life.

Outpatient treatment. These treatment programs are generally constructed for the individual by their primary therapist.  Treatment at this level involves a mixture of individual therapy, medication management (if necessary), case management and outside support groups.  Many individuals will start at this level of care, but their primary therapist may recommend higher levels of treatment. After completing higher levels of care outpatient treatment is a long term support system for individuals integrating back into life. Programs typically range from 30 to 180 days, but can also exceed a year . Program content varies by provider, but typical involves a mixture of individual and group therapy sessions, and support groups. Some providers are now prioritizing outpatient care, with the goal of helping individuals find recovery while in the midst of their normal community.

Support groups. There are a range of group meetings that range in type, style, approach, and impact. Traditional 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous emerged as providers of support, accountability and encouragement, and variations have grown in recent years. Most groups meet in public places like community centers, schools, or churches, and have strong policies of non-judgment and anonymity. Traditional 12-step programs also prioritize letting go of control and embracing of external ideas and a “Higher Power,” particularly through one-on-one mentorship. Other, similar models that do not contain spiritual aspects have also emerged. Studies have supported the value and impact of community-based support (as they’re referred to).

Counselors and Therapists. Counseling and therapy is a central part of addressing mental health challenges, including addiction. There are a range of therapy styles or approaches, and an incredible amount of nuance involved in the letters used to classify counselors and therapists. This article does a wonderful job of laying out these specifics in more detail. Please be aware that some letters only require completion of a high school degree to earn, while others require significant graduate-level coursework. Understanding the level of expertise and education can be important for understanding the quality of therapy. Fit, trustworthiness, and ability to connect with the therapist is also crucial for meaningful therapy.

Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). This treatment type refers to the usage of prescribed medications to help address the physical aspects of addiction, including cravings. Some medications involve blocking the ability of the brain to get “high” from a particular substance, while others offer a lower, gradually weaned dosage of a similar drug or substance. MAT should be accompanied by therapy and counseling in order to address the routes underneath the addiction, and is offered by some treatment centers. MAT is still controversial in the recovery world due to perspectives on programs that only succeed in hooking the addict to an additional substance, or from the viewpoint that it continues the numbing or drugging of individuals instead of helping them heal and experience life.

For many struggling with addiction, several of these types of resources, or several different examples of each type, may be needed in the recovery journey. OneStep recommends working with medical professionals and other trusted individuals to develop a plan for care that suits an individuals’ needs. OneStep celebrates personalized journeys through recovery, with the goal of the individual experiencing greater fulfillment, hope, and health.

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