Addiction care is expensive, and you want the very best care at the best value for your loved one. You also want a good fit and the best possibility for a good outcome. Treatment centers are not all alike, nor do they have the same services or philosophy. Personality matters, too.
Rehab used to mean professional healthcare therapies to improve, maintain, or restore physical strength, cognition, and mobility. Usually after illness, injury or surgery.
Advice to the younger, more codependent me from the stronger, more independent me – thanks to nine months in the rooms of recovery. When your loved one is in Detox:
Is it safe to send a teen back to school with his or her dealer? No! Recovering from addiction almost always requires a change in how we deal with people, places, and things. That’s why the McShin Foundation partnered with St. Joseph’s Villa to open the McShin Academy, Virginia’s first recovery high school. Continue reading “Is Recovery High School Right For An Addicted Teen?”
Kevin Drouin set out to protect his family from drugs, but he soon found himself searching a local rehab center. He gives us the inside scoop of what goes on in rehab and the one question every family should ask.
Kevin Drouin and his family live 20 minutes north of Boston, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. More drugs flow through Lawrence than Boston; it’s the center of the Northeast drug trade. With drugs come overdoses, and no one is safe. Day after day, young people from good families in very affluent neighborhoods are dying. Two years ago, amidst this growing epidemic, Kevin asked himself a tough question, “What if it were my own child?” His answer, “Get a dog that finds drugs.” Thus, Kevin’s business, Tough Love Intervention, was born.
When Kevin Met Moxie
Formerly trained for police work, Kevin was able to purchase Moxie after her original assignment fell through. Labrador Retrievers are very social, and they are eager to please, making them highly trainable. They also have soft mouths, so they won’t bite. Above all, Labs have an excellent sense of smell. Moxie’s sense of smell is more than 100 times greater than Kevin’s.
After completing her initial training, Moxie learned how to detect various drugs. Moxie is trained and certified to detect:
- Crack Cocaine
When Moxie Goes To The Rehab Center
Even though Tough Love Intervention is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, their presence sends a ripple of fear throughout the rehab center. Why? Because not all treatment centers are secure. In the past two years of searching with K-9s, Kevin has uncovered this inherent truth,
“If you force someone into treatment, that isn’t ready, they will pollute everyone in the facility.”
Moxie and Kevin have found drugs in a patient’s nightstand under a Bible. At another location, Moxie found drugs stashed inside a porta-potty. Recently, the pair was searching a young girl’s room. She was only 25 years old. It was her fourth relapse and fifth treatment center.
People go to rehabs to get clean, so the idea of drugs at the center is shocking at best. In the worst cases, it’s deadly. “Treatment centers have new addicts coming in every day,” Drouin explains. Jails are secure because they continually conduct strict searches. Rehab centers don’t have that luxury. One rehab Kevin worked with knew their food wasn’t so good. When they let patients order pizzas and subs, drugs came in too.
Ask The Expert
Parents often ask Kevin, “Where should I send my son?” His answer is simple,
“Every treatment center will look you in the eye and tell you they have a zero tolerance policy. Ask them, ‘How do you maintain that policy?’ Make sure sober means sober. Treatment means treatment. Detox means detox.”
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Tough Love Intervention is one of Recovery Guidance’s founding professionals. Click here to find out more about the services Kevin and Moxie provide.
Nay-Sayers say, “Recovery doesn’t work,” because they know someone who relapsed just a few weeks or months after rehab. Recovery is possible, but it takes more than a 30-day fix. In fact, millions of people have found successful recovery and rebuilt their lives using these 7 keys.
1. The Patient Wants A Successful Recovery
Can you force the patient into treatment? People ask us this question daily. Ultimately, yes, in some cases patients can be forced into treatment. But a better case scenario is when the patient is ready to get help. We understand how hard it is to watch another person’s addiction. You feel helpless and beyond scared. While you wait, you can set boundaries and research treatment options. Once the patient is ready, you’ll be able to present lots of information.
2. The Patient Gets A Complete Physical
Every day people have a beer or take a pain pill without getting addicted, so why did this patient get addicted? Genetics, past abuse, trauma, and mental health issues can all contribute to addiction. When the patient sees a physician for an honest and complete physical exam, all of those factors can be addressed. Each patient deserves a personalized, comprehensive evaluation prior to treatment. Patients who have the most success talk to their doctor about:
- Any prior diagnoses of substance use
- Mental and general health problems
- Family, social and environmental problems that could affect the course of care and potential for relapse
3. The Patient Has A Long-Term Treatment Plan
Like most other chronic health illnesses, substance use disorders require ongoing treatment. When a patient is first diagnosed, care is often intensive. The first phase is detox. Once their condition and cravings are stabilized, patients upgraded to either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Sometimes outpatient treatment lasts 12-36 months. Depending on the severity of their disorder, some patients have more months of outpatient care than others. In all cases, on-going treatment solidifies successful recovery.
4. The Patient Sees A Doctor During Treatment
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 8 million Americans with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Common mental health problems include:
Likewise, substance use and long-term alcohol consumption lead to many physical health problems like:
- Chronic pain
- Sleep disorders
- Infectious illnesses (e.g. HIV, HCV, TB)
Your physician is a key team player. Doctors can recommend alternative medicines that won’t compromise your recovery. Likewise, doctors can help get your physical health back on track.
5. The Patient Gets Counseling
Behaviors play a big part in addiction, but therapy can help. Patients need to learn new coping skills, and they need to learn about boundaries. Additionally, they need guidance in navigating relationship conflicts. All of these types of therapies help the patient learn healthy new behaviors:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Individual Supportive Psychotherapy
- Families and Couples Therapy
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy
6. The Patient Takes Meds
Some patients use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate chronic pain while others are escaping a painful past trauma. According to SAMSHA, two out of three people in treatment were victims of child abuse. Others might be suffering from a co-occuring mental health problem. Anti-depressants and other meds can help. Also know as MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment), doctors can prescribe meds that help reduce cravings. Some of these medications even create an adverse reaction if the patient relapses.
7. The Patient Has On-going Recovery Support
The first 30 days of treatment intensely focus on saving a patients life and changing a gripping habit. Unfortunately, the patient still needs help tackling these three issues:
- Where to live
- Where to work
- Who to live with
For a successful recovery, the patient needs help transitioning back into life. Group meetings like NA and AA have helped many. Other patients may want to stay in a half-way house or have ongoing outpatient treatment. Most importantly, patients need a strong support system. Recovery doesn’t happen all alone.
* This Recovery Guidance Exclusive was adapted from 2016 Surgeon General’s Report.
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Is Methadone Dangerous?
The FDA schedules drugs to classify their risks vs. benefits. Risky drugs without redeeming benefits are banned from medical practice; these are schedule one drugs. Methadone is a FDA schedule two drug, and it’s in the same class as:
Drugs like codeine cough syrup, a schedule five drug, are less risky.
What Does It Treat?
First, it’s a narcotic pain reliever that lasts longer than heroin and short-acting narcotics like Percocet and Oxycodone. Second, it’s also used in Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) because it is an opioid replacement medication. In clinics, a person addicted to heroin or other narcotics takes methadone instead of the drug that gives them a “high.” Doctors then gradually lower dose the dose.
Why Is There So Much Controversy?
The Pros: Methadone reduces the drug cravings and harsh withdrawal symptoms. It helps lower the risk of relapse. About 4,000 inmates at Rikers Island in New York have taken it and shown promising results. Dr. Lipi Roy is the former chief of addiction medicine for New York City jails. He explains,
“People who are on this medication, when it is prescribed and used appropriately, and people are monitored, they not only live, they can thrive.”
The Cons: Federal laws dictate the med must be dispensed from a clinic. Some of these clinics are run as pill mills, and prescribing patterns vary from clinic to clinic. It’s a long-acting opioid, so patients who take too much risk an overdose. In fact, in 2014 Methadone was on the list of ten most deadliest drugs. Further, some traditional 12-step programs are critical of methadone use because they feel people are substituting one addiction for another.
Need help but not sure where to start? Click on the orange bar above to take our self-assessment.
A Recovery Guidance Exclusive By: Dr. Gail Dudley
Gail Dudley, DO, MHA, FACOFP, is board certified in four areas of medicine. For more than twenty years Gail Dudley had a busy family practice with a hospital and nursing home component. Dr. Gail now works full time for a company that has contracts with Medicare and Medicaid to evaluate fraud, waste and abuse in the medical world.
Searching for effective addiction treatment can be overwhelming. There’s many, many options, and each option offers many, many choices. Since almost all of them promise a full recovery, it’s hard to know which service you need or where to even begin. Here’s ten simple facts to put your mind at ease before you start searching.
1. Addiction Can Happen To Anyone
And anyone can be addicted to any number of substances such as:
- Stimulants (amphetamine, Ritalin, methamphetamine)
- Sedatives (tranquilizers, sleep medications, anti-anxiety medications)
- Opioids (heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl, and prescribed pain relievers, such as oxycontin, vicodin and lortab)
You can become addicted if you just drink beer. You can become addicted if you just use marijuana. Because some of these substances are more powerful or potent than others, addiction can be faster with them. All of the above substances can produce an addiction.
2. Virtually All Addiction Begins During Adolescence – Over 90%
Many wise, older people think young kids get addicted because because adolescence is a period of experimentation and rebellion. On the contrary, addiction so often begins in adolescence because drugs affect the brain. Developing adolescent brains are more vulnerable.
The adolescent brain (12 – 25) is more susceptible to drug effects than the adult brain.
3. Addiction Is Not Related To Intelligence Or Social Standing
Many intelligent individuals from “good families” become addicted.
4. Addiction Is Partially Hereditary
Like most other chronic illnesses, addiction is more likely among those who have an addicted family member. Addiction is also more likely among those with a psychiatric illness like depression, anxiety, or thought disorder. This is why smoking marijuana every week may be harmless to some individuals, but it’s seriously addicting to others.
5. Addiction Is A Chronic Illnesses That Affects the Brain
Addiction is a chronic illness or disease. This disease affects the motivational, stress and inhibitory circuits of the brain. As a result, the new brain functions sometimes lead to disturbing behaviors like:
- Inability to fulfill promises
- Mood changes
Addiction does NOT happen all at once, and sometimes it takes years of substance misuse to produce these brain changes. These changes last for many months, even after the substance use stops. Some people may never return to their “normal” pre-addictive functioning.
6. Most People Who Become Addicted Ultimately Recover
People who struggle with addiction are not a lost cause. Recovery rates for most addictions are similar to the recovery rates for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Recovery really means three things:
- Eliminating or significantly reducing all substance use. Uncontrolled substance use is the cardinal symptom of addiction.
- Improving overall health and function. Stopping substance use will be hollow unless it is accompanied by improved quality of life.
- Learning to recognize and self-manage threats to relapse. Returning to normal life involves cravings and relapse threats, but these can be managed.
Over 4 million formerly addicted individuals are now in stable recovery. Many people recover without treatment, but good treatment accelerates the process.
7. An Addicted Person Doesn’t Have To “Hit Bottom”
Some people say, “there is nothing you can do until a person is ready to stop,” but this simply isn’t true. Families and society in general can help people find recovery in two ways:
- By applying constructive but steady pressure
- By assisting in the treatment process
Many people seek recovery because someone gave them an ultimatum. Yet others get into recovery after trying many options. To be successful, people need continuing support from a boss, spouse, or family member.
8. There Are No Short-term Treatments
Have you heard about ultra-rapid detoxes, one-week detoxes and 30-day programs? All of these can be helpful, but they are just the beginning phase of treatment. None are effective by themselves. Like all other chronic illnesses, recovery is more likely with continuing care and monitoring.
9. Medications Can Help Gain And Maintain Recovery
The FDA has approved medications help people recovery from cigarette, opioid and alcohol addictions. At this point, not all treatment providers offer these medications. These medications aren’t appropriate for all cases, but many people find medications to be an important piece of their treatment plan.
10. Family Participation Improves Their Recovery
What can you do to help?
- Support your loved ones. Your constructive support and encouragement is invaluable.
- Learn about their treatment and respect their choices.
- Be willing to un-learn some destructive attitudes and behaviors. (All families have them.)
- Share responsibilities for developing new, constructive attitudes and behaviors.
Good treatment involves the whole family. Now that you are armed with the truth about addiction and treatment, click here to take our our self-assessment guide.
To find the BEST treatment center, first we have to define best. Do you want the best price? The best location? The best counselors? What are you looking for, and how can you avoid making a fear-based decision out of desperation?
1. Consider The Motives For Treatment
Treatment centers must make money to keep operating, and every center is likely to claim they are the BEST treatment center. When you ask them about their facility, what’s their motive? What’s their main selling point? Do they have a heart for helping people? Are they successful? When they look at a potential client, do they see a person or dollar signs?
Also, consider your own motive. Are you choosing the first option you find out of fear? If you are helping someone choose a center, does the patient have a voice? Treatment will be more successful if the patient has a say in the decision.
2. Consider Which Treatment Works Best For You
Pause to consider diabetes. Diabetes is a life long diagnosis. Sometimes it is caught early and can be managed by lifestyle changes. In other cases, diabetes can be controlled by taking a pill. Sometimes, the case is so severe that monitoring and injections are required multiple times every day. Deciding the best treatment for diabetes requires some patient education and sometimes a second opinion. The same principles apply when treating addiction. Commonly, people look at these three choices for treatment:
Residential Treatment – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Also known as inpatient treatment, residential usually lasts 30 to 45 days. The good:
- It’s a great way to kick start your recovery.
- You are immersed in meetings with other people going through the same challenges.
- You have support and monitoring during detox.
- Residential treatment gives you a break from your addictive lifestyle.
The bad news about residential treatment is:
- The costs for residential treatment can be staggering, even after insurance covers some of the cost.
- Leaving your job or responsibilities for 30 to 45 days may not be an option.
Some ugly sides to inpatient treatment have been making news headlines. Terms like “body brokering” and the “Florida shuffle” shine a light on how vulnerable our population is. Remember these keys to keep you safe:
- Ask hard questions. Put the staff on the spot and make sure everybody has the same story.
- Trust your gut instinct.
- The more expensive the program doesn’t mean a better outcome.
Inpatient treatment isn’t the only answer. Outpatient rehab lets patients keep up on their responsibilities. This type of treatment is longer, sometimes up to three years long. Outpatient treatment gives the patient more support, flexibility and stability. For many, a long-term commitment to an on-going program often means long-term success.
Long-term Inpatient Treatment
Extended or long-term inpatient recovery facilities treat the most severe addiction cases. This type of program might be a good fit for patients who haven’t found success in outpatient or inpatient programs. Patient suffering from a dual-diagnosis may also find a place here.
Long-term inpatient treatment usually lasts three months or longer. As a result, patients have more time to rebuild a healthy lifestyle. Conversely, this much care is more expensive and a greater risk to the patient’s employment.
3. Consider Alternatives To The “BEST” Treatment
These types of treatment aren’t your only option. Recovery Guidance has an exhaustive list of Recovery Centers as well as Recovery Physicians and support group meetings. Additionally, Recovery Guidance lists AA and NA meetings. To find a meeting, click on the Recovery Centers tab. You can use the Search By Name box to enter a meeting type like AA or NA.
She’s had ANOTHER DUI. He lost ANOTHER job. That’s it! We’re staging an intervention!
Addiction leaves a wide path of destruction, and people are exhausted from fearing the worst. We hope our loved one, who might be angry at first, will admit the problem and promise to quit. Then we hope they actually keep their promise.
Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t plan interventions. In reality, interventions are risky and messy. They can backfire, plain and simple. Before you set the stage for disaster, consider these five don’ts.
1. Don’t Point Fingers And Lay Blame
Saying how you feel works best. Some examples:
- I am afraid I won’t have money for groceries
- I am afraid we’ll lose the house
- I’m terrified you’ll get arrested or die
- I want to know where you are after 10:00 p.m.
- I need to have the car to drive
2. Don’t Make Threats You Won’t Keep
Before you intervene, decide which behaviors you can and cannot accept. What will you do the next time unacceptable behavior occurs? Be honest with yourself about your limits. Will you be strong enough to do what you say?
3. Don’t Be Afraid Of Silence In The Intervention
Even though you may feel hurt and betrayed, an intervention is not the time to point fingers and lay blame. Write your thoughts down before the intervention. Be brief and amazing. A popular recovery tool says to:
“Say what you mean. Mean what you say, and don’t say it mean.”
Practice your speech. Stay calm. Be specific when talking about incidents and issues. Focus on how you feel instead of what they are doing. Then wait. In silence.
Give your loved one time to process what just happened. Then wait some more. If you do not care for their response, consider keeping quiet. Smile if you can.
4. Don’t Give Up
Interventions are hard for everyone involved, and emotions may run high. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is step back and let everyone regroup. The last thing you want and the substance user needs is to feel like everyone is against them. Try to see your loved one as someone else’s child or spouse.
If the intervention doesn’t go as planned or you believe it failed, reconnect with the substance user. Assure them of your love and support. This doesn’t mean that you have to placate them or tell them you didn’t mean what you said.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
A trained professional can help reduce these risks and keep the intervention from going sour. Recovery Guidance lists Recovery Professionals like counselors and interventionists, who specialize in this type of care. You can find resources in your area by clicking on the Recovery Professionals tab and selecting the Intervention Services specialization.
Be sure to:
- Ask about the professional’s credentials and certifications.
- Make sure you are both on the same page for the intervention.
Recovery Physicians can also help your family discuss abuse concerns and treatment options.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here to try our self-assessment guide.