Do I Need An Aftercare Program?

Addiction treatment is a process. For many people, staying in recovery means they have to continue to work it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addiction treatment programs, a continuum of care is frequently ideal, including an aftercare program.

Not everyone will participate in an aftercare program, but it’s an incredibly important step in recovery for some people.

Below, we talk about what we mean by a continuum of care, what an aftercare program is, and how it could fit into your treatment plan.

What is a Continuum of Care?

In substance abuse treatment, there is a term, continuum of care, which is important. In substance abuse treatment, a continuum of care references offers a wide variety of treatments to meet the particular needs of people in recovery.

The idea of levels of care isn’t exclusive to addiction treatment. It can refer to any situation where patients are guided and tracked through a period of time as they receive comprehensive services in varying intensities.

For example, someone with a chronic health condition like diabetes might receive a continuum of care.

  • The services that are most generally included in a continuum of care for all health conditions and not just addiction treatment include extended, hospital, ambulatory, and home care, outreach, wellness, and housing.
  • You can also break down a continuum of care into four larger categories—planning and management, coordination of care, care-based financing, and integrated information systems.
  • Another way to look at the continuum of care is as a philosophy where you’re getting a patient from a state of illness to well-being. The patient might be gradually transitioning to a healthier state of being over time. 

It’s incredibly important when we’re specifically looking at the continuum of care in treating addiction. Addiction is chronic and progressive; the longer it goes untreated, the more severe it becomes.

  • With addiction treatment, you could begin at the detox phase of treatment, then begin more intensive therapy where you learn about potential triggers and how to overcome them through group and individual counseling. 
  • Treatment might, at that point, begin to include aftercare plans and connections with a recovery support network. 
  • Addiction is not only a chronic illness but also one with high relapse rates. The longer-term a treatment program, and the more it follows an in-depth continuum of care, the more likelihood of positive outcomes.

ASAM Criteria

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has criteria to define a continuum of care. The goal of this criteria is to provide outcome-driven results in treating addiction.

Under the ASAM criteria, there are five primary levels of treatment making up a continuum of care, and decimal numbers are used to show the intensity for each sub-level of service.

These include:

  • Level 0.5 Early Intervention: At this point in the continuum, individuals might receive interventions based on their risk of developing substance abuse problems. They might not meet the criteria for a substance use disorder diagnosis but could have risk factors predisposing them to this potential. The early intervention relies on helping patients understand their risk factors, so they can adjust their behaviors accordingly.
  • Level 1 Outpatient Treatment: At this level, according to ASAM criteria, patients attend meetings that are regularly scheduled. Patients can keep up with their daily routines but still receive professional addiction treatment services. Level 1 can be a bridge for someone who’s not ready to accept a higher level of care, or it can be a transition following the first level of treatment. Level 1 treatment most often focuses on counseling sessions. 
  • Level 2 Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization: This category has two intensity levels. Level 2.1, the intensive outpatient program (IOP), and Level 2.5, a partial hospitalization program (PHP). At this level, someone might receive psychiatric and medical care, medication management, and crisis services. They might also receive links to other support services like transportation or vocational training.
  • Level 3 Inpatient Rehab/Residential Treatment: Residential treatment is where people will most likely benefit from a stable living environment for recovery. There are several levels of intensity. For example, Level 3.1 refers to a low-intensity but clinically managed residential rehab.
  • Level 4 Medically-Managed Intensive Inpatient Treatment: This is the most intense type of treatment. Someone at this level will receive medical care 24 hours a day, including daily meetings with a doctor. Someone receiving this level of care may also receive treatment for co-occurring disorders.

What is an Aftercare Program?

Regarding intensity, an aftercare program is usually considered Level 1 on the ASAM criteria scale, but it can also be more intensive.  

  • Once someone can achieve sobriety after a period of detox and withdrawal, they must continually work to maintain recovery. Recovery in addiction is similar to remission in chronic disease.
  • Aftercare is an ongoing approach to treatment that you participate in after achieving sobriety.
  • Depending on your needs and treatment plan, an aftercare program can take many forms.

Two of the most common aftercare programs are 12-step groups and outpatient treatment.

  • A 12-step program involves a group setting where you spend time with others in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. 
  • You voluntarily share what you’re comfortable talking about and encourage others in a format similar to a support group during 12-step meetings. 
  • The environment is safe and confidential, and participating in 12-step programs is a good way to build relationships with other sober people and deal with stress healthily.
  • There is a spiritual component to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, so some prefer alternatives such as SMART Recovery.

Another type of aftercare can be an outpatient treatment program. 

  • Outpatient treatment might be something that you begin after you receive treatment in a residential setting. 
  • Someone with a less severe addiction could move directly from detox to outpatient rehab.
  • You might participate in individual therapy and group counseling. You could also receive care for co-occurring conditions in ongoing therapy. 
  • Aftercare programs might also be a way to provide resources to people who are dealing with the fallout from their addiction as they return to their daily lives. For example, you may have difficulty finding a job or a safe and secure home when you’re in recovery. It’s tough to navigate life after addiction for some people, which can lead to a higher relapse rate.

Aftercare programs may provide access to long-term support through major life transitions, career counseling, and legal support. 

  • These programs might include coaching, community building, case management, and substance monitoring. 
  • An aftercare program can help provide information resources and connections to affordable housing for a person in recovery, upping their likelihood of long-term abstinence from addictive behavior. 
  • For people with the most severe addictions, aftercare might include time spent in sober living homes, also known as halfway houses. 
  • Sober living homes provide a supportive environment once someone leaves a rehab facility. On the road to recovery, a person may not immediately be ready for re-entry into everyday life after leaving treatment facilities. 
  • Treatment centers might include an alumni program as an effective aftercare program. Alumni programs help you stay connected. 

There’s no one answer as to whether or not you need an aftercare program, but most treatment plans will include aftercare in some way.

Aftercare Program Options in the Bay Area, CA

Aftercare programs are an important way to navigate what your sober life will look like and build a life you can be proud of and thrive in. If you’d like to learn more about addiction treatment, please contact Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089 when you feel comfortable doing so. Treatment for substance abuse needs to put your needs at the forefront of everything, which is what we focus on.

Breaking Down the Reasons for Self-Medicating

Self medicating with alcohol or drugs is a relatively common occurrence with potentially serious complications. When you self-medicate with substances, it can lead to addiction, worsening mental health conditions, and physical health complications.

What Is Self Medicating?

Self-medication occurs when you’re doing anything that’s outside of the recommendations of a prescription or medical professional. You can use it in the context of trying to treat your physical health condition, but we often hear it used concerning mental health.

  • Self-medication can occur with psychoactive substances, including prescription and illicit drugs. 
  • According to the self-medication hypothesis, some people self-medicate with heavy alcohol use, food, and even caffeine. 
  • When you’re trying to boost your mood, reduce your anxiety or deal with your symptoms of depression, you might try substances to help you. According to the self-medication theory, you could smoke marijuana to relax or have alcohol to deal with social anxiety. 
  • You might use Xanax to fall asleep or medications like Adderall to help improve your productivity at work.

When you’re using drugs or alcohol in certain ways to deal with symptoms of a mental health disorder or medication for mood disorders, we can describe it as self-medicating.

You may know you have a mental health disorder already, but you aren’t sure how to use healthy coping mechanisms to deal with it. For other people, the condition is undiagnosed, and they don’t realize how they’re relying on unhealthy coping strategies.

The pandemic in the United States has brought to light just how common self-medication can be. During the COVID-19 situation, there were often memes and online discussions about people using substances and unhealthy strategies to deal with fear, anxiety, depression, and boredom.

Unfortunately, while it might temporarily feel good, self-medication will only worsen your situation and mental health. Many substance use disorders stem from self-medicating, according to previous studies.

This is likely because there is a link between substance use disorders and mental health disorders. If you have a mental disorder like depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, you are at greater risk for drug use disorders and vice versa. 

Reasons for Self Medication

To meet self-medication criteria, you don’t necessarily have to have a diagnosable mental health condition. You could have temporarily distressing or uncomfortable feelings, but if you’re using drugs or alcohol to get through them, we can see this described as self medicating.

We all worry or have times when we’re struggling. These struggles or feelings of sadness, fear, or hopelessness can be fleeting. If they’re not and start to interfere with how you function in your daily life, you could have an underlying condition.

Whether you’re acutely aware of psychiatric disorders or not, you might feel a temptation to cope with what you’re feeling or your symptoms in what can seem simple—having a glass of wine, or taking a pill, for example.

People might also attempt to cope with unpleasant feelings or memories from past experiences, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder. Unresolved trauma, such as being the victim of physical or sexual abuse, can lead you to reach for something to dull or numb what you feel.

Any individual might turn to drugs, alcohol, or other substances for comfort, depending on the person and their experiences.

We briefly touched on some of the substances most commonly used to medicate yourself. More specifically, these include:

  • Alcohol self-medication: Self medicating with alcohol is the most common form, according to organizations like the Mental Health Services Administration. Alcohol, since it’s widely available and culturally accepted, is also one of the most abused substances. When using alcohol for stress, depressive symptoms, or anxiety, it can worsen symptoms because it is itself a depressant, triggering the onset of alcohol abuse
  • Prescription medications: Someone taking prescription drugs as instructed isn’t self-medicating, even when it’s for symptoms of a mental health disorder. Suppose someone takes prescription medicinal products that aren’t theirs or uses one of the drugs outside of how it’s intended and prescribed. In that case, that can fall into the category of medicating yourself. Non-prescribed medications like opioids might be used for anxiety or sleep. ADHD medications can help with brain fog, low mood, or symptoms of depression. Anti-anxiety medications are often used to help people relax or numb their emotional pain. Using a previous prescription that you are no longer instructed to take can also reflect problematic habits. 
  • Illegal drugs: Anytime you’re using an illicit drug or addictive drug such as cocaine, meth, or heroin to deal with symptoms of a mental disorder, it can create significant problems in your life. Illegal drug abuse and substance abuse can significantly worsen psychiatric symptoms. 
  • Food: Emotional eating can be a way to deal with negative feelings or emotions by eating. Emotional eaters might have specific mental health symptoms that they deal with by consuming high-sugar, high-fat or high-carb foods in particular. 
  • Nicotine dependence: While we don’t think about nicotine as psychoactive, it can be, in addition to being highly addictive. People can use nicotine as a medication for mood symptoms like anxiety or depression.
Self-Medicating

Signs of Self-Medicating

While it can look different depending on your situation, some of the signs that you might be medicating yourself include:

  • You use drugs or alcohol when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. Most people have at least very occasionally used a substance to deal with something negative or bad news, but if you’re doing it often to cope or make yourself feel better, it could be problematic. Another example of using substances as a medication tool is when you do it to be more social. For example, if you feel like you have to drink before a social event, you might be attempting to medicate social anxiety.
  • Drugs and alcohol might be making you feel worse. They’re very temporary in the relief they provide, and then they worsen symptoms and negative feelings. Drugs and alcohol reduce your energy levels, lower your immune system, impact your mood, and worsen your overall suffering.
  • A sign that your use of substances is a problem can occur when you need more of whatever it is to feel any relief or desired effects. For example, maybe initially you had a drink at night to relax. Now, you need three or four to feel relaxed. When you have a higher tolerance, you need more drugs or alcohol. As you continue patterns of medicating your symptoms, your tolerance keeps going up. Then, the problems related to substance use will grow until you find healthier ways to cope.
  • Your problems are growing. You started using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress, for example. Now, your problems have only become worse. Your relationships or career might be suffering, and you feel more upset or stressed.
  • You start to feel anxious if you don’t have access to substances. Maybe you worry about a social event where there won’t be alcohol, or you try to stockpile your prescription to make sure you don’t run out.
  • A red flag can be worry coming from your friends and family about your substance use.

The Risks of Coping with Substances

Coping with stress or mental health disorders through substance use creates several serious risks, including:

  • New or worsening symptoms
  • Potentially dangerous interactions between the substances you use
  • The development of new mental health problems
  • Substance use disorders and alcohol use disorders 
  • You may delay getting help when you’re in a cycle of medicating your problems yourself

So what can you do?

The best thing to do is to recognize more consciously what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. From there, you can explore treatment options and mental health care that will help you not only break your patterns of self-medicating but also treat the underlying reasons for self-medication. You have to target those root causes, whatever they may be.

When you have drug use disorders or disorders with alcohol combined with a mental health disorder, it’s known as a co-occurring disorder. 

Common co-occurring disorders with substance use include

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Bipolar disorders

Substance Abuse Treatment in the San Francisco Area

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with our team of addiction specialists confidentially by calling 408-547-4089. We can connect you with Silicon Valley Recovery health care professionals to help you understand why you self-medicate and how to change these coping mechanisms. 

How Does Naltrexone Work for Alcohol?

Naltrexone is an approved medication in the United States that can help with substance abuse and dependence. Initially, for opioid use disorders (OUD), there is also a benefit of naltrexone for alcohol dependence. The naltrexone alcohol relationship is similar to how the medication works for an OUD, and we’ll detail more below.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

First, naltrexone is part of a larger field of medicine called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, according to the Mental Health Services Administration and Health and Human Services. 

  • When someone struggles with a substance use disorder, medication-assisted treatment can help them overcome cravings and withdrawal symptoms, improving their likelihood of remaining in a treatment program.
  • MAT is not supposed to be used on its own. Addiction is a highly complex chronic disorder affecting behavior, emotions, and mental and physical health. MAT can be one part of treating the disorder.
  • Behavioral therapy should be used along with medicines and medical management to take a whole-patient, comprehensive and individualized approach to treating addiction.
  • Along with helping someone initially stop using substances as an initial treatment,  MAT can promote long-term, sustained recovery.
  • The most common use of MAT is in people with opioid use disorders, but people with alcohol use disorders can also benefit.
  • Over the past several years, the prescribing ability of health care providers to give MAT has increased significantly. 
  • For opioid use disorders, in particular, MAT is considered the gold standard treatment approach.
  • When someone takes medications, they can reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and help the brain to stabilize. 
  • Medication-assisted treatments can be used across different environments, including residential rehab and outpatient programs.

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a generic prescription drug the FDA approves for the MAT of opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders. Naltrexone brand names include Revia and Vivitrol.

  • Naltrexone is classified among opiate antagonists, so it doesn’t work the same as opioid medication. When someone takes an opioid antagonist medication, the mechanism of action blocks the opioid receptors in their brains, reducing the levels of craving. Naltrexone can also reduce the euphoric or sedative opioid effects.
  • Opioid analgesics are prescription pain medications that are highly addictive, especially when used at higher than normal doses. Opioid street drugs include heroin. 
  • Whether by prescription or when talking about heroin, these drugs work the same way. They bind to the mu-opioid receptor. In doing so, it reduces the perception of pain. These drugs also create feelings of euphoria and relaxation. They can trigger a reward response, which is why they’re addictive. 
  • The risk of overdose is high. Opioids slow down the central nervous system. If a dose that’s too large is taken, the CNS can slow down so much that a person experiences problems with breathing and heart rate. 
  • Methadone is an opioid agonist, so it has many of the same risks as the drugs themselves, including overdose and abuse potential. 
  • Buprenorphine is also an MAT, and it’s a partial opioid agonist, meaning it partially activates the same receptor sites as the drugs. 

Taking a naltrexone dose for opioid dependence can prevent the drugs from having any effects because of these mechanisms of action. 

  • One of the benefits of naltrexone over some other MATs is that it is not habit-forming, so there’s no potential for abuse or addiction.
  • The medicine was initially approved to treat alcohol dependence in 2006 and sold under the brand name Vivitrol. 
  • In 2010, the medicine got FDA approval as a monthly injection for dependence on opioid drugs. 
  • This medication works differently than other opioid use disorder treatments. For example, methadone and buprenorphine activate the opioid receptors in the body to prevent cravings like other endogenous opioids.
  • Naltrexone binds to and then blocks opioid receptors, so it’s not considered a drug with abuse potential.
  • If a person takes the medication and then relapses with doses of opioids, it will prevent them from feeling high. There aren’t going to be any of the pleasurable effects of opioids. 
  • There is still a risk of an opioid overdose when someone uses extended-release naltrexone or oral tablets for opioid addiction. 

For most people, the side effects of oral and injectable-extended release naltrexone are minimal and may include upset stomach, headache, or diarrhea. 

  • Other common side effects of naltrexone can include abdominal pain and stomach pain, joint pain, muscle pains, muscle aches, and muscle cramps. 
  • Runny nose and symptoms similar to a cold can also occur in some people. 
  • Again, adverse events are pretty rare and usually mild, with doses of naltrexone as a treatment for alcohol dependence and opioid dependence.  
  • If someone experiences severe side effects like shortness of breath, they should need medical treatment. 
  • Some people worry about liver failure, liver damage, or liver disease when using this medicine. If you use it as prescribed and instructed by a health care professional to manage alcohol dependence at therapeutic doses, this is very unlikely. If it’s a concern, your health care provider will monitor you with liver function tests. 

To take this medication, you should have already gone through acute opioid withdrawal and not have used opiate drugs within the past 7 to 10 days to avoid adverse effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

An Overview of Alcohol Use Disorders

An alcohol use disorder or AUD is a medical condition. An inability to stop drinking or control your use of alcohol even though there are negative consequences characterizes alcohol use disorders. AUD can broadly include alcohol abuse, addiction, and dependence.

This brain disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. The long-term changes in the brain stemming from the effects of alcohol can make the risk of relapse high for some people.

Symptoms of an alcohol use disorder can include:

  • Frequently drinking more or for longer than you intend.
  • Wanting to cut down on alcohol or stop drinking but not being able to.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from the effects, like hangovers.
  • Being focused on how badly you want to drink when you aren’t and experiencing alcohol cravings. 
  • You experience problems in functionality in your daily life due to drinking.
  • Continuing to drink even when it impacts your family and relationships negatively.
  • You cut back on or stop doing activities that were once important to you, to drink instead.
  • Finding yourself in dangerous situations due to the use of alcohol, like drinking and driving.
  • Developing a tolerance and needing to drink more to get the desired effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when you aren’t drinking, like shakiness, nausea, or sweating. Withdrawal can indicate physical dependence. 

While treatment of alcohol dependence is very individualized and plans are based on your individual needs, there are usually three categories for alcohol use disorder. Medications like treatment with naltrexone are one category of a possible treatment for AUD.

The next is behavioral treatments, and the third is mutual support groups like a 12-step program. For most people, all three are best.

The Relationship Between Naltrexone and Alcohol

So how does naltrexone work for alcohol?

Many medications for alcohol use disorder make people feel sick after they drink. Naltrexone in alcohol dependence is different. 

  • Researchers believe it works by changing how the brain responds to drinking. 
  • There appears to be a release in endorphins when you have something intoxicating, like alcohol.
  • Naltrexone blocks the endorphins from binding to receptors so that you won’t feel drunk or experience euphoria from drinking.

You can still have the outward signs of alcohol use, but the pleasure of drinking and the rewarding effects go down significantly through the blockade by naltrexone. 

Naltrexone Alcohol

What is Vivitrol?

One of the naltrexone brand names is Vivitrol, and it may be what you hear about most often. Vivitrol is a long-acting injectable naltrexone treatment for alcohol use disorder. 

  • All forms, including the long-acting naltrexone drug Vivitrol, block the euphoria of central nervous system depressants.
  • You take Vivitrol by injection once a month, which helps avoid the issue of noncompliance stemming from taking a daily oral medication. You do have to see a health care provider. 
  • The extended-release injectable naltrexone is gradually released into your system when you receive Vivitrol. 
  • The recommended dose is usually 380 mg, taken every four weeks in an alcohol-dependent person. 
  • Around 14 days after receiving a dose, the concentration of the medication begins to decline gradually, but you’ll continue to have measurable levels in your system.

You can also take oral naltrexone. The oral form of naltrexone doesn’t have to be given by healthcare providers, but you have to remember to take it daily or as instructed. 

Can You Drink When You’re on Naltrexone?

If you combine the two, there don’t seem to be any major naltrexone alcohol interactions. The medicine should help you experience a reduced urge to drink and reduce alcohol consumption, if not altogether abstinence.

However, if you were to drink alcohol with a dose of naltrexone, you won’t become very sick like you would with Antabuse.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in the San Francisco Bay Area

Medication-assisted treatment isn’t for everyone, but it can be highly effective for some when it’s part of a larger treatment plan. The effectiveness of naltrexone for the treatment of alcohol use disorders is good for many people. When the cravings for alcohol go down in response to naltrexone, people can focus more on their treatment and recovery. 

Insurance will often cover some or all of the costs of medication-assisted treatment and rehab and behavioral therapy.

Interestingly, there is growing research and current ongoing study on this medicine, not only for patients with alcohol use disorder or opioid disorders. Low-dose naltrexone is being looked at to help with chronic pain and autoimmune disorders and may even have therapeutic effects for some people with cancer. 

However, the doses used for immune modulation and other therapeutic effects are much lower than when used for the treatment of alcohol dependence or opioid use disorder. 

If you’d like to explore treatment programs in the San Francisco bay area, call Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089. We offer options to detox, reduce cravings, and treat the underlying causes of your addiction. 

What is a Treatment Plan for Substance Use Disorder?

One of the cornerstones of addiction therapy is a treatment plan for substance use disorder. Most treatment programs will not allow you to spend a single day without one. Nobody can find a therapy method that works for them all simultaneously. One of the ways drug rehab is adjusted to meet your requirements is via treatment programs. Your therapy will be tailored to meet your specific requirements as you go through the procedure. Stay tuned to this article to learn more about drug abuse treatment methods.

What is a Treatment Plan?

A drug addiction treatment plan is a thorough declaration of the objectives you want to achieve throughout treatment and what it will take to achieve those goals. You will work with your therapist to create a treatment plan, and your involvement is essential. Addiction is a complex condition, and treatment must be personalized to the individual. Therapy plans are the most personalized components of the therapy process, and yours will be no different.

You may be able to construct a treatment plan on your first day in an addiction or alcoholism treatment program after completing an intake and assessment process. As time passes, your plan will alter. In the early stages of rehab, for example, it may be sufficient to get you through medical examination, stabilization, and detoxification, among other things. After then, your approach may transition to a more in-depth focus on the underlying causes of addiction, such as mental health, social obstacles, and other concerns.

When drafting a treatment plan, the question on the minds of many could be ‘what is the most important goal in dealing with a substance abuse emergency?’ Your treatment plan will have three major components: goals, objectives, and interventions, among others. Following the development of your treatment plan, you will meet with your therapist to discuss it and make any required changes. This reevaluation should occur at least once every week.

Components of an Ideal Treatment Plan

Now that we know what a treatment plan for substance use disorder is, it’s important to examine what an ideal treatment plan for substance use disorder should have. Your emotional, physical, social, and financial well-being should all be considered while developing a treatment plan. This is a living document that should be updated as your circumstances change. This is an outline of a treatment plan below:

Summary of Diagnosis

Your drug use habits, medical history, and mental health concerns will all be discussed with your physician. They will explain the primary issues that led you to treatment, as well as provide suggestions such as medication and behavioral therapy based on these evaluations.

List of Issues

This list explains particular concerns that you wish to address during therapy and a synopsis of the problem’s indications and symptoms. An example of a list of issues for a treatment plan could be:

Problem: Inability to reduce or stop alcohol intake

As evidenced by: Two DWI arrests in the past year

As evidenced by: Heavy drinking (more than 5 drinks) multiple times per week

Goals

Goals are the broad, overarching goals of your treatment plan’s endeavor. They’re typically straightforward and straightforward to describe, but they might be tough to understand and imprecise in terms of how you’ll do them. With an example, it’s simpler to comprehend what a goal is. Abstinence from drug and alcohol use is the most prevalent objective in addiction therapy.

One of the essential goals of addiction therapy is to attain this, but how will you do it, and what actions will you take to get there? If your treatment plan is a trip, the destination is the huge mountain in the distance. You can see it, but not all of the routes will get you there. However, defining a goal is critical for guiding you on the correct path and impacting the remainder of your treatment strategy.

Objectives

An aim is more precise, and there are frequently many goals that work together to assist you in achieving a single goal. Because an objection is clear and precise, it’s straightforward to figure out what it’ll take to overcome it. For example, a goal may be to conduct a biopsychosocial examination with your therapist. For example, in your next group therapy session, you may react to others three times. The routes that lead to the mountain are called objectives. Each week, you will evaluate your objectives with your therapist as you try or fulfill them. Each fulfilled aim should, in theory, be a step toward your ultimate goal.

Interventions

Finally, the intervention is the third component of a therapy plan. A therapist, counselor, or medical professional uses an intervention to assist clients in processing or working through their goals. Interventions may be crucial in assisting clients in progressing through their treatment plan. During therapy, they give responsibility, challenges, and guidance.

Addiction treatment programs are designed to assist you in creating objectives that are meaningful and relevant to you. You’ll be urged to weigh your own goals against the expectations of people around you and devise a strategy for achieving a better lifestyle.

Monitoring and Evaluating Progress

Your doctor must take detailed notes to track your progress and determine whether or not a therapy is effective. This section usually includes information about your response to therapy, changes in your health, and any changes to your treatment plan. They may also ask you to write down your feelings, emotions, and actions.

Making Plans for Long-Term Care

During your treatment, your clinician may bring up long-term maintenance care and relapse prevention. Following the completion of the initial treatment program, your ongoing care plan may include the following elements:

  • Regular attendance at 12-step meetings or support groups
  • Sessions with a licensed professional counselor will be continued.
  • It is not advised to use prescription drugs, particularly medication-assisted therapy for opioid and alcohol use disorders.
Treatment Plan for Substance Use Disorder

Addiction Treatment in The San Francisco Bay Area

Substance Abuse Disorder, in most instances, has a lot of personal aspects to it. It harms your physical and mental health and your ability to interact socially. It can also hurt your professional life, financial security, and personal relationships. Addiction recovery goals are typically influenced by factors like these when you begin your program.

You may want to get back to work, mend broken relationships, or just keep a more upbeat attitude, which can help you lead a more sober life free of drugs and alcohol. To learn more about addiction treatment options available in the San Francisco area call Silicon Valley Recovery at 408-547-4089.

Why Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the Best Option

Towards the end of August 2018, the American Medical Association (AMA) took a bold step when it issued a statement recommending a new approach for legislators to address the spiraling out-of-control opiate crisis. The AMA statement came on the heels of data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning the opiate crisis, including 72,000 fatal overdoses that occurred just in 2017.

The approach the AMA suggested policymakers adopt is called Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). By the end of 2018, more than 15,000 physicians in the United States received a certification to treat opiate-addicted patients with MAT. The participation of a large number of American physicians is one of the reasons why Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best option.

Patric A, Harriss, M.D., who chairs the AMA Opioid Task Force, said in an interview, “We know what works. We can point to states where making access to medication-assisted treatment has been a priority, and the mortality rates are going down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional numbers yet again underscore that this epidemic will not be reversed until we deal with access issues and stigma associated with opioid misuse.”

What is MAT?

MAT relies on medication to help patients with substance abuse disorder to eliminate their addictions. The use of medications in small amounts allows addicts to gradually lose the craving to consume their substance of choice. Physicians certified to apply the new intervention tool have declared MAT does not replace one drug addiction with another drug addiction. The slow transition to a clean lifestyle is one of many reasons why Medication Assisted Treatment has produced favorable results for former addicts.

With a blend of therapy tactics about how to live a sober lifestyle, MAT discovers the root causes of addiction, as well as prevents patients from relapsing into substance abuse. Another reason why Medication Assisted Treatment has started as a success is that physicians can customize treatments to match the factors and conditions faced by a drug addict.

How Does Medication Assisted Treatment Work?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDCA) has approved three drugs for physicians to use for a MAT program. Each of the three drugs offers people addicted to a substance to move away gradually from an addiction lifestyle into a lifestyle devoid of harmful substances. Methadone typically is used for an outpatient or daily inpatient treatment program. Physicians can recommend it in pill, liquid, or wafer form. Methadone tricks the brain into thinking it has taken a dose of opiates.

Administered by a certified MAT physician, buprenorphine is given to patients either weekly or monthly. Considered a partial agonist medication, buprenorphine works like a full dose drug, but the effects on the brain are much weaker. Patients receive the MAT drug in tablet form or by receiving implants or injections. The third MAT drug Naltrexone blocks the euphoria experienced by people addicted to opiates. Certified clinicians administer the medication as a daily pill or monthly injection.

Why Medication-Assisted Treatment

Why is MAT the Best Option?

Both the AMA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have formally endorsed the use of MAT techniques to help people addicted to substances slowly overcome the debilitating lifestyle. The endorsements are just one of the reasons why Medication Assisted Therapy has gained traction in the healthcare industry as an effective strategy for reducing the dependence on hard drugs such as opiates.

MAT has emerged as one of the popular strategies for patients struggling with opiate or alcohol addiction. Here are the benefits of participating in a MAT program.

MAT is Successful

The most significant reason why Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best option concerns the success rate of the intervention strategy. Although measuring the success of addiction treatment involves comparing several metrics, the outcomes are considered among the best compared to other addiction treatment methods. Unlike most other types of addiction treatments, MAT implements a two-part strategy that includes medication treatment and behavioral counseling. The result is MAT is more effective than other addiction treatment programs.

Affordable Treatment Strategy

Because MAT does not rely as much on in-patient treatments for addiction, the cost of participating in the program is more affordable than other treatment options. The pricing of a MAT program differs among patients depending on the type of medication, the frequency of treatment sessions, and where a patient lives in the United States. When considering the cost of other addiction treatment programs, MAT ranks as one of the most affordable treatment programs.

More Freedom for Patients

After receiving treatment for an in-patient program, MAT participants have the freedom to live outside of a medical facility. The additional freedom helps most patients cope with the transition to a more normal lifestyle. At most, outpatient MAT participants receive a daily dose of medication by visiting a treatment center. For a drug such as buprenorphine to treat alcohol abuse, patients need just two appointments per week to eliminate an alcohol addiction.

Ideal Treatment as Part of a Larger Program

Another reason why Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best option regards integrating the treatment program into a more comprehensive treatment program. Certified clinicians can implement MAT techniques as a solo program or as part of a larger program. For example, patients have the choice of whether to participate in group or individual counseling as part of the behavioral component of a MAT strategy. Holistic therapies can support MAT techniques by unlocking the vast potential of the treatment strategy.

Smooth Transition

One of the most difficult challenges to overcome in an addiction treatment program concerns making the transition back to a more normal lifestyle. Temptations lurk around every corner, which can be an issue for someone that cannot handle less recovery assistance. However, MAT has been demonstrated to be an effective way for recovering addicts to return to a more typical lifestyle because they continue with treatments while living outside of a treatment facility.

MAT in the San Francisco Bay Area

The answer to the question, “Does Medication-Assisted Treatment work” is a resounding yes. Not only does MAT improve the survival rate of patients, but it also can help patients secure and keep jobs they would not have been able to maintain while addicted to a drug. 

If you’re interested in medication-assisted treatment for addiction in the San Francisco Bay area then call 408-547-4089 and talk to a member of the Silicon Valley Recovery team!

Overcoming Addiction With A Holistic Approach

Some people might be worried about how to overcome addiction. Addiction is a complex illness with many causes. When overcoming addiction, it’s critical to determine the optimal treatment strategy and approach for individuals suffering from any form of addiction.

All facets of addiction are addressed in a thorough treatment method to lower the likelihood of relapse in the future. This is why addiction is often best treated using a holistic approach. Those who enroll in a holistic addiction treatment program can gain emotional, mental, and physical well-being while removing many forms of addictions from their lives.

What is a Holistic Addiction Treatment

In addition to the person’s physical state, holistic addiction therapy considers the individual’s emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. People frequently confuse holistic care with non-medical care, which isn’t supposed to be so.  Non-medical practices are generally included in holistic care, and however, clinical care is also available. At the same time, some ways of holistic care work to help individuals overcome substance abuse without using prescription medicines, while some other methods work without using prescription medical products.

You can use a variety of therapy modalities in holistic care, such as individual talk therapy, mindfulness meditation training, or massage therapy. A holistic approach to treating addiction from all perspectives aims to address the complexity of each patient. A full recovery is more possible when a holistic approach to addiction therapy is used.

Holistic means considering every aspect of the individual’s health. This means that lifestyle, interests, environment, and everything that has to do with that person are used in the healing process. While physical symptoms of addiction aren’t ignored, they aren’t the focus of treatment. Patients have a better chance of achieving long-term recovery if they are treated as a whole rather than just certain parts of their health.

Advantages of Holistic Treatments in Overcoming Addiction

There are many benefits to using a holistic approach to treat addiction and many other health problems. When you use a holistic approach, it helps uncover the reason for the addiction, and this, in turn, provides the knowledge and means to handle the problem correctly. This proves that when there is a problem in a single area of a person’s life, it affects other areas immensely. A good example is developing an opiate addiction after experiencing emotional trauma or physical pain. They usually develop a habit of not taking of themselves, eating unhealthy meals, and much more. This, in turn, leads to depression, making the process of overcoming addiction harder. 

Thanks to a holistic approach to treating addictions, these habits can be curbed and help the individual maintain a healthy and stable lifestyle. It does not matter if it is for an individual or a group of people at once. The medical teams usually provide the physical activities needed to release the necessary endorphins necessary by the body. They also provide healthy meals or meal plans for the energy and nutrition needed for a speedy recovery. These strategies help the individual with sobriety and balance in life, especially by developing new and healthy habits. 

Common Holistic Treatments

The holistic treatment used by the medical professional depends on the individual and the intensity of the addiction. However, a few of them are commonly used in the healing process. 

  • Recreational Therapy: this is when a certified recreation therapist uses recreation activities to affect the individual’s health positively. These positive effects are usually reflected in the individual’s emotions, spirituality, and physical condition. In truth, it enables the individuals to recreate/reinvent themselves by carrying out activities in a safe and supportive environment. What this process also does, in simple terms, is that it enables the patients to create time for leisure activities.

These activities boost the patient’s mood and also increase their competence and autonomy. Once done correctly, the process improves the overall quality of life of the patient. Besides, it will usually develop into a new hobby that the patient can continue using even outside treatment. With time, they might even meet some new friends along the way!

  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Mental health is a big part of the healing process, and the therapy it requires is quite essential. A dual diagnosis is also called a co-occurring disorder, and it is when someone has an addiction and mental illness simultaneously. This is why treating the underlying mental illness would help the person stay sober. Cooccurring disorders are often visibly seen as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

In this scenario, the patient should get medical attention and counseling sessions from a psychiatrist, addictionologist, and medical staff. The medical professional will inform the family members on recognizing and handling triggering issues before they happen. These medical professionals design programs to break the addiction cycle, and they also help the patient stabilize their moods and teach them how to cope with the problems accordingly.

  • Sensory Integration Therapy: when sensory stimulations are used to treat a person, it is called sensory therapy. This process uses sensory rooms and makes them more aware of the body and how they feel about themselves. Usually, when patients feel depressed or stressed, they try to consume their substances to cope with it. The sensory rooms teach the patient the different ways to handle these feelings the right way. There are usually comfortable seats, cushions, numerous LED lights, calming imagery, music, and sounds in these rooms to impact most senses in the body.

These help the patient be calm and properly explore their feelings spurred by addiction. In this environment, the patient is encouraged to engage in activities that make them feel good and focus on their strengths, personal care, and interests. This way, the patient can recognize distress and anxiety due to the addiction and teach them how to handle it properly. 

Holistic Addiction Treatment in the San Francisco Bay Area

Holistic treatments are not a one-size-fits-all type of treatment. For those worried about overcoming addiction with holistic treatment, there are several methods that the medical expert will recommend to you. These recommendations will be based on your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and the severity of the addiction.

Silicon Valley Recovery makes sure to provide nothing but the best treatment plan for every patient under our care. Give us a call directly to our office at 408-547-4089 to schedule a consultation and begin your journey to full recovery!

7 Facts About Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

When you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, treatment is essential. Interventions for substance use and alcohol abuse are effective and life-changing, but only when they’re evidence-based. Evidence based addiction treatment practices follow the science and research that we have available about addiction. An evidence-based drug treatment program looks holistically at each person and combines this with results from studies from well-known researchers. 

These programs deliver care not just for the symptoms of the drugs or alcohol but the underlying factors in their addiction such as bipolar disorder. The concept of evidence as part of treatment separates the best rehab programs from less effective options. 

Below, we discuss addiction from a scientific perspective and highlight seven key things to know about evidence-based clinical interventions for addictive behaviors. We’ll also talk about how different interventions impact the effectiveness of opioid detox, treatment of alcohol addiction, and other substance use disorders. 

What Is Addiction?

Any substance use disorder is characterized by out-of-control use of a substance, despite adverse effects and consequences. 

  • When you’re struggling with active addiction to alcohol or drugs, you experience impairment in your daily functionality.
  • Addiction can affect every part of your life, including your work and relationships.
  • When you have a substance use disorder or addiction, you experience changes in the function and structure of your brain. The effects of these changes include intense cravings, personality changes, and effects on behavior.
  • We have evidence of brain imaging studies showing that areas affected relate to learning, judgment, decision-making, memory, and behavioral control.
  • Addiction symptoms fall into four general categories: impaired control, social problems, risky use, and drug effects according to the Mental Health Services Administration

At the core, addiction is a chronic disease. 

  • Any chronic illness is one that we can treat and successfully manage but not necessarily cure. 
  • Type 2 diabetes is a comparative example. When you have type 2 diabetes, you can take steps to keep your symptoms in check and improve your quality of life. 
  • Your condition may even go into remission so that it’s not affecting your life. It’s still an underlying chronic disease, but it’s under control.

In addiction and evidence-based practice, addiction management is the crucial goal, often beginning with addiction treatment services. When you’re in recovery, it’s like remission from the disease of addiction.

Treating Addiction

While evidence based addiction treatment is effective for many people, addiction treatment, in general, is complex. There are mental, physical, and lifestyle components that must be addressed when following best practices in addiction treatment. 

The first step in treating addiction is recognizing a problem exists, which can be difficult in and of itself. Recovery delays may happen because people with a substance use disorder might not be aware that it’s a problem, or they may not know the extent of the problem.

Once there’s recognition of a problem, a medical professional can use criteria to make a formal diagnosis of addiction and its severity and begin to recommend appropriate psychosocial treatments. 

The following are seven things to know about implementing evidence based addiction treatment for alcohol use disorders, opioid addiction, and other types of addiction. 

1.) Evidence-Based Drug Addiction Treatment is Science-Based

What is an evidence-based practice for the treatment of addiction? Ultimately, it’s rooted in a range of evidence from researchers, observational studies, and clinical settings. 

Any behavioral health services program using evidence-based treatment relies on strategies previously proven effective for substance use disorders.

In clinical practice, health care providers and counselors use science-support approaches with each patient.

The evidence-based intervention takes the approach that addiction is complex but treatable and affects behavior and the brain. An evidence-based practice center tends to have the best clinical outcomes in the addiction field, using sophisticated knowledge and understanding. 

While we use evidence-based practice interchangeably with evidence based addiction treatment, evidence-based practice is a three-tier therapeutic approach. Evidence-based practice is also known as the concept of EBP. 

  • One tier of EBP dissemination includes scientific evidence for a particular treatment type. 
  • The second tier is a personal and clinical experience for the practitioner and their level of evidence-based skills. 
  • The third tier is the individual receiving treatment. This final tier takes into consideration the preferences and personal values of the individual in the treatment of substance use and in behavioral healthcare. 

2.) Treatment Can Include a Combination of Medications and Therapies

Evidence-based programs often include a combination of medication and counseling and behavioral treatments.

FDA-approved treatments in the addiction treatment field help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings for better patient care. 

  • Medication-assisted treatment can be used for long-term maintenance therapy as well, depending on the situation. 
  • Mediation-assisted treatment has a large body of evidence including observational studies and clinical studies showing it improves success rates. 
  • Methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone are examples of pharmacological, evidence-based addiction treatments that have come about during the opioid crisis. Specifically, they’re for the treatment of opioid use disorder. 
  • For alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorders, there are medications like Campral and Vivitrol, along with Antabuse.

These medications improve treatment effectiveness for many patients. 

3.) Evidence Based Addiction Treatment (EBT) Can Include Multiple Types of Therapy

There is a wide range of therapies and psychosocial interventions found to be effective in the addictions field. 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most frequently used in evidence based medicine and mental health care, according to researchers on addiction treatment.
  • Facilitation of CBT is one of the core evidence based skills that treatment providers should have. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, can help in the treatment of patients with varying mental health disorders as well as addiction. 

Along with CBT guided by a clinical psychologist, other evidence based behavioral therapies used in the addiction treatment industry include:

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Contingency management
  • Dialectal behavior therapy

Regardless of the particular type, behavioral therapy focuses on addressing your motivation to change. 

  • Many types of therapy will also help you build skills to resist cravings and drug and alcohol use. 
  • You can learn through behavioral therapy how to problem solve and develop stronger relationships. 
  • You can also learn how to deal with difficult situations more effectively. 

A therapist should have a substantial body of skillsets when it comes to providing behavioral therapy. 

4.) Treatment Must Be Individual

No two people are the same, nor are their addictions or their experiences. For addiction treatment to be effective and fall into the category of being evidence based, it has to be highly individualized. 

  • There’s not one single treatment that’s right for every patient in addiction treatment settings. 
  • Treatment needs depend on the characteristics of the patient, co-occurring disorders and health conditions, and the specific substance addiction.
  • If you or a loved one have ever gone to treatment and relapsed, it could be due to a lack of individualized treatment.

5.) The Rehab Program Should Be Multi-Faceted

Whether you’re personally struggling with addiction or someone you care about is, you’ve likely seen how it affects every part of a person and daily life. 

  • Evidence based addiction treatment methods and treatment practices rely on proven evidence and scientific literature and the many different aspects of drug addiction
  • Multi-faceted might mean research-based practice in addiction treatment will include a broad range of services. These services might be medical care, vocational training, and resources to help with financial or legal problems. 
  • Comprehensive programs help with treatment retention and patient outcomes as well as longer-term abstinence rates. 

6.) Treatment Should Be Readily Available

The National Institute on Drug Abuse highlights their principles of effective treatment, a research-based guide serving as the basis of interventions. As part of that, the NIDA says that treatment and the implementation process, to be most effective, needs to be readily available.

  • When you’re struggling with an addiction, you may feel nervous and uncertain about going to treatment. 
  • There need to be opportunities for you to utilize available services right away.
  • If you’re trying to help a loved one, it’s essential to know that they may be lost if treatment isn’t available readily and right away, according to medical literature. 

As is the case with other chronic illnesses, the earlier you can receive treatment in your disease process, the better the chances of a positive outcome, based on clinical evidence. 

The duration of treatment is important, but this is also one of the major implementation challenges. When people have drug use disorders or alcoholic addictions, they may want to leave treatment earlier than recommended.

Practitioners have to use clinical research to overcome similar barriers to the implementation of treatment. 

7.) Evidence-Based Approaches Can Change As Needed

Finally, we’re constantly evolving, and with addiction treatment programs, your plan may need to change with your needs. Good, effective treatment based on research and different types of evidence will include continual assessment and modification.

The intensity of a treatment program may change as your needs do too.

If you’re seeking evidence based addiction treatment to meet your needs, please reach out to the Silicon Valley Recovery team by calling 408-547-4089 to learn more about our addiction treatment providers and practices.