Substance abuse (using drugs, drinking too much alcohol, etc.)can lead to significant problems in many areas of a person’s life, such as problems with work or school, relationship problems, or using substances in unsafe situations. It is a growing issue with almost 20 million Americans aged 12 and over reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) as having a substance use disorder.
Substance abuse is a recognized medical brain disorder and can involve the use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, or legal substances such as alcohol or prescription medication. The good news is that, with the appropriate treatment and ongoing support, a person affected by substance abuse can successfully recover and lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
Let’s talk about how a substance abuse program works, and where you can go throughout Virginia to finally take control of your life.
Elements of a Substance Abuse Program
Substance abuse programs consist of three main elements:
The assessment of the individual is done to ensure that the individual receives the appropriate treatment for substance abuse. The assessment is a thorough evaluation carried out by a licensed counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist.
It uses criteria as delineated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is used to diagnose all categories of mental health issues – including mild or temporary ones. The assessment can include the following tests:
- Medical evaluation
- Psychological testing
- Cognitive testing
- Psychiatric evaluation
- Toxicology screening and lab testing (such as blood, saliva, and/or urine tests)
The assessment aims to evaluate the severity of the substance abuse. It also allows the medical team to gain as much information as possible and get a better understanding of the cause of the patient’s drug use.
It explores areas such as:
- Medical history
- Family’s medical/behavioral history
- Treatment/medication history
- Details of substances being used (including the frequency, quantity, and circumstances that give the patient the impetus to use the substance)
- Symptoms relating to substance abuse
- Pattern of behavior
You and your behavioral counselor will then explore the type of treatment that is best suited to your individual needs and preferences.
#2: Therapeutic Treatment
Therapeutic drug treatment includes a range of therapeutic techniques to provide physical, mental, and emotional support to individuals who have substance abuse disorders. It can help to educate and provide integration of coping skills to reduce usage, identify triggers associated with substance abuse, and prevent relapse.
Therapeutic techniques may include:
- Psychological counseling (talk therapy)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychoeducation (regarding substance use disorders)
- Brief strategic family therapy
- Group therapy
- Solution-focused brief therapy
- Interventions to address any co-occurring mental health disorders
- Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
#3: Experiential Therapy
Experiential therapy is a broad term that encompasses a number of different types of therapy, and it can be implemented in addition to (or as a substitute for) talk therapy. Experiential therapies are typically used in conjunction with therapeutic medication treatment, and they have been found to be highly effective in the treatment of substance use disorders – particularly for individuals who find conventional talk therapy difficult or unhelpful.
The concept behind this therapy is that by getting involved in different types of activities and experiences, the individual can get in touch with issues hidden within their subconscious. Experiential therapy programs can include:
- Music therapy
- Art therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy, such as equine or canine therapy
- Psychodrama (drama therapy)
- Outdoor/adventure therapy
- Meditation therapy
- Play therapy
- Poetry therapy
Substance abuse programs require commitment, perseverance, and significant lifestyle changes in order to be successful for the individual. To get the most from treatment and to prevent relapse, these programs also require the cooperation and support of those involved with the patient, including healthcare professionals, family members, and friends.
Substance Abuse Program in Danville, Martinsville, and Richmond
If you are seeking effective support for substance abuse, contact the highly qualified and compassionate team of providers at EPIC Health Partners. We provide clinic-based and community-based services for adults and children who are exhibiting symptoms of substance misuse or other mental health disorders.
EPIC Health Partners’ Addiction Recovery and Treatment Services (ARTS) is an outpatient-based program that focuses on the reduction of moderate to severe substance use. Our psychiatrist is certified in addiction medicine and provides evidence-based treatment to support recovery.
We will assess and identify your personal issues, and provide a course of treatment that is designed to help you recover and lead a productive and rewarding life. We offer a variety of services, including individual, family, and group counseling, and we work with local community resources to ensure all providers are effectively coordinating care.
To find out more about our ARTS program or any of our other services, contact EPIC Health Partners today at (434) 835-4601 or use our convenient Request an Appointment online form. We look forward to serving you!