Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuitry, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. Individuals with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue to engage in these activities, despite the potential for harmful consequences. In 2017, DMAS launched an enhanced substance use disorder treatment benefit – Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS). The ARTS benefit provides treatment for individuals with substance use disorders across the state of Virginia and expands access to a comprehensive continuum of addiction treatment services for all enrolled members in Medicaid, including expanded community-based addiction and recovery treatment services and coverage of inpatient detoxification and residential substance use disorder treatment. Most people with a substance use disorder can benefit from treatment no matter how bad the problem may seem as professional interventions produce real results for individuals and their loved ones.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Addiction, as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is a chronic disease that changes the reward centers in the brain. While this can involve behaviors like gambling, shopping, or sex, addiction is most understood in terms of substance abuse that fundamentally changes how dopamine and other neurotransmitters associated with the reward system are managed in the brain. Behavioral characteristics of addiction involve an inability to control behaviors, cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and physical side effects, including damage to major organ systems.
Signs of drug addiction include frequent intoxication, hangover or illness, and paraphernalia related to substance abuse. Behavioral changes may also indicate drug or alcohol addiction, and these include:
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Neglecting one’s appearance
- Spending excessive amounts of money on the substance
- Problems at work or school, including poor performance, lateness or absenteeism, and social dysfunction
- Obsessing about the next dose, ensuring a consistent supply of the substance, and worrying about the next source of the substance
- Performing risky behaviors while intoxicated
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to take the drug
- Developing tolerance, so it’s necessary to take more to feel the original euphoria
- Stealing to get the drug
- Lying about consumption habits, or getting defensive or aggressive when questioned about consumption
- Compulsively taking the drug or being unable to stop taking it
The substance use disorder criteria, explained in the DSM-5, allow clinicians to determine how severe a substance use disorder has become depending on the amount of presenting symptoms. Knowing the severity of a substance use disorder assists Addiction Specialists and Doctors in determining the best course of treatment.
The three levels of severity include:
- 1 symptom could indicate an individual is at risk
- 2-3 symptoms point to a mild substance use disorder
- 4-5 symptoms show moderate substance use disorder
- 6+ symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder and addiction
Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Remember, Recovery is a journey, not a destination.
Recovery-Oriented Guiding Principles:
- Recovery emerges from hope
- Recovery is self-driven
- Recovery is holistic
- Recovery is supported by peers
- Recovery is culturally based and influenced
- Recovery is supported through relationships and social networks
- Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility
- Recovery is supported by addressing trauma
- Recovery is based on respect
Addiction Treatment Options in Richmond, VA
People with moderate to severe addiction issues (one or more substances) typically qualify after an initial assessment with our in-house psychiatrist. Treatment plans are evidence-based and successfully help many individuals recover and re-integrate into society as productive, healthy people.
The treatment plan emphasizes:
- Holistic wellness (help for the entire person’s body, mind, and spirit)
- Recovery and long-term resiliency
- Development of coping skills to overcome daily problems and crises
- Patient and family education about addictive substances and the mechanisms of addiction and recovery
- Linkage to community resources and coordination of care for those who need mental health services, foster care placement information, and more
- Intensive outpatient services (IOP) through Suboxone therapy for those addicted to opioid painkillers
Additional Help for Those in Addiction Treatment
Family and significant others play a substantial role in helping those in addiction treatment. As a loved one or caregiver, be sure to:
- Participate in and fully support treatment planning
- Join a support group for families of addicted individuals (Al-Anon, Ala-teen, or a group through Epic Health Partners)
- Attend family counseling with your loved one as recommended by the addiction counselor or mental health professional
- Take care of your personal health needs
Addiction Treatment in Richmond, VA
If you need addiction treatment, visit us at Epic Health Partners. Our outpatient addiction services include counseling, care coordination, support groups, mental health counseling, and more. We feature Addiction Recovery and Treatment Services, or ARTS, which is Virginia Medicaid-eligible and accept referrals from the Department of Social Services, the Office of Children’s Services, self-referral, and more.
If you ever have thoughts of self-harm, call 911 immediately for emergency services. Or, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255). Also, you can text HOME to 741 741, or call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Hotline.