There is no argument that obtaining and maintaining recovery from alcohol and drugs is challenging. The dismal outcome statistics from rehab centers demonstrate that reality. So, for the Providers who wish to improve outcomes, and for the dedicated therapists and clinicians who work with addicted clients what can be done to alter the current landscape in the addiction industry?
Science is moving at a lightening fast pace exploring brain function and neuroplasticity — all of which is good news for those suffering from addiction. Treatment, we know, must be multifaceted, as research has already demonstrated. (Sadly, this approach is still not followed by a large percentage of those offering treatment. However, we will not go into that discussion in this blog)
The route to recovery is as varied as the stories behind each addict. Some people respond well to one type of therapy, such as CBT, while others need more support from 12 Step Programs. Still others do not respond well to 12 Step Programs but do respond to reward/incentive approaches. Designing a program that is comprehensive takes commitment, integrity, financial backing, qualified staff, and vision. The key to creating a fluid, responsive, and appropriate treatment program means providers and therapists must be open to new data and new approaches.
Recently, an NPR health report (1/05/15) revisited a study concerning Vietnam veterans who were heroin addicts during active duty. They received treatment overseas, then returned home and maintained low rates of relapse. Dr. Lee Robins, the lead psychiatrist, collected data at regular intervals. The data revealed that only 5% of those treated in Vietnam and who were back in the States returned in heroin use. Public health campaigns ensued with the belief that if you change people’s attitudes you change behavior. In some circumstances that was and is true, however, with addiction it is not necessarily true.
The lessons learned from the study revealed that when behavior is repeated, it is more difficult to change. This has been proven many different ways. Also proven many times since the initial study– change the environment and behavior and short circuit the triggers. Researchers discovered that alterations in one’s environment and attitude were significant in keeping these soldiers clean and sober. But, the changes do not have to be drastic to get positive results.
Small Changes Makes the Difference in Securing Addiction Recovery
Changing the environment and the behavior do not have to be dramatic to achieve dramatic results. The example given in the report was to challenge a trigger by making a shift: eating ice cream with the non-dominant hand could disrupt the trigger to binge on ice cream. Given the same environment with the same cues, the person binging on ice cream will not resist the triggers. Changing the hand used to eat the ice cream alters the sensations and short circuits the trigger.
We have discussed in early blogs about creating new brain pathways that reintroduce the addict to natural pleasures: a sunrise, a walk along the beach or exercise. These simple behaviors manifest new approaches to living life and create new pleasure pathways. This slight shift in the environment, physical sensations, and rewards (feeling good) do have a profound impact upon everyone, not just those in recovery.
Utilizing Recovery Passport Solutions clients in treatment and aftercare develop new life skills, track emotions and behavioral patterns, and learn to avoid triggers, and negative thinking. Our electronic applications work with all electronic platforms. Our programs are multi leveled geared to assist every aspect of treatment and aftercare. The best part is these applications are simple and fun to use. They help close the distance gap between therapist and client and the client and their sober network.
Reaching clients across electronic platforms is crucial. Research illustrates that participants, who use electronic applications to communicate with their therapists, engage in the process more, participate in self-esteem building games and life skill exercises more regularly and tend to complete treatment and maintain recovery longer. Even those who relapse fare better. The length of time using is drastically reduced because clients maintain their connection through these applications. Surprising but true!
Another tool in the arsenal treating substance abuse is here. Imagine reinforcing positive behaviors, improving therapeutic sessions, teaching life skills, creating sober communities and more without adding more personnel.
Recovery Passport Solutions makes it all work together.