How Best to Treat Addictions

Why You Should Seriously Consider Our Intensive Outpatient Program to Effectively Deal with Addiction Issues

Alcohol/substance abuse or other behavioral addictions/problems are serious concerns. They consist of habitual, self-destructive behaviors that have usually come into being over many years. They are resistant to change and are not quickly remedied. In the beginning, they usually provided relief or escape from problems or started out as a way to have fun. For some percentage of people, there was an abnormal escalation in frequency and quantity that has resulted in negative consequences in their lives. When someone gets to that point, they may decide they need to cut back our limit those habits. Sometimes, that’s successful. Sometimes it is not and more problems occur. When people can’t quit what they were doing, even though they’ve tried on their own, the substance abuse or behavioral abnormality is usually spoken about as an “addiction.” They may then seek outside assistance and resources for help. With general naivety, they may not be sure what will help the most, so they may initially look for a counselor. This is generally a good idea, but what then? When someone comes to one session a week of an hour for counseling, consider that intensity level. How much is that really?  I believe much more is needed.  The problem is not a small one.

Most counselors, even those who have experience dealing with substance abuse or other addictions, start off this way. This approach might work for some people, if their problem is not great or of a long-standing nature, or if they’ve never ever tried on their own to quit. But for those whose efforts have failed in the past, much more is needed. Often, however, there is a level of denial with respect to how serious the problem really is. When this happens the power of the problems is underestimated and people usually encounter more failures. Of course, the most intensive way to treat these issues is by residential treatment where someone goes off for a month or more and gets their life back on track. This is great, but has many drawbacks. The two principal impediments have to do with the astronomical cost and the ability to be away from real-life obligations and financial income, for at least a month.

Now, we come to the best option: Intensive Outpatient Treatment. There are a myriad of benefits to this approach. First of all, when someone commits to an intensive program that includes 10 hours per week of treatment over an eight week period that is oriented toward providing support and solutions for the problem; that, in itself, is more effective. Now, there is a long period of time over which a person can implement various resources and begin to make their own plan of recovery and success while continuing to get input and feedback from their supportive group. Make no mistake; the need for a person to get rehab help in a group is essential. There are many benefits: they are not alone in their dilemma and will be able to identify with other people’s problems and be able to offer and receive constructive feedback and ideas from their peers. People in a therapy group dealing with similar issues ALWAYS become cohesive, care for each other, and hold each other accountable. That bond is extremely important. It is a new way of relating in a meaningful way with other human beings.

Intensive outpatient programs allow people to work or go to school during the day and still come in the evening several nights a week to intensively address their situation. They provide help at a fraction of the cost of residential treatment. They allow local family members/spouses to be regularly involved in the process of healing. Family/spouse involvement is paramount. In weekly multi-family groups, a realization dawns that everyone in the family is affected and each person has a part to play in healing. Families/spouses need education about addiction and direction about how to set loving but firm boundaries and learn how to take care of themselves in a healthy way without “enabling.” In weekly individual/family sessions, personal issues unique to each person/family can be explored in more depth.

Twelve-step recovery principles have always proved an effective resource to help people with a desire for recovery. In an intensive outpatient program, twelve-step meetings are mandatory and people can be familiarized with the bedrock concepts that make that program work and get a chance to practice it for many weeks. Over the course of treatment, twelve-step program concepts can be discussed in incorporated into a long-term, continuing recovery plan. Random drug testing that occurs in outpatient programs helps to build trust among families and offers concrete proof of sobriety.

It should go without saying that building a recovery lifestyle involves many changes. People need to learn new healthy ways to cope with stress, identify and express feelings, manage anger, communicate effectively, have real fun and enjoyment in their lives, and relate genuinely to their loved ones and friends. All these things can be accomplished in our intensive outpatient program for just a few weeks of commitment.

It must make sense that all of the preceding elements could not possibly be accomplished by going to counseling for one hour a week. Our program at A Turning Point accomplishes all of the foregoing elements, and more. We are a small, private, individualized program. Our group size ranges from 3 to 5 people. At the same time, we are also able to effectively address other co-occurring disorders like depression, bipolar, or anxiety, for example, with licensed therapists who have had a tremendous amount of experience in the addiction field. As healing progresses with other emotional issues, sobriety become stronger. I believe in “throwing the kitchen sink” at this problem, meaning doing EVERYTHING possible to help. We use all approaches available, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), Solution-Focused approaches, Reality Therapy, Existential Therapy, and include accountability, peer support, individual/family therapy, hypnotherapy, educational information, you name, we do it. We customize your treatment to fit your needs, work with your schedule, see what is best to help you and do it. As a private facility, we can do that.

It makes sense that no one is completely “cured” after just eight weeks. Having a continuing recovery program plan is essential. At Turning Point, we provide ongoing free weekly aftercare groups as a stage-two plan that allows successful program graduates to continue coming back weekly at no-cost in order to continue their success and become mentors and role models for new group members. If you or a loved one can identify with anything in this narrative, the first step is to call us and come in for an initial assessment to see if we can help you to a better life. You CAN have a Turning Point in your life. Just do it.

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