When someone has a heart attack, recovery is relatively clear. They head to the emergency room for immediate care, develop a comprehensive treatment plan with a cardiologist, and are supported by friends and family.
Unfortunately, it’s a different story for people who live with another serious disease: substance use disorder (SUD), commonly known as addiction. Stigma may prevent people with SUD from seeking help, and it can be hard to know what high-quality treatment addiction treatment looks like.
Luckily, this isn’t a mystery. Decades of research prove that effective addiction treatment relies on the same pillars as most chronic diseases: treatment when needed, comprehensive care, and science-based solutions.
Most people who are hospitalized will see a specialist soon after discharge. That’s not true for people who have an overdose or addiction-related crisis. Due to limited space in most inpatient recovery programs, patients with substance use disorder often encounter weeks-long waitlists.
But time is of the essence. The sooner a person with SUD enters a scientifically based program, the quicker they begin to recover. Fortunately, the increasing availability of outpatient addiction treatment centers in Lima is making it easier for people to get help.
Outpatient addiction treatment facilities don’t have bed shortages or long waitlists — in fact, many offer 24/7 call centers where people can schedule next-day appointments. Even better, some outpatient treatment centers offer medical, counseling, and social services to people who walk into a center on weekdays.
Addiction is caused by a complex combination of physical, genetic, social, and even emotional factors. It may run in the family, be a response to depression, anxiety or mental illness, or develop due to trauma or severe stress.
With so many different causes, a one-size-fits-all treatment doesn’t work for substance use disorder. Reaching long-term recovery requires a comprehensive blend of medical, social, and lifestyle treatment tailored for each person’s unique needs.
This may include medication to reduce physical cravings; individual counseling to treat anxiety, depression, or mental illness; group therapy; and social support to help with food security, housing, job readiness, reliable transportation, and more.
Every patient is unique, and so is his or her experience with SUD. That’s why recovery requires broad-based, individualized treatment.
When it comes to treating high blood pressure or heart disease, doctors have established procedures backed by decades of research. Doctors don’t expect people to just “quit” heart disease. Why should addiction be different?
It isn’t. A large body of research provides evidence-based practices for treating SUD. Institutions like the National Institute on Drug Abuse recognize these strategies as the gold standard for addiction treatment, including medication assistance when appropriate, social support, and comprehensive care that addresses all causes of a patient’s disease.
Hopefully, the more we accept addiction as a disease that deserves proven medical treatment, the more we’ll also understand how important it is to treat people with dignity, respect, and compassion – regardless of where they are on their path to recovery.
Anne Adkins MSW, LISW-S is a local Clinical Supervisor for BrightView’s. Area residents can call 833-510-HELP 24/7, receive immediate attention at the Lima center at 1505 North Cole Street until 3 pm weekdays, and get more information at www.brightviewhealth.com.