Blog | Pacific Bay Recovery - Part 2

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Exams and Tests for Drug Abuse and Dependency

A high index of suspicion is required for patients who show signs and symptoms of drug abuse or dependency. A complete evaluation of the patient is necessary, including physical examination and laboratory investigations. The clinical diagnosis of the patient is facilitated by the presence of specific signs – for example, nasal ulceration in cocaine abuse. Nevertheless, it is common for patients to have non-specific complaints related to drug withdrawal. A wide range of signs and symptoms has been attributed to drug abuse, including constricted or dilated pupils, coarse voice, abnormal heart rate, enlarged liver and collapsed veins.

Drug Addiction Treatment San DiegoDiagnosis of drug abuse is largely dependent upon the identification of important clues from patient history. For example, these may include frequent road traffic accidents, workplace absences, episodes of domestic violence, chronic pain with no underlying cause and a recent onset of seizures. The CAGE questionnaire is helpful in the diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and ideally, should be used to ensure the documentation of important information regarding alcohol dependency in a patient. It is also used as a screening tool to identify alcohol abuse and dependency. In terms of drug abuse, the Conjoint screening test is the tool of choice.

Substance abuse, in general, can lead to neuromuscular symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and rigidity. Psychological symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, confusion, slurred speech, irritability, a staggering gait, and hallucinations. Psychological problems always arise with CNS-acting drug abuse and confuse the clinical picture. The inspection of body and clothes of patients can provide additional evidence regarding drug abuse, for example, an alcoholic odor in the person’s breath, needle marks on their arms, residual cocaine around the nares and clothes that are stained with alcohol.

Laboratory investigations should be suggested if a clinical suspicion arises. Laboratory tests do not have diagnostic accuracy in detecting drug abuse. A few tests can help in identifying patients with drug abuse and they can also give information about chronic intake of specific drugs. They are also of value for the detection of organ damage from chronic drug abuse. Blood samples can be taken to run drug toxicology screens and measure Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). The toxicology screens identify the pharmacological class of drugs.

 Drug metabolites are accurately detected in saliva and urine, therefore urine samples are useful in measuring hourly drug clearance. Positive findings in toxicology screens emphasize the need for confirmatory tests. Enzyme-mediated Immunoassay Technique (EMIT) is also used to confirm the presence of drugs in the bloodstream. In most cases, only metabolites of a particular drug are detected in significant quantities; traces of parent drug or complete absence thereof can make interpretation difficult, as metabolites of two or more different drugs can be similar. False negatives are common and can be brought about by additional drugs taken for the sole purpose of elimination. These drugs act as a ‘mask’ for the original drug being tested.  Other tests, such as gamma glutamyl transpeptidase and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), have a role in identifying alcohol abuse.

Crystal Methamphetamine; How it Works?

Crystal methamphetamine, also called methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine, is in the form of the chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine. On the street, it is simply known as “meth.” In the crystalline form, this drug is known as Ice, Tina, Glass, or Crystal. Typically, users smoke this drug in a glass pipe, but it is often dissolved in water and injected, snorted, or swallowed. Many women use crystal meth to lose weight, but the effects are usually short term. The body grows a tolerance to this drug, so the weight loss stops after six weeks of regular use.

According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 12 million people in the U.S. have tried methamphetamine at least once, but over 1 million people used it on a regular basis the year prior to the 2012 survey. There are serious psychological, medical, and social consequences associated with methamphetamine abuse, as it can lead to memory loss, psychotic behavior, malnutrition, and serious dental problems. This drug also contributes to an increased risk of obtaining a blood-borne disease, such as hepatitis or HIV.

Methamphetamine AddictionYour Brain on Meth

Crystal methamphetamine increases dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter, which is involved in motivation, reward, pleasure, and motor function. This drug has the ability to release the dopamine rapidly, so the brain produces a quick “flash” of reward. This leads the user to become addicted and experience chronic relapses and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

Methamphetamine Effects

Many methamphetamine users enjoy this drug because it produces a long-lasting high and causes numerous neurotransmitters to be released in tissues of the brain, which leads to a sense of euphoria. That high often lasts up to 12 or more hours, depending on the person and how the drug was originally taken. As a popular stimulant drug, crystal meth improves energy, concentration, and alertness, but decreases appetite and fatigue. Many meth users report an increased enjoyment in sexual activity and libido.

There are several associated effects linked to pure methamphetamine use. Crystal meth is never pure, so the dangers associated with this drug go beyond regular side effects and known signs. Commonly reported immediate effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness and energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Jaw clenching
  • Increased libido
  • Elevated heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar levels

The effects of chronic use include tolerance, temporary weight loss, drug cravings, the rapid decay of teeth (“meth mouth”), and drug-related psychosis. When a person overdoses on crystal meth, they experience a sense of flesh crawling, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, brain damage, muscle breakdown, cardiac arrest, stroke, and/or hyperthermia.

The Ingredients

Methamphetamine is available by prescription for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity, and narcolepsy. This street drug is made in illegal labs in homes, however. The making of crystal meth involves the use of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, which is an allergy and cold medicines. The “red, white, and blue process” is where red phosphorus, white ephedrine, and blue iodine are used to make hydroiodic acid. This type of drug is highly dangers, as the phosphorus with sodium hydroxide produces a poisonous phosphine gas, which can autoignite or blow up in the home. In addition to these substances, makers often use ether, chloroform, acetone, ammonia, methylamine, hydrochloric acid, lithium, and/or mercury to make crystal meth.

Alcohol Abuse and Treatment

It isn’t what you plan, but sometimes, drinking causes you to cross the line from the occasional use or social use to problematic everyday drinking. This leads to alcoholism or alcohol abuse, which is related to genetics, social environment, and psychological issues. Certain ethnic groups are more at risk for alcohol abuse than others, such as Native Alaskans and Native American Indians. Alcoholism tends to run in families, too, and heavy drinkers suffer from numerous mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Do I have a Drinking Problem?

Drinking is more acceptable in many cultures and the effects of alcohol use vary from person to person. When social drinking becomes problem drinking, then the alcohol is in control. You may suffer from alcohol abuse if you:

  • Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
  • Feel ashamed or guilty regarding your drinking.
  • Need to drink for the purpose of relaxation.
  • Experience “blackouts” after drinking.
  • Have family members or friends who are concerned about your drinking.
  • Drink to excess on a regular basis.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Substance abuse physicians and counselors do not consider alcohol abuse to be the same as alcohol dependence, which is essentially alcoholism. Alcohol abusers do have the ability to limit their drinking, whereas alcoholics do not. However, excessive use of alcohol is dangerous and self-destructive either way. The common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Continuing to drink regardless of problems in relationships, work, or other.
  • Repetitively neglecting responsibilities due to the drinking.
  • Using alcohol while driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Having repeated legal problems due to the drinking.
  • Drinking to relax or reduce stress.

Alcohol AbuseWhen Alcohol Abuse turns into Alcoholism

Not all people who use or abuse alcohol develop full-blown alcoholism. However, frequent abuse of this substance is a major risk factor for alcoholism. Certain losses or tragedies often trigger binge drinking or other substance use issues. When a person becomes reliant on alcohol in order to function or feel physically well, then he or she is considered an alcoholic.

One of the first warning signs of alcoholism is tolerance. This is when you can drink considerable amounts without getting drunk or feeling “buzzed.” Tolerance is when a person requires more and more alcohol in order to feel the same effects. Another warning sign is withdrawal. This is when someone has certain symptoms when alcohol has not been in his or her system for a while, such as tremors, anxiety, or mood swings. In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol causes hallucinations, seizures, nausea, vomiting, fever, and confusion.

Denial of Drinking Problems

Denial is the biggest obstacle when considering rehabilitation (rehab) for alcohol abuse or dependence. For many alcoholics, the desire to drink is so strong that it causes problems with rational thinking and the consequences are ignored. Denial also leads to serious problems with relationships, work, social life, and finances. A person who is dependent on alcohol will deny this by:

  • Downplaying the amount he or she drinks.
  • Avoiding accepting consequences that are related to drinking.
  • Complaining that friends and family members exaggerate regarding the problem.
  • Blaming the drinking on other people or things.

Illicit Drug Abuse

Illicit drug use and abuse often lead to severe consequences, as in jail time or a prison sentence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 70 percent of prison entrants report using substances in the year prior to incarceration. Men are more likely than women to have used drugs before entering prison, also. Among young people aged 18 to 44, around 73 percent have used an illicit drug during the previous 12 months.

Illicit drug use and addiction is one of the worse types of addict problems. Illicit drugs are illegal to make, use, and/or sell, and include cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and various hallucinogens. Also, most of these substances are highly addictive and carry serious health consequences and risks, even when consumed in small or infrequent doses. While it begins as experimentation, illicit drug users often find themselves dealing with the mental and physical effects of the drug and withdrawal from the substance. A person can become addicted easily and endanger the safety and health of others. Researchers have found that addiction is a brain disease, which is characterized by chronic relapses and abnormalities in certain brain pathways.

Categories of Illicit Drugs

Illicit drug effects are dependent upon the substance. The main categories are opioids, stimulants, sedatives, and hallucinogens. These drugs are categorized based on their effects. These include:

  • Opioids – Painkillers and heroin that alter chemicals in the brain responsible for mood regulation, slow down the central nervous system, and decrease breathing effort.
  • Stimulants – Methamphetamines, and cocaine lead to increased heart rate, excessive brain activity, and a state of hyperactivity.
  • Sedatives – Drugs such as Xanax and Valium are sedatives, and these cause a slowing down effect, drowsiness, and confusion.
  • Hallucinogens – LSD, mushrooms, and marijuana can alter the perception of time, space, and reality.

The Signs of Illicit Drug Addiction

There are certain behaviors that indicate an addiction to an illicit drug. These include:

  • Aggressive behavior, violence, and/or mood swings
  • Unusual or sudden change of energy level
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using a certain drug
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Chronic mental and physical health problems
  • Inability to attend work or social activities
  • Legal consequences, such as loss of job or an arrest
  • Behavior that violates values and/or morals for the purpose of getting a drug

Treatment Options

  • Inpatient rehab program – This is best for individuals who suffer from severe illicit drug addiction. Doctors, therapists, and counselors monitor the addict to provide safety and a healthy environment for recovery.
  • Outpatient rehab program – These facilities work for the addict who wishes to maintain his or her job or for those who have families. The person attends group activities and classes at the facility but returns to home and daily activities.
  • 12-Step program – NA and AA are both good 12-step programs that offer support to people with addictions. These programs use the 12-step concept in order to help a person manage obsessions and compulsions of addiction.
  • Psychotherapy – Drug addiction often coexists with emotional and or mental health issues. This can lead to self-destructive patterns without appropriate psychotherapy.
Narcotics Anonymous
Drug Addicts Anonymous
National Institute on Drug Abuse
American Council for Drug Education
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence 

Why should I choose an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

Recovery from substance abuse is a step-by-step process. After medical detox, people go through different types of treatment – inpatient and outpatient. Read on to learn how an intensive outpatient treatment helps you recover allows you to choose a program that’s right for you.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

While people undergoing treatment for drug abuse get clean and come back to normal lives, recovery is a lasting commitment. Addiction treatment begins with drug detox after which individuals enter an intensive drug addiction rehab program.

Some people can’t enter an inpatient program due to personal and professional commitments. For them, an outpatient treatment program is best. It allows people to continue with work, school or family obligations.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

Intensive Outpatient treatment brings the benefits of recovering while staying within one’s own family or community. Family members can offer them support to overcome addiction. In addition, career or educational responsibilities may help some people stay focused and successful during the recovery process.

After inpatient treatment, individuals may have to face the challenge of managing temptations and triggers, which were absent in the rehab but are there in the outside world. Losing the peer support might be a setback to some. Outpatient treatment does not present these challenges since the individual recovers at home and learns to manage triggers and cravings since the beginning of treatment.

Apart from this, intensive outpatient programs give you structure and support while allowing you to live at home. You undergo daily therapy sessions that gradually become less intensive. This helps you transition back into your home, life, and career while getting the necessary support.

Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

If you or a loved one is seeking addiction treatment, and ant to recover at home instead of checking into a rehab, it is important to understand the difference between outpatient program and intensive outpatient program.

Many drug rehab centers offer inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. It is crucial to learn how these programs benefit patients to decide on the best level of treatment for your or your loved one’s specific needs.

Outpatient Treatment

As the name suggests, outpatient treatment is a part-time treatment program. During this program, the individual can stay at home and visit the rehab for specific therapy sessions. For example, you may attend counseling about four times a week with each session lasting two to four hours.

Outpatient rehab helps you recover with regular therapy and counseling sessions but you do not receive round-the-clock care, which may be required in some cases.

But some patients may require a structured treatment plan to recover and avoid relapse. In such cases, outpatient rehab alone might not be enough. It may be the person’s immediate environment, home, workplace or social activities that triggered substance abuse. If s/he can’t get out of that place, staying sober may prove to be a challenge.

Intensive Outpatient Program

An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, also doesn’t require living at a facility. But compared to an outpatient program, it requires more time commitment and attention. Intensive Outpatient Program can become the perfect bridge between inpatient rehab and outpatient therapy.

For people trying to establish careers, or those with busy lifestyles, don’t have to deviate from their demanding schedule to recover successfully.

An intensive outpatient program is appropriate for people who need a higher level of care but are still able to function at home. It’s also good for individuals moving from a more demanding treatment program, such as inpatient rehab, to a more flexible program.

Making a Choice between Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Program

A person suffering from a severe addiction may benefit from an inpatient program. Undergoing detox and living at a rehab can reduce the chances of relapse. If an intensive outpatient program is added, it can maximize your chances of success.

The best way to determine the treatment option for your situation is an intake assessment. Qualified de-addiction specialists evaluate your condition and overall health to determine an addiction treatment program that would be best for your needs.

Techniques for Dealing with Mental Urges

Mental Urges - Heroin Drug RehabEvery person who is recovering from addiction will experience uncomfortable urges and cravings for his/her drug of choice. This is normal recovery behavior. Fortunately, these cravings usually pass with time. When you are first starting rehabilitation, these things are normal, so expect them. We offer some helpful techniques you can use to deal with mental urges.

Number 1:  Learn to Resist Cravings

For many individuals carvings and urges to use or drink will trigger automatic responses. These are unconscious thoughts and feelings. Learn to say no to these ingrained, intense desires. With the SMART Recovery Program, there is an easy to remember acronym DEADS. Each letter stands for one technique. These include:

D: Delay – Because mental activities associated with urges and cravings disappear over time, delay these thoughts and maintain your attention. With time, they will run their course and just go away. If you don’t feel they are gone in 15-30 minutes time, call someone in recovery or talk to a counselor. The best way to delay urges is to deny them and do something else.

E: Escape – Simply leave or go away from the urge or situation. Leave the bar, leave the market where wine is displayed, or turn off the television where you see something that triggers your urge to use again. Escaping the trigger gets your mind focused on something new. This, in turn, quickly lessens the urge to relapse.

A: Accept – You need to put your cravings and urges into perspective understanding they are normal with recovery, and will soon pass. When a recovering addict learns the process of addiction and accepts this discomfort, he/she can refrain from drug use. You understand that these feelings won’t kill you, and before you know it, they are gone.

D: Dispute – You now need to dispute these irrational mental urges. Keep telling yourself that you are in recovery and going to beat the addiction. Dispute these urges when they occur, and this will help them pass by more quickly.

S: Substitute – When you get a mental urge to use, substitute an activity or thought that is more fun or beneficial. This includes walking, hiking, and swimming, going to a movie, or taking a scenic drive. The possibilities for substitutions are endless, and these things lessen cravings. Before you know it, you won’t crave drugs at all.

Number 2:  Keep a Record of your Cravings and Urges

Many recovering addicts find it beneficial to write down the circumstances that led to the urges and cravings. Make a note of what you were doing when the urges hit, and what you were feeling and thinking. By documenting these things, you may see a pattern emerge. This way, in the future, you will know how to avoid this.  

Recording your cravings and urges may help you recognize the origins of your addiction, which is one of the first steps to identifying coping mechanisms. When an urge to drink alcohol or use drugs strikes, note the intensity of the urges and which coping behaviors helped you get over it. Before you know it, you will not only be able to bypass these cravings but will understand how to avoid them.

Number 3:  Make a Guideline to Use 

In a small notebook, use the following format to make a guideline for documenting your cravings and urges.

  • Date and time – While tedious and time-consuming, this will help you record any patterns that emerge.
  • Situation – Includes environment and situation. This way you have your feelings and thoughts associated with the actual situation.
  • Craving intensity – On a 1-10 scale, document how strong the cravings and urges were.
  • Coping behaviors – Note which strategies you used to help cope with the mental urges. If the strategy helps, note effectiveness.

Number 4:  Try Urge Surfing

Urge surfing is a technique many people in recovery use to cope with their mental urges. This involves gritting the teeth and letting the cravings pass. Some urges are overwhelmingly strong, particularly when you first go into your old using situation or environment. This technique is called urge surfing because the urges feel like ocean waves you must surf through.

Like ocean waves urges start small and then get larger, gathering momentum until they break or crash on the shore. With urge surfing, you simply tough it out and allow the cravings to pass by. The basis of this technique is similar to many martial arts techniques. You first overpower an opponent by going with the force of an attack. Then, you redirect your energy to your advantage.

The Relapse Prevention Plan

People who have a history of alcohol or drug addiction know that getting clean is tough, but staying sober tougher. Addiction affects 23 million Americans, and it costs society billions each year. Because returning to the addict way of life is a possibility, you should plan specific ways to prevent relapse. This involves understanding the challenges you face. Find out why the relapse prevention plan is one of the most crucial components of recovery.

When you make a relapse prevention plan, it is important that you recognize and respond to the early warning signs of relapse. Before things spin out of control, you can stop relapse quickly. Statistics show that two-thirds of people who finish rehab and attempt recovery will relapse. This does not mean that rehab has failed, however. When in recovery, you should address your problems and devise a plan. This way, you can better face the cravings and urges when they do occur.

How to Create a Plan

A relapse prevention plan is a vital part of addiction treatment, and it is also used in 12-step groups and support groups. Counselors and rehab workers will help you go through the planning process because others may see things you do not realize about yourself. Other people are a good source of support during addiction treatment. A written relapse prevention plan can act as an inspiration and guide as you go through addiction treatment. The plan can be shared with other recovering addicts and is a valuable tool when you feel like you are on the verge of relapse.

Here are the steps to creating the relapse prevention plan:

  • Examine your use history and previous relapses – Once you are sober and stabilized, start the relapse prevention plan by looking at every stage of your life. Examine patterns of using alcohol and drugs, examine your compulsive behaviors, and consider consequences. It helps to identify why you relapsed, so you can feel more in control of your recovery.
  • Know warning signs and ways to manage them – The warning signs of relapse are red flags to you. These are signs and symptoms that occur right before actual physical relapse. These include anxiety, moodiness, fantasizing about drug use, loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, sadness, not going to meetings, avoiding clean friends, seeking out using friends, and planning your drug use. It often starts with subtle warning signs, but then, full-blown drug use occurs.
  • Have a support network – If you don’t have supportive people in your life, get some. Build a team of people you can depend on, vent to, and discuss your problems. These could be family, friends, counselors, therapists, support group members, or clergymen. It is important that you remove yourself from people that trigger drug use.
  • Have an emergency relapse plan – This involves a detailed plan for yourself when you feel like using drugs and/or alcohol. Strategies include authorizing someone to step forward and place you into treatment should you relapse. This could include daily 12-step meetings, talking with counselors, or starting outpatient therapy.
  • Prioritize your overall well-being – Make yourself a priority. Plan lifestyle changes that will improve your mental and physical health. Start exercising, learn to prepare healthy meals, and add yoga or meditation to your daily routine. These things help to control stress and combat boredom. Many mental health problems often co-occur with substance use, so see a therapist to work through your problems.

Buprenorphine and Opioid-Dependency Treatment

Opioid-AddictionBuprenorphine is a partial opioid-receptor agonist used in high dosages to treat the opioid-dependence disorder. This semi-synthetic opioid derivative of thebaine/paramorphine (an opiate alkaloid) is popularly used in Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT) or opiate-drug detoxification process, which helps reduce or completely cease chronic addiction to heroin, morphine and other opiates. Short or long-term opioid replacement therapy using buprenorphine is more effective when practiced through a ‘whole-patient approach’ with behavioral interventional therapies and psychological support, given through one-to-one guidance counseling.



Methadone SolutionComparison with Methadone

Buprenorphine, also a partial opioid agonist, is just as effective as methadone, having a similar mechanism of action. These drugs negate the potential of any life-threatening respiratory depression or stress known to occur in heroin abuse. Buprenorphine also has fewer side-effects when compared to alpha-2 agonists, since withdrawal symptoms resolve quickly in shorter duration than methadone or clonidine. Buprenorphine’s long-acting opioid effects increase on regular administration until they level off at a certain dosage; thereafter, drug-effects would not escalate even if the dosage is increased. This is called the ‘ceiling effect’, which helps reduce the chances of drug misuse or dependency and helps control other side effects of the drug.

One of the major advantages of buprenorphine is that it does not require a highly sophisticated clinic setting for treatment, like in the case of Methadone. Buprenorphine is the first medication, which can be dispensed directly to the patient through a physician’s prescription. This ease of treatment methodology has increased access to the drug, which can be prescribed in any setting, be it a doctor’s office, private health clinic, community hospital or public health department. Though therapeutic efficiency of buprenorphine is identical to methadone, it is not the commonly preferred treatment of choice for patients with high level of physical dependence on opiates. Common side effects of buprenorphine use are fever, fatigue, muscle cramps, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, stress, and irritability.

Phases of Buprenorphine treatment

  1. Induction is the primary administration of buprenorphine to an opioid-dependent addict. One important condition to start this drug treatment is abstinence from opiate-consumption for at least 12 – 24 hours before buprenorphine ingestion. If the patient is not in the early stages of withdrawal and still has opioids circulating in their bloodstream, severe withdrawal symptoms may set in, upsetting the treatment course.
  2. Stabilization phase is when the patient has ceased or greatly reduced their opioid abuse habit and do not experience cravings or side effects. Buprenorphine dosage may be reduced from daily to an alternate-day regimen, due to the long-acting nature of the drug.
  3. The maintenance phase is when the patient is showing steady recovery while on continuous buprenorphine treatment. The length of maintenance on the drug is customized according to every patient’s needs and could also go on indefinitely. Medically-supervised withdrawal or tapering the dosage helps in making the transition to a drug-free state smoother. To prevent chances of relapse back to the old addiction, the patient is recommended to continue rehabilitation through psychiatric guidance and counseling.

Buprenorphine Misuse Potential

Mild opioid effects of buprenorphine’s intake are usually misused by many, especially by those who have no opioid dependency. To forestall diversion from treatment course and prevent the likelihood of drug-misuse, Naloxone is added along with buprenorphine as it blocks opioid withdrawal symptoms.

What is Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment?

Outpatient substance abuse rehab involves the patient traveling to a center to attend therapy sessions and can return home the same day. While you may be discharged from inpatient rehab because you are doing well enough to go home, you may still need ongoing support and continual accountability to succeed. That is what outpatient rehabs can provide you.

Who is a Candidate for Outpatient Treatment?

An intensive outpatient treatment program offers detox and recovery services through counseling, medication, and support services. Outpatient programs are ideal for those who suffer from mild to moderate addiction.

What does Outpatient Treatment involve?

The initial visit begins with a detailed psychological assessment. Skilled mental health and addiction professionals guide the patient through medically supervised stabilization, which integrates the person into counseling sessions. In addition, medication treatments are initiated.

Intensive outpatient treatment involves a “step-down” level of care program, which offers a flexible alternative to day treatment or residential inpatient care. Patients receive an initial assessment, 12-step multidisciplinary therapy, referrals to community services, and ongoing social support. Depending on the person’s needs, clients can attend treatment 2-4 hours a day, 2-4 days a week.

What is the duration of outpatient treatment?

The duration of an outpatient treatment program varies according to the extent of the addiction, the specific needs of the client, and the philosophy of the facility. Most recovering opiate addicts can expect to spend one to three months receiving outpatient care. However, most serious cases require up to a year or more for proper treatment. Long-term outpatient rehabilitation offers extended counseling for those who are at great risk for relapse.