With over 20 million Americans battling addiction in 2016, per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there is a definite need for a wide range of treatment services. Addiction is a highly personal disease that impacts each individual in their own way. Affecting the brain, physical self, emotional state, and behaviors, addiction can interfere with a person’s daily life, disrupting families, social circles, finances, living situations, work and school output, and even potentially leading to trouble with law enforcement.
Drug abuse and addiction treatment can help people to make positive changes in their lives and learn how to live free from the influence of drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that there are over 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities offering a variety of programs and services to foster recovery. In the city of New Orleans specifically, there are many different drug treatment centers and options for care. As addiction is a complex disease, treatment services can take many different forms, all with the ultimate goal of helping people to live healthy, happy, and well-adjusted lives.
Drug Treatment Services Explained
In general, drug treatment programs will usually be offered on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Outpatient programs allow individuals to come and go as needed, and services can often be scheduled around existing obligations, such as work, school, and family duties. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are more structured than general outpatient services. While attending one, a person may spend several hours each day in sessions, workshops, and meetings, go home each evening, and then return the next day. Outpatient services are typically best suited for individuals who are not significantly physically dependent on drugs, have a stable home and family life, and who have work, family, or school obligations that prevent them from entering into a residential treatment program.
Inpatient, or residential, treatment programs usually provide the highest standard and level of comprehensive care. In a residential treatment center, a person will remain on site during the entire program and stick to a highly structured schedule. Residential treatment programs offer around-the-clock support, supervision, and care with many different services and amenities to choose from.
Some of the typical services provided by drug treatment programs include:
- Crisis services: These include hotlines and stabilization programs for people needing immediate attention.
- Assessments: These detailed evaluations help to determine the optimal level and type of care needed for each individual.
- Medical detox: These programs help to manage withdrawal symptoms while drugs process safely out of the body, potentially with the help of medications.
- Counseling and therapy: Group, family, spouse, and individual counseling and therapy sessions help people to recognize thoughts that are leading to negative actions, such as drug abuse, and learn how to work through and change them for the better.
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that nearly 8 million people in the United States struggle with both addiction and a mental health disorder, which are referred to as co-occurring disorders. These require specialized, integrated, and simultaneous care by trained professionals who all work together.
- Medication management: Medications are often beneficial during drug treatment to manage cravings, withdrawal side effects, or symptoms of a co-occurring disorder. During a treatment program, they will need to be managed carefully by medical providers.
- Support services: Often offered as peer-support or 12-Step programs, support groups offer encouragement and understanding for shared circumstances.
- Relapse prevention: NIDA reports that drug addiction relapse rates range from 40 percent to 60 percent, making relapse a common aspect of addiction. During a treatment program, individuals learn coping mechanisms for potential triggers and tools for helping to minimize relapse.
- Holistic methods: Yoga, nutritional planning, massage therapy, spa treatments, mindfulness meditation, acupuncture, fitness programs, art therapy, chiropractic care, and more are all considered adjunctive measures that can work hand in hand with traditional services to promote healing and an improved connection between the mind and body for overall wellness.
- Transitional services: After completing a treatment program, individuals may need a little more time to allow the new habits to become more fixed, and a sober living environment or another type of transitional living arrangement can be helpful. These services help to bridge the gap between treatment and returning fully back into society.
- Aftercare services and recovery support: Many programs and services exist to aid a person during ongoing recovery. These services offer continued support, education, and sober events, often with other alumni of the program.
Regardless of whether a person enters into an outpatient or inpatient drug treatment program, NIDA recommends that the program lasts at least 90 days. Drug addiction impacts wiring in the brain, and it can take time for this to reset. The brain is responsible for all a person feels, thinks, and does, and it needs special care and attention during drug treatment to heal and foster new and healthy connections.
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Getting a Loved One to Agree to Get Help
The vast majority of people who struggle with drug abuse and addiction will not seek professional help, only about 10 percent of those who need it get specialized care, and most who don’t (more than 90 percent) feel like they just don’t need help, the 2013 NSDUH publishes. An intervention can be a great tool for family members and loved ones to use to guide a person into a specialized drug treatment program.
An intervention is a planned and structured meeting that shows a person how their drug use is affecting their loved ones, helping them realize that a specialized treatment program is necessary. The goal of an intervention is to convince a loved one to enter a drug treatment program of their own volition.
It can be very helpful to use a trained professional to plan and execute an intervention, especially if there is any concern that a person will become violent, aggressive, or commit self-harm. When a person uses more than one drug, has a history of suicidal or violent behaviors, or suffers from a co-occurring disorder, a trained interventionist can provide much-needed guidance and support from the initial planning stages of an intervention, through the actual meeting, and into the person’s admission into a treatment program. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) publishes that interventions are successful in getting someone to agree to treatment most of the time (more than 90 percent of the time) when a professional interventionist is used.
INTERVENTIONS ARE SUCCESSFUL IN GETTING SOMEONE TO AGREE TO TREATMENT MOST OF THE TIME WHEN A PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTIONIST IS USED.
To find a professional interventionist, families can contact local treatment providers for a referral. SAMHSA hosts a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator that can connect families with local treatment centers that may be able to offer information on finding a professional interventionist. Primary care providers may have resources for families as well. The professional Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) can also pair families with one of the interventionists in their vast network of trained providers who are fully certified and committed to helping people.
In Louisiana, Family First Intervention offers New Orleans locals resources to plan and host an intervention with their loved one as does the ARISE Network. Both Family First and the ARISE Network provide resources for professionals who are trained and certified in these specific forms of intervention, which differ slightly from traditional models.
What to Look for in a Treatment Center
When searching for a drug treatment center, there are many different options to choose from. It is important to find one that will best fit the circumstances and specific needs of the family. Some people may prefer to work with a treatment center that offers a full continuum of care, from intervention all the way through recovery. It can be very beneficial to work with a treatment provider that will be with the family every step of the way, offering support and information on what to expect.
There are several different kinds of interventions, and one type may resonate more deeply with a family than another. For example, an invitational intervention, such as the ARISE method, differs from a traditional intervention, like the Johnson Model, in that the person battling addiction is involved in the entire process from the start. With a traditional intervention, the actual meeting is often planned without the person’s knowledge, and they are surprised by the intervention. This may be off-putting to some. With an invitational intervention, everyone has input from the start, and no meetings are hidden.
Families may have strong feelings about what kind of intervention they would like to host, and it can be very helpful to find a treatment center that is on the same page. Primary care providers, treatment centers, and professional interventionists can sit down with families to help everyone involved decide on the best course of action and which type of intervention model might be optimal.
It is also beneficial to choose a treatment program with trained providers who are experienced in handling specific concerns, such as co-occurring disorders, violent outbursts, legal or criminal difficulties, or special needs and/or disabilities when applicable. Someone who also suffers from visual or hearing impairment will need special considerations, for example, and family members will need to choose a treatment program that caters to this specifically. Co-occurring disorders are optimally treated in an integrated fashion, wherein both disorders are managed at the same time, and it is important to find a treatment facility that can accommodate this.
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO FIND A TREATMENT PROGRAM WHERE THE PERSON FEELS CONNECTED AND SAFE
It is essential to find a treatment program where the person feels connected and safe, and one that promotes healing for the whole person. Programs should focus on helping a person to heal physically and emotionally, and learn new coping and life skills that are applicable in everyday life.
Peer support is important during drug treatment. There are specialty programs that include groups for older individuals, adolescents, LGBT persons, and people of specific religious and cultural backgrounds, among others. A support group made up of others who have shared experiences and beliefs can be very helpful both in treatment and throughout ongoing recovery.
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Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment Resources in New Orleans
In the state of Louisiana, there are many options for both public and private drug treatment services. Private services are generally self-pay, often accept medical health insurance, and offer a wide range of treatment options and amenities. Private facilities can often work closely with families to set up payment plans, explore loan options, and find ways to budget for and finance drug treatment services. Public programs are often funded by state and federal dollars, and they are open to anyone who needs help even if they don’t have health insurance or the means to pay for treatment services. Public programs may have waiting lists and admit individuals in priority order (e.g., accepting pregnant women and/or those who are in immediate crisis first).
Individuals served through Louisiana Medicaid can access public behavioral health treatment services that are offered through a Managed Care Organization. Within the city of New Orleans, individuals can use A Guide to Behavioral Health Resources in the Greater New Orleans Area to access specialized care and services, including hotlines and local service providers. This guide provides a wealth of information on local resources. The Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) oversees drug abuse treatment services in the state through regional offices such as the Metropolitan Human Services Division (MHSD) in New Orleans, which coordinates local care.
Community coalitions and nonprofit organizations often host local resources and advocate for New Orleans residents who are seeking drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.
Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse for Greater New Orleans (CADA): This nonprofit agency provides assessment, prevention, and referral services to residents struggling with drug abuse and addiction.
Greater New Orleans Drug Demand Reduction Coalition (GNODDRC) Healthier, Safer, Drug-Free: This organization advocates for the prevention of drug abuse, to reduce the stigma of addiction, increased legislative action in support of behavioral health needs and services, and improved access to treatment services for New Orleans residents.
Family Service of Greater New Orleans (FSGNO): This nonprofit organization offers community education and counseling services to local individuals and families.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) New Orleans: This 12-Step program offers local peer support group meetings for those wishing to remain sober.
New Orleans Area of NA (Narcotics Anonymous): Similar to AA, NA provides recovery support through 12-Step support group meetings for those seeking a drug-free life.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Orleans: This group provides mental health support and advocacy for families and individuals struggling with mental illness.