Three new Carle Addition Recovery Center (CARC) providers will help expedite care when someone reaches out.
“Our front door, so to speak, now leads directly to the doctor’s office,” said CARC clinical supervisor Todd Beard, LCPC. “People are living their life – feeling overwhelmed and seeking help – but often encounter barriers to receiving prompt care.”
More robust staff and offerings at CARC can help.
Previously patients completed an assessment with a therapist before receiving medication or speaking with an addictionologist, a physician specially trained in addiction medicine.
Beard said that model wasn’t wrong, but accessing addiction medicine providers sooner offers a huge relief to people. They can receive medications quickly to help them remain sober and begin their healing process.
“It’s hard to make progress if someone is experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms – like physical pain, sweating, tremors, diarrhea, sleeplessness, hallucinations, seizures or vomiting,” he said.
Beard said helping someone through the first five to eight days provides great benefit.
“With just a little help, they can begin therapy free from the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol,” Beard said.
With the addition of skilled providers comes a shift to motivational interviewing, a newer model for this region.
“We’ve shifted from a ‘get and remain sober’ model toward supporting people with substance abuse disorders for the long-term,” Beard said. “We need to continually reinforce we’re walking beside them during their journey and be sure they know that if they slip, we’re still going to help.”
The goals remain the same.
“We want sobriety, and we achieve that a lot, but we don’t want to turn someone away because they feel they can’t be honest with us,” he said. “If someone comes to us as a recovering alcoholic and heroin user who then reveals they smoke marijuana, we want to know that, rather than have someone feel they have to hide other addictions while making progress on others.”
Beard said because substance disorder is chronic, people can relapse.
“That’s OK. We spin their focus back to continued successes rather than harp on a misstep,” Beard said.
Elise Wessol, DO, agrees.
“Addiction is often viewed as a moral failing,” she said. “A person doesn’t choose to become addicted. It’s a brain disease, and we need to treat and manage it similar to chronic conditions like diabetes and heart failure.”
She added early recognition, treatment and intervention work best by calling on her partners in Pediatrics and Primary Care who help with early identification.
“Trauma or adverse childhood experiences present a real barrier to sobriety,” Beard said. “When you have traumatic reactions, they can push you back to drugs.”
Working with licensed professionals, Dr. Wessol said it’s possible to treat the entire disease, not just the symptoms.
“Our counselors can help people recovering from addiction address those underlying mental health concerns as well and have a profound impact on meeting our community’s needs,” she said.
Categories: Staying Healthy