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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday's Mental Health Tips: Overcoming Addictions

Thought for the Day: On Tuesday's, I have been sharing some of the questions and answers I have given on HealthTap on various Mental Health issues. This week, I chose one about drug addiction. I have given a more detailed response than I can provide on HealthTap, but you can see the original post and follow my other answers on my HealthTap virtual practice by clicking on my name below.
Today's question was:

Who should I see for my anxiety from extreme drug cravings? Addiction counselor? Therapist? Drug detox? CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)? I can't get rid my substance abuse mindset.

Dr. Barbara Lavi answered:
Which drugs?
     Although all drugs are addictive, detox from some drugs is more dangerous than others. Some addictions should be treated in inpatient facilities. To assess where to go for treatment (inpatient or outpatient) a good evaluation is needed. Several factors are involved in the decision. Here are a few important issues that a professional will consider in an evaluation: 1) What is your drug/drugs of choice; 2) how often are you using; 3) how long have you been using the drug at this level; 4) what is the longest you have gone drug free since you began using drugs; 5) do you live alone, 6) if you live with others, are they also using drugs and/or alcohol, 7) have you tried to stop on your own unsuccessfully; and, 8) have you ever felt suicidal? Contact a treatment facility that specializes in drug treatment as soon as possible and get evaluated. They will help you decide which treatment program is right for you. 
     The choices for treatment programs range from: 2 -3 day inpatient Detox followed by attending 90 NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings for the first 90 days and then, by NA meetings 2 or 3 times a week or as needed; evening treatment 3 nights a week; day treatment for 3 weeks and psychotherapy; or inpatient 28 day programs. Most intensive programs recommend outpatient therapy and NA after detox, intensive evening, day or inpatient treatment. 
     The more intensive the intervention the better, since you will be fighting an addiction and cravings for drugs 24/7 for the rest of your life. Intensive treatment increases your chances of overcoming the cravings. Addictions, like diabetes are chronic diseases. They do not disappear after you become drug free. The tragic death recently of actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a reminder that even after years of abstinence addictions are for life. Don't let an addiction take yours. Get help.

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