Psychiatric Access is Important
Medications for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders often provide substantial symptom relief and can be an effective part of treatment. Especially in the beginning of treatment, medications help clients focus more clearly and gain more from other therapies. Later, these medications may be used to sustain gains and keep a client’s neurochemistry in balance. Some clients in residential treatment have very severe mental health and substance use disorders are not on any medications despite a long history of difficulties. Others have been misdiagnosed or undertreated medically. It is my belief that untreated mental health problems are a primary cause of continued use and a leading cause of relapse.
Getting Proper Treatment
To determine if medications will be helpful, a comprehensive assessment is conducted. This initial assessment is followed by regular visits to assure therapeutic effectiveness of each medication and to address any side effects. Specific addiction medications are used to reduce cravings, prevent overdose, block euphoric feelings, and deter future drug abuse. Our ability to provide prompt and consistent psychiatric evaluations and medication management is a vital component to integrated co-occurring treatment at NorthStar Regional.
In addition to the medication management, clients are encouraged to work their recovery program, using the skills and tools they have learned from the mental health and substance abuse counselors. The psychiatric team works closely with this clinical team to address returning symptoms or medication compliance concerns. Using medications is only one part of providing a truly integrated co-occurring treatment model which targets all aspects of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and relational functioning.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!