If you look at the description of our programs, you will see that Amethyst Recovery promises personalized care for the sake of ensuring quality treatment for our patients. But what does this actually mean? Like any treatment center, we have a basic outline for how treatment should work. Our full continuum of care generally includes detoxification, the basic process of addiction treatment itself, and then a stay in our sober living facilities for those who opt to take advantage of this particular service. So which aspects of this continuum are personalized?
Well, that depends. When undergoing treatment, patients will learn life skills in addition to receiving a bit of education regarding the fundamental principles of recovery as well as the consequences of alcoholism and drug addiction. They will undergo therapy, and they will be introduced to the 12-step recovery model. But there are many little bits and pieces that may be adjusted to suit the particular needs of various patients. When viewing these bits and pieces from the outside, the differences may seem negligible. For the patients themselves, however, these minute changes might make all the difference between relapse and long-term sobriety.
There are three components that might inform our approach to a patient’s personalized care. These are background, personality, and the manner in which the disease itself has manifested in the life of that particular patient. Since each of these components is rather broad, we will break them down a bit below and explain some of the ways in which personalized care may vary from patient to patient. But make no mistake—we could not possibly cover every aspect of every patient’s individuality within a single article. If you have any questions about our treatment approach that are not answered by the following information, feel free to contact us. We will answer all inquiries to the best of our abilities.
Based on Background
Background is a large component of personalized care, but it is also quite a broad topic to cover. Many would consider this to indicate that we treat patients differently based on age, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. We do most certainly celebrate diversity in recovery, and recognize that any of the above demographics may influence a person’s addiction. These factors may also influence their worldview, the lens through which they view their treatment team as well as recovery itself. We take this into account, but we also try not to dwell on it to an excessive degree—we do not want our patients to feel as if they have been profiled based on only one aspect of their being.
Much of what we consider when dealing with a patient’s background has more to do with their history. For example, a patient who is a member of the LGBT community will not necessarily be treated differently for the most part. But if they have undergone some sort of emotional torment such as bullying or a sheer lack of acceptance by their family and peers, then these factors will most definitely have played a role in their addiction. Successful therapy must get to the heart of any emotional turmoil experienced by the patient in order to resolve these issues. Otherwise, emotional disturbance and relapse are going to be much bigger risks when they leave treatment and reenter a world in which they may not feel accepted.
In fact, emotional trauma and physical trauma in general can make up a large part of the patient’s profile as an addict or alcoholic. This is why we offer EMDR trauma therapy for patients who need it. True personalized care will get at the heart of all mental and emotional issues that may have informed a patient’s addiction. As another example of this, we might look at the problem of addiction in the military. It’s a problem that first came to light in the 1970s, and it has not gone away. Those who have seen combat, suffered abuse, or even experienced trauma in the form of a nasty car crash will see these experiences reflected in our approach to personalized care.
Note that effective personalized care requires us to know a lot about our patients that we cannot see on the surface. This means that a great deal of effective treatment in general will rely upon a patient’s honesty. For this reason, certain types of patients will be more difficult to treat than others. This brings us to how personalized care can be affected by a patient’s personality.
Based on Personality
We talk a lot about the need for recovering addicts and alcoholics to work on their character defects, but these will not be the same for every patient. Some patients carry a lot of pride, others carry a lot of anger. Their personalities have sometimes been greatly changed by their addiction, and they are often settled in their ways by the time they enter treatment.
For this reason, you might view addiction treatment as a form of deprogramming. As treatment specialists, Amethyst feels that it is our job to get to know the patient and how their addiction has changed their personality and their general mental processes. This will inform our approach to personalized care, especially where therapy is concerned. Has the patient developed a great deal of pride in their addiction? If so, we have to monitor the stories they tell about their addiction and ensure that these are not told as war stories. Or perhaps their alcoholism has caused them to exhibit a great deal of sloth and procrastination. In this case, we must figure out when they lost their sense of purpose and help them get it back.
There is also a social aspect at play here. If a patient has a tendency to isolate, we must encourage them to communicate with other patients whenever possible. Not only is it important for them to build up an extensive support network, but it is also important that those in early recovery not be left alone with their thoughts too often. Some patients have many reservations about sobriety, and it is easy to feed these doubts and fears when they do not have a sounding board. It is amazing how ludicrous a person’s line of thinking may sound to the person themselves when they say what they are thinking out loud.
This aspect of personalized care feeds into many of the character defects we discussed in our series on the Seven Deadly Sins. A person who is spiteful and holds many resentments will need to learn about forgiveness. Someone who has tendencies toward selfishness will need to learn about gratitude. If stubbornness is in play, the patient must be taught about the harm done by their control issues. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cognitive behavioral therapy. Personalized care is the only way to go.
Based on the Disease
This is the big one, and it can affect every level of care to a certain extent. For instance, a patient whose sole vice was smoking marijuana will not require quite the same length or methods of detoxification as someone who was hooked on ketamine, fentanyl, opiates or just about any other substance. There is most definitely a medical component to treatment, and personalized care in this area will depend upon the substance or substances to which the patient was addicted.
Personalized care pertaining to therapy will depend upon the specific nature of the patient’s disease as well. A person who took most of their drugs intravenously may be just as addicted to the needle as to the drug itself. People who smoke their drugs may develop oral fixations. Knowing not only the substance of use but also the method by which it was used will inform our therapy in that it will provide some insight into the patient’s possible triggers. One of the main goals of personalized care is to develop a relapse prevention plan, so this sort of information is absolutely vital.
We also need to know about potential co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression. This technically fits under background, but we have found that mood disorders and other psychological issues will often affect a patient’s use in a major way. We must treat these disorders alongside the disease, which will mean there is a cross-section of personalized care that accounts for both the medical and therapeutic aspects of treatment. We must also ensure that this aspect of personalized care continues while the patient resides in our sober living facilities.
Personalized care does not necessarily guarantee relapse prevention, but it is a major step in the right direction. If a patient is not properly assessed, or if personalized care is not ensured, then they will not receive all of the proper tools they need to continue combating their addiction after they have graduated from our facilities. We do not just offer personalized care because we think it works, but because we think it is absolutely critical in the fight to help our patients succeed in recovery. If you or someone you know suffers from alcoholism or addiction under what you consider to be special circumstances, please call Amethyst today.