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Identifying the Problem

The easiest way to identify whether or not drinking, drug use or some other behavior is problematic is to ask just one question:

Is the person experiencing

ANY negative consequences due to the behavior?

Answering yes to experiencing negative consequences might just mean that a person occasionally binge drinks and skips class the next day; or perhaps they’ve just had their first alcohol blackout; maybe they are smoking weed first thing in the morning and have lost all motivation; sometimes it might look like running out of money to support their drug habit.  These are all signs of a problem.

To review the symptoms of a substance use disorder CLICK HERE.

Treatment Options/Choice in Recovery

One of the most important things to do after identifying an alcohol or drug problem is to realize that recovery occurs in many different ways!  Only a very small percentage of the population needs inpatient treatment.

Natural Recovery/Self-Help

This is the most common and effective way to manage a substance use problem, especially for individuals who are not experiencing signs of alcohol or drug dependency (withdrawal symptoms).

  • About 3/4 of individuals currently in recovery did not use any formal treatment or mutual help group to achieve full, sustained remission. Sober for good book cover
  • About 20% of all people with alcohol use disorders recover naturally, without formal treatment or mutual help.

Individuals with less severe substance use problems (shorter period of misuse or fewer negative consequences),who don’t have a lot of other psychiatric issues (such as anxiety or depression), and who have good social support as well as a strong belief in their ability to succeed on their own, have a greater chance of recovering without formal treatment.

Primary Care Physician 

Talking with a medical doctor is a great way to start the road to change.  Most physicians are trained to recognize substance use disorders and have many resources to offer, including medication-assisted recovery.

Individual Therapy

Individuals with underlying social or psychological issues, including a history of trauma, symptoms of anxiety or depression, family or relationship issues, or poor coping skills may need the additional support of a professional counselor. This is especially important if you are drinking or using in order to avoid either past memories, current problems, or both. Make sure that you find a therapist that you trust; if it doesn’t feel like a good fit after several sessions, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral.

Support Groups

Often run by non-professionals, local support groups are quite effective in providing the social support that some individuals need in recovery. They are often offered at a variety of different times and may be attended multiple times per week if desired. Make sure that your group is a good fit.  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is not the only option.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

When inpatient treatment is not a option due to family obligations, work or school schedules, or for financial reasons,  IOP may provide an alternative for those who have Inside rehab book cover failed to recover using self-help, support groups or individual therapy.  In addition, individuals who have completed an inpatient program are often referred to IOP for follow-up care.

Inpatient Treatment 

For individuals who have a history of relapse in recovery, or who need medical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms, inpatient treatment may be necessary.  Sometimes this may take just a few days; other times longer stays may be necessary.  Beware of the assumption that a 28-day program will provide a magic cure; this is a myth! Learning to be sober in a controlled environment is quite different that maintaining recovery in the real world.  Longer programs (90-day) are sometimes necessary for individuals with severe, long-term substance abuse. Do some research before undertaking this very expensive treatment option.

Such individuals arrive at a point in their life where they have a strong desire to quit or cut down a certain behavior. This often occurs due to experiencing some sort of bad outcome related to the behavior: relationship problems; poor academic perfomance; job loss; health issues; or legal trouble.

For more information about natural recovery CLICK HERE

For a personal change plan worksheet CLICK HERE.

Resources

General Treatment

       CONTACT US for a consultation

       Abuse and Mental Health Services            Administration (SAMHSA)  CLICK HERE

       Click Above for Treatment Finder

Natural Recovery/Self-Help

      Recovery Research Institute

      Alcohol Screen for ETSU Students

      Alcohol Screening(for non-students)

      Online Drug Screen

      National Institute on Drug Abuse

Individual Therapy

      ETSU Counseling Center

      For additional services use the                   SAMHSA treatment finder .

Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP)

          Comprehensive Comm Services

          Frontier Health

          Woodridge Hospital IOP

          For additional services use the                   SAMHSA treatment finder .

Inpatient Treatment

          Woodridge Hospital

          Magnolia Ridge Drug and Alcohol             Residential Treatment Center                   423-232-4130

          Willow Ridge Drug and Alcohol                 Residential Treatment Cente                     423-461-7750

          For additional services use the                   SAMHSA treatment finder .

Support Groups

        ETSU SMART Recovery

        Johnson City SMART Recovery

        SMART Recovery/SMART Online

        Tri-Cities AA

        Alcoholics Anonymous

        Mountain Area Narcotics Anonymous

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