How to support someone returning from rehab

View Louise Stanger, Ed.D, LCSW, BRI-II, CIP's video on How to support someone returning from rehab...
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How to support someone returning from rehab

Not all treatment centers are alike. And it’s really important for you to understand what exactly is wrong with your loved one, what their age is, and what might be the best place for them. So it’s very different if I’m looking at a treatment center for someone who’s an elder adult who has medical problems who may have a substance abuse problem with prescription-based drugs. I’m going to look for a hospital-based program. That could be entirely different than if I’m looking for someone who is 18- 19-years old who may be using methamphetamines or heroine, may have a mental health disorder as well, we call them – I think in this day and age we have people that have what I call triple threats. They’re beyond dually diagnosed. They have a mental health disorder. They have a substance abuse disorder. And they have other. They may have a legal consequences. And that has to be taken into account when picking a treatment center, because they may not be allowed to leave the state or the county of where they are. But what you want to look for in a treatment center is who makes up the treatment center. Are there licensed ASAM physicians, that means board-certified physicians in addiction medicine? Are there ASAM or board-certified psychiatrists that are board-certified in addiction medicine? Those are really important. Are there social workers? Are there psychologists? How many of the staff is in recovery? You will find many treatment centers, 96% of the staff may be what we call CAADEx, California Alcohol and Drug Educators. Are there licensed MFTs, family councilors? Are there people that are just more peer to peer. Sometimes a treatment center would be good if you had someone who is a chronic relapsor. Been to many treatment centers. They may be better off in a place that’s more peer to peer because they can relate if they’ve done a lot of other things. You want to look at staffing. You want to look at program philosophy. You do not want to trust every website you see. Some websites might say, there’s golf courses, but there’s a putting hole. Or there’s horses, and there’s horses nowhere near there. You want to know where they are, where they’re located, what they offer. How often are they seen? Most substance abuse is treated in a group fashion, but having individual meetings. Some people will say, I never in the world will go to something that’s 12 step. Well there are some very-very good treatment centers in the US that are non-12-step based. They will accept someone who’s not interested in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and they will face it. But the people that they’re usually best with are very bright. They’re cognitive thinkers. So you need to understand that. You also need to understand what type of treatment modalities they offer. Some of the more popular ones that you’re going to hear about are cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s where I might give you a homework assignment, to make it really simple. Motivational interviewing, that means I’m going to roll with your resistance. We do that all the time in interventions. We’re always rolling with people’s resistance. But we’re trying to get you to a place where you want to change and change is good. Another popular modality is solution-focused counseling or therapy. It’s very pragmatic. In a perfect world, how would you want your life to look? When has your life looked like that? And how can we get you, and what are the steps necessary? Is it integrated with 12-step philosophy? For many people the free program of Alcoholics Anonymous has been very helpful. It is a free program. It is not a treatment or counseling modality. But it’s really important that if you are going to refer someone there that you know that. How long of stay is the center? How do they work with after-care? If you have a counselor that you’ve been seeing, how will they work with that counselor so when you go back home? So there are lots of things. On my website, I have a section under “news” and it says “not all treatment centers are alike.” And it has a wealth of questions for you to ask. The other thing is I would be leery of a treatment center for those of you that are just calling that says, we’ll fly your loved one there for free. That’s unheard of. Or we take your insurance 100%. That’s almost unheard of. Make sure that you ask them, if you have insurance, run my insurance. What will my co-pay be? There’s different things that people will pay different amounts of money for detoxification versus actual in-patient treatment. As of today we know for sure that most insurance companies cover acute medical detoxification. And that’s not covered for all drugs. That’s covered for some drugs. And then the issue of treatment becomes, would my loved one be better in a treatment center that houses them one place and then during the day they go over to what’s more or less a structured outpatient center? Would they do better to be in a place that’s far away from home? Do they have a family week? Do they have a family program? What do they do with family? This is a critical issue. I can only tell you that because people do not live in isolation. What type of family program do they have? And how can you be part of it? What can you learn about this disorder so you can be a better person yourself? So you can grow and learn. Do they have any programs for children? If not what do they recommend? How do they encapsulate couples, parents with children? How do they communicate with you? Provided that you have a consent form signed, do you get a progress form weekly? Do you have a case manager you can call? There are so many different variables. But it’s really like ask question after question after question. Say, who are your references? Who can I talk to? And then you in your heart can understand. If you’re not sure, because there are so many out there, and the advertising is so great that the person that pops up may not be the best treatment center. It may just be the one that on the internet paid for that placement.

View Louise Stanger, Ed.D, LCSW, BRI-II, CIP's video on How to support someone returning from rehab...


Expert Bio

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Louise Stanger, Ed.D, LCSW, BRI-II, CIP

Director All About Interventions

Louise Stanger received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, her Masters in Social Work from San Diego State College and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of San Diego. 

Dr. Stanger has over thirty years experience as a college professor, researcher and licensed clinician working with families and  individuals who experience substance abuse and mental health disorders. She serves as the Director of All About Interventions and as President of The Sydney D Holland Foundation. She has been performing Collaborative Interventions with families since 1980.  She  continues to explore the efficacy of treatment strategies such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused Coaching, Family Systems and 12 Step Facilitation.

Louise is  a MINT Trainer of Trainers and  currently teaches at San Diego State University Interwork Institute Human Behavior, Theories of Counseling and Solution Focused Counseling .She previously served as a professor at SDSU School of Social Work and the Director of Alcohol and Other Drug services at the University of San Diego.  She is a catastrophic loss counselor and had the privilege of working with the New York Fire Department and widows of 9-11.

Most recently she has  served as a consultant to the Indie Film Documentary , "Behind The Orange Curtain", which explores the increased misuse of  prescription drugs and young adult deaths in Orange County. Also she is the author of a chapter, "Interventions are not Made For TV"  in the textbook, Interventions: Opposing Viewpoints published by Cengage Learning, 2012.

Louise has conducted extensive research on the effects of alcohol and other drugs on college age students. She has published scholarly articles and public health handbooks that support harm reduction strategies and environmental management systems. She has been the principal investigator/ project director and /or co-investigator of over 15 grants, which focus on collegiate substance abuse, six of which totaled over four  million dollars from the United States Department of Education and the National Institute of Health- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse  And Alcoholism . Findings have been published in The Journal of Alcohol Studies and elsewhere.

Louise has been the recipient of state and local awards.  She was twice named the Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty,  San Diego State University’s Faculty Homecoming Dedicatee, and recipient of San Diego County’s Outstanding Educator Award. The San Diego Business Journal recognized her as one of the “TOP Women Who Mean Business”.

 Louise is grateful and loves the energy and collaborative spirit shown by the professional  recovery community in their goals to reduce the harm associated with substance abuse. With tireless energy she continues to contribute to the field through clinical interventions, family recovery coaching, training and research.

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