Recovery From Addiction
Anyone who has been caught up in an addiction or who has seen a family member or friend suffer with the disease is aware of the devastation – to health, to relationships, to the safety of self and that of others – that it can cause. We understand addiction by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
Our treatment approach, therefore, has four components:
Because we are a medical office, we are able to include a strong medication assisted treatment program. Dr. Helman has maintained the necessary certification through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine containing medication for the treatment of opioid addiction and dependence since 2009. In 2012, she earned Board certification from the American Board for Addiction Medicine. Other medication(s) can be employed as well to help the opioid dependent patient in their recovery. In addition, medication supports are available for alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, and stimulants (cocaine and methamphetamine). Attention is also given to the physical effects of the drugs and addiction lifestyle on the health of the body. Nutrition and exercise counseling, screening laboratory studies, and EKG are among the medical interventions available at clinic.
No medication support for addiction has long lasting (or even short term) success without individual and group therapy to coincide with it. We require both, in the form of in clinic treatment group, as well as engagement in community support groups (12 step meetings, for example). Each type of therapy brings its own strengths and benifits to the recovery process. It is common for addiction to be associated with psychological issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and these issues may have been the reason for seeking the (temporary) relief from the drugs in the first place. Often times, they become masked or hidden by the chaos and unmanageability that comes with addiction, only to be ‘unmasked’ in early recovery.
Addiction is associated with strain and disruption of social relationoships – personal, family, work. Restoration of these relationships, healing, and making amends is foundational to the 12 steps. Addiction causes changes in the neurologic pathways in the brain. Hence, learning to recognize and counter these ‘thinking errors’ is critical to sustained recovery.
Addiction affects a number of areas of the brain, including deep brain structures responsible for learning and survival, as well as frontal structures critical for decision making and reasoning. These are powerful systems, explaining why medication is at times lifesaving in treatment. However, when all is said and done, there is nothing that has matched the long term success of the voluntary 12 step fellowships. Where ever you might find yourself in the world, there is likely a meeting nearby.
I am married (34 years!) with three reasonably pleasant grown children, who are off on their own adventures. My husband and I live in Silverton with our cat and Golden Retriever. I enjoy gardening, the gym and learning the violin.
3000 Market St. NE, Suite 258
Salem, OR 97301