SUD Assessment. Treatment Approaches

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Introduction

The problem of substance use disorder (SUD) is getting more and more complicated nowadays. To control this grievous development in society a row of varied treatment approaches were developed. These treatment approaches are dependent on their connection to a few major theories explaining the reasons why people are affected by SUD. In the following paper, different approaches to treatment strategies for patients with SUD are going to be addressed in terms of their effectiveness and validity. Generally, after evaluating a row of facts it appears that the most effective of SUD treatment strategies are based on two groups of helping measures: medical (when the patient is to be offered qualified help to stop taking harmful substances and to overcome the dependence), and psychological (when the patient is to be offered a row of treatment activities beginning from the work with a psychologist who will help to identify the problems behind the diagnosis of SUD along with socializing programs, sport and the other building up physical activities).

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Reasons behind the actions of people who become SUD affected

First of all, addressing the theme of successful treatment strategies for the patients with SUD, it is very important to understand the reasons behind their problem as working with the symptoms (which are different types of addiction including drug and alcohol addiction) instead of working with the reasons of these negative developments seems to be rather ineffective (Sitharthan, Singh, Kranitis, Currie, Freeman, Murugesan, Ludowici 1999). There exist a few major theories explaining the reasons behind the actions of people who become SUD affected.

In this paper, the main of these theories will be addressed including the social control theory, social learning theory, and stress and coping theory. These theories explain different issues which are connected to the problem of varied types of addiction. The main group of such issues seems to be addressed in the social control theory. According to this theory, “strong bonds with family, friends, school, work, religion, and other aspects of traditional society motivate individuals to engage in responsible behavior and refrain from substance use and other deviant pursuits” (Moos 2006, p.5). Next, the other important issues are addressed in the social learning theory. This theory explains the issues behind the actions of potential addicts in the following words,

Substance use originates in the substance-specific attitudes and behaviors of the Adults and peers serve as an individual’s role models. Modeling effects begin with observation and imitation of substance-specific behaviors, continue with social reinforcement for and expectations of positive consequences from substance use, and culminate in substance use and misuse. Substance use is a function of positive norms and expectations about substances and family members and friends who engage in and model substance use (Moos 2006, p.).

Thus, this theory makes an emphasis on the importance of having a positive example among close ones; in addition, it also shows how strong the negative examples are. This information is very often used by experienced doctors who are often reported to offer patients with SUD an effective treatment and practical advice of improving one’s area of communication and friendships. With regards to this, it is noteworthy to mention that all people seem to know the truthfulness of the ancient wisdom expressed in the words “do not be misled – bad habits companions good habits”. And finally, the stress and coping theory, explains that stressful circumstances and life hardships coming from family members and friends also lead to the development of a strong desire to “escape” from this sad reality with all its pain and dissatisfaction to a pleasant world of hallucinations formed as a result of the use of any particular substance.

Effective Strategies

Next, having the reasons for the problem of substance addiction in mind, many effective strategies may be developed and successfully implemented. According to Moos (2006, p.2),

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A considerable body of research has identified specific effective psychosocial treatments for substance use disorders among adults, including motivational interviewing (MI) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET), 12-step facilitation treatment (TSF), cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) and behaviorally oriented family counseling (BFC), and contingency management (CM), and community reinforcement approaches (CRA).

Thus, the most effective SUD treatment strategies are based on two groups of helping measures: medical (when the patient is to be offered qualified help to stop taking harmful substances and to overcome the dependence), and psychological (when the patient is to be offered a row of treatment activities beginning from the work with a psychologist who will help to identify the problems behind the diagnosis of SUD along with socializing programs, sport and the other building up physical activities). Of course, these strategies are more successful with adults, but the major part of them can be also implemented for adolescences. By the same token, taking into consideration the peculiarities of adolescences’ psychics and way of thinking numerous strategies specifically addressed to a young addict are developed. In particular, pharmacological, therapeutic, biophysical, psychological, and traditional healing are offered to a patient with SUD belonging to a groupage younger than 19 (Sitharthan et al. 1999).

The main point in all of these approaches is to help the patient to stop taking any substances as soon as possible, and to help to overcome all the consequences of one’s substantial dependence. In complex with these medical measures, the patient is to be a part of psychological healing programs that are developed under the patient’s condition. In addition, such patients need active participation in socializing programs. Whatever the reason for someone’s addiction is, this person needs to see a positive example of those who happened to have similar problems and demonstrated certain success on their road to freedom from their addiction (even one’s negative experience during the period of treatments may be of great use to such patents as it helps to see how hard is the fight with this dreadful diagnosis, and still people do not give up if they fall). One more important point in these treatment approaches is offering the patient a variety of engaging and useful activities which would help one to find their new “flavor” in life. Such patients may benefit from spending their time at some interesting working place; especially the places where physical work is possible are the most effective.

In this vein, it is proved that while physical work certain hormones are developing in the person’s brain which is responsible for satisfaction and feeling the joy of life functions within the brain of any particular individual. One more useful group of activities that should be by all means included in the treatment program for a SUD patient is a sport (Sitharthan et al. 1999). The value of sport can be hardly underestimated for such patients. Sport helps them to feel confident in themselves, to acquire new strength in one’s life, to socialize (especially when it comes to the kinds of sports which are played by the teams of participators), and to start thinking positively and to occupy one’s mind with building up ideas rather than to think about stressful and oppressing and upsetting things in the past which will lead to the continuation of the addiction problem sooner or later. All in all, such patients need not only medical interference into their condition to help them to overcome the physical consequences of their SUD condition, but, what is even more important, such patients need psychological help in socializing and finding a new “flavor” in life and feeling themselves a needed part of society with interesting prospects, dreams, and ideas (Sitharthan et al. 1999)…

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Conclusion

Concluding on all the information related above, it appears that the patients with SUD need a personal approach to their problem depending on its reasons. Under the social control theory, social learning theory, and stress and coping theory, the reasons behind someone’s addiction to any particular substances may vary from a negative example from the surrounding people, stressful situations at home or elsewhere to a crisis of moral standards which is well observed nowadays. Thus, such patients need careful examination to see the psychological pathologies behind their problems. At the stage when the problem or a complex of problems is identified, the patient is to be provided qualified psychological help along with serious physical medication. In particular, pharmacological, therapeutic, biophysical, psychological, and traditional healing is to be offered to a patient with SUD.

References

Moos, R. (2006). Theory-based Active Ingredients of Effective Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University.

Sitharthan,T., Singh, S., Kranitis, P., Currie, J., Freeman, P., Murugesan, G., &Ludowici, J. (1999). Integrated drug and alcohol intervention: development of an opportunistic intervention program to reduce alcohol and other substance use among psychiatric patients. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33:676-683.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 15). SUD Assessment. Treatment Approaches. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/sud-assessment-treatment-approaches/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'SUD Assessment. Treatment Approaches'. 15 January.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "SUD Assessment. Treatment Approaches." January 15, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/sud-assessment-treatment-approaches/.

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PsychologyWriting. "SUD Assessment. Treatment Approaches." January 15, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/sud-assessment-treatment-approaches/.