Alcohol Abuse Treatment Plan
Based on the SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22.5 million people required treatment for alcohol use or illicit drug use that year. Only 18.5 percent of these individuals received substance abuse treatment, and only a fraction of those who sought treatment received care through a specialty treatment program. These trends have continued in more recent years.
Alcohol abuse is a serious issue that can impact your personal and professional relationships, your ability to earn a living, your physical and mental health and more. There are many signs of AUD, such as drinking more than intended, having alcohol-related issues with family and friends, being unable to concentrate on anything other than having a drink and more. Often, family and friends identify the symptoms of AUD long before the individual does.
Many people with AUD initially deny having a problem with alcohol abuse. However, if you show any of the signs or if family and friends are concerned about you, it is important to seek a professional diagnosis from a healthcare provider. If you are diagnosed with AUD, your healthcare provider will work with you to create an alcohol abuse treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.
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What Is a Treatment Plan?
A treatment plan for AUD is a written agreement between the healthcare provider and the patient that defines the steps that the individual will take to get sober. It includes long-term objectives to stay sober. An alcohol abuse treatment plan provides a clear pathway that connects the diagnosis of AUD with the treatment. Each alcohol abuse treatment plan is individualized to address the patient’s specific challenges and goals. While each patient will progress through the treatment plan at his or her own pace, the plan will include measurable goals that are time-sensitive. A treatment plan is not prepared for the patient. Instead, the patient and the healthcare provider will create it together and will mutually agree upon it before treatment begins
Why Is an Alcohol Abuse Treatment Plan Important?
Developing a treatment plan for AUD is critical for several key reasons. Often, an individual who suffers from alcohol abuse disorder leads a chaotic lifestyle. The treatment plan establishes order and structure to this important aspect of the individual’s life. At the same time, it serves as a reminder of the goals that the healthcare provider and the patient originally established before treatment began. The healthcare provider will make progress notes to chart accomplishments and challenges as treatment advances.
There are several other reasons why an alcohol abuse treatment plan is important. For example, a health insurance company generally needs to review and approve the services that will be provided before agreeing to cover the cost of treatment. In addition, a written and signed treatment plan serves as legal protection for the healthcare provider.
How Do You Develop a Treatment Plan?
Before the details of a treatment plan can be outlined, a biopsychosocial assessment must be completed. Through this assessment, all aspects of the individual’s life that may be contributing to or compounding the patient’s struggle with alcohol are identified. This assessment covers finances, health, family and friends, legal issues and employment. The goals of the treatment plan must be closely aligned with the findings from the assessment. In fact, all issues that are identified during the assessment must be addressed through the goals outlined in the treatment plan. The patient cannot receive proper care unless this is accomplished.
Once the assessment has been completed, the healthcare provider and the patient will carefully and thoroughly walk through each item. Specifically, the plan will outline a problem statement for each issue. This will be followed by a goal, objectives and intervention as they pertain to each issue. Often, but not always, substance abuse is linked with additional health problems. Some of these may include ADHD, anxiety, impulsivity and other problems. The most impactful problems will be addressed in the treatment plan. If too many problems are targeted, the treatment can get chaotic and unfocused. If a health diagnosis has been made, the patient’s problem statements should be linked to that diagnosis in various ways.
Once the problem statements are prepared by the healthcare provider and the patient, a goal for each statement needs to be created. A goal is an identified issue or challenge that is expected to be addressed and improved. These goals, which should be associated with the findings from the assessment, should be reasonably achievable. At the same time, they must be broad. For example, a goal may be to replace a dysfunctional behavior with one that is healthier.
The next step in creating a treatment plan is to prepare objectives. Objectives describe specific actions that the patient will benefit from and that will help him or her achieve goals. For example, one action may be to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Objectives may also be the development of specific and observable skills. These are skills that may promote healthier behaviors with long-term results. Objectives are detailed in an alcohol abuse treatment plan in conjunction with a completion date. Objectives should be SMART. This acronym describes objects that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited.
The treatment plan will also address interventions, which are specific steps the healthcare provider will do to help the patient be successful. Interventions should be written down, and they should be measurable. Some of these interventions may include outpatient care, an intensive outpatient program, peer services, case management, prescription medications and more.
Once all aspects of the treatment plan have been addressed and both parties agree to the plan, it must be signed. At that point, it can be placed in the patient’s medical records and submitted to the patient’s health insurance company.
What Are Treatment Approaches for Alcohol Abuse?
There are many treatment approaches that the patient and the healthcare provider may agree on. For example, lifestyle remedies may include making plans that do not involve alcohol consumption, creating a support system, avoiding bad influences and focusing on healthy habits. Prescription medications and psychotherapy may be prescribed. Medications may be to address secondary identified health conditions, aid in withdrawal and accomplish other specific purposes.
Alternative medicine may also be used. These approaches include yoga, acupuncture, meditation and more. A treatment plan may also include participation in various support groups or programs. Some of these may include Women for Sobriety, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alateen and others. In some cases, enrollment in an intensive outpatient program or a residential treatment program is beneficial. These programs may facilitate progress through the treatment plan in various ways.
Is Residential Treatment Necessary?
Residential treatment is rarely required, but it may be incredibly beneficial for some individuals. For example, those who have struggled to get or stay sober through outpatient programs may benefit from in-patient treatment in a residential facility. Keep in mind that medications are used in 80 percent of cases for in-patient AUD detoxification. This number is dramatically lower with outpatient treatment. Those who are treated with medications may be more likely to stick with their treatment plan and could produce a more favorable outcome. In addition, approximately 70 percent of individuals who have a substance abuse disorder have had a traumatic experience. Inpatient treatment and intensive therapy sessions may be critical aspects of a treatment plan in these cases.
Learn More About Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Are you struggling with symptoms of alcohol abuse, or have friends and family expressed their concern? The first step is to request an assessment from a healthcare provider. Through an assessment, you can better determine if you would benefit from treatment. The Garden State Treatment Program has helped many individuals who have suffered from alcohol abuse disorder, and it could set you on a healthier, sober path. Contact GTSC today to learn more about the assessment and treatment process.