Addiction is a chronic, but treatable, disorder of the brain in which people lose the ability to control their need for alcohol or other drugs. Characteristic of chronic disease is relapse. This is true of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease as well as addiction. Yet, while it is accepted that diabetes, cancer, and heart disease require continuing care to prevent relapse, most people do not realize that it is just as important for patients who are newly clean and sober.
The empirical evidence for this has been provided by rehabilitation programs for impaired professionals, which began in the 1970s with the HIMS treatment program for commercial airline pilots.¹ A well-known study published in JAMA concludes, “Like other chronic illnesses, the effects of drug dependence treatment are optimized when patients remain in continuing care and monitoring … it is essential that practitioners adapt the care and medical monitoring strategies currently used in the treatment of other chronic illnesses." ²
Many treatment providers do not offer continuing care. The initial, intensive phase of addiction treatment is, typically, a residential program lasting 28 days before discharge. This is where monitoring and supervision come in for newly recovering patients and for those who have experienced relapse. Monitoring and supervision are a valuable investment in long-term recovery, offering
Monitoring and supervision is accomplished remotely, using telephone, SMS, and email. Plans incorporate
Recovery coaching is a powerful adjunct to monitoring and supervision. Anyone in recovery will find coaching useful for improving their ability to recognize and manage situations that put recovery at risk. Clients learn how to get the most out of support groups and other resources. Remote and in-person contact is combined to meet each client’s needs and budgetary objectives. See Coaching on the next page.
For more information, call Caring Interventions at 1 (800) 956-6212.
¹HIMS: An Occupational Substance Abuse Treatment Program. About HIMS. HIMSProgram.com.
²McLellan, PhD, A. Thomas; David C. Lewis, MD; Charles P. O'Brien, MD, PhD; et al, Drug Dependence, A Chronic Medical Illness: Implications for Treatment, Insurance, and Outcomes. JAMA, October 4, 2000.