Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, fueled in large part by widespread access to and misuse of prescription medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Opioids are a category of drugs that are known for their analgesic (or painkilling) properties. Certain opioids have significant benefits when used appropriately for medical purposes, while others have little to no medical value. All, however, are highly addictive substances that can be extremely dangerous when abused.
Opioids interact with the body by acting as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, with effects that include numbness to pain, extreme relaxation, and feelings of euphoria. These powerful, sedative effects make drugs in this class quite attractive to recreational drug users who desire to experience an intense high. However, in addition to presenting a significant risk of overdose, opioids are extremely addictive, with tolerance and dependence occurring with stunning rapidity.
Opioid addiction can quickly become an all-consuming experience that, if left untreated, can have a devastating effect on a person’s physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial well-being. One of the defining features of addiction is continuing to engage in self-defeating behaviors even after a person has experienced negative repercussions as a result of those behaviors. In the case of opioid abuse and addiction, those repercussions can include debilitating physical damage and significant cognitive impairment, along with job loss, legal problems, strained relationships, and other difficulties.
At Life Healing Center, we understand the devastation that can accompany opioid abuse. We also know how difficult it can be to overcome a dependence upon opioids, especially without proper professional intervention. On a much more promising note, we know that rehab works, recovery is possible, and a drug-free future is achievable for people who may feel as though their opioid addiction is inescapable.
The Connection between Opioid Abuse and Trauma
Opioid abuse and addiction can be caused by several genetic and environmental influences. For many opioid-dependent individuals, the genesis of the problem can be found in issues related to unresolved trauma. Because opioid medications are used to treat both chronic and acute pain, many people who have suffered a serious illness, an assault, or a life-threatening injury may be prescribed opioids as part of their medical treatment. However, if the psychological trauma associated with the illness, injury, or attack remains unaddressed, the patient may begin to misuse the prescribed medications as a means of self-medicating the anxiety, fear, nightmares, and other mental and emotional aftereffects of the trauma. Because opioids are so prevalent and have such powerful mood-altering effects, they are particularly enticing to people who feel the need to escape from the psychological pain associated with a traumatic experience.
In situations such as this, it is imperative to ensure that opioid addiction treatment identifies and addresses any unresolved trauma that may be contributing to the substance abuse. Treating the opioid problem without also treating the trauma is akin to masking the symptoms without resolving the cause of those symptoms. At Life Healing Center, we are uniquely prepared to provide the clinically sophisticated treatment that will resolve both the addiction and any underlying or co-occurring issues.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Watching a loved one struggle with an opioid use disorder can be an excruciating experience. In many cases, this difficulty can be compounded by the confusion about the disease of addiction and a lack of information about possible solutions. The good news is that there are several steps that loved ones can take that may make a real and lasting difference in the life of an addicted friend or family member:
- Learn everything you can about the problem. Addiction is a chronic progressive disease, not merely a lack of willpower or absence of character. Understanding the disease model of addiction and the particular threat of opioid dependence will prepare you to help your loved one.
- Talk to your loved one with both compassion and resolve. Whether or not he or she is ready to admit it yet, your loved one knows he or she is in crisis. Expressing your concern – and backing that empathy up with facts about addiction and treatment – may not be easy, but it is essential.
- Research rehab centers. Realizing that a loved one may need to get help is an important first step, but it is just one of many steps that will need to be taken. As you learn more about your loved one’s condition, make sure that you are also discovering the types and levels of treatment that may best meet his or her needs.
- Be prepared to fail. Overcoming an addiction is neither a simple nor a straightforward experience. Your first conversation with your loved one may not yield immediate benefits – but that does not mean that you should interpret one setback as evidence that you cannot help. Be consistent in voicing your concern, demonstrating your support, and displaying your willingness to be there for the rough times as well as the good times.
- Be supportive. Your loved one is in a state of distress and may not be able to respond in what appears to be a healthy or productive manner. Understand that his or her responses will not always reflect actual hopes or feelings, but instead may be the manifestation of the symptoms of the disorder he or she is struggling with.
- Get help. Do not try to be the sole source of support for your loved one. Enlist other trusted friends and family members to form a support network – both for your loved one and for each other. Self-care is an essential component of caring for an individual in crisis.
By approaching this challenge with information, compassion, and a dedication to be a long-term positive presence, you can play an essential role in improving the quality of your loved one’s life.
Types of Treatment Offered at Life Healing Center
At Life Healing Center, we pride ourselves on being a premier provider of clinical excellence in the treatment of substance abuse concerns, psychiatric conditions, trauma-related distresses, and co-occurring intimacy disorder symptoms. We strive to offer clients a therapeutic environment at Life Healing Center wherein they will be treated with understanding, compassion, and respect.
Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, not far from Albuquerque, Life Healing Center offers three distinct residential treatment programming options designed for men and women aged 18 and older. We are proud to be able to offer truly culturally-sensitive care that meets the unique needs of every individual who takes part in our rehab programming.
The three Core Programs at Life Healing Center include our Empowerment Mood and Mental Health Treatment Program, our Serenity Trauma Treatment Program, and our Hope Addiction Recovery Treatment Program. If you come to us battling an addiction to opioids, you will embark on the path to recovery through participation in our Hope Program, which was created to provide comprehensive chemical dependency treatment. While engaged in the Hope Program, if you are simultaneously struggling with co-occurring psychiatric or intimacy disorders, you will receive appropriate therapeutic interventions to address those concerns as well.
At Life Healing Center, we are dedicated to treating complex cases and our staff is trained and excels in treating multiple concerns at one time. If you are dealing with multiple concerns, you will be provided with an individualized plan of care that will address the full-spectrum of issues with which you present.
While being engaged in our Hope Program, you will take part in a variety of appropriate verbal and experiential therapies that are designed to facilitate interventions on dysfunctional coping strategies related to substance abuse and chemical dependency. The methods for care offered in this innovative programming option at Life Healing Center include the following:
Detoxification services: If you come to our center with opioids and/or other types of substances in your system, it may be recommended that you go through a basic detoxification process prior to beginning treatment. The detox process at Life Healing Center utilizes symptom-driven, evidence-based protocols that can assist you in remaining safe and comfortable as your body becomes rid of any toxic substances. While you are actively detoxing, you may not attend groups, depending on your physical and cognitive status. However, once you are deemed stable enough to do so, you will become fully immersed in the full treatment experience.
Medication management: In order to best customize your treatment experience, you will receive an evaluation by a board-certified adult psychiatrist following your admission into programming. If, during this evaluation, it is determined that there is a clinical need for medication interventions to be implemented in order to treat any of your distressing symptoms, you will then continue to meet with the psychiatrist on an as-needed basis for consultations and follow-ups. In doing so, we are able to ensure that any medication that has been prescribed is effectively helping you. Nurses and medication technicians will also assist in monitoring your medication needs.
Individual therapy: While receiving treatment for an addiction to opioids, you will be assigned to a primary therapist who will conduct one-to-one therapy sessions with you throughout your time spent in treatment. At a minimum, you will meet twice with your therapist for individual therapy sessions during your first week of treatment and then at least once per week thereafter. However, you also have the option of meeting with your therapist more frequently, depending on assessed need.
Family therapy: While Life Healing Center believes that family involvement is an important part of the rehab process when recovering from addictions to substances like opioids, there are a number of factors that are considered when determining whether or not they will be an appropriate part of your individualized care. The number of family therapy sessions that will be held is determined by assessed need, your permission to have your family members participate in such sessions, and the clinical advisability of the inclusion of the family in your treatment process. There are times where family inclusion is contraindicated and, in such an event, your therapist will ensure that your wellbeing is considered first and foremost before such sessions occur.
Group therapy: Group therapy is a major component to the care offered at Life Healing Center. When you engage in these sessions, you are afforded an opportunity to both give and receive support from peers who are facing similar struggles to your own. This is also a beneficial aspect of the rehab experience because it allows for psychoeducational opportunities that can help you learn information that is necessary for developing confidence in moving forward in your recovery. The types of groups that you will have the opportunity to engage in can include the following:
- Creative Recovery
- Elemental Integration
- Substance use
- Mood disorders
- Trauma-processing psychotherapy
There are a variety of topics discussed in the various groups that are held, but some of the most common include the following:
- Trauma resolution
- Healing shame
- Preparing for discharge
- Disease Model of Addiction
- Relapse prevention
- Healthy lifestyles
- Living in balance
- Emotion regulation
- Conflict resolution
Experiential therapy: In order to offer a truly holistic and comprehensive approach to the care and treatment we provide, Life Healing Center is proud to offer the following options for experiential therapies:
- Group equine therapy
- Movement therapy
- Group art therapy
Ancillary therapies: Chosen with your input, while engaged in the Hope Program, you are given the opportunity to participate in the following therapeutic activities, which are led by contracted ancillary therapists:
- Individual equine therapy
- Individual art therapy
- Massage therapy
- Shamanic drumming
- Somatic experiencing
We are extremely proud of the multidisciplinary staff members that our treatment teams are made up of. These professionals possess a variety of specialty certifications and extensive expertise in their respective fields. Having the ability to work with these exemplary individuals can enhance your treatment experience in the most optimal of ways. In addition to board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, Master’s level therapists, licensed drug and alcohol counselors, and physician assistants, our ancillary service providers include the following:
- EMDR practitioners
- Reiki practitioners
- Breathwork practitioners
- Recreational therapists
- Art therapists
- Doctors of Oriental Medicine
- Native American Shamans
- Equine therapists
Discharge Planning and Continuing Care
Knowing how important discharge planning and continuing care is to your ability to be successful in lasting recovery, the staff at Life Healing Center begins to plan for your discharge as soon as you become engaged in treatment. Discharge, transition, and continuing care are all completed by your primary therapist, relying heavily on your active involvement. Other interested parties, such as family members or outside care providers, may also be included when appropriate, as long as you are in agreement with their involvement. This continuing care plan will identify the support that is needed to prevent a recurrence of symptoms or a reduction in functioning. A projected transition date is established and is revised during the course of treatment based upon your progress in relation to your treatment plan.
There are a number of components that may be included in your discharge and aftercare plan, which, at a minimum, should include the following:
- Your family’s plan for continued self-help involvement
- Your plan for maintaining recovery, including specific referrals to 12-Step and other support groups, sponsorship, and a relapse prevention plan
- Your and your family’s plan for continuing care services, including individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, etc.
It is the policy of Life Healing Center that all clients be referred to appropriate services that can provide continuity of care based on each individual’s specific needs. This plan will be formulated with the client for the purpose of maintaining and enhancing the gains and successes made in treatment.
At Life Healing Center, we want to help you or your loved one rediscover a full, healthy, and happy life. If you or someone you care for is struggling with an addiction to opioids, a mental health condition, or co-occurring intimacy disorders, or if you or a loved one is in need of trauma recovery, look no further than Life Healing Center. You do not have to do this alone; we want to help.