Managing Substance Use Disorder

February 7, 2023

By Shelly Parkman, LPC, LCAC, Director of Substance Use Disorder Services at Prairie View

Addiction is characterized by relapses requiring longitudinal care, but can be managed like diabetes and heart disease. About 40 to 60 percent of people with a substance use disorder experience at least one relapse/recurrence of symptoms after their initial recovery. This is very similar to other chronic diseases where 50 to 70 percent of individuals have a recurrence of symptoms of their disease, such as asthma or hypertension. 

This doesn’t mean treatment didn’t work, but it does indicate it should be treated like other chronic illnesses as a sign to either resume, modify or try a different type of treatment.

Recovery is a process and so is treatment. 

It is important to note that detox is not treatment, but is a first step that can prepare a person for treatment. Stopping alcohol or drug use is just the beginning of the recovery process. The addict will need to learn new ways to cope with daily life. He/She will need to relearn how to deal with stress, anger, or social situations and how to have fun without the use of alcohol or drugs. Learning these new skills is a lot of work. 

Although release can be a normal part of recovery, it can also be dangerous in regard to some drugs, such as opioids. Patients are at highest risk for relapsing during the first 90 days after their initial treatment intervention because they are experiencing major changes within their body, mind, and social context. Their primary coping tool has been removed, which was the use of a substance, and the person very likely continues to lack the skills needed to cope with daily life stressors. With treatment, we aim to help the person unlearn their addiction and learn healthier coping strategies. This takes time.

If You Need Help
If you believe you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, reach out to a professional substance use disorder counselor for an evaluation.

Prairie View offers outpatient substance use treatment for adults and youth, including substance use evaluations and individual, family and group therapy for substance use and support for maintaining sobriety. Prairie View also offers a Medication-Assisted Treatment program to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT can be used to assist individuals with alcohol and opioid use disorder.

Prairie View is a dual diagnosis facility so other mental health needs can be met simultaneously.

For more information, call 800-992-6292.