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Substance Use in the Time of a Pandemic
Disconnection. Confusion. Chaos. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Isolation. These are themes typically associated with ongoing substance abuse. It’s ironic that they are also emerging as characteristic of today’s Coronavirus Pandemic.
In this uncertain time, support for addiction and substance use is as important as ever. At Urim Recovery, individual, group and family sessions are accessible via virtual therapy.
Moreover, you have access to the experience of a former Clinical Director of a substance abuse inpatient facility and years of experience in residential, partial hospitalization and outpatient settings providing substance abuse treatment and recovery support.
Telehealth technology provides a safe and secure means of developing and maintaining a recovery program without worrying about keeping a safe distance to safeguard against COVID-19.
Evidence-Based Approaches for Treating Substance Abuse
Types of Therapy Used to Help You
Motivational Inteviewing is a technique that is very effective in addressing much of the ambivalence individuals may have regarding abstinence and provides support for evaluating one’s options and working through some of the conflicting feelings that can emerge when trying to refrain from the use of substances to cope with life’s challenges.
Family Behavior Therapy
Similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, this scientifically supported treatment approach is very goal oriented and helps facilitate helpful thoughts and behaviors. One of its distinguishing features is its emphasis on healing the individual in recovery in the context of their family relationships.
cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, as it is widely known, is a structured therapy that helps change the thinking patterns that keep individuals in self-defeating behaviors.
In treatment, you will learn how to identify, analyze and change the thinking patterns and behavior that keep you out of your authentic self and create distress. This results in being able to have more control and meaning in your life.
Other Interventions Used
Since subtance abuse rarely occurs in a vacuum and may exist in the presence of co-occuring disorders, trauma, PTSD, chronic shame, childhood attachment issues, low self-esteem, identity issues, family conflict and many other issues, we use an eclectic approach that incorporates other evidence based treatments that allows for individualized care. These include:
* 12 Step Facilitation
* Community Reinforcement Approach
* Matrix Treatment Model
* Group Therapy
Group therapy is the preferred treatment modality for substance use treatment and it does much to accelerate behavioral change when used with individual sessions. Group therapy is currently being offered via telehealth.
You can learn more about evidence based practices for substance use treatment at the National Institute on Drug Abuse which provides very good information regarding the science behind addiction and effective practices. We recommend this resource highly to all of our clients and their families who wish to have updated and sound information regarding addiction.
Sexually Compulsive Behaviors & Pornography Addiction
Excessive sexual behavior that impacts one’s daily functioning, interferes with relationships and is often generated by an internal compulsion can be a sign of sexual addiction. When our behavior becomes out of control and we are drawn compulsively towards it as though our brains were hijacked to follow through at the expense of rational and healthy behavior, that’s the time to take notice. Addiction is at play.
Sexual addiction is not the same as what one might describe as “highly sexualized” behavior. It’s defining feature is the compulsivity behind the behavior. It often reflects a preoccupation that makes it hard to resist. Some of the factors that therapists use to assess sexual addiction are:
- Amount of time spent on activity
- Risky behaviors
- Obsessive thoughts and fantasies around sex
- Exclusion of other (routine) behaviors
- Inability to control impulses despite negative consequences
- Growing secrecy and deceptive practices to cover activity
Many addictions take the form of consuming pornography, but they can also include sexual acts, masturbation or prostitution. Most behaviors start at around 18, though this can be reflective of access.
Shame and depression are common side-effects that often accompany this behavior.
Though not as prevalent as in the past, there’s still some controversy around “sexual addiction” since it is not an actual disorder defined by the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). In many ways, it is not the “sex” that is the component that is treated. Sex is not inherently an issue. It’s a natural activity that can play a key and welcomed role in building intimacy. Like other process addictions, e.g. gambling, co-dependency (which also is not in the DSM-5), eating disorders, therapists focus on the compulsive patterns underlying the addiction. More often than not, emotional issues, relational conflict and trauma underlie addictive behavior.
How Therapy Helps With Porn Addiction
Treatment modalities will usually involve some of the interventions described above for substance use, (CBT, EMDR, Group Therapy, 12-Step Facilitation, etc). Our focus will often include:
- Catalyst/Origins of Sexual Addiction: Develop insight into the start of your addiction. This usually provides significant clues regarding underlying root causes.
- Underlying Core Issues: As with most addictions, the addiction is the symptom and not the cause of one’s issues. It is often the coping mechanism to deal with something else. Lack of emotional regulation, attachment issues or trauma are usual suspects.
- Pattern of Addiction: All addictive behavior has a typical cycle that many others have in common and a unique “finger print” of what sets things in motion. Understanding your own triggers and impulses is important to developing alternative coping strategies.
- Cognitive Restructuring: Any maladaptive and unhealthy behavior creates or is influenced by unhealthy or distorted thinking. You can regain control in your life by identifying and changing the way you think.
- Relapse Prevention: Compulsive behaviors get etched in the brain in a way that makes them automated. It can take a while to retrain yourself to respond differently to certain impulses, but the brain’s ability to adapt and change, what we call plasticity, is remarkable. You can change. As you do so, with therapy, you can learn how to navigate new challenges and maintain your progress in treatment.
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Addiction Treatment and Telehealth
Web based treatment can be very helpful, and indeed has shown to be effective in treatment substance use disorders and is currently being strongly recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
That said, there are some limitations and guidelines that we will adhere to in providing our services via telehealth for your safety and privacy.
Please make sure that you are not in active use or detox at the time of treatment. Do not engage in treatment if you are in a public setting. Certain safeguards include not using a speakerphone or move a reasonable distance from others if talking about something confidential.
Make sure you are using a platform that uses end to end encryption which only allows an indvidual and the therapist to see what is transmitted.
You are strongly encouraged to participate in online group treatment in addition to your individual sessions. Please connect for additional informaton about this and other provisions of treatment. We can make this work. The important thing is that your care not be interrupted. We can discuss my reduced fee/sliding scale if finances are a difficulty at this time.