The University of Connecticut recently found that early intervention with someone who is at “moderate risk” of developing substance abuse can help steer them away from going that direction, and possibly help them stay away from substance abuse long term.
Published in Addiction journal, the study found that “substance abusers are more likely to reduce their use when a primary care or emergency medicine physician screens them, provides brief intervention, and if necessary, refers them to treatment.” Screenings and early intervention is unfortunately not the norm. It is a constant complaint on behalf of addiction treatment advocates that not enough doctors are trained in screenings. Additionally, for primary care doctors or doctors providing pain management relief, they do not counsel on the abusive qualities of pain killers.
“Brief intervention refers to any time-limited effort, maybe one or two conversations or meetings, to provide information or advice, increase motivation to avoid substance abuse, or to teach behavior change skills that will reduce substance abuse as well as the chances of negative consequences,” writes one of the lead researchers. If a doctor does not refer a patient to treatment for a growing risk for substance abuse, they can at the least refer them to a therapist. Most Often, substance abuse is a coping mechanism for deeper underlying issues which can only be safely discovered and assessed with a licensed and qualified therapy professional. Through therapy, a patient can both process their emotions objectively assess their substance abuse, and begin to work out the contributing factors to that compulsive behavior.
Primary care physicians should be responsible for identifying the signs of mental illnesses or particular health symptoms which could indicate a substance abuse problem. Again, that would require the training of primary care physicians to be looking for those kinds of indicators, as well as providing screenings. Research has shown that early screenings which raise awareness of one’s risk for substance abuse, or development of substance abuse, is helpful in creating prevention.
Making the decision to host an intervention on a loved one who has surpassed the development of substance abuse is difficult. Aurora Recovery Centre offers intervention services to accommodate each family and member in the supportive yet effective manner the need to help a loved one. If you or a loved one are in need of intervention, call us today. 844-515-STOP.