Is it Time for an Alcohol or Drug Abuse Intervention?

What to do When Intoxication is Always the Scapegoat

motivational-interviewingIf the thought of approaching someone about alcohol or drug use concerns makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Certain topics are more “loaded” than others, and substance abuse certainly is one of them.

However, expressing concern for a loved one doesn’t have to turn ugly thanks to an approach inspired by a philosophy called motivational interviewing (MI). Rather than blaming or reciting past harms, a motivational interviewing intervention is empowering and encourages understanding, acceptance, and accountability in others.

Motivational interviewing interventions have an amazing ability to shift a person’s perspective from that of a helpless victim to one of a capable problem solver. When delivered with sincerity and respect, motivational interviewing interventions can awaken and inspire self-efficacy in others,” says Dr. Michael Nagelbach, Ph.D. Psy.D., Psychology Training Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Once people accept their alcohol and/or drug use is causing problems, it’s up to them to decide whether or not to change. However, when people feel supported oftentimes they begin to believe in their ability to change. It can take weeks or months for a person to decide if professional drug treatment is best for them. When ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential substance abuse consultation to learn about personalized treatment options.

In the meantime, be patient, supportive, and educate yourself about substance abuse. Visit RecoverGateway.org/Motivate for more information about motivating someone for treatment, including more tips for positive motivational interviewing interventions.

Free Webinar for Healthcare Professionals: How to Motivate Patients to Enter Substance Abuse Treatment

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will host two expert-led CEU webinars in March to assist healthcare and medical professionals with developing skills they can use to encourage patients to engage in substance abuse treatment. Participants will learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of a possible addictive disorder and assess their patients’ readiness for change. Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based intervention method, also will be covered in the training.

Healthcare professionals may earn one continuing education credit compliments of Gateway while increasing their understanding of how to assist patients regarding substance abuse issues.  Gateway’s webinars will only be offered Thursday, Mar. 26 and Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly one in 10 Americans over age 12 is classified with substance abuse or dependence. “Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol,” said Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa.  “We designed this new training based on what healthcare professionals said they needed most, they need to better understand what tools are most effective for motivating their patients to consider treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse.”

Gateway’s webinars will cover important topics, like how to identify symptoms of a substance abuse disorder and understanding motivation and clinical intervention concepts.

To sign up for a webinar, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Training.

The DO’s of Encouraging Patient Self-Efficacy

As a healthcare professional, you’re in a unique position to encourage your patients to change certain behaviors that pose a risk to their health, such as smoking cigarettes, heavy drinking or drug abuse. But what’s the best approach when there’s evidence that substance abuse is taking a toll on a patients’ health?

First, let’s review some improper assumptions regarding behavior change for patients.

  • This person ought to change.
  • This person wants to change.
  • This patient’s health is the prime motivating factor for him/her.
  • If he or she does not decide to change, the consultation has failed.
  • Patients are either motivated to change, or not.
  • I’m the expert. He or she must follow my advice.

Responsibilities of the Patient

substance abuse patient, gateway treatment centersTo encourage patient enlightenment, it’s important to take the necessary time to clarify sensible drinking guidelines and health risks posed by drug use that patients disclose. However, when it comes to addressing change itself, motivational interviewing (MI) is extremely useful. MI promotes self-efficacy by placing responsibility of change on the patients themselves rather than advising patients to change. Indeed, trying to convince patients to change can actually undermine their self-efficacy. The DO’s of encouraging patient self-efficacy during health interventions:

  • DO elicit patient’s own thoughts, feelings, ambivalence, and motivation to change.
  • DO refine and practice your listening skills.
  • DO roll with resistance rather than confronting or opposing it.
  • DO use open-ended questions, which require patients to think and reflect.
  • DO use affirming statements to promote self-efficacy and acknowledge personal challenges.
  • DO use reflections to communicate respect and clarify exactly what the patient means.
  • DO summarize at conclusion of conversation to reinforce what patients said and prepare them to move forward.

It can take weeks or months for a patient to decide professional treatment for substance abuse is best for them. When they are ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential consultation to help adults and teens understand their personalized substance abuse treatment options.

Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to help keep them healthy.”

Bear in mind, there are plenty of myths about substance abuse and drug rehab that actually perpetuate avoidant behavior from patients who need help remaining sober, including:

  • A person can’t be forced into treatment, and has to have the desire to change for treatment to be work.
  • Addiction treatment didn’t work in the past, so there’s no point in trying again.
  • Overcoming addiction is merely a matter of willpower. People can choose to stop using drugs if they really want to change their lives for the better.

Help Inspire Self-Directed Change in Others

To overcome misperception as well as the societal stigma of substance abuse with your patients’, it’s important to motivational interviewing, substance abuse, gateway alcohol & Drug treatment centersset a positive tone from right off the bat. Simply advising patients to change if a problem is revealed often is unrewarding and ineffective. That’s why Gateway recommends using techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote self-directed change. In fact, a recent meta-analysis* of 72 studies found that MI outperformed traditional medical advice-giving in 80% of the studies.

To clarify, Motivational Interviewing is an open-ended, non-confrontational approach for interacting with persons who are unsure, uncommitted or ambivalent about changing. The spirit of MI, which is prioritized over technique, includes partnership, acceptance, compassion and evocation…or P.A.C.E.:

  • Partnership refers to collaborating with patients on their journey of exploration and decision-making.
  • Acceptance involves acknowledging and respecting patients’ inherent worth or ability within and as ultimate decision makers.
  • Compassion involves demonstrating commitment and behavior supportive of patients’ best interests.
  • Evocation encompasses the use of reflections, open-ended questions and non-judgmental exploration to facilitate exchanges in which patients elicit their concerns and reasons for change.

Trying to impose motivation upon patients makes it less likely they will change. Rather, it’s the role of the patient to make needed changes in MI; and your responsibility as a physician is to educate and empower your patients to make well-informed decisions that satisfy their own personal health needs.

If you know someone that could benefit from a free, confidential substance abuse consultation, encourage them to call 800-971-HOPE, or visit RecoverGateway.org.

*US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826439

Gateway Foundation to Offer Free CEU Training in Honor of National Recovery Month

In recognition of National Recovery Month in September, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is offering the professional community complimentary CEU workshops to enhance knowledge in order to better assist individuals with alcohol or drug abuse issues. Subject matter will include motivational interviewing, co-occurring disorders and understanding K2 and bath salts.

“Last year, Gateway Foundation provided free on-site training to more than 300 professionals to better prepare them to aid others who need treatment for substance abuse. This year, we are eager to share our clinical expertise with even more individuals by hosting three informative webinars that are ideal for professionals who work in healthcare, education, legal, mental health and substance abuse treatment,” says Gateway Foundation CEO and President Michael Darcy.

Motivational Interviewing Workshop

The webinar builds upon participants’ interviewing and counseling skills by teaching how to make a realistic assessment of an individual’s motivation for change. It outlines models to increase effectiveness with individuals who are ambivalent or who are resistant to change. The workshop is conducted by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who uses motivational interviewing techniques on a daily basis.

Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Co-Occurring Disorders Workshop

The workshop introduces attendees to current, research-based approaches intended to improve one’s ability to succeed with individuals that are challenged by the presence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. The webinar will be led by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is experienced in working with individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Understanding K2 and Bath Salts Webinar

Lead by a Gateway Foundation Licensed Clinical Psychologist, this webinar is intended to increase one’s understanding of synthetic drugs, the signs and symptoms of K2 and bath salts use and the potential long-term effects of abuse. Attendees will also hear from representatives of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office to learn how the federal and state lawmakers are responding to these addictive and deadly drugs.

Date/Time: Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012, from 1 to 2 p.m.

1 CEU  NAADAC, Illinois – LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing

Presented by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the goal of Recovery Month is to increase understanding of mental and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services to achieve recovery, and to help people recognize and seek assistance for these health conditions with the same urgency as any other health condition.

For more information about Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment and Recovery Month events or to register for webinars, please visit RecoverGateway.org/2012.

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