Evidence Based Treatment
The goal of every alcohol and drug rehab facility is long-term recovery for patients, but how do we get there? What helps set up patients for success?
In the world of science and medicine, new things are being learned all the time. The same is true in the world of rehab and substance use. Information evolves and changes. Best practices shift and grow. Keeping up-to-date offers the best chance of success for our patients.
This is one of the main principles of evidence-based treatment, which is how we operate here at Recovery Centers of America (RCOA). We believe in continually improving our treatment program to provide the best foundation for our patient’s long-term recovery. That’s what they deserve from us.
Defining Evidence-Based Practices
The term “evidence-based” gives a basic understanding of what it means by its name alone, but let’s explain further what it means. Evidence-based means the treatment program incorporates the latest research and science into its methods. For example, in the past, some programs would try to berate and shame patients into giving up drinking and drug use. The research says that those practices actually hurt rather than helped patients. In another example, many programs in the past did not incorporate medication-assisted treatment due to biases in the field, but the research is clear that it saves lives.
Here at RCA, we care about outcomes. These outcomes give us the best look into how exactly our treatment program is impacting our patients over time. Recovery isn’t easy, so we work hard to ensure we’re doing everything possible to set our patients up for success. Treatment programs need to work even after patients are done with inpatient or residential treatment. If they’re not strong enough to stand up once they’ve left, then they’re not giving patients the new start they deserve.
Our Pathways Program and the Evidence Behind It
Programs often talk about individualized care, which can be done through treatment planning and individual sessions. However, most of a patient’s time in treatment is spent in group sessions so how does a program continue to tailor and individualize care in the group setting? Our answer was to develop 3 specific pathways that are tailored to the different needs of our patients.
Our three pathways are as follows:
- Foundations of Recovery for first-time recovery patients – We focus on finding and addressing the sources that drive their addiction. We then help give them the tools they need to manage triggers and notice the symptoms of a potential relapse.
- Fresh Start for returning/relapse patients – We focus on addressing the gaps in their previous recovery experience, as well as figuring out what triggers they need the most help with addressing.
- The Dual Pathway for Patients with Cooccurring Disorders – We work on helping the patient learn to manage both their triggers for SUD while also addressing their mental health, which is often a large trigger in itself.
Being able to put patients into the pathway that works best for their needs helps boost their chances of long-term recovery. Additionally, our patients each have a case manager and an individual therapist who works alongside them to further tailor their treatment program. This gives the patients direct feedback and influences their own recovery, which helps them not only know what’s going on but realize that they have an active role in this, too.
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Constantly Improving – Ongoing Training & Feedback
We know, and the research tells us, that the experience and outcomes for patients also rely on the caliber of our staff. In fact, the most effective therapists get results for patients that are 3 to 4 times better than the least effective.
Studies also show that therapists plateau in quality outcomes over time, and can eventually even obtain slightly reduced outcomes without regular training and feedback. For this reason, our staff receive ongoing training during their time here at RCA in conjunction with regular session audits and feedback.
Many programs will tout their use of evidence-based modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT), etc. The reality is that all of these achieve roughly the same outcomes. Differences in patient results are actually the result of great therapists who can implement these modalities the most effectively.
Unlike many programs, our therapists receive extended onboarding training in evidence-based modalities such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Then, our Clinical Directors and Supervisors audit sessions weekly to further support our therapists by providing feedback on what’s working as well as techniques to further improve results for our patients.
Clinical Excellence and the Proof Behind Our Treatment
The words “clinical excellence” only mean as much as the effort put in behind them. A treatment center can tout “clinical excellence” all they want, but if they don’t have the studies and results to back it up, the words mean nothing.
Our team here at RCA works hard to make sure our programming is backed by studies and feedback in order to make sure it is providing clinical excellence for our patients. Our definition of clinical excellence, however, moves beyond our basic treatment plan and training of our staff. We try to embody clinical excellence in as many areas as we can. This means offering other services and help that are also shown to help bolster recovery.
This means offering other services and help that are also shown to help bolster recovery such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
MAT programs are primarily utilized to help those who are recovering from opioid misuse. We offer this programming because many studies show that those who go through MAT programs are far less likely to experience a second overdose compared to those who did not utilize MAT.
The primary reason for these numbers is how MAT assists in managing opioid withdrawal and its side effects. Reducing cravings and other symptoms allows patients to focus on recovery and learning the new tools and skills they need to face other triggers for addiction in the future.
Additionally, MAT helps reduce overdose rates. The medications utilized in MAT block opioid receptivity in the brain, which helps reduce future opioid use.
Other Elements of Effective Treatment
The elements of a good recovery program expand beyond the full continuum of care that RCA offers. Here are just a few of the other support services we offer to help our patients out along the way.
- Family support – The person with the SUD is not the only one impacted by it. Oftentimes it affects their family and friends, too. We offer a family support program to help families heal alongside their loved ones, both separately and together. Studies show that involving the family has many benefits for recovering addicts. Making sure to address as many aspects of a patient’s life as possible can help better prepare them for long-term recovery.
- Lifelong alumni support – We often get questions from patients about how they’re going to spend their time without substance use. It can seem daunting to find new hobbies and ways to “have fun” when your primary way of doing that is now being changed. Our alumni program offers support as well as a look into a patient’s future. They can see their fellow peers and how they’re doing months or even years into their recovery and ask questions about how they got there. It reminds them that they’re not alone.
- Nutrients and wellness programming – One of the most common side effects of substance and alcohol use is the decline in self-care. Reestablishing these healthy habits, or even teaching them in the first place, has been shown to positively impact people recovering from SUDs.
Our goal here at RCA is to help our patients succeed on their recovery journey. We want to provide them with the best. We want them to walk away with tools and knowledge that can help them for a lifetime. That’s why we find evidence-based treatment and clinical excellence to be of the utmost importance.
After Evidence Based Treatment, the journey continues…
While treatment gets you through acute periods of withdrawal, other symptoms—particularly psychological ones—might persist past the initial detox period, making continuation of treatment after the initial detox period critical. Our continuum of care includes: