If we want to have any meaningful treatment of all kind of addiction, it is first important that we have a team of well-trained and competent professionals to handle the job. That is why doctor Dalal Akoury and her team of experts from the home of addiction solution (AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center) strongly believe in substance abuse counselor training using cognitive behavioral approach among other training modes available. It is also important for the qualified experts to appreciate that the integrating cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) and medication is very essential since it is highly compatible with pharmacotherapy. When applied in combination with medication, the range of CBT interventions expands to include a focus on enhancing medication compliance. Generally, medication response and compliance are monitored during the early part of each session and that is to say that the first third of each hour of the training session which then translate into a 20/20/20 session. And for a better understanding of these facts, the following are some specific strategies that have been found useful:
Substance abuse counselor training using cognitive behavioral approach: Inquire as to patients’ previous experience with medication
It is always very important that specialist attending to the needs of addicts should explore deeply about the previous experience with medication by asking questions as this will help in laying down the frame work of proper treatment. the following are some of the questions the therapist may consider asking:
- Therapists should ask patients about their prior history with pharmacotherapy for any psychiatric disorder or condition.
- Why was it prescribed?
- Was it helpful?
- Under what conditions was it terminated?
- Did they take the medication as prescribed faithfully to the last dose?
From the results of such questions, the therapist should be able to point out areas of noncompliance and this should alert them into professionally establishing the patients’ view as to why they did not comply previously and also to attempt to address those issues proactively.
Substance abuse counselor training using cognitive behavioral approach: Address patients’ concerns about medication
Listening is very paramount in the treatment process. It is therefore important that therapist take time to listen to their clients carefully for any concerns, including any misunderstandings, or prejudices about taking medication and find ways of addressing them timely and assertively. These may include misconceptions about expected medication effects, time needed to experience the effect, side effects, dosing, and interactions with cocaine and other substances. It is important that therapists provide clarification in clear, familiar terms and frequently check back with patients to be sure that they have understood.
Besides that, sometimes the effects of medication may not come immediately apparent, it is important to inform patients that it may take several weeks before therapeutic effects emerge; thus, patients should be encouraged to expect gradual rather than all-or-nothing change. Explaining the gradual emergence of medication effects provides an opportunity for the therapist to emphasize that patients should not expect to benefit from an entirely passive stance regarding CBT treatment simply because they are taking medication. Mastery and implementation of coping skills remain an essential and important part of treatment; medication may be an additional, useful adjunct or tool.
Substance abuse counselor training using cognitive behavioral approach: Assess medication compliance since last session
Close, consistent, and careful monitoring is one of the most effective strategies for enhancing compliance with medications. Thus, a portion of each session should be devoted to evaluating medication compliance and working through any difficulties that might arise. In general, until the patients’ compliance pattern is clearly established, therapists should, in every meeting, inquire about medication compliance, day by day, since the last session. This should include asking when patients take the medication, how they take the medication, and a thorough discussion of any deviation from the prescribed dose and schedule.
In her many years of service in this discipline, doctor Akoury has noted that compliance and retention are most difficult to achieve early and late in treatment – early if the patient is not receiving obvious benefit, and later if the patient, after obtaining a partial or full therapeutic response, does not appreciate the need to continue treatment. Thus, therapists should be particularly attentive to compliance and motivation issues during early and late sessions.
Substance abuse counselor training using cognitive behavioral approach: Praise medication compliance
Therapists should also convey confidence in the medication and inform patients of the likely benefits. Therapists should be strongly on the side of compliance and praise patients’ compliance enthusiastically and genuinely. Like for instance you could appreciate your patient by saying that “I have seen you take your medication diligently since our last meeting and that’s really great. I know you may have had some doubts about whether the medication would work for you, and I’m glad you were willing to give it a try. And by the way have you noticed any positive changes you think might be related to the medication?” for better assessment, doctor Akoury suggest that the patient improvement should be related to compliance and lack of improvement and luck of it to noncompliance.
The other point of significance to the therapist is to establish and stress the connection between medication compliance, psychotherapy sessions, and improvement. Therapists should make explicit causal links between patients’ compliance and improvement in cocaine abuse and other appropriate target symptoms. Conversely, therapists might tie poor compliance to failure to improve. Therapist should continue appreciating the effort of their clients from time to time like for instance you could point out that “since you’ve been taking the medication, I can see a lot of positive changes in your life. And by the way you’ve cut down significantly on your cocaine use and it is impressing that you’ve been feeling a lot better. I think the changes indicate that the medication is helping you. What do you think?” engagements like that are very important for recovering addicts in every session you have with them. That way they will see some progress and put in more effort in their commitment to kicking out cocaine addiction out of their lives.
Finally we want to assure you that we are always very much available for you as professionals anytime of the day and therefore if you need help in any way, remember that at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under Doctor Akoury’s care we focus on Neuroendocrine Restoration (NER) to reinstate normality through realization of the oneness of Spirit, Mind, and Body, Unifying the threesome into ONE. Take note that doctor Akoury is offering her exclusive NER Recovery Treatment to other physicians and health care professionals through training, clinical apprenticeships, webinars and seminars. Therefore any qualified professional can now be a part of this truly successful and fast addiction recovery treatment any time any day by scheduling for an appointment with doctor Akoury today.