Why Individualized Addiction Treatment Is Important

Treatment Guru

In order to treat a substance addiction, it’s important to fully understand the ways in which it impacts the addicted person’s life. While two people might be addicted to the same substance, there are countless other details — their history, social status, family situation, age, overall health, and plenty of others — that will affect how they react to various forms of treatment.

That’s why individualized addiction treatment plans are so important. A treatment plan designed for the individual can give a person access to a specific program, tailored to their exact needs, which will help get them through the physical and mental demands of addiction.

Why Individualized Addiction Treatment Plans Are Used

There are over 23 million individuals in the United States alone who suffer from some form of alcohol or drug addiction. Other than that, and the fact that they live in the same country, they share basically nothing in common.

The truth is that addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every addicted person’s usage, habits, history, and perception is unique, so their cases are unique too. Even two people addicted to the same substance might have come into their addiction by completely different paths, so their paths to getting clean will be equally dissimilar.

According to the Delaware Health and Social Services, “A diagnosis is a necessary, but not sufficient determinant of treatment. A patient is matched to services based on clinical severity, not placed in a set program based only on having met diagnostic criteria.”

What that means is that knowing the problem is not the same as knowing the solution. Each patient who checks into a drug rehab program needs to be carefully evaluated. Treatment professionals take into account which substances are used and how often, the severity of addiction, the physical health risks of usage and withdrawal, underlying causes of addiction, related health problems, triggers that might influence use and relapse, stressors, and more.

Some people with addiction problems might benefit more from group therapy, and some might benefit from one-on-one time. Some need an immersive inpatient program, whereas some addictions can be treated by regular outpatient meetings. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine what works best for each person.

The ASAM Criteria And The Locus Level Of Care Utilization System

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria and the Locus Level Of Care Utilization System are the two main assessment guides for gauging addiction and recommending treatment. While their criteria are similar, their guidelines vary.

The ASAM Criteria

The ASAM criteria uses six dimensions to assess an individual and recommend service and treatment. The six levels are:

Acute Intoxication and/or Withdrawal Potential
Biomedical Conditions and Complications
Emotional, Behavioral, or Cognitive Conditions and Complications
Readiness to Change
Relapse, Continued Use, or Continued Problem Potential
Recovery/Living Environment

The ASAM system also includes a continuum of care, expressing gradations of the intensity of services needed along a spectrum from 0 to 4. Patients can move up or down the spectrum in terms of the intensity of care needed without necessarily needing a new benchmark of care.

The Locus Level Of Care Utilization System

The Locus system first assesses the risk that the person’s addiction will bring harm to themselves or to those close to them, in order to judge their level of functionality before beginning treatment. Comorbidity (the simultaneous occurrence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions) is also assessed.

The next step under the Locus system is to assess the recovery environment, including the level of stress inherent in the environment as well as the amount of support available. Some patients will be able to handle the stresses of everyday life, work, and so on while they undergo treatment, for example, while others will need a more relaxed environment.

Finally, the patient is assessed for their treatment and recovery history. What has been tried before? Has it worked? Did they relapse, and why? This assessment includes the patient’s level of engagement — in other words, how dedicated are they to recovery?

Do Individualized Addiction Treatment Plans Work?

In short, yes. Tailoring treatment plans to each patient is rigorous and difficult, but necessary in order to facilitate successful recovery. Among the many benefits of individualized addiction treatment are:

Viewing addiction as a disease, not a moral failing, and treating it accordingly
Managing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health concerns that addiction causes
Creating a variety of therapy options that use different tactics and approaches
Allows almost anyone, regardless of personal circumstances, to find a treatment plan that will work for them
Treats other physical and mental health problems that may have occurred alongside addiction or because of it
Builds a social recovery network to fix the alienation that often accompanies addiction

If you or a loved one needs access to individualized addiction treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out. Talk to a specialist who can give you all the in-depth information you need, and don’t hesitate to ask for help getting through these difficult times in your life.

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