Know Who to Call
Assessment? Detox? Inpatient or outpatient? It can be hard to navigate the various services and treatment options available to those who struggle with addiction. Here’s how to make sense of the services and resources available in Snohomish County.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment Professionals
Many different kinds of professionals provide treatment for substance use disorders (addiction). In most treatment programs, the primary caregivers are specially trained, certified, and/or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors. Most treatment programs assign patients to a treatment team of professionals. Depending on the type of treatment, teams can be made up of social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, or other professionals.
A complete assessment of an individual is needed to help treatment professionals find the right type of treatment. The assessment also helps counselors work with the person to design an effective treatment plan. Although clinical assessment continues throughout a person’s treatment, it starts at or just before a person’s admission to a treatment program.
Detox Services or Withdrawal Management
Acute medical detox is often the first stage of care. Detox facilities provide services for those suffering from the effects of opioid abuse and other chemical intoxication. Withdrawing from opioids without medical assistance is not only uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. Most detox programs provide 24-hour monitoring by professionals who are trained to identify and treat the signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal.
Provided in special units of hospitals or medical clinics, inpatient treatment offers both detoxification and rehabilitation services. Because of changes in insurance coverage, inpatient treatment is no longer as common as it used to be.
These provide a living environment with treatment services. Several models of residential treatment (such as the therapeutic community) exist, and treatment in these programs lasts from a month to a year or more. Residential programs are best for people who do not have stable living or employment situations and/or have limited or no family support.
Partial Hospitalization or Day Treatment Programs
Provided in hospitals or free-standing clinics, these programs provide treatment for 4 to 8 hours per day for people who usually live at home. These programs usually last at least 3 months and work best for people who have a stable, supportive home environment.
Outpatient programs provide treatment at a program site, but the person lives elsewhere (usually at home). Outpatient treatment is offered in a variety of places: health clinics, community mental health clinics, counselors’ offices, hospital clinics, local health department offices, or residential programs with outpatient clinics. Many meet in the evenings and on weekends so participants can go to school or work, and the programs last from about 2 months to 1 year.
Treatment Programs or Opioid Substitution Treatment
Many primary care providers in Snohomish County have completed special training to offer medication assisted treatment (MAT). These providers and clinics use medication such as suboxone, Vivitrol or methadone to help with cravings, as well as provide counseling and other services to complement the medication treatment.
Some of this information is from “What is Substance Abuse Treatment? A booklet for Families” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA).