Addiction is a chronic disease affecting the brain. The patient experiences urges to use drugs regardless of the apparent negative consequences of this practice. The condition is considered as an ailment because the substances abused alter the normal functioning of the brain. Addicts are members of families and other social institutions. Consequently, social workers intervene to help these families and the patient.
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In this paper, the author will cover three primary topics related to addiction and patient assistance. They include the stages of change model, solution focused therapy, and treatment of minority substance abusers.
Stages of Change Model in Substance Abuse Treatment
When working with addicts, therapists employ different approaches to help their clients. One such strategy includes the support stages of change model developed by Prochaska (Palmer, 2011). The approach is popular because of its reported success in treating addicts. The model comprises of six stages. They include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse.
At this stage, patients do not consider their state to be a problem (Fisher, 2009). The main reason is that they have not started experiencing negative consequences in terms of changes in behavior.
During this stage, an addict tries to change, cut down, or quit substance abuse. In spite of the felt need to conform to societal norms, the individual is still hesitant (Montvilo, 2013). As a result, the patient continues abusing drugs.
The preparation stage is the most active phase of the cycle. The patient begins to make minimal changes and gathering information about recovery (Palmer, 2011). In addition, clients may start formulating goals and developing plans of action.
At this phase, addicts focus more on overcoming addiction. Changes in behavior are noted (Fisher, 2009). Due to the transformation, this phase may be stressful. However, with proper preparation, the stage can be exciting.
According to Montvilo (2013), patients at this juncture focus on continuous progress towards change. Individuals strive to maintain the new behavior patterns. They also try to avoid triggers. Therapists and clients consider this stage to be the most difficult. The reason behind this is because if not well managed, the client may go back to drugs.
According to therapists, this stage provides an opportunity for patients to learn more about addiction and themselves. Clients are helped to avoid going back to their previous behaviors (Fisher, 2009).
Solution Focused Therapy
Solution focused therapy is a goal oriented collaborative approach that focuses more on solutions than on patient’s problems. It was developed by social workers Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. The treatment concentrates on the client’s needs, a move that helps them to change. According to Palmer (2011), the approach focuses on both present and future goals.
Solution focused therapy has various strengths. The approach motivates clients to make behavioral changes through questions (Fisher, 2009). The questions are categorized into five groups. They include miracle, scaling, exception-seeking, coping, and problem-free talk queries.
Treatment of Minority Substance Abusers
Racial and ethnic minority groups have different perceptions towards substance abuse and treatment. Among natives and African Americans, spirituality and religion are central determinants of culture. People define addicts according to their understanding and interpretation of sacred doctrines (Palmer, 2011). Some individuals of African American origin consider addiction to be a sin or violation of spiritual codes of conduct. Among the Hispanics, machismo takes center stage. Motivational interviewing is viewed as the most effective approach to dealing with substance abuse. In addition, women are prohibited from consuming alcohol. Within the Asian American community, family is considered to be the key to treating substance abusers. Members are required to work together to help the patient overcome the problem (Fisher, 2009).
Substance abuse and addiction is a major problem in the world. The issue affects people from all races and backgrounds. However, through proper therapeutic measures and intervention techniques, patients can be helped to overcome the habit. Families with substance abusers should seek the services of social workers services to help their relatives.
Fisher, G. (2009). Encyclopedia of substance abuse, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Los Angeles: SAGE. Web.
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Montvilo, R. (2013). Addictions and substance abuse. Ipswich, Mass.: Salem Press. Web.
Palmer, S. (2011). Social work in mental health and substance abuse. Oakville, ON.: Apple Academic Press. Web.