Q&A: Substance AbuseTreatment and Recovery

Posted by Prelude on Jan 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

15_1224_QAHave questions about treatment? Want answers on addiction?

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we hear here about substance abuse treatment at Prelude. If your particular question doesn't appear below

If your particular question doesn't appear below, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are always available to help you or your loved one along a road to recovery.


Q: My husband says that he is an addict. How can this be possible when he still has a good job?

A: Understanding how a person can be dependent on alcohol or drugs and still keep a good job is difficult. The media often portray people with substance use disorders as unemployed, unproductive, criminal, and homeless. However, many people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs do not fit this stereotype; they have jobs and live with their families. The disease does tend to worsen over time. Eventually, your husband’s drug use may increase, and, with no help, he may begin to experience more serious problems. The earlier your husband can get treatment, the better chance he has of recovery.


Q: My mother says there is no cure for this disease, so she doesn’t need treatment. Is that true?

A: Perhaps your mother does not understand the purpose of treatment. She is correct to some degree; a substance use disorder is often chronic – but it is treatable. This is also true of many other long-term illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension. Treatment for substance use disorders is designed to help people stop alcohol or drug use and remain sober and drug-free. Recovery is a lifelong process. Staying in recovery is a difficult talk, so your mother will need to learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Treatment can help your mother accept, manage, and live with her illness.


Q: My wife just started treatment. I called the program yesterday to ask the counselor some questions. The counselor said that she “could not confirm or deny” that my wife was even there! What’s that about?

A: Federal and State laws protect an individual’s privacy in treatment. Before the counselor can talk to anyone (including you) about your wife’s treatment, the program must first have her permission, in writing. Even if the counselor knows that you know your wife is there, she still can’t even say that your wife is in the program until your wife signs a “release of information” or “disclosure authorization” form. You may want to talk to your wife and be sure she understands that you would like to be involved in the treatment program.


Q: My brother is in a residential treatment program. He says he can leave the program at any time. Is this true?

A: Yes. Everyone has the option of leaving. All alcohol and drug abuse treatment is voluntary, although there may be consequences for leaving if the person is in treatment, for example, as part of probation or parole. If your brother chooses to leave and treatment has not been completed, the treatment staff may ask him to sign papers stating that he is leaving treatment against medical advice. The staff also will try to find out why he wants to leave early and will try to address any concerns he has.

Q: If substance use disorder is a disease, why aren’t there medicines that will help?

A: There are medications that will help, though only for some addictions. No “magic pill” exists to cure substance use disorders, but medicines can often be an important part of the treatment. Medications are used to detoxify a person, to prevent him or her from feeling high from taking drugs, to reduce cravings, or to treat a person’s mental disorder.


Q: My partner says a lot of people in his group have relapsed. What does that mean?

A: Not all people in recovery can stay sober. When they cannot, it’s called relapse. Many people relapse a few times. As with other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or asthma, the symptoms can come and go. Most treatment programs discuss relapse openly and often. It is important that the person who relapses return to treatment right away, learn more about his or her relapse triggers, and improve his or her coping skills. Returning quickly is a sign of health (rather than a failure) and a desire to begin working toward a life free of alcohol and drugs. Relapses may be very disheartening. However, a relapse does not mean that your family member will not recover.

Prelude Iowa: Treatment and recovery for addiction problems. Addiction help Iowa.

Topics: Addicton, Recovery

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At Prelude, we work tirelessly to improve the lives of individuals, their families, and members of their communities.

From prevention to intensive residential care, Prelude offers a range of services to help you and your loved one lead a full, productive life.  Prelude Behavioral Services has been providing comprehensive services since 1969. We are committed to serving hard-to-reach and disenfranchised populations and to breaking down barriers that hinder access to behavioral health care for all Iowans.



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