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A growing opiate abuse epidemic has highlighted the need for effective treatment options. This study documents treatment outcomes for 444 patients with co-occurring opiate use and mental health disorders receiving residential treatment at La Paloma Treatment Center. La Paloma offers treatment for patients with both mental health and substance abuse concerns. The facility rests on twelve beautiful acres in historic Memphis, Tenn., and provides residential and outpatient treatment along with medically supervised detoxification.
La Paloma offers the following:
- Evaluation and assessment program
- Medically managed detoxification
- Residential program
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Discovery program for professionals
- Intensive family program
- Trauma resolution program
- Case management and continuing care
- Veterans First program
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Opiate Addictions
Both natural opiates and synthetic opioids can be extremely addictive. When used in controlled dosages, opiates can effectively manage pain or reduce anxiety; however, at high doses, users experience a feeling of euphoria. Use of heroin and other opiates have been found to increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors resulting in exposure to disease, such as HIV/AIDS contracted from sharing needles with exposed partners. All opiate users may experience complications from a drug overdose such as respiratory arrest or death.
La Paloma specializes in helping patients overcome opiate addiction and any underlying mental health concerns. Because La Paloma is a Dual Diagnosis treatment facility, a multidisciplinary team of specialists work with each patient to ensure implementation of appropriate and evidence-based interventions. The facility was created specifically to provide treatment for persons with co-occurring disorders – this mission is evident throughout the program (e.g., staffing, training, interventions, practices, etc.).
Addiction often goes hand in hand with mental health concerns. In the United States, around 34.1 million adults reported using an illicit drug during a one-year period, and of that number, 35 percent (nearly 12 million) reported a mental illness, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Of the roughly 590,000 heroin users, 53 percent (311,000) reported a mental illness, while 44 percent (4.6 million) of the 10.7 million people who used pain relievers reported a mental illness.
Opiate Use and the Brain
Treatment Options for Opiate Addiction
Research shows that other therapies, such as talk therapy and psychiatric treatment, when combined with drug replacement therapy, are more effective than drug replacement therapy alone. Authors of a 2008 paper that compared 28 trials theorized that psychosocial treatments promote long-term sobriety. The process a person goes through to assess the reasons behind his or her addiction create changes in emotional, interpersonal, vocational and physical health and “indirectly” lower drug use for greater time periods.
There are a variety of evidence-based practices that have been found to be effective for persons with co-occurring disorders. For example Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has consistently proven effective in a variety of settings and populations, along with a variety of related evidence-based practices such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). A study of women with borderline personality disorder who were also addicted to heroin showed that DBT encouraged greater success at the end of 12 months and 16 months.
La Paloma’s Approach: Treatment Without Drug Replacement Therapy
When considering treatment options, patients must make decisions based on personal needs. Drug replacement therapy can be challenging. Patients usually visit a clinic daily to receive a dose—this ensures patients take an appropriate amount of the drug and prevents it from being sold or given to other people.
Studies show drug replacement therapy does encourage some patients to stay in a drug treatment program vs. a program that does not offer drug replacement. The use of drug therapy, however, does not show a statistically improved rate on criminal activity or life span.
Our Findings: Treatment Outcomes for Opiate Addiction after One Year
This study included 444 patients admitted to La Paloma’s program, which addresses both substance abuse and mental illness. As part of a larger evaluation of treatment outcomes, all patients were asked to participate but willingness to participate did not influence treatment services available to all patients entering residential treatment at La Paloma. For this study, all 444 participants reported opiate use during the 30 days prior to admission. Opiate use in this paper includes heroin, non-prescription methadone, or other opiates (most commonly prescription medications containing opiates).
La Paloma patients were followed from their initial visit through one year. The data, collected from February 2008 to October 2011, found that a majority of patients who reported opiate addictions successfully avoided using drugs or alcohol after one year.
Our Findings: Success with Drug Addiction
Our Findings: Pre-Admission Opiate Use
Our Findings: ASI Composite Score Data
The study’s patients showed an 86 percent improvement in drug addiction and a 72 percent improvement in alcohol addiction. Scores for legal problems fell 75 percent while scores for psychiatric and family problems fell approximately 50 percent. Improvement was less dramatic for medical problems, which may take more time to alleviate. Employment was the only domain that did not show significant post-treatment improvement compared to the baseline measure.
Drug replacement therapies also come with drawbacks. An individual who uses the replacement drug often must travel daily to keep taking it and it may expose an individual to other people addicted to heroin or other opiates on a frequent basis.
Furthermore, the integrated treatment model offered at La Paloma treats a patient’s addiction along with any mental illness, making the road to sobriety even more achievable. The facility continues to develop and research ways to stay on top of the latest treatment modalities in Dual Diagnosis treatment.
Patient participation in our research gives us the opportunity to more effectively help all addicted individuals find greater happiness and success through effective treatment. If you would like to speak with a recovery professional today or if you would like to learn more about our research methods and programs, please visit us online at lapalomatreatment.com or call us directly at 877-714-1318.