Alcohol and substance use are shrouded by shameful and often inaccurate stigmas. Mental health professionals battle the dangerous misconception that addiction is a self-induced malady, and those afflicted by it should just “try harder” to get better. This National Recovery Month, recognized every September, Central Wyoming Counseling Center (Central) is dispelling these myths. Addiction is actually a metabolic disease. It’s a condition that requires lifelong management — not something that someone just gets over.
“Addiction disorder is a chronic illness. Even though the chemical, whether it’s alcohol, opioids, or another substance, is killing the person using it, the body doesn’t feel like it can function without it. So patients feel mental anguish and a range of other physical symptoms, which can last for years after a person gets clean,” Carol King, Central Director of Adult Residential Services, says. Physical symptoms vary by substance, but they include body aches and pains, sleeplessness and impotence.
King likens addiction disorder to diabetes, another metabolic disease. Both are longterm illnesses, but with the right treatment plans and support systems in place, they can be successfully managed. Whether patients face mild, moderate or severe substance use disorder, Central is prepared to treat everyone, judgment free.
The process begins with Central’s Open Access program, which is an open door opportunity to come talk about substance use. To ensure that each patient’s unique needs are met, the individual’s substance use is fully assessed, which then becomes the foundation for his or her treatment plan. From there, Central professionals might recommend Outpatient Counseling, which consists of routine one-on-one appointments; Intensive Outpatient, a 12 week program with both group and individual sessions; or Inpatient Residential treatment when a patient resides at Central.
“Seventy-five percent of all people with addiction learn to manage it. We don’t manage cancer, colds or any other illness at that rate. It’s huge how many people go on to have healthy and productive family, vocational and social lives,” King said.
This National Recovery Month, assess your own substance use. Do you ever find that you don’t want to use but continue to do so? Or do you intend to use a little but use more than you planned? Is substance use causing legal, family or school problems? If so, Open Access is a low-pressure way to have an impartial professional evaluate whether you have a disorder or how likely you are to develop one.
Even if you’re not ready to quit using, King says that anyone with any level of concern about substance use should visit. “If you’re not sure you have a problem, it’s OK to come process. If you want to come in and just consider being sober, we’re not here to lock anyone up. We’re here to help whenever you’re ready,” she said.
If you’ve tried getting clean once or even multiple times before, King encourages you to revisit your efforts.“This usually takes a few tries, but people do get well,” she said.
To learn more about substance use disorder or to schedule an appointment, call Central today at 307.237.9583.