Breaking the cycle of addiction
In every community, every neighborhood and at every income level, substance abuse is an ever- present and ever-growing issue. But addiction to drugs and alcohol is not merely a social problem, it’s a disease.
Research is discovering more and more about how drugs and alcohol affect brain chemistry. Changes in the brain cause intense craving that doesn’t just go away when a person stops using. Treatment is necessary to assist in the process of getting brain chemistry back to normal.
“What we’re learning about the effects of drugs on the brain has led to new treatments and better outcomes for people with addictions to return to a healthy and productive life,” said Debi Bennett, licensed clinical social worker and service coordinator for the New Vision medical stabilization service at Norton Audubon Hospital.
Medical stabilization – the process by which alcohol and/or drugs are removed from the body while safely managing withdrawal symptoms – is the crucial first step in the effective long-term management of addiction, according to Bennett. Medical stabilization makes the process more comfortable, thereby improving the odds for a successful recovery.
“Medical stabilization prepares the patient to actively participate in the formulation of a treatment plan designed to assist in maintaining
abstinence and ongoing recovery once they are discharged from the hospital,” Bennett said.
Upon admission to a medical stabilization service, the person undergoes a medical history, physical, complete laboratory workup and nursing assessment. During a hospital stay usually lasting a few days, the person receives individualized medical treatment of symptoms, crisis intervention, assessment of needs and a plan for rehabilitation and counseling services after leaving the hospital.
“Patients are given the tools to continue recovery after leaving the hospital through referrals to appropriate community-based programs with the goal of blending education and treatment regarding chemical dependency with practical methods to prevent relapse,” Bennett said.
By making that first move toward recovery with medical stabilization and with an ongoing desire to remain free of the stronghold of substance abuse, many individuals can resume and maintain healthy lifestyles.
- Debi Bennett, social worker with New Vision
Want to know more?
New Vision medical stabilization service is available at Norton Audubon Hospital for adults ages 18 and older who are currently using or experiencing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. To schedule an admission or for more information, call (502) 636-4967 or (800) 939-CARE/(800) 939-2273.