Addiction Recovery: Collaborative Care Ensures Effective Outcomes

The prevailing opioid crisis in the United States has displayed time and again how ruthless addiction can become by putting massive strain on the society. An addiction, a complicated brain condition driven by substance-seeking behavior despite being aware of the harmful consequences, causes several psychological problems that remain unaddressed in primary care settings.

At times, it is quite challenging to determine the best treatment approach for an individual with a mental disorder, to say the least. Such a perplexing problem oftentimes becomes the key reason behind the overstretched rehabilitation process. The inadequacy in tackling mental disorders witnessed alongside addiction in primary care settings may result in poor access to care, discontentment with quality, noncompliance with prescribed medications, etc.

With a growing need to address not only mental disorders but also substance use disorders (SUDs), the interventions based on collaborative care in primary care settings can enhance the scope of holistic recovery from both the disorders. Being a patient-centered approach, the primary elements of collaborative care include population-based care, measurement-based care, evidence-based treatment and accountable care.

Considering the fact that patients with psychiatric disorders significantly benefit from collaborative care, the approach appears promising for the treatment of a co-occurring addiction.

Strengths of collaborative care model

The principal features of collaborative care include regular follow-up, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), psychosocial interventions, adherence to medicine regimen, case management, etc. Therefore, individuals with SUDs significantly benefit from systematic approach of the collaborative care model.

For instance, when a mental health specialist works in conjunction with the primary care provider, it significantly increases the resources to treat the patient by providing adequate counseling and education. In addition, the frequent interaction between the patients’ case manager and the primary care provider keeps both parties updated on the patients’ progress in terms of treatment. This assists in alerting them about any kind of gaps, relapses, insignificant improvement in symptoms or if remission is yet to be achieved. As a result, the focus during the entire treatment remains on the patient.

Despite being somewhat rudimentary compared to the sophisticated rehabilitation process, the tools of measurement-based care, such as urine drug screening tests, play a key role in increasing focus on each patient. Moreover, the measurement-based interventions are invaluable because:

  • They approach every case uniquely, focusing the treatment at an individual level.
  • They assist in identifying individuals at risk of developing a relapse.
  • They offer a way to measure treatment success across different clinical settings.

To boost the scope of recovery and strengthen adherence to treatment under the collaborative care model, every patient undergoes a biopsychosocial assessment that provides crucial insight into which relapse-prevention strategies are likely to prevail.

Some of the other measures, such as setting up treatment dates, promoting participation in the 12-step groups and determining the symptoms of mental disorders, make it possible to provide the much-needed care that supports the primary care provider’s prescription and aims at preventing a relapse.

The collaborative care model has redefined treatment approaches to psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. It has also demonstrated success in overcoming the stigma and myths surrounding mental disorders and addiction that otherwise demotivate patients and result in poor adherence of treatment. In addition, the collaborative care model ensures the overall holistic rehabilitation of patients.

Seek professional help

Despite numerous clinical trials and extensive research on the advantages of integrated care in primary settings, it has not been incorporated across the primary care settings. It has displayed significant success in treating both mental disorders and SUDs under one roof with the least cost burden on patients. To lead an addiction-free life, it is essential to undergo an effective treatment based on the collaborative care model. It assists in overcoming not just the problem of addiction but also co-occurring disorders and diminishes the scope of a relapse.

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