Philosophy / Approach

philosophy_03“Addiction sufferers are not bad people, they are people dealing with a difficult disease that has many, complex causes.”

The Changes team has many years experience in treating addictions and dependency. With varied backgrounds and qualifications, the team has seen most treatment methods at work, first hand. The leadership team are all in recovery themselves. Having successfully battled with their own addictions and dependencies has equipped them well to assist others in their treatment. This experience has shown that the causes of addiction are varied and each patient requires a unique treatment.

The idea that every addiction sufferer is unique means that each person’s treatment should be customised to suit their needs.

This multi-disciplinary, patient-centric approach has led to Changes developing the Bio-Psycho- Social addiction treatment method. The approach that Changes treatment centres follows in treating addiction is multi-disciplinary and consists of three parts.

The first stage is “BIO”. The immediate treatment that a patient receives upon admission to a Changes treatment facility is aimed at stabilising the patient and ensuring that they are healthy enough to begin the therapy process.

Depending on the type of addiction or dependency, this often starts with detoxification. This step can include psychiatric medication & vitamins to reduce withdrawal symptoms. At Changes, we do not believe that the patient should suffer during the withdrawal process.

When patients are admitted to Changes they are diagnosed & assessed using a Dual Diagnosis process. Often, addicts present symptoms of Psychiatric and Personality Disorders. Sometimes these are symptomatic of addiction and often they are are a cause of addiction.

If a psychiatric or personality disorder is diagnosed by the medical team, a non-addictive treatment regime will be prescribed. The treatment will consist of a safe and conservative approach, ensuring the patient is healthy and stable.

This treatment can, where appropriate, consist of psychiatric medication. In certain cases it is essential to begin treating underlying disorders before the patient begins to learn the new and healthy behaviours that will enable them to deal with their addiction. The “Dual Diagnosis” approach allows the treatment team to create the optimal treatment program for every patient, based on each patient’s unique needs.

As the patient goes through detoxification and their health is stabilised, the focus of treatment will move to therapy.

The second stage is “Psycho”. After the “Bio” stage has addressed the physical effects of addiction, the patient is ready to begin multi-disciplinary therapy treatment.

This stage of treatment will address the causes of the patient’s addiction, the first stage in learning how to live a life that is free from any mind or mood altering substances.

This treatment stage will help patients address their emotional trauma and historical pain. Interpersonal Group Therapy and Individual Therapy help the patient address these issues. The treatment combines elements of Didactic Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as well as 12 Step Groups and Step work. This is complimented by lectures and other therapeutic activities.

As the patient learns to identify and address the causes of their addiction, the treatment can then move towards helping the addiction sufferer grow and learn the skills required for a successful re-integration to society.

Changes Treatment Centres include a Halfway House Program where addiction sufferers can enjoy a structured and supported re-integration process, gradually learning the skills they need to exist in a world full of triggers and temptation.

The final stage is “Social”, after working intensively with the patient to uncover and heal past psychological and emotional issues we begin to teach patients how to take responsibility for their lives and choices. At this stage the ‘Mirror’ approach is very helpful. This is where one addict helps another, helping them recognise behaviours & compulsions that are not helpful to their recovery, and helping them learn to stop playing the ‘Blame Game’. Using Individual and Group treatments, patients learn to regain their authentic personal-power, free-ing them from the need to use substances so that they can function.

A recovering addict can take a long time to re-integrate into society. The patient will no longer be able to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanic or social lubricant. For an addiction sufferer to successfully re-enter society they will need to learn how to:

  • Manage social situations for the interim period
  • To re-calibrate their belief systems, specifically, how they see themselves, how others see them and how they see themselves in relation to others
  • Ask for help and rely on a support network

Once an addiction patient has completed these three stages; treating the body and then identifying the causes of their addiction, being given the tools to cope and a safe space within which to practice using them; addiction recovery is not just possible, it is probable!

Changes provides support and ongoing treatment after the patient leaves the facility. There are meetings and Group & Individual counseling options, ensuring the patient is adequately supported to help with with the difficult task of addiction recovery.


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