Thursday September 29th 2016

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Addiction treatment for Native Americans

Special Populations

Native Americans and addiction treatment

Substance abuse is an unfortunate problem for many Native Americans. Alcohol abuse is especially prevalent in the Native American community, and accounts for the majority of the substance abuse problems. Poor economic conditions, lack of jobs, lack of suitable addiction treatment programs, and a lack of social services in native communities often contribute to the issue.

Fortunately, more agencies and organizations are beginning to recognize a need for specialized addiction treatment programs for Native Americans. In recent years, tribal governments have created substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for any native person that needs help. These can include:

●    Culturally sensitive and customized addiction treatment content and language
●    Easier access to treatment
●    Residential addiction treatment programs
●    Substance abuse awareness education in schools
●    Outpatient addiction treatment programs

Native American drug addiction treatment

Like all other addiction treatment programs, Native American drug addiction treatment is typically comprised of a few very important steps. Steps during Native American addiction treatment include an assessment, detox, treatment, and aftercare.

1. Assessment and evaluation

During the first step of addiction treatment, an individual typically undergoes a thorough evaluation by an addiction specialist. This involves determining the severity of the addiction and a suitable treatment plan.

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2. Detoxification

Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is usually very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. To make a recovering addict more comfortable and minimize the risk of relapse, a detoxification unit is generally recommended. Native Americans going through detox are typically monitored around the clock by medical professionals who can help ease withdrawal symptoms and assist during a medical emergency.

3. Psychological and pharmacological therapies

Native American addiction treatment programs generally take a multi-faceted approach to recovery. Treatment usually involves individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, as well as pharmacological treatment for opiate addiction or any underlying mental health problems. A combination of both psychotherapy and prescription medications (when needed) can benefit anyone interested in long term addiction recovery.

4. Aftercare

Completing an addiction treatment program is not the end of a recovering addict’s journey. Recovering Native Americans will usually need a great deal of support once they complete an addiction program. This usually involves weekly outpatient therapy sessions, self-help group therapy sessions, vocational training, community support, and a stay in a halfway house, if necessary.

Native American addiction treatment barriers

Like other demographics, Native Americans face a number of obstacles and barriers when trying to overcome an addiction. Some of the more common Native America addiction treatment barriers are listed below.

●    Cultural view of addiction and addiction treatment
●    Denial of a problem with addiction
●    Family, work, or school obligations
●    Financial difficulties
●    Lack of health insurance
●    Language barriers
●    Limited access to suitable treatment facilities

Addicted Native Americans

Fortunately, addicted Native Americans have a number of choices when they’re ready to seek help for their addiction. For instance, they can speak with their primary physician, a local hospital, or local clinic. These medical professionals are usually able to refer Native Americans to suitable addiction treatment facilities.

Many tribal governments also operate addiction treatment facilities on reservations. The majority of these facilities offer outreach programs to help addicted Native Americans ready to take the first steps toward recovery. To find out more about these facilities and services, you can either contact them directly or contact your tribe’s or reservation’s department of health.

Native Americans addiction questions

It’s important to remember that there’s no shame in asking for help to beat an addiction. If you or a loved one is a Native American who needs addiction treatment, don’t be afraid to reach out or ask questions. Questions about addiction and its treatment can be left in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to answer them as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: SAMHSA: American Indian and Alaska Native Substance Abuse Treatment Services
AZDHS: Prevention & Treatment of Substance Abuse in Native American Communities
SAMHSA: Facilities Serving American Indians and Alaska Natives
Alcohol and Drug Programs: Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment
SAMHSA: Half of All Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities and More than Three Quarters of Those Owned by Tribal Governments Offer Outreach Services 

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