Week 3 (3/26-4/1): Discharges, Updates, And New Admissions
Hello everyone, and welcome back to my senior project blog!
For this week’s post I will be providing an update about the patients that I had begun working with last week as well as introduce a new patient that I have begun working with.
This patient was discharged this Thursday, so I had an interview with her about what her overall experience in the program was. I learned that she has been to rehab seven times, but feels like each time, regardless of her later relapse, she has gotten better with new knowledge and tools each time. While talking to her, she brought up how this time, rehab has really helped her get rid of the feelings of guilt and shame that surrounded her use that led to a further cycle of using. She mentioned how now, her trauma from using has outweighed her cravings to use.
In addition, she has begun going to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings rather than Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings which she has found to help more due to the support she found there as well as the relationships she formed with the members. She stated that she always felt like NA was going to work better than AA but had a fear of becoming sober as to her drugs were what she referred to as her “best friend” as this was her coping mechanism. She also talked about how after leaving the Foundations of Recovery program, she wants to continue going to NA meetings, begin volunteering, gain more structure in her life, form more sober friendships, change her scenery as it is a potential trigger, and overall be more accountable for herself.
This patient talked about how he has essentially spent his first week acclimating to a new environment. He stated that the first few days in the program were quite difficult but it has gotten better. He talked about feeling impatient as he wants to finish off this program and begin a program in Southern California.
He has found the WET (Writing Exposure Therapy) Group to be helpful and has mentioned previously that he recently started journaling which he has seen to make an interest. He also mentioned the Warrior Canine group, which is an animal therapy group done with dogs who are training to be service animals, citing his past experience and wanting to work in equine therapy as influences. He stated that his cognitive ability has improved and has begun reading rather than watching TV.
His goal for next week is to work on implementing the STOP (Stop, Take a step back, Observe, and Proceed) Strategy which is a skill taught in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a therapy that teaches distress tolerance skills to help you deal with crisis situations.
This patient was admitted on March 23rd and is a caucasian male veteran in his early 30s with a history of alcohol use disorder with no prior psychiatric history. He discussed his history of abusing alcohol starting around two years ago citing work-related stressors. He had a period of sobriety that lasted six months when he had a stable work and social life, but began drinking again socially which substantially increased during COVID as a result of social and legal stressors. He has stated that he has not had any cravings for alcohol since October as he began going to AA meetings and believes he has the “willpower” to stay sober. His discharge goals are to maintain sobriety and stay abstinent for the sake of his family while also addressing the legal problems that are going on.
Looking at his history of substance use, he has a low risk of withdrawal symptoms. His substances of choice are alcohol. He has reported one instance of cannabis use several years ago, which he no longer uses.
During his one week evaluation this week, he reiterated his history with alcohol use citing his legal issues as the turning point in his relationship with alcohol and his want to stay sober after that point. He has stated one instance of relapse earlier this year but believes it to be an isolated circumstance. He also mentioned that he has a family history of alcohol use and cites the impact it had on his family as the reason he wishes to remain sober for his own children. He has continued to deny any significant psychiatric symptoms and believes his mental health is in a good place.
That’s it for this week’s post. Thank you for reading!