What is Inpatient Care?
Someone considering addiction treatment will likely run across inpatient care among the mass of programs available. So, what is inpatient care?
While commonly associated with hospital settings, what is inpatient care as far as addiction treatment goes? Within the addictions’ field, what is inpatient care entails identifying and treating the damaging effects of chronic, long-term drug abuse.
Much like the intensity of care provided by a hospital, inpatient care delivers a range of treatments and services designed to address any and all conditions that contribute to a person’s addiction problem. Likewise, people in need of inpatient care often struggle with medical and/or psychological issues on top of an addiction problem.
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The Effects of Chronic Drug Addiction
What most characterizes addictive substances is their ability to alter brain chemical processes. These effects account for the steady decline in functional capacity addicts experience over time.
While commonly seen as a behavioral problem, addiction affects the body in much the same way as a chronic medical disease, such as diabetes and heart disease, according to the New York State Department of Health. In effect, what is inpatient care within this context corresponds with the level of care hospitals provide when treating chronic medical conditions.
Chronic drug addiction can take one of two forms: long-term, repeated drug use or heavy drug use on a frequent basis. In either case, the damage caused by drugs has a cumulative effect, further weakening the brain’s ability to function normally with each successive drug dose.
Without the needed level of care, the damage brought on by chronic drug abuse makes it all but impossible for a person to maintain abstinence on an ongoing basis. What is inpatient care has to do with identifying any conditions that aggravate a person’s addiction and treating them as part of the addiction problem.
What is Inpatient Care?
Assessment & Treatment Planning Process
The initial assessment conducted upon entering inpatient treatment provides the information needed to ensure a person’s treatment needs will be addressed. Types of information collected during the initial assessment include:
- Types of drugs used
- Length of time using
- Frequency of use
- Medical history
- Mental health history
- Family medical/mental health history
- Addiction severity
- Current medical/mental status
Information gathered during the assessment becomes the basis for devising a person’s treatment plan. The treatment plan acts as a roadmap, laying out the objectives and goals of treatment for the duration of a patient’s stay. Much having to do with what is inpatient care hinges on the information gathered during the assessment process as each person presents with his or her own unique set of circumstances.
Considering the range of issues addressed, the answer to “what is inpatient care” covers so much more than the addiction problem. Ultimately, knowing what is inpatient care can go a long way towards understanding addiction’s damaging effects and the importance of getting needed treatment help.
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Inpatient treatment programs employ a team approach, with each member fulfilling a specific role in terms of specialty area. In this respect, “what is inpatient care” takes on a multi-faceted approach to addiction treatment.
While inpatient programs can vary in their team approach, members likely assigned to a person’s case include:
- Case manager
- Social worker
In addition to each member’s specialty or role, treatment providers also receive training in addictions treatment. In this way, what is inpatient care provides the best of both worlds in terms of trained medical staff and experienced addiction treatment professionals.
Psychosocial Treatment Interventions
More than anything else, drug (or alcohol) addiction takes root within a person’s psychological make-up and overall mindset. As brain chemical imbalances worsen, the areas of the brain responsible for forming a person’s attitude, outlook and motivations reconfigure in terms of what takes on importance in his or her daily life.
With chronic drug abuse, users develop a lifestyle that reflects this changing mindset. After a certain point, work, family and friends fall by the wayside as getting and using drugs takes on top priority in a person’s life.
For these reasons, much of what is inpatient care has to do with undoing the psychological aftereffects of long-term drug abuse. According to Perelman School of Medicine, inpatient programs use psychosocial interventions as a means for helping addicts replace addiction-based thinking and behaviors with a healthy mindset. In this regard, what is inpatient care includes the following services:
- Intensive psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Life skills training
- Drug education
- 12 Step support groups
Family dynamics play a central role within the addict’s life, oftentimes planting the seeds for addiction to take root. Family dysfunction in the form of ongoing conflict, abuse and chaotic living environments can actually drive a person to seek escape through drugs and alcohol.
Since what is inpatient care encompasses any and all conditions contributing to the addict’s behavior, inpatient programs make every effort to include the family in the treatment process. Family supports may take the form of:
- Family therapy
- One-on-one psychotherapy with individual family members
- Marriage counseling
- Parenting training
- Crisis intervention in areas involving child abuse, domestic violence as well as other trauma-ridden circumstances
While some family members may not agree with this treatment approach, what is inpatient care has to do with helping the addict confront and work through whatever issues drive his or her addiction problem.
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Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis conditions entail the presence of both an addiction and mental health problem. People struggling with dual diagnosis face an especially hard time in addiction recovery.
Mental health disorders can develop as a result of chronic drug abuse. Likewise, a mental health problem can drive a person to self-medicate through drug use. In either case, mental illness and addiction disorders only work to aggravate one another making a person’s condition all the more difficult to bear.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, 2.7 million American adults suffered from dual diagnosis conditions in 2007. What is inpatient care becomes all the more beneficial when it comes to treating dual diagnosis conditions.
Inpatient programs specialize in providing coordinated treatment approaches and in effect, treating the whole person rather than treating one problem at a time. This type of treatment approach is essential to managing dual diagnosis conditions and gives a person the best chance at a successful recovery.
Ultimately, inpatient care programs work with the most severe forms of addiction regardless of the range of issues or conditions any one person may have.