Substance misuse and abuse can occur at any age, however the majority of those with substance use problems started using substances during adolescence and developed a substance use disorder by the age of 20-25. Because brain development is not completed until the age of 23-25, the effects of substances on cognition is greatly magnified.
Chronic drug and alcohol use and abuse can cause physiological and neurological damage. Furthermore, withdrawal effects, sleep deprivation, chemical imbalance, ADHD, anxiety, depression, traumatic experiences, thought disorders, nutritional deficiencies, detoxification complications, and increased stress levels all further compromise a client’s reasoning abilities.
Common Cognitive Impairments
A chronic substance use disorder can compromise intellectual functioning, reduce reasoning, and sabotage processing ability. A client’s memory may be impaired and processing speed may be lowered. The ability to focus, concentrate, and sustain attention may be diminished. Judgment is often reduced, which makes it difficult to link one’s choices with the consequences that inevitably follow. In addition, a client may have lowered insight into the mental health and substance use disorders and is therefore limited in the ability to seek the needed treatment. Abstract reasoning is more difficult for these clients; they will need concrete and practical treatment materials.
Designing Engaging and Strategic Resources
Journey to Recovery materials are all designed with these information processing difficulties in mind. In some treatment programs the curriculum is chosen in a haphazard, almost random way, that does not accommodate the client’s processing deficits. Journey to Recovery curriculum materials are designed with five major purposes in mind. These are to simplify use, improve retention, maximize impact, increase motivation, and establish mastery. Materials designed with these purposes in mind, make your treatment interventions for substance use or co-occurring disorders much more effective.
Simpler is Better
The Journeys curriculum is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in theory, which requires the client to recognize past cognitive or thinking errors and create challenges for each thought distortion. Because the treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders is exceedingly multifaceted, specialized resources are required. Our secret to working with the complications of co-occurring disorders was not to make the interventions more complex but rather make the interventions simpler. The materials we have developed are client ready and easy to understand without being demeaning or belittling. These materials we use in our treatment programs are fundamentally different from other curriculums.
Being Different Makes a Difference
Because thinking processes are temporarily reduced, we have created a curriculum that is easier to comprehend, more concrete, and helps generate more discussion. This is all in an attempt to bring doable mastery to recovery; materials are relevant and practical. The client ready lessons are designed to be relatable and engaging with checklists, colored text, pictures, and graphics. This user friendly layout helps clients stay with the material, absorb more, and retain the information longer. Remember, good resources are necessary for good treatment.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!