Addiction is a devastating disease that affects the behavior and function of the human brain, according to therapist Berni Fried. In her professional experience, Berni Fried has found that individuals who abuse alcohol or drugs consistently are at risk for relapse. In a recent conversation with the staff at ZRYLW, Berni Fried discusses treatment procedures and their success rates.
ZRYLW: Thank you for taking a few moments to talk this morning.
Berni Fried: It’s wonderful to be here and I appreciate you for having me.
ZRYLW: In your professional career, what have you observed about the drug treatment as a whole?
Berni Fried: Above all else, treatment must be available to anyone who needs it.
ZRYLW: Why is this so important?
Berni Fried: Drug-addicted people often have a sense of discomfort about submitting to a treatment program.
ZRYLW: That seems reasonable…
Berni Fried: When you are talking about drug and alcohol abuse, treatment at an early stage increases the potential for positive outcomes.
ZRYLW: What issues should be addressed during these first treatment sessions?
Berni Fried: Effective treatment addresses a number of medical, legal, psychological, physiological, vocational and social problems.
ZRYLW: Do these treatment sessions change depending on the client?
Berni Fried: Yes, it’s necessary to tailor the specific treatment to account for the client’s ethnicity, gender, culture and age.
ZRYLW: What treatment components are required?
Berni Fried: A patient may need family therapy, medical services, parent instruction, rehabilitation, legal services, social services and medication, among other forms of treatment.
ZRYLW: How long do these recovery efforts usually take?
Berni Fried: For a majority of clients, a consistent approach is critical to meeting their needs.
ZRYLW: What other aspects of the client’s profile must be analyzed?
Berni Fried: Many drug-addicted individuals are struggling with mental disorders as well. This is referred to by mental health professionals as a “dual diagnosis.”
ZRYLW: How should the therapist approach treatment for clients with a dual diagnosis?
Berni Fried: It used to be thought that the alcohol or chemical addiction must be addressed before treating the mental health issue. But professional opinions have changed on that matter. Now, most agree that when a mental health disorder and addiction is diagnosed at the same time, they should be addressed in tandem.
ZRYLW: What elements may be introduced to assist these efforts?
Berni Fried: Incentive strategies and motivational enhancement can help to improve treatment engagement.
ZRYLW: Some examples might be….
Berni Fried: Enticements or sanctions from friends and family members have been shown to increase retention rates, treatment entry and the success of a drug treatment program.
ZRYLW: It all boils down to constant surveillance, though.
Berni Fried: In treatment, drug use needs to be monitored at all times.
Berni Fried: Lapses are a regular occurrence – even in treatment, believe it or not.
ZRYLW: How does treatment assist in this process?
Berni Fried: For clients, knowing that their activity is monitored may help them to curb the desire to abuse drugs.
ZRYLW: Thank you for your continued support of this community.
Berni Fried: It’s truly an honor to serve in this role and I appreciate our community partners for their efforts.
Berni Fried is currently working on her next project, a treatment center based in the L.A. area that offers a unique source of inspiration, knowledge and comfort for recovering addicts.