Some people experiencing issues of addiction are excellent magicians. We hear stories of how people battling with addiction can hide it from their closest friends and family. Loved ones can be fooled and sometimes even ignore the early warning signs. Even when the addiction progresses, the change has been so incremental that it can be hard to discern.
Unfortunately, some are so good at hiding their symptoms, medical professionals can be duped as well, and sometimes misdiagnosis what’s actually happening to someone behaving in such a way. This can make addressing substance misuse in a primary care setting challenging.
Up to 70% of people experiencing substance use disorders also present with emotional and other mental illness symptoms.
Early identification and awareness significantly improves outcomes. A great place to start is with the World Health Organization’s screening tool. Abbreviated as “SBIRT,” the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment tool should only take a few minutes to use and it can be administered by a nurse or support staff, and could save time and lives. SBIRT is currently being used in a number of primary care settings like doctor’s offices, emergency departments and school settings. There is an excellent resource online to provide this training and could be worth a look. Head to www.sbirttraining.com for more information on SBIRT.
Perhaps the best course of action for medical professionals brings to mind the manta of knowing your patients and resources. Maintaining relationships with addiction specialists and treatment resources in your local city or county can only help treating those battling with addiction. There are new and valuable tools and resources coming to light all the time, and being aware of the latest trends ultimately helps the patient when assessed. Especially when new symptoms present.
It is always important to avoid judgment, and stress long term health. The process should naturally produce options. And finally, assure the client that although recovery may be difficult at first, it is not only highly productive, but a key to happy and healthy living.