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For people suffering from addiction, the battle between healthy, positive impulses and unhealthy, self-destructive impulses rages daily. Without help, people with substance abuse issues all too often lose the fight.

With its new Intensive Outpatient Program, MDI Behavioral Health Center is providing people the help they need to overcome the deadly grip of drug and/or alcohol addiction. 
Clients can either be self-referred or referred by another professional after they have been medically cleared by their physician.

The ten-week program combines elements of Alcoholics Anonymous and outpatient treatment programs developed by the Open Door Recovery Center in Ellsworth, the Acadia Hospital in Bangor and the Matrix Institute, a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse educational material.

“There are enough people on this island with serious substance abuse problems who need more than the standard outpatient program,” explains counselor Dan Lorey, LCSW, who facilitates group sessions and conducts one-on-one counseling with program clients.

The program entails up to 12 hours weekly of combined group, individual, and family therapy as well as medication supervision sessions when needed. This compares to the six hours or less per week for standard outpatient programs.  The program involves a 10-week commitment.  “The intensity comes from the amount of contact we have with the patient,” Lorey points out.

“Group sessions have been found to be one of the most effective treatments for addicts,” says Lorey. “It allows them to bond and open up. It also allows them to openly confront each other. Nobody knows an addict like another addict.”

During group sessions, Lorey, along with co-facilitator Amie Quirion, LMSW-CC, encourage clients to talk openly about their experience. “Ideally, Dan and I do the least amount of talking,” says Quirion.

“Family sessions support an open dialogue about how the addictions have impacted all family members, and they facilitate the healing of family wounds,” remarks Quirion.

For those who need help dealing with the effects of opiate withdrawal, Suboxone, a new replacement drug can be prescribed. Suboxone suppresses the symptoms of withdrawal, decreases the cravings for opiods and, unlike methadone, has lower potential for abuse according to current research.

Individual counseling sessions provide clients with the tools to prevent relapse and reduce cravings for drugs or alcohol. “We also cover issues that people might not be comfortable discussing in a group setting,” explains Lorey.

“We use a technique called motivational interviewing,” adds Quirion. “We try to take every tiny statement they make about wanting to change and emphasize that. We urge them to reflect on the negative consequences of their behavior and help them focus on their motivation for getting clean.”

For more information on MDI Behavioral Health Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program for addiction recovery, call 288-8604.

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