Group Therapy Can Save Lives

So, for the past 18 months I have tried and tried again. At this point I have probably tried 10 different times, but each time has had the same result. 

The truth is, detoxing from fentanyl is hell. Your body fights itself through the withdrawal symptoms, and the whole time your mind is telling you that you know the answer to stop the sweating, pain, shivers, and more. The answer is more fentanyl. 

Through those 10 times I have fallen back into the habit of snorting a quarter at a time, multiple times per day. I’m pretty much high from sunrise to sunset and beyond. 

I desperately want to end the struggle and bring happiness back into my life. I want my friends to come back, my family to come back, and true emotions and feelings to come back into my life. 

I miss my family and I need them now, because my drug-using friends do not understand why I am trying to get healthy and are no help right now. 

Where is the help?

The Opioid Crisis in New Hampshire

It is well-documented that the Granite State is struggling with the opioid crisis and has been for a while.

It was reported in 2017 that then-President Donald Trump referred to New Hampshire as a “drug-infested den” as we continued our fight against the disease and the ramifications that came with the high rates of use throughout the state.

The polarizing words of the 45th president shined a light on the state of New Hampshire and the state’s opioid epidemic, as well as the rates of death that we have faced with it.

In 2018 there were 412 deaths from Opioids

In 2018, 412 New Hampshirites lost their lives to opioid use. The 2018 rate of death from opioid use was the second-highest in the country, behind only West Virginia.

Why Us? Why New Hampshire?

Why New Hampishire

In 2017, researchers at Dartmouth dove into the reasons for opioid use and death rates in New Hampshire. The research concluded with a myriad of reasons for what led to opioid and fentanyl use in the state, and where the drugs are coming from.

According to respondents of the study, most of the drugs in New Hampshire come into the state from manufacturers in Massachusetts, and the cost of the drugs coming across state lines are much cheaper than most would expect.

Rural areas like Coos County have the lowest per capita income

Due to the cheap prices, New Hampshirites are able to get their hands on fentanyl — and a lot of it — no matter how their financial situation looks. Oftentimes, financial strain is a cause for use throughout the state, according to the study. 

Rural areas like Coos County in the northern part of the state and Sullivan County on the southwest side of the state have the lowest per capita income. These two counties also see some of the highest rates of use in the state.

How Do We Get Treatment To Those Needing It?

A matter of fact is that beginning treatment is scary. Admitting that there is a problem in your life that needs to be fixed is a hard thing to accept, and many feel immense shame and discomfort in reaching the point of needing help. However, to reclaim your life it is a step that must be taken. 

With the help of family and friends, treatment is out there and recovery is possible for anyone. Even for those that have pushed their families away for years when they have asked for them to get treatment, and those that have lost their homes, cars, jobs, and more to continue getting their fix — there is a path to recovery for you.

How do we get treatment to those needing it?

By not attempting to receive treatment, opioid users are part of the large majority. Research shows that 80 percent of opioid users never receive treatment for their drug addiction. Many of that 80 percent do not think they need treatment at all. 

The Right Form of Treatment for Many

The right form of treatment for many.

When considering counseling for substance use or mental health disorders, it is common for a person unfamiliar with treatment to immediately picture exactly what the movies show you.

Cut to a man laying on a leather couch spilling his emotions out to a counselor who is barely awake, with their face buried in a notebook. 

While individual counseling sessions are common in mental health treatment, they are only one lane of the superhighway that is mental health and substance use treatment. Many other forms of service exist.

A common one that many often overlook is group therapy.

John Ludice quote

“Group therapy is an effective intervention for many different problems,” John Iudice, LICSW, MLADC said. “It is an interactive process where people are accomplishing two things: connecting with other human beings and learning new skills. Connection creates acceptance and understanding of self and others, which is necessary for change to happen. Simultaneously, the group gives people the opportunity to gain or improve skills like communication, emotional regulation, healthy routines, and changing negative beliefs.”

As program director of Addiction Recovery Services in New Hampshire, Iudice sees the opioid epidemic firsthand daily and how group therapy offers great benefits to many people struggling with addiction.

Group Therapy Is particularly useful

“Group therapy is particularly useful for substance use disorders because substance use disorders are a particularly stigmatized problem,” Iudice said. “They are still wildly misunderstood, even though it’s one of the most common DSM diagnoses. People make assertions about what a substance use disorder is based solely off personal experiences with use and recovery, which actually vary widely. Any opportunity for people with substance use disorders to be reminded that they matter, change is possible, and they have a lot more in common with other human beings than they might think creates an opportunity to decrease shame and create new learning and recovery.”

Recent research from the brightest minds in mental health has dug into how group therapy is as beneficial, if not better, than one-on-one counseling sessions.

Sean Grover, LCSW, wrote in Psychology Today about the benefits of group therapy as opposed to individual therapy. He explained that because of the way group therapy focuses on relationships, gives a live demonstration of social problems, and enhances communication and education, group therapy exceeds what a person can gain from individual therapy.

The American Psychological Association has also jumped on board the group therapy train, with many members and experts stating their belief in group therapy being more effective than individual therapy.

Beginning Group Therapy

Beginning group therapy allows for thousands to have the opportunity to seek treatment for their substance use disorder with the comfort of being surrounded by others facing the same battle.

Beginning Group Therapy

“In general, groups can ease fears of being inferior based on their health conditions by giving people a chance to go through it as a team,” Iudice said. “It is a reminder we are not alone and recovery is possible.”

By easing the fears of patients and reaching more people at once, group therapy offers great opportunities for all involved. This includes seeing quick results in treatment. Research has indicated that group therapy motivates change in the lives of those receiving it — and quickly.

Group Therapy Motivates Change

The only challenge left is finding the right group therapy program. Luckily, in New Hampshire, there are people out there already prepared to hear from you.

Group Therapy at Addiction Recovery Services Offers What Is Needed

Addiction Recovery Services offer what is needed

Addiction Recovery Services in New Hampshire exists to help New Hampshirites get the treatment that is needed for opioid and other substance use disorders using four key principles of treatment. Those four principles are 

  • Respect 
  • Choice 
  • Treat the Person Not the Problem 
  • Preventing Relapse 

Using these guiding principles, ARS has used intensive outpatient treatment to help many battling their addictions. The intensive outpatient program (IOP) consists of patients attending group therapy for three hours a day, four days a week for five weeks (20 sessions in total).

The length of treatment may be extended depending on individual needs and progress during the initial 20 sessions. The groups often include less than 12 people and offer patients a safe and healing environment that promotes recovery.

In these sessions, the benefits include practicing social skills, learning, receiving social support, practicing communication skills, and (re)building healthy connections with others.

Benefits of group sessions

The benefits include the opportunity to practice social skills and communication, receive social support and form healthy connections with others, reduce shame and other difficult emotions associated with addiction, and learn from the experiences of others.

Contact Addiction Recovery Services Today

The path to recovery can begin today for you or your loved one. With locations in Salem, New Hampshire, and another in Greenland, New Hampshire, Addiction Recovery Services has openings and is prepared to hear from you today. 

Bottom CTA

It is never easy to make a change in your life as major as changing your daily emotions, routines, and thoughts due to drug use. Taking the very first step of checking out the Addiction Recovery Services website, calling, or emailing for more information is of no cost and easy to do. We are always willing to listen. 

Recovery is possible, and change can start today by calling 978-228-5853!

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New Hampshire Opioid Crisis Infographic

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