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Running head: CULTURAL ASPECTS OF

Cultural Aspects of chemical Counseling

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Cultural Aspects of Chemical Counseling

 

In today's fast paced, technology oriented and capitalistic world the issue of mental health care and, specifically, chemical dependency treatment, has become very cost oriented. Because of the nature of addiction, the addict is often without resources to cover the cost of treatment. Drug and alcohol dependency are escalating rapidly as a percentage of the total patient population among all social classes. Cost effective treatment can best be served by assessing the individual's circumstances and providing the least restrictive setting best suited for the attainment of abstinence, both in the immediate future and for the duration of the individual's lifetime. This is best accomplished by a flexible system that allows both inpatient and outpatient services to be accessed, with inpatient services being utilized only when other alternatives have been explored and are found to be lacking in feasibility.

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One of the key problems in substance abuse treatment concerns issues that have to do with assessment. The assessment phase of aiding a patient with a chemical dependency problem is normally based on the assessment criteria established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, physicians continue to treat depression with medications rather than referring their patients to therapy. Numerous research studies have consistently revealed that specific models of therapeutic interventions are more effective in treating depression. Cognitive behavioral interventions have been the most successful in treating this condition that affects more than 50% of the population at some point in their lives. The area of multicultural counseling is one that is becoming increasingly more important in this country. Counselors face tremendous problems when working with culturally diverse groups.

Drug use is the increasing problem among teenagers in today's high schools. Most drug use begins in the preteen and teenage years, these years most crucial in the maturation process. During these years adolescents are faced with difficult tasks of discovering their self identity, clarifying their sexual roles, assenting independence, learning to cope with authority and searching for goals that would give their lives meaning. Drugs are readily available, adolescents are curious and venerable, and there is peer pressure to experiment, and there is a temptation to escape from conflicts. The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure, curiosity, and availability. Drugs addiction among adolescents in turn leads to depression and suicide.

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One of the most devastating side effects of drug addiction and abuse is depression. Depression is the result of chemical imbalance, environmental influence, or a combination of both. Using heavy and very highly addictive drugs as heroin, cocaine, opium and many others will cause sudden mood changes, deterioration of the immune system, nervous breakdowns, unusual flares of temper and many other side effects. Besides physical side effects, drug addiction can create problems in a person's social circles. The person may run into many conflicts with his family and friends, resulting in desire for isolation. This in turn will create more problems since the person will have no social support. Furthermore, drug addiction is a financial strain especially for teenagers. When a person is addicted to drugs he will do anything to obtain money to fulfill his needs. Many studies have found that drugs are a contributing factor to suicide. Using drugs may reduce inhibitions and impair judgment; suicide is a possibility. As one statistic illustrates 70% of all young people who attempted suicide used drugs.

The problems of teenage drug use, depression and suicide are evident in our society. These are very real and threatening issues that have to be dealt with. Going into the 21st century we have to face to problems of our future generations. There are many non-profitable organizations that help teenagers to cope with drug use. There are help lines, community services that offer information about drugs, and individual counseling is available almost in every education institution. There is help available to those who seek it.

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There is a non-ending list of standards, policies, procedures relating to alcohol and other drugs; it is not possible to produce these here in this paper. For a good reference, visit the web site on Alcohol and Other Drugs that provides a good insight on the applicable standards (http://www.dpt.state.va.us/hrpolicy/policy/alcohol.htm).

The following statistics highlight the impact of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) usage:

  • Approximately 8.3 million children live with parents who abuse AOD (US Department of Health and Human Services 1999).
  • Problems with substance abuse are estimated to exist in 40% to 80% of the families of children who are confirmed by child protective service agencies as victims of abuse and neglect (Young 1998).
  • In most cases, the parents' substance abuse is a longstanding problem of at least five years' duration AOD (US Department of Health and Human Services 1999).
  • Children whose families do not receive appropriate treatment for AOD abuse are more likely to remain in foster care longer and to reenter once they have returned home. Their siblings are also more likely to end up in foster care AOD (US Department of Health and Human Services 1999).
  • In 1999, 10.9 % of youth between the ages of 12 to 17 were current users of illicit drugs (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2000).

There are many organizations offering community based services in Minneapolis but a few have targeted the cultural aspects of chemical counseling and the related chemical dependency services in the context of the heterogeneous groups of African Americans namely, African American Family Services, their mission being (http://www.crcmn.org/review/AfrAmerFamSvc.pdf)

To empower the African American individual, family and community to reach a greater state of well being through the delivery of community based, culturally specific chemical health, mental health and family preservation services (Charity Report).
 Following is the list of skills and abilities needed for the culturally diverse groups:

1. Knowledge of chemical dependency and mental health problems and practice.
2. Able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, to a wide variety of professional and lay audiences.
3. Ability to communicate knowledge in a constructive manner to other members of the multidisciplinary team.
4. Knowledge of managed care principles and practices in service delivery.
5. Knowledge of quality improvement process and methodologies.
6. Knowledge of current regulatory principles, such as JCAHO, Medicare, Medicaid.
7. Ability to seeks appropriate supervision when challenged; Recognizes limits.
8. Knowledge of age related and cultural issues as indicated by the population served.

There are various chemical dependency service programs broadly categorized as academic, healthcare, and rehabilitation. Following are a few referred from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN web site (http://minneapolis.about.com/cs/alcoholism/)

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Twin Cities area 12-step programs and research to aid in recover of alcoholism and chemical dependency.

Alcohol Epidemiology Program
University of Minnesota program researching initiatives to prevent alcohol-related problems.

Drug Treatment Facility
Chemical dependency treatment at 2525 Park Avenue in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis and Suburban Intergroup
Alcoholics Anonymous newsletter, registration form for next international AA convention, hours of operation, local AA meetings information.

Minnesota Recovery Page
An unofficial page to help people locate AA resources in Minnesota.

River Ridge Treatment Center
Various 12-step programs to help chemically dependent people recover. Three area locations.

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References

Charity Report. Retrieved from the Word Wide Web on September 29, 2001 http://www.crcmn.org/review/AfrAmerFamSvc.pdf

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN web site. Retrieved from the Word Wide Web on September 29, 2001 (http://minneapolis.about.com/cs/alcoholism/)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.(2000).Summary of findings form the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.(DHHS Publication No.(SMA)00-3466.Rockville, MD:Office of Applied Studies,Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services.(1999).Blending perspectives and building common ground: A report to Congress on substance abuse and child protection.Washington,DC:Government Printing Office.

oung,N.K.,Gardner,S.L.,and Dennis,K. (1998).Responding to alcohol and other drug problems in child welfare:Weaving together practice and policy.Washington, DC:CWLAPress.

 


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