In response to the rapidly increasing addiction rate in the United States, occupational therapists are searching for opportunity to treat those with chemical dependency.
Author, Penny Moyers, who wrote a book on the subject titled: “Substance Abuse: A Multi-Dimensional Assessment and Treatment Approach”, says this transition is a good thing.
“We know that people need support in order to achieve long-term recovery,” she said. “Occupational therapy is focused on finding long-term solutions for achieving health.”
People who have experienced a constant struggle with addiction need to find ways to gain a sense of balance. Occupational therapy can assist with that. Moyers said: “The reason we’re called occupational therapists is because we care about what people do every day in their occupations. That can be going to school, driving a car, any daily activity or task.”.
Everyday tasks often get put on the backburner when one’s life is consumed by addiction.
“What happens in addiction is you start decreasing your time spent in healthy occupational behavior and spending more and more time drinking or using drugs rather than organizing your day around what you need and want to do,” Moyers said.
An occupational therapist can help a client find satisfaction in everyday tasks without depending on alcohol or drugs.
“Sometimes it’s not all that easy to get back to the way you used to organize your day,–People with addiction problems often do not know how to engage in the outside world without the help of drugs and alcohol. This is one of the roles of occupational therapy. We teach people how to uplift their moods naturally.” Moyers stated.
Long-term chemical dependency can also cause physical changes that can make it hard to complete everyday tasks efficiently, added Moyers. Occupational therapists can help clients learn ways to combat those challenges.
“Often people with severe addiction will end up with brain damage in the frontal lobe where a lot of your executive decision-making occurs. For people who’ve been drinking a long time, when they stop they may have residual cognitive impairment that was masked by the alcohol. Once they get sober, they’re going to need new ways of completing their tasks and activities, and occupational therapy can help with that.”