Treatment for Co-Occurring Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Disorders

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IAFF members are exposed to traumatic events that can cause or contribute to substance abuse. But there’s hope. Treatment for behavioral health disorders and substance use disorders can lead you back to the life, and job, you love.


How Is Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Different?

Because addiction and co-occurring disorders involve intense biological, behavioral and social components, treatment for these complex issues must address the whole person, not just the addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), those with co-occurring disorders are best served through integrated treatment — an approach that combines substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services. Integrated treatment has shown to provide better outcomes, and is a lower-cost solution compared to separate behavioral health and substance abuse treatments. The combined approach includes medicinal, psychological, educational and social intervention to encourage sobriety while mitigating the symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Fire Fighters with Hose

Treatment Just for IAFF Members

While 92 percent of fire fighters view seeking treatment as a sign of weakness, the truth is that treatment makes you stronger. The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is specifically designed to help you on the road to recovery from substance abuse with co-occurring PTSD. The Center is available only to IAFF members, and the staff offers specialized treatment unique to your experience.

Evidence-Based Treatment

The Center of Excellence offers evidence-based treatment backed by science and research. The Center’s team of medical and clinical experts can ensure that treatment is effective for addressing both PTSD and co-occurring issues through integrated intervention.
Integrated intervention combines several types of therapies:

Pharmaceutical Therapy

When necessary, doctors and clinicians can provide medications that help mitigate symptoms of withdrawal and co-occurring disorders.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One-on-one sessions with a psychologist, psychiatrist or nutritionist help clients modify their attitudes and behaviors related to substance abuse. Cognitive Behavioral Health Therapy also teaches coping tactics.

Group Therapy

Building bonds between peers who are undergoing the same struggle can create valuable support during recovery. Group therapy sessions help members hear different perspectives and learn new strategies and realize that they aren’t alone in their struggle.
Integrated treatment can help you get back to the life you want to live and the career you love. One in five fire fighters will struggle from behavioral health issues at some point in their careers and letting it go untreated can have consequences for your family and your career. While substance abuse might seem like a quick fix to the trauma you’ve witnessed, it isn’t. The IAFF Center can help you deal with those feelings of loss, anxiety and depression in healthy ways that will enrich your life and increase the likelihood of long-term recovery.

Support After Treatment

What happens after treatment is just as important as your time at the Center. Aftercare is a critical stage of the recovery process, yet it often doesn’t get sufficient attention. The purpose of aftercare is to solidify what was learned and accomplished during treatment and to help you fully transition into a healthy, sober recovery. The IAFF Center works with members to develop a plan for continued treatment and support once they leave the Center. As members resume their life responsibilities, they are encouraged to participate in outpatient therapy and support groups. Family is also an important part of the aftercare plan, and family therapy and other supports may be recommended. During treatment, members learn a wide range of coping skills to help when they return home, including how to manage back at the station. The goal is for members to return to the job they love and feel more resilient moving forward.

Outpatient Therapy

Members who participate in outpatient therapy continue to see their clinicians and doctors after leaving rehab and resuming their life responsibilities. Behavioral therapy, group therapy and pharmaceutical treatment also continue. Some choose to live in sober housing, especially if their home environment is not conducive to recovery.

Aftercare

Aftercare is one of the most important stages of rehabilitation, yet it often goes overlooked. The purpose of aftercare is to solidify what was learned and accomplished during rehab and to help you fully transition into a healthy, sober recovery. During aftercare, members meet with their clinicians, continue progress in group therapy and gather additional tools to help prevent relapse. Family and spouses may also be integrated into aftercare through couples and family therapy.
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