The chief medical strategist at Dallas-based treatment organization Enterhealth will discuss with NCAD attendees what he sees as a paradox in treatment programs: Clients usually receive the heaviest dose of lifesaving information and guidance at a time when they are least capable of absorbing it.
Harold Urschel, MD, will describe in his 2:15 p.m. workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 20 some applications of an Internet-based technology designed to extend the lessons of treatment as cognitively impaired clients begin the recovery process. Enterhealth has sold its “Online Recovery” technology to a number of entities in Texas, from drug court programs to a multi-hospital health system to university settings.
“This allows patients to continue their education in an area that the therapist is working in,” says Urschel. “A patient in therapy is still in the acute phase of the illness. After 4 to 12 months, he can pick up new skills. Before then, these lessons are not ingrained in their memory systems.”
The Internet-based tool developed by Enterhealth encompasses 26 areas of learning; subject areas include the 12 Steps, triggers, anger issues, and nutrition. “This is not meant to replace a therapist,” but rather to allow clients to relearn information shared in therapy, says Urschel.
Urschel is the author of Healing the Addicted Brain, a book that he designed to translate current National Institutes of Health (NIH) research knowledge about addiction into language accessible to the family members of addicts.
Based on research indicating that most patients need access to blended treatment approaches in order to achieve desired outcomes, Urschel wrote the book to familiarize a lay audience with possible medication treatments, mental health treatments and wellness approaches (all of which he says can build on a foundation of a 12-Step approach).
Urschel says that while the 12-Step approach is an important component of the NIH model, “Many providers are focusing on just 12 Step, and sometimes that’s all patients are allowed to access.”
He considers the Online Recovery model to be especially useful for clients in the under-45 age ranges. “The 18-to-30 group would much rather be on the Internet,” he says.