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Prevea's one-of-a-kind substance abuse and mental health recovery program

Leader-Telegram - 9/19/2022

Sep. 19—EAU CLAIRE — September is National Recovery Month.

The observance aims to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and substance abuse recovery practices, the nation's recovery community, and the service providers who make all forms of recovery possible.

Today, more than 20 million Americans are recovering from substance use disorder. According to American Addiction Center, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or both in 2017.

A program created by Prevea Behavioral Health by provides individuals with the necessary information and skills to help individuals better understand their addiction and co-occurring disorders.

Katie Plotz, behavioral care therapist at Prevea Health, said the Sustaining Recovery program provides structure, education, support and skills to navigate early recovery.

"We focus a lot on relapse prevention skills, how to cope with emotions in healthy ways, really just live in that day-to-day sobriety and fostering resilience and support," Plotz said.

The eight-week program consists of three group meetings per week, totaling nine hours.

Program information provided by Prevea Health states that group participants are encouraged to participate in individual therapy, as individual sessions with their primary counselor will provide an opportunity to further address personal issues or concerns and add support for participants in order to reach their desired goals.

"It's pretty intense," Plotz said.

Plotz said this program is unique because it helps participants navigate living in recovery and dealing with mental health while being a member of the community.

Residential programs typically focus on structured environments with long or short-term stays in a treatment center. As an outpatient program, the Sustaining Recovery Program takes into account everyday stresses that can impact recovery that participants may not have experienced in residential programs.

"This is kind of where the rubber meets the road," Plotz said. "We help people navigate all of those things and try different skills and come back and talk about what worked."

Additionally, Sustaining Recovery Program focuses on mental health and how participants can cope with co-occurring disorders.

Plotz said mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, trauma and bipolar disorder go hand in hand with addiction. The program attempts to tackle mental health and addiction at the same time because they both have an effect on everyday life.

Like any normal group therapy, Plotz said participation ebbs and flows. The group can have about seven to eight participants at a time, that are typically referred from residential programs.

Because of the program's structure and time commitment, it is ideal for individuals seeking to transition back into the community while maintaining their recovery.

"When people are working on sobriety a lot of times they have to structure their day with healthy things," Plotz said. "(The program) really helps fill that time for them that they don't have time for emotional triggers."

Once group participants have completed the recovery program, behavior therapists can recommend another, lower-intensity outpatient-recovery group program, the Continuing Care Group.

Plotz said the program began in the early 2000s and the Eau Claire community continues to benefit from its practices.

"I think it is definitely a treatment service that's needed in our community," Plotz said.


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