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Successful addiction treatment at Linden Oaks.

Naperville Sun HealthAware column:

Man wanting to kick marijuana habit finds help at Linden Oaks
Submitted by Edward Hospital
June 25, 2014

Brian, 23, remembers his teens as a "blur of partying."  He says the fuzziness is a product of years of using marijuana daily, with occasional use of other drugs.

At 17, he dropped out of school, left home and got a job.  Over the next few years, he says, "using increasingly got in the way of my work and relationships.  I needed more and more pot to get any effect.  I started to miss days of work.  Even my sex drive suffered.  I wasn't interested in the things that I used to enjoy.  At one time I could play my guitar for five hours; now I lost interest after five minutes."

But what finally got Brian into addiction treatment was a deepening depression.

"I was used to being down on myself, but now I even had suicidal thoughts,” he says.  “I didn't think I'd act on them, but I knew I needed help."

At the Edward Hospital ER, Brian underwent a psychological assessment.  A Linden Oaks at Edward counselor, in consultation with a psychiatrist, recommended Brian start treatment in Linden Oaks' partial hospitalization program, which runs Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.  Depending on a person's needs, the Linden Oaks Addiction Program also offers less time-intensive outpatient programs and inpatient treatment.

"Brian's situation illustrates some of the problems that can occur with marijuana use,” says Beth Sack, Manager, Addiction Services at Linden Oaks.  “Unfortunately, many young people still believe pot is no big deal.  They don't realize today's marijuana is not the same as that of their parents' generation.  The level of TCH – pot’s primary mind-altering ingredient – was 3.76 percent in 1995, today it's 15 percent.  Some people do become both psychologically and physically dependent."

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that pot use in young people is on the rise since 2007, following a decade of declining use.  The institute's online "Drug Facts: Marijuana" suggests this rise corresponds "to a diminishing perception of the drug's risks that may be associated with increased public debate over the drug's legal status."

Fortunately there are a number of research-based treatment tools that can help people who suffer from the disease of drug addiction.  The Linden Oaks program uses a combination of these interventions tailored to the individual.

One of these tools is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which Jonathan Rhodes, a post-doctoral clinical therapist, brings to the program's groups.

"One part of ACT involves encouraging patients to accept, rather than avoid, both the painful things in their lives that they can't change, and the difficult feelings that these things can trigger,” says Rhodes.  “We teach them how to distance themselves from the negative thoughts that feed these feelings."

Patients in Linden Oaks' partial hospitalization program participate in group and individual therapy, daily meditation and addiction education sessions.  When there is a dual diagnosis, such as chemical dependency and depression, the person receives treatment for both issues.

Brian will soon finish his partial hospitalization program.  Follow-up will include individual sessions with his therapist and NA (Narcotics Anonymous).

"The program already has helped me big time,” says Brian.  “The group process helped me get over some of my shyness and social anxiety.  If I were the adult me talking to my younger self I would say, ‘I know pot has a reputation as an innocent drug, but if you have a genetic background and an addictive personality like I do, it can mess up your head.  And the window of being able to stop it can close quickly.’"

For more information, visit www.lindenoaks.org/addictionservices. For a free mental health assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at (630) 305-5027.


(630) 527-3000

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