Written by Ahmed Mujtaba Owaisi
When a person suffers from any psychological disorder or gets involved in substance addiction then he is not the only one who suffers, rather the whole family system is disturbed. All the family suffers from stress and search for the possible solutions of the problem. In countries like Pakistan there is not much awareness regarding the treatment of psychological disorders or the problems of addiction. Still there are many families who think that addiction is a habit not a disease.
Moreover, still a large number of individuals in Pakistan think that psychological disorders occur because of the influence of ghosts, jinns or black magic. One other negative point is that those who understand these as problematic and decide to get their loved ones into psychological treatment still do not know to whom they should visit. Because there are many families who visit general physicians for the psychological problems of their loved ones, who are not specialized to deal with such issues but a number of practitioners still start medications by themselves instead of referring them to any psychologist or psychiatrist due to which the condition of the patient (internationally we do not say a person with psychological disorder as a patient rather we call his as client and some say them as guest but here the term is used to avoid any confusion) gets worse instead of improvement. Here are some important key features which should be kept in mind by the families for the treatment of psychological disorders or addiction related issues.
1. The program should have maximum impact on the patient
The main key feature of a good psychological treatment is that it should have maximum impact on the patient. It should be problem focused and evidence based which means that it should follow any program for treatment which is proved useful through research. The families should ask the professional regarding the treatment program and its impact before making any decision.
2.It should have clear goals of the treatment
Another main point which should be kept in mind is that a good psychological diagnosis & treatment program should have clear goals of the treatment for both the patient and the therapist. It should be a task oriented treatment and should focus the issues of the patient rather than having unnecessary and irrelevant tasks. For the patients with addiction it should be kept in mind that which treatment model is being followed by the organization or the professional and what are the goals of the treatment. It should only focus on the substance addiction of the patient. For example, the problem of heroin addiction should be considered different than alcoholism as they both are substance addiction but their withdrawal symptoms are totally different.
3. It should use the major elements of the evidence based treatment in the form of tasks given to patients
There are different types of the treatment offered for the individuals with psychological disorders as well as drug addicts. Most individual think that the treatment plan is clearly and specially designed for each and every patient. Yes, it is done to some extent but there are two main types of treatment plans. The first one designs a special treatment plans for the patient by taking all aspects of his life into account. The plan is designed which matches with the personality of the individual and then it is followed. This is somewhat done in psychoanalysis. But this method has some drawbacks too. It is expensive, slow, and time consuming. While the second treatment plan consists of the best outputs and best evidence based approaches which are proved to be much effective for the treatment of that disease or disorder through research. Through such program the patient is given multiple tasks during the treatment process. It is somewhat giving a person a right direction to reach their destination, if someone follows a wrong path then he will never reach the destination.
4.It should have clear a schedule to follow the treatment
It is also an important key feature of a good psychological treatment that it has a proper schedule for the whole treatment specially for the first month of the treatment. There may be some possible issues which can be dealt with issue oriented approach. For example, the patient gets better from depression but later due to some other issue he is suffering from insomnia. Then the schedule shifts to deal with insomnia first and then to follow the schedule.
- It should have system to measure the progress of the treatment
As we know that there are two types of psychological treatment programs. One is issue oriented and the second is task oriented treatment. Issue oriented treatment also have many advantages but it does not tell us about the improvement of the patient at any specific point. While the task oriented treatment have advantage that it can tell us about the progress of the treatment and improvement of the patient at any specific point. As different tasks are also involved in this treatment which are specifically designed to measure the progress of the patient. For example, the alcoholic is given different tasks to stay away from alcohol. And the accomplishment of these tasks indicates improvement in the treatment process.