Addiction and Mental Health Treatment under the Affordable Care Act
Part of addiction recovery is dealing appropriately and concurrently with any co-occurring mental illnesses that may be present. Yet, estimates suggest that more than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, but only 10 percent of them are seeking treatment. Why is that?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, promised those struggling with mental illness and addiction to make treatment more accessible and available. This was combined with the Parity Act, enacted a few years before ACA. The combination of the two programs meant that many people who would otherwise not be able to get help, would be eligible for mental health care “equal” to physical healthcare and would have the insurance to pay for care.
In action, the ACA has in some ways gutted addiction and mental health treatment. Instead of proven abstinence based programming, preference is being given to pharmaceutical “harm reduction” treatments that keep people on pharmaceutical treatments like methadone or suboxone, instead of providing a real opportunity for recovery and freedom from drugs and alcohol.
Harm reduction refers to a range of policies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with drug use activities. It often replaces one drug for another drug, usually an illegal substance for a pharmaceutical drug, but does not address the cause that has created the reason for the person’s addiction.
At Cliffside Malibu, we believe that addiction is something that can be overcome, and it is a disservice to keep people doped up on pharmaceuticals. We help find the deep underlying issues that caused the addiction in the first place, healing the mind, body and spirit along the way, which are all crucial for successful recovery. Our treatment protocol is synergistic, creating treatment outcomes that are more effective than any individual part on its own. Treatment plans are aimed at releasing the bonds of addiction and freeing the person to live the life that they have always dreamed of having.
There are people who are afraid of recovery. For those individuals, harm reduction strategies may lengthen their lives. But true recovery is possible and available to anyone who wants it using quality, evidence-based therapies.