Steps Toward Treating Chronic Addiction

At University Hospitals, we recognize that addiction is a complex, chronic disease that affects brain function and behavior. Chronic addiction meets all the criteria set by the medical definition of a “chronic disease” which include:

  • It lasts more than three months
  • It cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medications
  • It cannot be cured so patients must learn to manage the disease
  • It is long-term and progressive

The chronic state of addiction (for alcohol and opiates and opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycontin and percocet) is treatable and, like many other chronic conditions, it can be managed by the experts at University Hospitals.

Once an individual is ready to regain control over their life and seeks our help, we take them through a thorough pre-screening process designed to evaluate their understanding of  treating addiction as a chronic disease not as an acute disease, and evaluate their commitment to managing it. This provides an essential baseline, indicating where each person is in their addiction treatment journey so that we can tailor their care accordingly.

What to Expect From University Hospitals

When a patient decides that we are the right place to begin treating their chronic addiction disease, we will start with a three-step process:

  1. Evaluation: It is important to know each patient's overall physical condition when determining the plan for addiction treatment. The evaluation phase includes a physical exam, lab work, a medical history, and a biopsychosocial assessment.
  2. Medical stabilization: The patient undergoes medically supervised withdrawal (medical detox) under the care of addiction doctors and nurses over a three- to five-day period. This allows a patient to recover from the acute, and often dangerous, effects of drug or alcohol withdrawal. Medications are given to help with the major symptoms of withdrawal. Patients can also be discharged on Suboxone to bridge their appointments with their outpatient medication assisted treatment (MAT) providers.
  3. Follow-up care and education: University Hospitals develops a unique post-discharge care plan to help each patient take advantage of the gains that will be made during medical stabilization, or detox. Follow-up appointments are scheduled prior to discharge and the team is available to provide on-going support for patients. Patients attend follow-up appointments within 24 to 72 hours of discharge.

Contact University Hospitals Now for Help

Anyone can call us for information about addiction and/or addiction treatment options. This includes those who want to self-refer, former patients, current patients, concerned family and/or friends of those with an addiction. We will assist you in navigating the substance disorders and mental health treatment landscape. We work with addiction specialists, psychiatrists, primary care providers, addiction treatment centers and programs, agencies and hospitals from all over Ohio.

Primary Care Physicians, emergency departments, outpatient clinics and specialists can refer patients directly to us and we will collaborate with them and assist patients in getting the help they need.