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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Why Employers, Unions and EAPs Should Embrace Outpatient Addiction Treatment

November 5, 2019 GMT

FREEHOLD, N.J., Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --The nation spent $35 billion annually on addiction treatment, and had little to show for it, as the opioid epidemic ballooned over two decades claiming nearly 200 lives each day.

“Although treatment availability expanded over the years, it was more of the same inpatient treatment, which largely failed because it was based on the assumption that addiction was a behavioral issue,” said Dr. Indra Cidambi, a nationally recognized Addiction Expert and Medical Director of New Jersey-based outpatient detox facility Center for Network Therapy. “Addiction is a chronic disease and outpatient treatment should be the default option as it not only delivers better outcomes, it is also cost-effective,” added Dr. Cidambi.

Until recently, addiction was viewed as a behavioral problem, and acute phases of treatment, detoxification and rehabilitation, were provided in an inpatient setting which also increased stigma associated with addiction. “The thought process was to isolate the individual suffering from addiction to learn new behavioral patterns that could be applied in their living environment,” noted Dr. Cidambi.

Science has proved that addiction is a disease as it causes the brain to change – the brain does not release enough dopamine (feel good neurotransmitter) in response to normal stimuli such as hobbies or sex and relies on substance use to trigger large quantities of dopamine. It takes 2-3 years for the brain to revert back to normal functioning after an individual enters recovery, leaving them susceptible to relapses. Consequently, addiction is now recognized as a chronic disease requiring long-term treatment.

“The treatment community has largely remained stagnant in its approach to addiction,” commented Dr. Cidambi. The vast majority of the acute phases of treatment, detoxification and rehabilitation, is still delivered in an inpatient setting emphasizing behavioral changes rather than helping the patient stay sober in their living environment. “The inpatient approach to treatment is dated, as progress in medication assisted treatment (MAT) has made outpatient detoxification a safe and more effective option,” she continued.

“I have provided Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification for alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines and opiates for 6+ years, and results have been better than inpatient treatment due to integration of the living environment into treatment,” said Dr. Cidambi. With treatment costs for addiction spiraling, it would behoove employers, unions and employee assistance programs (EAPs) to leverage the Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification option to not only lower costs but also to boost outcomes and help de-stigmatize the disease of addiction.

About Dr. Indra Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine. She started New Jersey’s first state licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances over six years ago. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is the President of the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine. She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.

About Center for Network Therapy
Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, opiates and others. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor patient progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed over 1750 patients in six years. CNT also offers Partial Care and IOP programs.

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SOURCE Center for Network Therapy