March 21, 2024

Create Effective Drug Treatment Plans for Behavioral Health

Create Effective Drug Treatment Plans for Behavioral Health

Substance Abuse is a complex problem with the capacity to impact someone's life and their families. That's why treating addiction can be one of the many important jobs of behavioral health facilities.

What’s the best way to help someone struggling with drug use? There’s no one right way to treat substance abuse, but most clinicians find success when they properly implement an effective treatment plan with their clients. 

We’ll explain the components of a drug treatment plan, why they’re important to insurance companies, and the best way to track progress when implementing these plans.

Table of Contents

What Is a Drug Treatment Plan?

A drug treatment plan is a written document collaboratively created by a client seeking help for substance abuse and their clinician. It is highly personalized and will outline what the client wants out of treatment and how they plan to get there.

An initial treatment plan done by a detox facility for safety within 24 hours can be common. It’s less structured than an ongoing treatment plan but needs to be on file as a record of initial intake.

The drug treatment plan will change over time. For instance, the initial phase of the plan may focus more on detox and stabilization. Later, the plan may be centered more on the mental health aspects of addiction. You may think of this plan as the link between assessment and treatment.

What Is the Purpose of Drug Treatment Plans? 

The purpose of a drug treatment plan is to ensure that the client is making progress toward recovery. Effective mental health treatments must have a clear and concise roadmap to give clients the tools they need to get long-lasting results and resume a normal life.

People with substance abuse issues have often experienced a chaotic lifestyle, and having a drug treatment plan in place provides a useful structure for them to recover. This outcome-driven system will help them stay focused on why they are in treatment, especially when they might be feeling discouraged. 

An effective treatment plan will be paired with detailed progress notes to address what has been achieved during sessions. A clinician can point to specific achievements within the drug treatment plan and say, “You may not feel better right now, but look at all the things you’ve already accomplished.” Having a system that can efficiently tie treatment plans to progress notes can assist in the overall effectiveness and organization of care.

Why Do Drug Treatment Plans Matter to Insurance Companies?

Insurance companies want to avoid a client coming in and talking about their problems or random things and not systematically treating the problem. That can’t be measured well and is ineffective from a treatment standpoint. Drug treatment plans are important to insurance companies because they are highly structured and provide an exact roadmap for the therapy strategy. 

Another positive outcome of having a drug treatment plan in place is the fact that it creates a paper trail that will help in the event of any future legal action. If a client is unhappy with therapy outcomes and seeks litigation, they won’t have much of a leg to stand on if a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan that they have approved and signed exists.

How Do You Develop a Treatment Plan for Substance Abuse?

A clinician should develop a substance abuse treatment plan that addresses the specific needs of the client as well as the challenges that come with addiction. A successful plan will be written to include problem identification, goal setting, objectives, and interventions.

Assessing how the client’s use of substances has impacted their life is an important component in the development of a treatment plan. The clinician should ask about all areas, including:

  • Family
  • Medical
  • Employment
  • Financial; and 
  • Legal

This will not only aid in identifying behavior and thought patterns, but it will also help clinicians see what could be a barrier to effective treatment.

4 Core Components of a Drug Treatment Plan

The four core components of a drug treatment plan are:

  • Problem statement — This is where you highlight problem areas that should be addressed during treatment.
  • Goals — These are the main things pulled from the problem areas that you want to address.
  • Objectives — These outline exactly how you plan to accomplish your goals.
  • Interventions — These describe what your clinician will do to help you reach your goals and objectives.

Let’s explore each of these pieces a little more thoroughly.

#1: Problems

The first step to identifying the client’s problems is a thorough assessment to determine social, biological, and social factors that may have contributed to their addiction. Then the most pressing problems can be pinpointed. Priority should be given to which issues are most important to the client and creating the biggest amount of dysfunction in their lives.

Create a problem statement based on this information. The problem statement should be concise and direct. 

An effective drug treatment plan will only address a few problems at a time. Trying to solve too many issues at once makes it harder to control the focus and direction of treatment.

If the client is facing many things that need to be addressed, narrow them down when creating the problem statements. Since treatment plans should be constantly reevaluated, different problems to focus on can be cycled through as needed.

Examples of Treatment Problems To Target

Some examples of problem statements that may be included in a drug treatment plan include:

  • My drug problem is affecting my health.
  • My addiction is putting me in danger of losing my job.
  • I have a hard time talking to my family members without getting angry.

#2: Goals

The ultimate goal in a drug treatment plan is recovery from addiction, but there should also be many smaller goals set along the way. Goals should be tied to problem statements and should contain a brief explanation — in their own words — of the condition the client wants to change.

The goals created in a drug treatment plan should be SMART:

  • Specific — Goals should be clear and focused.
  • Measurable — The goals should contain actionable tasks that will have results.
  • Attainable — A goal may stretch a client’s current abilities, but it must be possible to achieve.
  • Relevant — Goals should relate to the problem statement; it’s also helpful if they relate to each other to ensure that progress is being made.
  • Time-bound — The goals should be met within a realistic timeframe.

Examples of Treatment Goals

Some examples of treatment goals that may be included in a plan include:

  • I want to wake up each morning with a clear head.
  • I want to be able to get to work on time.
  • I want to be able to talk to my family without getting angry.

#3: Objectives

Objectives are clear, specific actions the client will take on the path to meeting their goals. They should be written in measurable language so that it’s clear when the objectives have been completed.

As a client works toward their goals, their clinician can make assessments each week about objectives being met. Completed objectives should be steps toward achieving the goals.

Examples of Treatment Objectives

Some examples of objectives that may be included in a drug treatment plan include:

  • To journal one’s feelings every day
  • To attend weekly counseling sessions with a clinician
  • To talk to family three times a week without having an outburst

#4: Interventions

Finally, interventions are what the clinician does to help the client complete their treatment. These should also be measurable actions. 

Although prescribed interventions may look similar from one client to the next, they should be highly personalized based on individual problems, goals, and objectives. These interventions are challenges that provide direction and accountability throughout treatment.

Examples of Treatment Interventions

Some examples of interventions that may be included in a drug treatment plan include:

  • Daily educational sessions on addiction 
  • Weekly group therapy
  • Medication prescriptions

Drug Treatment Plan Example

Here’s an example of a plan you would see at the beginning of treatment.

Problem: My drug use is ruining my life and hindering my ability to care for my family.

Goal #1: I want to stop using drugs and avoid relapses in the future.

Objective #1: Document the history of drug use and any previous treatment attempts and relapses.

Date established: Targeted completion: Date completed:

Objective #2: Identify and list triggers that lead to desired drug use that could result in relapse. 

Date established: Targeted completion: Date completed:

Objective #3: Write out a relapse prevention plan.     

Date established: Targeted completion: Date completed:

Interventions: The clinician will help the client identify factors that have led to drug use in the past. This process will include situations and triggers that may lead to relapse in the future. The clinician will educate the client on the risks of continuing to abuse drugs and help develop a plan — with the client’s input — to avoid and overcome those trigger situations. Interventions are to be administered during the client’s individual therapy sessions.

Frequency: 90 minutes per week

Duration: Six months

Why Tracking the Progress of a Drug Treatment Plan Is Important

For every session a clinician holds with a client, they should have a good system to mark what part of the treatment plan they’re working on.

Choosing an EMR system that can help execute and keep track of these details is crucial.  Ritten’s behavioral healthcare tools allows treatment centers to include smart sections in their progress notes that tie in active treatment plans in a very intuitive workflow.

This allows clinicians to easily select which problem, goal, objective, or intervention is the focus of that day’s session. Equally as important, it allows you to report comprehensively on how the treatment plan is being implemented into daily treatment. They can help show what was really worked on with each client encounter.

For example, in a progress note, the clinician has the ability to place a tag on the note and choose which problems, goals, and objectives were worked on in that session, showing progress and attention to the treatment plan.

Ritten: Simplified EMR Substance Abuse Treatment Plan Software

With Ritten, keeping track of a drug treatment plan is easier than ever. Since these plans are roadmaps for successful recovery, clinicians and clients should be able to follow their maps with ease.

We believe that the future of behavioral health is data-driven. Our behavioral health EMR software will ease the pain point of completing mounds of confusing paperwork and allow clinicians to focus on treating people with substance abuse problems.

Book a demo today and find out why so many behavioral health specialists are turning to Ritten.

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