Addiction Unit

Since its inception MIND has been caring for clients presenting with problems of addiction and substance abuse. It is constantly building on this experience and developing a specialist service with the aim of providing the best evidence based treatments in the most suitable environment. Our sister organisation, The Institute of Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) has been leading the way from the early 1990s in establishing the epidemiology of substance abuse in Lebanon and the Arab world. This helps us to better tailor our services to the needs of the community.

Addiction mental health specialists are available at MIND to offer the best clinical care for individuals who suffer from addiction problems. An addiction mental health specialist is a medical professional trained and specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of addiction disorders. An addiction psychologist is a therapist with specialized training in supporting and treating individuals with substance misuse and related conditions.

These disorders come in a number of shapes and forms, but have in common the feature of a repetitive behaviour that dominates an individual's life and is often fuelled by the ingestion of a psychoactive substance that acts on the nervous system. (Alcohol, Opiates, Benzodiazepines, Marijuana etc.). Other recognized addictive behaviour include for example pathological gambling.

The conditions treated can be found on this link.

Addictive behaviour is considered a psychological/mental condition according to International classification. In addition the abuse of psychoactive substances can often lead to other recognized psychiatric conditions such as psychosis, depression, anxiety. Treating an addiction at an early stage, even in the absence of distressing symptoms, can prevent these conditions from evolving. As part of our assessment we try to establish whether your addiction is related or even triggered by a mood disorder or similar conditions. Treating both conditions simultaneously has been shown to provide the best outcome.

At MIND we adopt the bio-psycho-social approach. This means that following a comprehensive assessment, we develop a treatment plan with the client looking at every available tool to help him change his addictive behaviour. This includes looking at co-morbidities, such as depression and anxiety, which might be contributing to the addiction.

Treatment options available at MIND are the following

  • Pharmacological treatment (medication) is only one component of the care package and is complemented by therapeutic interventions (talking therapies) using up-to-date techniques such as targeted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI).
  • Since January 2012, Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) is available in Lebanon following the official licensing of Subutex (Buprenorphine) by the authorities under strict criteria. At the time of writing the programme is in its infancy. Nonetheless MIND has enthusiastically embraced this programme as one additional effective treatment available for this category of clients. Our clinicians have experience in the field preceding this date having been exposed to similar programmes in Lebanon and abroad.
  • Inpatient treatment: As far as possible, we try to maintain the client in his natural environment and see him regularly on an outpatient basis. This is not always possible and occasionally the clinical situation requires admission on our inpatient unit based at St George's Hospital in Beirut is necessary. In the protected setting of the ward, intensive detoxification can take place from highly addictive substances such as Alcohol and Opiates, while a programme of rehabilitation can be devised in discussion with the client and his family.
  • Inpatient detox: This is the first step in treatment for many cases. It is the process of safe and relatively comfortable cleansing the body from the substance of abuse (Opiates, Benzodiazepines, alcohol etc), relying on a safe environment, intensive nursing monitoring and medical supervision.
  • Outpatient rehab: Regular outpatient consultations inclusive of urine monitoring, psychological support and medication reviews.
  • Connection to inpatient rehabilitation centers: For those who are unable to rehabilitate themselves in the community, inpatient rehabilitation options are discussed and admission facilitated in Lebanon and abroad.
  • Medication management: A number of treatments are available to support the recovery process, whether in targeting craving for substances or treating associated psychological and physical problems that may arise.

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