Alcohol monitoring and customized care options are changing the way we approach and view addiction treatment.
The treatment industry and its methods have remained largely unchanged for nearly 50 years. But with the reclassification of addiction as a chronic disease, there’s been a shift in the treatment model. This shift has leaned away from acute and episodic care, and toward treating addiction with ongoing care.
Relapse rates following Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) treatment remain at alarmingly high rates nationwide. The current treatment model for AUD typically includes an intensive period of treatment with little to no follow up once discharged. AUD are classified as chronic illnesses, but instead of applying a chronic illness management approach, treatment is episodic and leaves gaps in care.
The use of clinical alcohol monitoring for AUD cases can significantly improve outcomes. Studies even show that patients who participate in monitoring programs after treatment are less likely to relapse¹. As such, monitoring programs can provide an essential safety net for at least the first year of recovery. While sobriety monitoring isn’t a new concept, truly modern options can be hard to come by. Soberlink’s recovery technology is as convenient, and real-time as today’s increasingly mobile world demands.
Monitoring methods have typically come in the form of outdated and unreliable, periodic testing that provide no real structure or benefit for recovering people. Dr. Harry Haroutunian is one physician taking personalized patient care to the next level by implementing Soberlink as a part of his unique concierge addiction medicine services.
A responsible and sustainable clinical alcohol-monitoring program will include structure, accountability, and open communication with treatment professionals and trusted members of a recovery circle.
Dr. Haroutunian’s patients are typically not local and have sought him out because the traditional treatment design is, for whatever reason, just not an option.
Soberlink offers Dr. Haroutunian unprecedented convenience and access with remote testing, real-time BAC results, and cloud-based storage. The automation offered by the Soberlink System aims to help patients take control of their recovery by establishing an accountability structure. Communication between patients and their recovery circle is constant and transparent with Soberlink.
Dr. Haroutunian’s organization provides medical, psychological, psychiatric, counseling, case management, detox, clinical diagnostic evaluations, and a host of other services all provided within a concierge treatment platform. In addition, many of Haroutunian’s patients require a level of discretion that isn’t possible with the popular, social treatment model.
“We have had high-profile cases where the Device was the catalyst in getting some patients back into their profession, which never would have happened without a way to provide a track record or documented verification showing longitudinal abstinence from alcohol,” said Dr. Haroutunian.
Incorporating accountability tools into the monitoring program was difficult, if not impossible, for Dr. Haroutunian to achieve just a few years back. Soberlink’s real-time test results allow clinicians, counselors, monitors, and loved ones the opportunity to review BAC levels, assess situations, and quickly make clinical decisions in the best interest of the client.
Dr. Haroutunian finds that with his patients, the thought of real-time testing helps to reduce impulsive behavior. Soberlink acts as a mental deterrent, allowing the brain the time it needs to weigh the consequences and begin to extinguish the craving. This valuable window of time helps patients recognize the impulse, and act intentionally act in the best interest of their health and recovery.
In the fight against Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders, half of the battle is fighting stigma so that patients can be given the opportunity to recover. Dr. Haroutunian and Soberlink are actively working to help curb the high relapse rate by changing the perception of and treatment model for Alcohol Use Disorders.
Dr. Haroutunian continues to innovate recovery management by using Soberlink alcohol monitoring as a mental deterrent for people with co-occurring substance use disorders. These patients often either drink alcohol before returning to their drug of choice, or they feel that the Soberlink Device is a reminder to remain abstinent. In addition, families benefit through trust in the Soberlink system, thus allowing them to end their job as sobriety monitor and pave the way for healthy boundaries.
Accountability, consistent structure, and trust are often absent from the lives of those in recovery, but modern technology provides a means to establish and reinforce these missing components. Soberlink, when coupled with a supportive continuum of care such as that found in Dr. Haroutunian’s organization, has proven to be a formidable opponent to active addiction.
About Dr. Harry Haroutunian, MD
Dr. Haroutunian serves as Physician Director of the Professionals Program, Day Treatment, and Clinical Diagnostic Evaluation for the Betty Ford Center. He is the author of numerous books including Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through and Living in Recovery and Not as Prescribed. He earned his medical degree from Albany Medical College of Union University of Albany, New York and is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine.
¹ James R. McKay, PH.D., and Susanne Hiller-Sturmhöfel, PH.D., “Treating Alcoholism As a Chronic Disease,” Alcohol Research & Health