Veterinarians Program

They’re the unsung heroes of the medical field, and they seldom get the credit they deserve.

Veterinarians, however, are no less prone to substance abuse than their professional counterparts. They face a unique set of challenges and problems, from compassion fatigue to the devastation of having to euthanize animals that, in many cases, are extensions of a family, and they bear that burden on a daily basis. Far too often, they turn to drugs and alcohol to anesthetize that pain, but what starts out as a balm for emotional wounds can quickly become a problem that affects all areas of their lives.

How prevalent is the problem of substance abuse and addiction in veterinarians? Five years ago, the American Animal Hospital Association conducted a survey about addiction in the veterinary field, and the results showed that more than half of AAHA members surveyed had worked with a veterinary professional who had a substance abuse problem. Of that number, 66 percent said that coworker used drugs or alcohol on the job. Of all respondents polled, 81 percent said their practice did not offer any sort of counseling or intervention services for substance abuse issues.

There are a couple of reasons for those numbers: One, veterinarians often have access to a wide range of controlled substances on hand, so it’s easier to access drugs than it is for the general public. Two, the stress of the job is such that it takes an enormous toll on those in the profession: A 2014 study by a Center for Disease Control researcher revealed that nearly one in 10 vets in this country may suffer from serious psychological distress, and more than one in six may have thought about suicide since graduating from vet school.

It’s a profession that can consume an individual, because they’re not just caring for animals; they’re caring for the owners of those animals as well. Every practicing vet can recount one story after another of having to euthanize a pet while the owner falls to pieces beside the animal, and it’s impossible for an empathetic human being to witness such a powerful display of emotion without being affected by it. Combine that with the family nature of small veterinary practices, and the problem can persist until financial and legal ramifications lead to ruined reputations and lost careers.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Cornerstone of Recovery, our Professionals Program treats veterinarians with a level of care unique to the substance abuse treatment industry. In addition to the standard drug rehab regimen – slow and safe medical detox from drugs and alcohol and entry into a treatment program with individuals from across the professional and personal spectrum – those who take part in our Professionals Program receive an added layer of therapy that allows medical professionals whose jobs give them a certain amount of prestige to separate themselves from their careers. You’re a human being first and foremost, and you’re a sick. At Cornerstone, we want to help you understand that it’s OK to be sick, as long as you’re ready to do what’s necessary to get well.

That’s where our Professionals Program comes in. We help you reprioritize your life, putting your mental, emotional and physical health first, because only as a stable individual can you be the best veterinarian you can be. With therapeutic tools like mirror imaging, peer support and three group meetings a week with other professionals in the medical field, you’ll learn to address the issues that predate and accompany your addiction. You’ll build a foundation for long-lasting recovery once you return to your lives and your career. And you’ll go forward with a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit that allows you to give care while caring for yourself.

Call Cornerstone today and find out more information about our Professionals addiction treatment program. It may change your life in ways better than you can possibly imagine while you’re in the trenches of your addiction.

Learn More About Cornerstone of Recovery

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Services

The Path To Recovery Starts At Cornerstone

Medical Detoxification can be a critical time in a patient’s journey toward recovery because the symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to manage and potentially life-threatening. A team of certified, competent and caring professionals work together to ensure that we provide the best medical care for our patients. The Medical Director prescribes detox medications to keep the patient safe and reasonably comfortable.

While receiving detoxification medications, patients also attend psychoeducational groups and experiential activities. However, detox patients are also given sufficient opportunity to relax and allow their bodies to begin the healing process. Patients on a detox protocol are monitored 24 hours a day and the typical length of detoxification is 3 to 5 days and may be longer depending on the severity of the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.

This unit is designed to support our patients as they enter treatment and begin to invest in their community of peers. An extensive battery of assessments is performed to identify the patient’s bio-psycho-social-spiritual strengths, needs, and barriers to recovery (such as chronic pain, dual diagnosis, trauma, or other co-occurring disorders). This comprehensive assessment process provides our medical and clinical teams with much of the information they need to build a treatment plan that is individualized for each patient.

Our NON-NARCOTIC PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM offers solutions that eliminate and or reduce the dependence on medications to treat pain and improve treatment outcomes. We are able to reduce pain and improve the recovery process. We offer sound information and teach skills that the patient can use to improve coping, relaxation, mindfulness, nutrition, and much more. Some of the modalities we use are Reiki, Rubenfeld Synergy, Acupressure, Mindful Stretching, and Addiction Free Pain Management Education.

We believe healing occurs through direct experience. Experiential activities amplify the traditional therapeutic
modalities that are part of our milieu. Fitness, Meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Yoga, Spirituality Groups, Ropes Course, Mindfulness, Art Therapy, Drumming Circles, and community outings are some components of experiential healing at Cornerstone. Patients who participate in experiential therapies report reductions

Family Therapy is an integral part of all of the clinical programs at Cornerstone. Early on in the treatment process, we conduct a Family Questionnaire which allows family members and close personal friends to have input that impacts the patients treatment plan. When appropriate, there are Family Therapy sessions throughout the treatment process. These sessions are designed to work through relationship issues, enhance communication, educate the family about the disease of addiction and provide them with emotional support while their loved one is in treatment. Through this support, the family will gain knowledge about the treatment process and how they may be unknowingly supporting the addiction through co-dependent and enabling behaviors.

Family members will learn about how to engage in personal growth and change through various 12 step programs, so that the family can heal together trough the recovery process. Cornerstone requires that each patient complete Family Fundamentals, an intensive three-day family program designed to provide intensive education, group therapy, family therapy, 12 step meeting experience, and an opportunity to repair the damage caused by active addiction. Family members are strongly encouraged to attend the Family Fundamentals program along with the patient. Cornerstone also has a weekly family education group for family members and an ongoing support group for parents of young adults who are struggling with addiction or who have recently entered recovery

The Continuous Care Program upholds Cornerstone of Recovery’s treatment philosophy that chemical dependency is a chronic incurable disease that requires the consistent and continued attention of each patient for a lifetime. Recent scientific studies of the disease process have determined that full remission from active addiction does not occur until an individual has experienced at least 18 months of continuous sobriety, long after most intensive treatment programs have concluded.

In response to this knowledge, the Continuous Care Program provides services for a period of at least 18 months following treatment, to ensure that each patient has the opportunity for professional support throughout the early stages of their recovery. During this time, patients are encouraged to practice the skills and tools they learned and developed in treatment as they find their way back
into their home, work, and social environments. They are able to talk with Recovery Coaches and therapeutically
process the ups and downs they experience in sobriety. Active participation in the Continuous Care Program is vital in establishing a lifelong, solid recovery plan.

The Support Living Facility (SLF) provides a safe environment for patients to continue to learn and practice self-management and interpersonal relationship skills while solidifying their recovery program. It can take several months for individuals to become comfortable enough in their recovery to successfully move away from the environment where they got sober. The SLF Program allows men and women to experience some of the freedoms they will experience after treatment while they are supported by thier peers, staff, and a sober environment. Staff monitors the community through regular contact, group therapy, spirituality groups, relapse prevention groups, drug screens, and random checks of the living quarters. Eventually, the patient is allowed to retrieve their cell phone, to leave the premises, operate a vehicle and obtain employment. The minimum length of stay is 2 months (while the individual concurrently is in the IOP Program). Patients often choose to stay in SLF longer while they continue to build their recovery network and become more comfortable with the life changes they’ve made.Typical length of stay varies from 2 to 6 months, depending on the patient’s clinical needs.


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