Learn about Effective Treatments for Addiction.

Paul Krauss is a counselor in Grand Rapids, MI with extensive experience dealing with addiction in all forms. He provides counseling services to adolescents, young adults, and adults. Paul Krauss also works with a team of counselors at Health for Life Grand Rapids. You can call the office at 616-200-4433 or email [email protected] for more information.

Addiction can take many forms. Whether someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, smoking, gambling, food, shopping, internet, video games, sex, or even work, the effect on the person and the people in their lives can be devastating, extremely painful, or even deadly.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) defines drug addiction as a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

While drug addiction is one of the more deadly forms of addiction, the process in which a behavior or substance becomes addictive to the point of causing distress, or markedly lower quality of life, is similar among addictions. Addictions can be serious and are best handled by professionals that understand the mental, social, emotional, chemical, and behavioral components of the illness. After a person has been guided to the appropriate level and place for treatment, it is time for the professional to work to address the complex reasons for the addiction and work to “peal off the layers” to eventually discover and treat the core issues of the individual. If the core issues can be treated effectively along with the presenting addiction, a person will be more likely to fully recover.

There is no “magic pill” for addiction treatment. There are many different types and intensities of addiction treatment–from outpatient counseling, to groups, to intensive groups, to hospitalization, detoxification, and even long-term inpatient, etc. It is important to get a consultation from a professional to determine which level of care is appropriate. If there is an emergency, don’t wait- please call 911.

Contrary to popular myths, addiction is not simply a character flaw or a phase of life. Most people cannot just “stop” being addicted to something by their own willpower, hearing some good advice, reading a book, being part of an “intervention’, hitting “rock bottom”, or going “cold turkey.” Some people may stop temporarily as a result of the preceding situations- but if the core issues are not addressed, most will eventually relapse. In fact, most people face several relapses before eventually overcoming the addiction. Addiction is a serious and chronic condition that requires professional treatment.

Paul Krauss is a certified ACRA (Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach) Counselor and Trainer. Paul was certified as a counselor by Dr. Robert J. Myers and Associates (University of New Mexico) after 8 + months of training, which included the taping and grading of counseling sessions. Following 2 years of integrating ACRA with his counseling approach, Paul underwent training to become a certified trainer, listening to dozens of counseling sessions and grading them on scales that had to match those of Dr. Robert J. Myers and associates. Paul has been training counselors and social workers in how to use ACRA since 2010.

The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA) to alcohol and substance use treatment is a behavioral intervention that seeks to replace environmental contingencies that have supported alcohol or drug use with prosocial activities and behaviors that support recovery. Multiple studies have show ACRA to be a highly effective treatment. ACRA shares the spirit and philosophy of Motivational Interviewing–another approach that has been effective in treatment individuals who may appear as “not open” to changing their behavior. Paul Krauss is also trained in the use of Motivational Interviewing techniques. ACRA can also be used on addictions such as video game addiction, gambling, and others.

It’s for adults too: ACRA is based on the original method Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), which was a treatment method first developed for helping adults. Paul Krauss has treated both Adolescents and Adults suffering from various addictions.

Learning More: If you are curious about to help a loved one that is refusing professional help, make sure that you seek professional consultation for yourself and your options related to your loved one before reading about treating substance abuse on the internet or from a book. If you want to learn about some behavioral methods for working with individuals with substance abuse issues, there is an excellent book written for the public, that I recommend:

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening by Robert J Meyers Ph.D. and Brenda L. Wolfe Ph.D.

Don’t lose hope! Studies have shown that substance abuse treatment (in general) reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and can significantly decrease criminal activity during and after treatment. There is also evidence that drug addiction treatment reduces the risk of HIV infection (intravenous -drug users who enter and stay in treatment are up to six times less likely to become infected with HIV than other users) and improves the prospects for employment, with gains of up to 40 percent after treatment.

There are many types of addiction. Paul Krauss MA LPC has advanced training in helping consult with people suffering from addictions.

Question? Email Paul Krauss or call directly (616-365-5530)

Paul works with many people of all ages with various types of addictions. Please note:

Paul will not work with adolescents where substance use is the primary concern unless the substance use is VERIFIED to be at a low level (e.g. marijuana use, occasional experimenting with alcohol, has tried a harder drug but is not habitually using) by the parent. If the substance use is VERIFIED and the parent is keeping a close watch on their adolescent– Paul may decide to work with the family.

Another criteria Paul always considers is if the teenager has a VERIFIED low level of substance use AND meets the requirements for outpatient services according to ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) criteria.

If there is a higher level of substance use, or the parents are unsure of how much or how many drugs the adolescent is using, or it is a clearly a high risk situation, Paul recommends inpatient treatment at a hospital or reputable treatment center immediately.

*In the fall of 2011, the ACRA program in which Paul worked full-time at JFCS (Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Phoenix, AZ) was nationally recognized by SAMSHA as a co-recipient of the Science and Service Award.

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