“I have a 20-year-old daughter who is a drug addict. She has tried to go clean several times, but hasn’t been able to do so for more than 4 months before she relapses. Are there any ways she could benefit from having a health advocate?”
Yes, there are absolutely ways your daughter could benefit from having a health advocate–and ways that you can benefit, too.
A health advocate can be a family member, friend, other trusted loved one, or a representative from an advocacy service such as Health Advocate or Health Proponent. The advocate’s role is to be at the side of the person who needs them, making sure they get the right care.
A health advocate can help your daughter:
* Find a medical provider. Drug use can cause many unhealthy problems (poor nutrition, a wacky sleep schedule, damage to various organs, unpleasant changes in appearance, etc), so it’s best to have a doctor evaluate any damage the drugs have caused and come up with a treatment plan for her.
* Go over her health benefits plan to ascertain what is covered (rehab, counseling, etc) and for how long and/or how many appointments.
* Find specialists to help her. She may be in need of a nutritionist to get her back into the swing of eating a healthy diet. She may also need to speak with someone in the mental health field. Often, the drug use is fueled by patterns of negative thought, which a mental health professional can help her confront. There are plenty of mental health professionals who specialize in issues relating to addiction.
* Find a rehab facility, if needed, and estimate the out-of-pocket costs of going to this facility.
* Recommend quality free resources that can provide help and support to your daughter, such as Narcotics Anonymous. (Click here for an extensive list of free and low-cost resources for those suffering from drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction issues.)
* Help your daughter get all of her medical records and information together. It is important for her to note on all medical forms that she is a recovering drug addict. This is because if she ever has to have surgery where extremely strong painkillers (such as opiates or other highly addictive medications) are typically prescribed post-op, her medical team may need to come up with other options to lessen her pain so that the risk of relapse is reduced.
You can benefit from a health advocate, too.
As you know by now, drug abuse is not just the addict’s problem. It deeply affects the people who care about the drug addict, too. But you don’t have to go through this alone. An advocate can help you find a counselor to talk to. The advocate can also review your health benefits plan, find counselors who are in-network, find out how many counseling appointments are covered in your plan, etc.
I urge you to find health advocates for you and your daughter as soon as possible so that you can both get on the road to recovery.
Do you have questions about how advocacy can benefit you? Drop me a line: [email protected]