Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery

Severe and persistent mental illness can affect a person’s ability to function in daily life. But with the right help, there is hope.

Left untreated, conditions such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder can have severe consequences. Individuals with these illnesses may find it difficult to maintain personal relationships, live independently and keep steady jobs.

Careful intervention, counseling and support are the keys to changing that narrative.

Finding Peace

Our Lady of Peace in Louisville, part of KentuckyOne Health, has an intensive outpatient program that provides help to those who are living with severe and persistent mental illnesses. These groups incorporate the recovery model, focusing on building resilience and coping skills to improve patients’ daily experiences and long-term well-being.

“There’s a definition of recovery that we use in the group,” said Heather Marcus, LCSW, intensive outpatient therapist at Our Lady of Peace. “We say recovery is a process by which a person overcomes the challenges presented by a mental illness to live a life of meaning and purpose.”

Daily Improvement

Peer support plays an important role in the group therapy process. The psychotherapy groups Marcus leads meet five days a week and welcome people at all stages of their recovery. Members of the group work toward learning ways to manage the symptoms of their illnesses while strengthening their relationships with friends and family.

“People can join the group on the same day that others are graduating,” Marcus said. “That helps new attendees see it is possible to make progress and feel better; graduates are examples of hope that recovery is possible.”

During and after the program, Our Lady of Peace offers supplemental resources for patients and family members to help ensure they maintain the positive momentum started in group counseling. These include a no-charge, after-care program that lasts six months after graduation, multiple on-site family support groups and a long-acting injection clinic to make it easier for eligible patients to receive their long-acting, anti-psychotic medication.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Our Lady of Peace offers a comprehensive array of clinical behavioral health services. For more information or for a no-charge assessment, call the Assessment and Referral Center at 502.451.3333 (Louisville) or 859.313.3515 (Central/Eastern Kentucky).

A New Resource on the Road to Recovery

A New Resource on the Road to Recovery

An injectable medication for patients recovering from opioid addiction helps them get their lives back on track.

Addiction is a major health concern in the Commonwealth, and that’s particularly true of the use and abuse of prescription opioid medications and their illegal cousin, heroin. Drug overdose claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Kentucky residents in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No single treatment or program can solve the opioid epidemic, but the Long-Acting Injection (LAI) Clinic — a new service at Louisville behavioral health hospital Our Lady of Peace, part of KentuckyOne Health — plays an important role in recovery for many patients struggling with opioid addiction.

Buying Time to Get Well

Since the LAI Clinic opened its doors in February, the clinic’s providers have been focused on providing monthly injections of the drug naltrexone to individuals who have completed the detoxification process for opioid addiction. The long-acting injectable form of naltrexone is called VIVITROL®.

“VIVITROL blocks the chemical receptor responsible for the euphoria patients experience from taking prescription opioids or heroin,” said Steve Cummings, PharmD, pharmacy and LAI Clinic manager at Our Lady of Peace. “The drug blocks that feeling for a month. During that time, patients can pursue outpatient treatment, such as counseling, while
VIVITROL helps prevent them from relapsing.”

Psychiatrists prescribe VIVITROL and determine the length of each patient’s course of treatment. Providers at the LAI Clinic regularly update behavioral health professionals about patients’ progress and compliance with the injection regimen.

The Right Service at the Right Time

A pharmacist and a medication access coordinator run the LAI Clinic. The medication access coordinator schedules patients’ visits to the clinic, handles prior authorization paperwork to clear individuals to receive VIVITROL, and connects patients with outpatient behavioral health services.

Most patients who visit the LAI Clinic learn about it during or just after completing inpatient detoxification at Our Lady of Peace. That is by design, according to Cummings.

“We don’t want people to be discharged without giving them the option to receive naltrexone on-site,” Cummings said. “For many individuals, detoxification is a low point when they’re more likely to desire treatment. We want each patient to beat addiction and live a normal life.”

The LAI Clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 844.297.8982.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Spring edition of One Health magazine. Learn more about the opening of the Long-Acting Injection Clinic