Medical group helps Airmen ADAPT to life's difficulties

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
  • Public Affairs
Maybe it's a home, work or financial situation. Maybe it's peer pressure.
For many, it's simply boredom leading them to drink a little more than usual, then maybe a little more and maybe a little more.
September is Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery Month. Through the Air Force's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program, any military medical beneficiary can be evaluated for abuse and receive non-clinical or clinical recovery assistance.
Participants can be identified for ADAPT by their supervisor, first sergeant or commander or because of an alcohol-related incident, said Staff Sgt. Jon Cabatit, 71st Medical Group NCO in charge of the ADAPT Program. Medical providers can also refer their patients for ADAPT.
Another way to participate in the program is to self-refer.
"Our goal is to help individuals avoid future problems with alcohol (or substances)," said Maj. (Dr.) Ronald Johnson, ADAPT program manager. "We like to work with them before a problem becomes too big. I have seen Airmen who have had very public problems with alcohol receive help and do amazing turnarounds. Not only are their personal lives much improved but their duty performance improves 180 degrees and the help they received actually saved their military career. (In this way,) ADAPT is a force multiplier for the Air Force as well."
Whether someone is a self, medical or command referral, the process through the program begins the same way.
"Before the person arrives we get information from his or her supervisor and ask questions about duty performance or other issues," Sergeant Cabatit said. "Supervisors know their people better than I will. We also receive this information beforehand if Airmen are medical or command referrals."
Sergeant Cabatit and Doctor Johnson then meet with the person, explain the process and conduct the evaluation.
Sergeant Cabatit and Dr. Johnson then meet, determine the diagnosis and discuss a plan for the person's recovery. Diagnoses typically are either no diagnosis, substance abuse or substance dependence. Treatment is then based on the individual.
No matter what the diagnosis is, however, everyone who participates in ADAPT receives six hours of substance abuse awareness education. Governed by Air Force Instruction 44-121, the awareness education includes information on individual responsibility, Air Force standards, legal and administrative consequences of abuse, decision making, dynamics of substance abuse, biopsychosocial model of addictions, values clarification, impact of substance abuse on self and others, family dynamics and goal setting.
If clinical sevices are required, a treatment team meets to determine the frame work for the patient's treatment.
Patient care does not end, however, when a person has completed treatment, Sergeant Cabatit said.
"A few years ago the Air Force decided to make completing the program individualized, and began implementing after care for patients who went through inpatient or outpatient treatment," he said. "After care was designed to help the person slowly transition from treatment back to their service and their life."
ADAPT is not a punitive program, said Sergeant Cabatit.
"ADAPT was designed to help people get back to life without alcohol," he said. "This means helping them have no problems with their home, health or work. We educate and treat, provide tools to help them improve their life. Let us be your compass, giving you directions, tools and guidance to a healthy lifestyle, motivating you to take the journey yourself. We provide you with guidance, and then it's up to you to follow the path."