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What Happens on My First Visit to a Recovery Facility?

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The most difficult step toward recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) can often be the initial step of getting into a recovery program in the first place. One’s reluctance to enter a program can be as simple as having a fear of the unknown. That trepidation can often be nerve wracking. Others may envision a scary dark or dingy style "meth clinic" scenario. So, what’s the best way to go about it and what happens when you get there?


“If you’re nervous about it, just come in for a consultation,” said Courtney Potempa, Physician Assistant at Symetria Recovery in Lakeview, Illinois. “At our 6 Illinois and 6 Texas clinics, it’s free, and you can do some information gathering to find out what your options are, so that when you are ready to walk in the door to start treatment, you already know what’s coming.“


Many people wonder about privacy, but Potempa states that her facility takes privacy very seriously and are bound by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) to protect a patient’s privacy.


“We probably have even higher restrictions than your primary care doctor about what we can and can’t say,” Potempa said. “We will ask for you to give us one emergency contact, so if we don’t see you for three days we will contact the emergency contact, but we can only say that the person hasn’t been there and ask them to call the office.”


Potempa went on further to explain that the release of information is customized to every patient, depending on how much information that patient wants to release or keep private. That includes, psychiatric evaluations and what dosages they are on.


Almost any recovery facility will require you to be in a mild to moderate level of withdrawal before you can begin taking medication. "A comprehensive outpatient facility such as Symetria Recovery provides Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), psychiatry and behavioral therapies along with family support - all in one location, by one team," furthers Potempa. 


“If you are going to be taking Methadone or Buprenorphine, your last opiate use should be about 12 hours prior to starting medication," Potempa said. “Then, we generally try to get you in with the medical provider first, because you don’t feel well.”


When it is deemed appropriate to administer medication, you will receive it within a short period of time. You will then be allowed to relax for a while and then be monitored to make sure you are responding to the medication properly.


Just like any doctor’s office, be prepared to fill out forms for insurance, medical and personal information. Waiting rooms are inviting, modern and comfortable, same as a dermatology or other specialty-type clinic. 


“If you’re coming in for medication that very first day, expect that you will be here for three or four hours so we can ensure we evaluate you, ensure you can be safe, and ensure that you are responding to medication appropriately,” Potempa said. “That may seem like a big part of your day, but our ultimate goal is that you are feeling better both physically and mentally and that you are ready to dive into recovery.  Also your personalized treatment team of doctors, nurses and counselors to front desk ambassadors will begin to assess your needs to get to the root cause of your SUD and outline your treatment steps and options.”


Symetria Recovery  is the pioneer and leader in complete, personalized, evidence-based recovery care through outpatient opioid, heroin and alcohol (all substance abuse) treatment committed to providing state-of-the-art, whole-person care, not just the addictive or dependency behavior. Its unique approach to dependency is known as The Symetria Method. This method combines medication-assisted treatment (MAT), psychiatry, and support from a single treatment team of behavioral health, medical and psychiatric professionals, under one roof - to reduce the risk of relapse and give patients sustainable results. Symetria Recovery’s highly-successful outcomes have been validated by an independent, retrospective analysis of more than 1.5 billion commercial claims from 3+ million OUD patients for five years. The analysis demonstrates superior results on all metrics when compared with treatment as usual. 


Other frequently asked questions can be answered 24/7 at 866-719-3813 or by visiting www.symetriarecovery.com.  Outpatient care allows the individual to receive treatment services while continuing their work or school and live with family members.  







Dale Willenbrink
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