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The Caring Together Program

The Caring Together program, established in 1990 by Barbara Schindler, MD, helps women and their children overcome substance abuse and start a new life without drugs and alcohol. The program utilizes a multi-phase, multi-disciplinary approach to treat the addiction and any other issues which may have caused or resulted from using.

Be sure to listen to Dr. Schindler's podcast on addiction.

To participate in the program, patients must be referred by their primary care physician.

The program is part of the Department of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine and is located at 4700 Wissahickon Avenue (Wissahickon and Route 1/Roosevelt Boulevard).

News: SAMHSA Grant Enables Caring Together to Expand Efforts to Help Women with Substance Use Disorder

Thanks to a $2.6 million, five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Caring Together program will be better able to treat substance use disorders across the lifespan. The grant will allow Caring Together to expand its network of peer support specialists, its community screening for substance use disorder, as well as continue its decades-long work to help women and their children engage in and sustain their recovery from substance use disorders. Read more.

Defining Addiction, Abuse and Dependence

10% of people will have a problem with addiction during their lifetime. It's a condition that's often overlooked, simply because many doctors don't ask questions to properly spot an addict. Additionally, users are often hesitant to bring up the issue on their own.

The first step in identifying an addict is having a clear understanding of addiction, substance abuse and substance dependence.

Here are some brief descriptions of key terms:

Addiction: Psychological or physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control.

Substance Abuse: People who abuse a substance typically experience one of the following over a 12-month period of time:

  • Fall through on major responsibilities—work, school, personal life, etc.
  • Legal problems
  • Involved in dangerous situations, physically or mentally
  • Social or interpersonal problems

Substance Dependence: People who depend on a substance experience three or more of the following symptoms/behaviors over a 12-month period of time:

  • Develop a tolerance for the substance
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms
  • Continue to use, despite an ongoing desire to quit
  • Take increased amounts of the substance
  • Spend an excessive amount of time acquiring the substance
  • Require longer recovery time
  • Have trouble with social life

Women and Addiction

While men may be more likely to become addicts, women traditionally face tougher challenges. The Caring Together program lets women know they're not alone in these challenges.

Studies show that women tend to progress more quickly from using a substance to dependence. Women also experience medical or social consequences of addiction faster than men, often find it harder to quit using addictive substances, and are more susceptible to relapse.

These gender differences can affect treatment, which is why we designed a program specifically for women and their children.

A Multidisciplinary Treatment

Caring Together takes a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. This means that a group of health care professionals, such as physicians, nurses, social service workers and mental health providers work together to meet the needs of our patients.

The team specializes in providing services to women who are pregnant and/or have children and/or who are dually diagnosed. In addition to getting patients through the different stages of treatment, the group offers:

  • Addiction/mental health counseling (individual and group)
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Intervention and referral
  • Onsite child care
  • Specialized HIV counseling and testing
  • Domestic violence counseling (individual and group)
  • Parent education and family therapy (individual and group)
  • Assistance with transportation reimbursement
  • GED/ABE services
  • Full-service, co-located health clinic
  • Life skills groups

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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