Minority groups account for approximately one-third of the US population. Minorities are also the fastest growing segment of the population, according to the US Census Bureau. As the scope of the population changes, so should the scope of addiction treatment. When an addiction treatment program is created, the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the patients should be considered. The United States is a multicultural nation, and this fact cannot be ignored when people of various backgrounds enter treatment programs. Coping mechanisms, stigmas attached to addiction problems, and many other factors vary according to cultural influences. High quality addiction treatment should be designed to accommodate cultural and ethnic nuances however and whenever possible.
What Is Cultural Competence?
The term “cultural competence” refers to the ability of an addiction treatment center to successfully treat people of different cultural backgrounds. In order to offer treatment that leads to recovery, addiction professionals need to understand the cultural context of their patients. If cultural needs are not acknowledged and respected throughout treatment, patients may begin to be fearful or distrustful of practitioners, which can interfere with recovery.
Culturally competent treatment centers have staff who are trained to be aware that cultural issues can be deeply intertwined with a patient’s addiction problems. For some patients, discussing cultural issues in counseling sessions is necessary to accomplishing recovery. However, practitioners can also make the mistake of assuming minority patients are all defined by their culture. Practitioners may neglect to treat these patients as unique individuals. Culture competency training can help addiction professionals become more sensitive to the complexities of cultural issues.
What Happens in Culturally Relevant Addiction Treatment?
Culturally relevant addiction treatment takes special care to collect certain information during the addiction assessment. For example, during the assessment, the addiction professionals should make a note of whether or not the patient has any involvement with his or her culture of origin. For example, an African American does not necessarily have any cultural ties to Africa. However, someone from a different country who has recently moved to the US will have a unique worldview that should be acknowledged. Another factor that is important to note is the patient’s first language and if the patient will need any linguistic accommodation.
If you are seeking culturally relevant addiction treatment, contact treatment centers and ask how the staff accommodates people of different cultural backgrounds. Ask if the staff has any cultural competency training. You may also want to ask if various health and religious beliefs can be observed by patients during treatment. Based on the answers to these questions, you can discern whether or not an addiction treatment center will be able to help you or your loved one recover comfortably within the context of your culture.
Need Help Finding Culturally Relevant Addiction Treatment?
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and would prefer culturally relevant treatment, please call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to take your call and connect you to a high quality treatment center. Don’t let addiction control your life. Call us today.