Occupational therapists sometimes work with people who have substance misuse problems
An occupational therapist could work with someone to:
- develop coping strategies to give him or her a more satisfying lifestyle;
- stay in work and to gain satisfaction from new activities away from the drink and drugs cultures.
Michael Sharkey, who recently won the Stannah Stairlifts’ Occupational Therapist of the Year Award, runs a five-week intensive programme for alcoholism treatment and was nominated for the award by Angela, a former patient. Before Angela started the programme she felt suicidal and unable to cope with the pressures of looking after her parents and her grandson, who is suffering from Leukaemia.
Michael helped Angela by educating her about the effects of drinking and by teaching her anxiety management techniques and communication skills. As a result, Angela feels in control of her life for the first time after 40 years of problematic drinking, and is now training to become a counsellor.
Michael: 'I am passionate about my job and nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing someone regain the confidence and ability to lead an independent and fulfilling life. I’d recommend occupational therapy to anyone seeking a career which is fulfilling and varied.'