Treatment center includes all levels of care

By Bryan Malenius

The coordinator of Kishwaukee Community Hospital’s Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment Center said the hospital is the only place in DeKalb County that offers all levels of care for dependent patients.

Jake Epperly, the program’s coordinator, said DUI counseling also is a part of the whole constellation of programs.

“We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment and family programs here. We are very individualized,” Epperly said.

Epperly said 80 percent of the people who use the hospital’s services come in on their own.

“The other 20 percent are referred here by employers or the courts,” he said.

Epperly said assessment is a big part of the treatment program.

“We have some people who come in who may not be alcoholics,” he said. “They may be alcohol abusers who really just need education.”

Epperly clearly distinguished the difference between the alcohol abuser and the alcoholic.

“Basically, if you continue to exhibit negative behavior despite bad consequences, you are probably an addict. And you can be an addict of drugs, alcohol, food or anything,” Epperly said.

Epperly narrowed the definition to fit alcoholics.

“Alcoholics are people with an allergy of the body coupled with a compulsion of the mind.”

Epperly pointed to the family treatment segment as a big part of the healing process.

“Alcoholics have alcohol to numb the pain they feel. Family members have nothing,” Epperly said. “Alcoholics have to be responsible to their alcoholism, just like diabetics need to be responsible to their diabetes. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Epperly said the hospital works closely with other treatment groups.

“One of the biggest parts of treatment is bringing reality to patients. We try to be compassionate and clinically-responsible,” he said. “Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon help us toward that goal.”