Clinicians recognized that addiction is not a choice or a lifestyle. Instead, it is a disease, and it is one that can impact anyone from any walk of life. Even pilots, who are licensed professionals, can fall victim to substance abuse disorders. Fortunately, the Human Intervention Motivation Study paved the way for better treatment for pilots.
What is the Human Intervention Motivation Study?
In the 1970s, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism coordinated a study exploring addiction recovery for pilots. That went on to become the Human Intervention Motivation Study, or HIMS. As a result of the study, pilots have access to HIMS programs that meet their specific needs when overcoming addiction.
The goal of Human Intervention Motivation Study programs is to help clients overcome substance abuse disorders and safely return to work. Almost 5,000 pilots have completed a HIMS program, and the long-term recovery rate of 90% is far above average. That’s because these programs address the unique needs of pilots, recruit a support system, and make it easier for participants to stay on track toward recovery.
Entering a HIMS Program
There are several different ways that participants can begin a HIMS program. Some pilots enter the program because of an intervention. Others are required by copilots or pilot managers to participate in these programs or risk losing their jobs.
If a pilot gets a DUI, that is grounds for participation in a HIMS program. Some pilots choose to enroll voluntarily. Others get encouragement from loved ones. Of course, whatever the reason that a person decides to enroll in a recovery program, the results will be worth the commitment.
Steps of a HIMS Program
A Human Intervention Motivation Study program involves a number of essential steps. This ensures that participants are truly recovered and able to fly once again. The beginning of the program is a substance abuse assessment. This is an opportunity to learn more about a client and plan out their treatment.
Next, there may be a brief period of inpatient treatment. This is not a requirement, and many pilots can skip this step if they enroll in a suitable outpatient program and have a great support system at home. The bulk of the program is typically a three-month outpatient program.
Outpatient programs are the time for clients to explore underlying issues and get to the heart of their addiction. Most importantly, it is time to develop coping mechanisms and plan for a lifetime of sobriety. Relapse is dangerous for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for someone tasked with flying a plane. Therefore, pilots should also expect plenty of aftercare support, regular check-up evaluations, and consistent support group attendance in the years to come.
Returning to the Cockpit
Many pilots work on a daily basis despite medical conditions. This is possible through a special issuance through the Federal Aviation Administration. In the same way, pilots who have a history of addiction shouldn’t be banned from flying ever again.
Of course, addiction is an illness, not a character defect. Therefore, the FAA can also give a special issuance to pilots who have completed a Human Intervention Motivation Study program and can remain sober for an extended period. There are plenty of checks in place to ensure continued compliance, but this approach doesn’t punish pilots just because of a disease like addiction.
Overcoming Addiction at Providence Treatment
Providence Treatment is one of the few facilities in the United States that has programs designed for professional addiction treatment. Addiction treatment for pilots is available, and it aims to get pilots sober and back in the cockpit. Clients who enroll in an outpatient program at Providence Treatment can expect comprehensive care that includes various treatment methods. Some of the many effective strategies available to pilots include the following:
- Mindfulness training
- Relapse prevention training
- Group therapy
- Aftercare support options
- Intensive family therapy and education
The Human Intervention Motivation Study paved the way for pilots to get the addiction treatment they deserve. At Providence Treatment in Media, Pennsylvania, pilots and other professionals can still receive quality care with proven results. If you’re ready to take back control over your health, your career, and your sobriety, call 866-622-6211 today.