Everything You Need to Know About Drug Addiction and Available Treatments to Overcome It

Everything You Need to Know About Drug Addiction and Available Treatments to Overcome It

The aim of drug treatment is to help individuals who are addicted to drugs to stop the compulsive use of drugs. Treatment can take place in various setting, take a variety of forms, and last for different durations of time. Since addiction is a chronic disorder which is often characterized by relapses, a one-time treatment in most cases is not adequate. When it comes to drug addiction, treatment is usually a long-term process involving different interventions as well as regular monitoring.

Most patients seek treatment to attain and maintain abstinence, but these efforts often take many attempts as well as failures at “controlled” use prior to mobilization of sufficient motivation. Until the patient acknowledges that they have a problem and abstinence is necessary for beating their addiction, any attempts to stop the use of drugs are often ineffective.

 That is why treatment programs are required because they help in minimizing the effects of drugs abuse through different approaches such as counseling, education, relationship building, self-help groups, among other techniques. However, becoming drug- or alcohol-free is only one step in the right direction. A lot of patients who seek treatment for substance abuse have complex and multiple problems in different aspects of living.

These include disrupted relationships, psychological issues, deteriorated social skills, financial or legal issues, among others. For that reason, substantial steps must be taken to ensure these issues are also addressed in treatment programs. Treatment programs should be able to address various aspects including physical health, treatment of the psychiatric conditions, resolving financial problems, addressing social relationships among others. These programs should also assist patients in exploring spiritual issues and finding the right recreational activities to keep them mentally fit.

Two Types of Rehabilitation Processes

A good number of drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers offer different kinds of recovery programs which include the inpatient and outpatient treatment. The inpatient addiction treatments are often recommended since they are ideal for patients with severe alcohol and drug abuse problems. The outpatient programs, on the other hand, are recommended for people with a mild addiction. Moreover, the outpatient program is recommended for people who are not financially fit and cannot pay for inpatient treatment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the substance abuse recovery treatments and programs are often not a one-size-fits-all. Alcohol recovery programs and drug addiction treatment should be tailored to meet the emotional, physical, financial, and social needs of the person seeking treatment. It is not surprising to see that a particular recovery addict benefits from a certain treatment plan while another requires a totally different approach to become drug-free. Everyone’s case is different.

The reasons for starting usage, the choice of illicit drugs, the quantity consumed, and the motivation for quitting differ from one person to the other. As a result of these variations, the treatment for every drug addict needs to be customized.

With that in mind, an inpatient program is recommended for persons with a prolonged addiction or one with a history of heavy alcohol or drug use. This kind of program is also ideal for individuals with a dual diagnosis. For instance, inpatient treatment is ideal for a person with a mood disorder as well as a substance use disorder. This program is often more intensive and provides around-the-clock care. They aid recovery through the provision of a peaceful and controlled environment, leaving no room for the patient to relapse.

On the other hand, an outpatient program is ideal for individuals in their initial phases of addiction or people who have been doing excessive drugs for a short period of time. It’s also imperative to note that some recovering addicts have family and children to look after, along with other kinds of responsibilities to fulfill. As a result, this eliminates the chances of them attending an inpatient program, leaving outpatient recovery their only option.

Recovery Stages for Drug and Substance Abuse

The process one undergoes to become sober is often challenging. Every individual seeking recovery goes through a personal journey to rid themselves of drugs and alcohol. There are four principal stages of addiction treatment which every individual seeking treatment must undergo. The first of these stages is the acceptance of the issue. Accepting that one is an addict and requires help is a very important process for recovery because it gives the person the motivation they need to get clean.

The second stage for addiction treatment is detoxification which involves the removal of drug substances from one’s body. The third stage of addiction treatment is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation involves different techniques such as intensive therapy, counseling sessions, and overall health management. It should be noted that rehabilitation is usually done in an inpatient facility. The last stage of addiction treatment is recovery. This process involves getting discharged from the rehab facility to continue treatment in an outpatient facility.

The ultimate goal of drug and substance recovery is to put to an end the use of drugs and alcohol and remaining sober throughout. When that happens, a person transforms into a productive member of his or her community. As mentioned, the underlying principle for drug and substance addiction treatment should address the needs of the patients as comprehensive as possible. Substance abuse recovery programs which are deemed effective when they address the needs of the patient. Fast access to the treatment program is crucial, so is sticking with the process to the end. Counseling, medications, and therapies are the foundations of most drug and alcohol addiction treatments.

An effective program has the flexibility to be assessed, reviewed, and altered to address the changing needs of the patient. A comprehensive facility for drug addiction treatment offers different kinds of therapies to cater to the physical and psychological needs of the addict. Additionally, addicts are often at a high risk of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C. With an excellent recovery program, they can be tested and treated for these conditions among other infectious diseases. Also, it is imperative to remember that drug and alcohol addiction treatment may not be voluntary but the outcome can still be successful.

Addiction Treatment Techniques

There are different techniques used in the treatment of addiction. The common approaches include pharmacotherapies, psychological or psychosocial interventions, behavioral interventions, and self-help groups.

  1. Pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy is a technique used in discouraging the continued use of drugs or alcohol. This technique is used in suppressing withdrawal symptoms, blocking or diminishing euphoric effects, replacing the illegal drug with prescriptions, or treating psychiatric conditions.  The medications to manage withdrawal often utilize cross-tolerance to substitute the drug being abused with something safer but of the same class. The latter drug is then slowly tapered until homeostasis is realized. For instance, Benzodiazepines are mostly used in alleviating the alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Various drugs such as desipramine hydrochloride and buprenorphine have been used on abusers of cocaine experiencing withdrawal although their efficacy has not been ascertained.

  1. Psychosocial Intervention

Psychosocial intervention help in modifying interpersonal attitudes, feelings, and behaviors through group therapy. Group therapy is an effective technique that is commonly used when primary and extended care is offered to abusers of drugs. With group therapy, a variety of approaches are utilized, although there are no definite agreement on the session frequency, length, or style group interactions.  Group therapy is beneficial as it offers an opportunity for people to share their painful experiences and communicate how they feel. Additionally, group therapy can go a long way in helping people struggling with control over drug and substance abuse.

  1. Behavioral Techniques

The aim of cognitive behavioral therapy is to modify the cognitive process which results in maladaptive behavior, intervene in events that result in substance abuse and promote the necessary behavior and skills for attaining and ensuring the maintenance of abstinence. According to research, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques help in improving self-control as well as social skills that minimize addiction. Some of the strategies utilized include goal setting, self-monitoring, rewards for goal attainment, and learning new skills for coping. In addition to that, stress management training which uses exercise or progressive relaxation techniques has become quite popular in the treatment of drug and substance abuse.

Training in social skills to improve a person’s general functioning has been shown to be effective when it comes to ensuring sobriety and minimizing relapse. Education and training sessions often focus on how to react to certain feelings and situations, how best to deal with criticism, and the different ways to initiate social encounters.

Bottom Line

When it comes to dealing with the problems of drug and substance abuse, a support system is always critical to the recovery process. Family members who were separated from the loved ones when they are taken to rehab for treatment play a crucial role once the patient is discharged from an inpatient facility. Family counseling is also critical because it offers the addict an opportunity to make amends with the people they may have hurt during the period in which they were actively in drugs. Family members and friends can help the addict adjust to life outside rehab while encouraging them to continue with outpatient therapy as advised. Without the right support system, a drug addict could easily relapse.


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