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Addiction Treatment and the Recovery Process
By Matt Gonzales, writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects your physical and mental health, job status and relationships. Once you’re hooked on a drug, your whole life revolves around it. Substance use disorders are common in the United States. Heroin use in particular has skyrocketed in recent years. From 2002 to 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that in 2014 more than 16 million adults and nearly 680,000 children aged 12–17 in the United States had an alcohol use disorder. Addiction is a serious illness, but you can overcome it with the right combination of dedication and treatment.
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Individuals with a substance use disorder should seek immediate treatment. The purpose of treatment is not only to help patients purge a drug from their system, but also to change how they perceive drugs and to help them become productive members of society.
Effective Treatment Options
The most effective treatment programs provide comprehensive services. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, for example, assists patients through psychiatric evaluations, individual and group therapy, 12-step meetings, psychoeducational groups, family therapy and medications. Treatment also covers co-occurring mental disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, which afflicted nearly 8 million adults in 2014.
Bypassing rehab or coping with withdrawal symptoms alone can worsen problems.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
Medical professionals are trained to aid these problems and a host of other issues. Treatment occurs in stages, beginning with detoxification, the process of ridding the substance from your system. After detox, the patient enters inpatient or outpatient care. Outpatient care allows individuals to get help without living at a residential treatment facility.
Outpatient facilities provide several therapy sessions a week, which may include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Multidimensional family therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Motivational incentives
Inpatient care is reserved for those with more severe problems. Many facilities offer 24-hour medical attention in a structured, safe environment.
Inpatient facilities provide:
- Therapeutic communities
- Short-term residential treatment
- Recovery housing
For the greatest chance of success, it’s important to choose a treatment program that best fits your individual needs.
Treating Addiction with Medication and Behavioral Therapy
Research indicates that effective treatment combines medication with behavioral therapy, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Behavioral therapy changes a person’s attitudes, views and behaviors toward a substance. This self-exploration process helps individuals handle stressful situations, learn healthy life skills and manage relapse triggers. Treatment facilities use medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms, treat co-occurring disorders and help prevent relapse.
Medications for opioid addiction include:
Medications for alcohol and other drug addictions include:
Counseling and moral support also are important during this stage of recovery.
Recovery After Addiction Treatment
Recovery isn’t easy. In fact, 40 to 60 percent of patients relapse after treatment, per NIDA. Most people relapse during the first few months of recovery.
Upon returning home from a treatment facility, many people are surrounded by addiction triggers that can lead to relapse. This is why it is important to continue seeking support once treatment ends.
People in recovery can take a variety of precautions against relapse, including joining a 12-step program. A 12-step program abides by a set of guided, spiritual principles to help people maintain sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous, the first 12-step program, was developed in 1939. Since then, dozens of programs have taken root, helping individuals overcome their addictions.
SMART Recovery, a self-empowering support group, is another option. It subscribes to a four-point program that shows participants how to:
- Build and maintain motivation
- Cope with urges
- Manage thoughts, feelings and behaviors
- Live a healthy, balanced life
Peer support groups allow people to share their stories with others in similar situations. During a meeting, you can learn recovery strategies and establish relationships with others. For many, support groups are a valuable resource during recovery.
Individual or group counseling can help a person in recovery maintain sobriety. It can help you learn recovery skills, adhere to a recovery plan and evaluate the social, familial and professional benefits of living a drug-free life.
Author Bio: Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. He boasts several years of experience writing for a daily publication, multiple weekly journals, a quarterly magazine and various online platforms. He has a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a Journalism concentration, from East Carolina University.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015) Today’s Heroin Epidemic.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2016) Alcohol Facts and Statistics
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016) DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014) Treatment and Recovery
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (2016) Co-occurring Disorders