Addiction Treatment

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. Types of Addictions
  3. Combined Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  4. Recognizing the Need for Treatment
  5. Understanding The Purpose
  6. Drug Addiction Treatment
  7. Alcohol Addiction Treatment
  8. Types of Treatment Programs
  9. Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Centers
  10. The Effectiveness of Treatments

Addiction treatment can help a drug or alcohol addict recover from a life of chemical dependency and return to a substance-free lifestyle. Getting prompt treatment for your addiction is essential because long-term drug and alcohol use can have serious health effects.

If you or someone you know needs help breaking free from the chains of addiction, fill out our short contact form or call 1-800-928-9139 for more information on your options for getting help.

Types of Addictions

An individual may develop an addiction to almost any substance. The most common substances of abuse include alcohol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, narcotic pain relievers, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, sleeping pills, stimulants, and cough medicines. Not all of these substances produce physical dependency, but all can produce psychological addiction. Both physical dependency and psychological addiction respond well to proper treatments.

"In physical alcohol or drug addiction, the brain and body adapt to the substance of abuse. Physical and chemical changes take place in the brain."

In physical addiction, the brain and body adapt to the substance of abuse. Physical and chemical changes take place in the brain. The user starts to require more of the drug to get the same effect, and this is known as tolerance. As tolerance increases, the person increases his or her dose of the drug or the frequency of drug use. If the user tries to stop using the drug, he or she may experience strong cravings or withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, insomnia, or agitation. Severe addictions can require medically-supervised detoxification as withdrawal can become life-threatening if not conducted properly.

A psychological dependency does not produce structural or chemical changes in the brain, but instead develops as a mental or emotional dependence on the substance. Someone with a physical addiction typically feels as if he or she needs the drug to act normally, control pain, or feel pleasure. A psychological addiction can also take the form of a habit, such as taking the drug at the same time every day or always getting high when out with a particular group of friends.

Combined Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Drug addiction treatment may be especially important for people who use more than one substance. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people with an addiction to either a single drug or alcohol have an increased risk of developing multiple addictions. People who mix drugs and alcohol generally have more severe symptoms of addiction than people with just one drug abuse problem. Individuals who combine multiple drugs or who use drugs and alcohol simultaneously can also be at higher risk for dangerous side effects and complications than people who abuse just one substance. For example, mixing alcohol and narcotic pain relievers can be deadly. Anyone who has multiple concurrent addictions should seek help as soon as possible to reduce the risk of serious health damage, overdose, or death.

Individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely to combine drugs and alcohol use than people in other age brackets, and men are more likely to mix drugs and alcohol than women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Recognizing the Need for Treatment

Addiction Intervention

"When planning an addiction intervention for a loved one, it is important to have a treatment plan in place that the individual can immediately begin. Once you have convinced him or her to get the help that he or she needs, no time should be wasted in the start of rehabilitation at a reputable facility. If you have tried... " Read More

The first step in getting help for a physical or psychological addiction is recognizing the need for treatment. Some people have trouble recognizing their substance abuse problem or deny that a problem exists. A doctor, family member, or trusted friend may have to bring addiction-related issues to the drug user's attention multiple times before the person admits that he or she needs help. A trip to the emergency room can sometimes be the trigger that causes a person to seek out treatment options. For others, the loss of a job or important relationship can be the trigger that initiates a search for a way out of the cycle of substance abuse. In some cases, an intervention is necessary to get the person to see that his or her drug or alcohol use has become a problem.

Signals and Signs Indicating a Need for Treatment:

  • A loss of control over drug or alcohol use, including using the substance at work or school
  • Extreme cravings for the substance when deprived of it
  • Preoccupation with the substance and loss of interest in other things, including hobbies, family, friends, and social activities
  • Spending large amounts of money or time on the substance
  • Participating in illegal activity in order to obtain the substance
  • Participating in unsafe activities while high or drunk, such as risky sexual behavior or driving under the influence
  • Repeatedly trying to quit using drugs or alcohol without success

If someone you know exhibits these signs of addiction, call 1-800-928-9139 to find a local rehab clinic that can help. Having information on hand about drug treatment options can help an addict get into a recovery program as soon as possible once he or she is ready to stop using drugs or alcohol.

Understanding The Purpose

Recovery Programs

"For anyone battling an addiction there is hope for recovery through the help of addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions. No matter what your addiction may be, alcohol, heroin or gambling, a program exists that's geared towards offering you relief from... " Read More

The primary purpose of addiction treatment is to help the drug or alcohol addict escape from addiction and return to a normal lifestyle. A successful drug addiction treatment program accomplishes this by interrupting the cycle of drug use and abuse and teaching the user how to function without the addictive substance. An addiction treatment program should focus on total abstinence, not simply cutting back on drug or alcohol use. It should also address the underlying thoughts and emotions that lead to drug use and replace them with new thought patterns and modes of action. This may involve helping the user overcome shame or other negative emotions about the addiction. It can also address issues of avoidance or denial to help the user break through to a deeper understanding of the true depth and impact of the addiction. A successful treatment program will help the user rebuild relationships that were destroyed or damaged due to drug or alcohol use. It will also help the user set up a support network of caring individuals who can help provide guidance and encouragement during the recovery process. Addiction treatment also addresses the physical consequences of addiction and treats any health problems caused by addiction.

Drug Addiction Treatment

The specific course of drug addiction treatment depends on the specific drug of abuse. Drugs that involve physical dependency require a period of detoxification at the start of the treatment program. For drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines, the user typically stops using the drug abruptly and works through the withdrawal symptoms with the help of a doctor, counselor, or other medical professional.

Withdrawal from opiates, such as heroin, morphine, codeine, opium, and oxycodone, is more complex. These drugs cause severe withdrawal symptoms that can be overwhelming when drug use is halted suddenly. The solution to this is a gradual withdrawal that is monitored by a medical professional. In some cases, the drug user is weaned off the initial drug and onto a maintenance drug, such as methadone or buprenorphine. These maintenance drugs attach to the same receptors as the original opiates but have milder effects that help the drug user regain control over his or her life. Someone who uses this form of medical maintenance will need to wean off the maintenance drug later in the treatment process. If you have concerns about the withdrawal process and side effects and want to learn more about how a residential addiction treatment center can help you get through this difficult phase of recovery, call 1-800-928-9139 to speak with a treatment adviser about your concerns.

After detoxification, the recovering drug user begins a treatment program that usually includes a combination of different types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, and family therapy. During this phase of addiction treatment, the recovering drug user learns how to resist the temptation of drug use and uncovers the underlying causes of his or her dependency.

"Drugs that do not typically cause physical dependency, such as hallucinogens, marijuana, and cough medicine, do not require a detoxification period."Drugs that do not typically cause physical dependency, such as hallucinogens, marijuana, and cough medicine, do not require a detoxification period. Instead, addiction treatment begins with an abrupt cessation of drug use and immediate entry into a counseling program that helps the user break his or her psychological addiction and return to normal life.

During addiction treatment, the doctor or counselor in charge of treatment should also treat any preexisting conditions that the recovering user has. This may include treatment for mental illness, chronic pain, or other health problems. If these underlying conditions are not treated concurrently with the drug addiction, they could affect recovery and put the patient at risk for relapse.

Detoxification alone is not sufficient to cure drug addiction. Follow up treatment is necessary, and treatment is a lifelong process because the former addict remains at risk of a relapse for the rest of his or her life.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol addiction treatment also begins with detoxification. However, the withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox can be dangerous, so medical monitoring is necessary during the entire process. Alcohol detoxification usually takes about four to seven days. After detoxification is complete, the recovering alcoholic enters long-term treatment, which may involve a combination of therapy and medication. To learn more about how alcohol detoxification works and how to get help easing withdrawal symptoms stemming from alcohol addiction, call 1-800-928-9139 to speak with a treatment adviser.

"Alcohol addiction treatment also begins with detoxification."There are a few different types of medication available for alcohol addiction treatment.Benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants are used during the detoxification phase to help control withdrawal symptoms. A drug called naltrexone is sometimes used after detoxification is complete. Naltrexone blocks the receptors in the brain that give pleasurable sensations from alcohol consumption. This makes the user unable to derive pleasure from alcohol at all, reducing the likelihood of a relapse.Other drugs used in alcohol addiction treatment are acamprosate, which helps restore normal brain chemistry, and disulfiram, which causes unpleasant side effects when the user drinks alcohol.

Nutritional therapy may also be required during alcohol addiction treatment. Nutritional therapy involves taking specific vitamin or mineral supplements to help restore normal biological functioning and treat any malnutrition or nutrient deficiencies caused by alcoholism.

Types of Treatment Programs

There are two main types of addiction treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction - inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. In an inpatient program, the drug user checks into a facility where he or she will live until the addiction is under control. Outpatient treatment involves living at home while attending doctor's appointments and counseling sessions at a clinic or hospital multiple times each week.

"There are two main types of addiction treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction - inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment."An outpatient addiction treatment program is ideal for people who need to continue working or going to school while participating in treatment. Outpatient services are also useful for people with family commitments, such as people who have a young child at home who needs ongoing care. In some cases, regular drug testing may be necessary to ensure that the patient is following the treatment program.

People with a complex pattern of addiction, such as those who are addicted to two or more substances or those who have relapsed after a previous attempt to quit, may do better in a residential inpatient program. The advantage of this type of program is that treatment takes place in a setting that is highly conducive to recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a managed treatment program in which the treatment is continually assessed to see how it is working offers the best chance of success. A residential treatment center is best equipped to provide this type of ongoing assessment because the patient remains at the facility throughout the process.

Treatment at an inpatient residential facility often takes six to 12 weeks. After this course of addiction treatment, the patient may choose to continue follow-up care on an outpatient basis. Another option is to join a therapeutic community, a treatment community where the patient lives full time for up to 12 months as he or she recovers and learns to adapt to living without drugs and alcohol.

One concern about a residential addiction treatment program is that the recovering user may not know how to deal with temptation in the real world once he or she checks out of the residential rehab center. Effective follow-up care and treatment options that address this concern before the patient leaves the facility can help ease concerns about return to normal society.

For help determining the best addiction treatment program for you, talk to a treatment adviser at 1-800-928-9139. Advisers are available 24/7 to help you make a decision about where to go for treatment whenever you are ready.

Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

Alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers can differ widely. Some are resort-like, with recreational facilities and activities for the recovering addict to participate in. The most exclusive facilities offer private rooms, spa facilities, and a gym. The goal at this type of addiction treatment center is to offer a relaxing and enjoyable experience so that the recovering addict can concentrate on breaking free of the addiction in a low-stress environment.

Other addiction treatment centers are more like hospitals, with 24-hour medical care. These facilities may be better suited for people with complex addictions, such as multiple concurrent drug addictions. Individuals who experience severe withdrawal symptoms may benefit from hospitalization during the detoxification phase. Some people begin treatment in a hospital or hospital-like treatment center and then transfer to a more relaxed setting after a few days or weeks.

A holistic addiction treatment center focuses on alternative care methods, such as yoga, meditation, Reiki, and Chinese medicine, instead of or along with medical management of the addiction. Some treatment centers are female-only or male-only facilities, while others are intended for specific types of people, such as executives, celebrities, or teens.

The Effectiveness of Treatments

The effectiveness of addiction treatment depends on the person's willingness to participate and the type and level of support the person receives during and after treatment. Someone who is an active participant in his or her treatment program will progress much more quickly and have a better chance of success than someone who is reluctant to participate or who hides details about his or her drug or alcohol use from the treatment staff.

A strong support system is also essential to maintaining sobriety during and after treatment. In some cases, family and friends can provide effective support, although family counseling may be necessary to give family members the tools they need to help the recovering addict. Another source of support comes from peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups give the recovering addict a set of friends who are going through the same challenges and who can offer advice and encouragement throughout the recovery process.

Follow-up Care

Follow-up care can help a recovering user stay on track and improve the effectiveness of addiction treatment. This type of care involves ongoing meetings with a therapist or other treatment professional to discuss any temptations or difficult situations the recovering addict encounters during the readjustment to normal life. In some cases, a relapse may occur. However, a relapse is not considered a total failure of treatment. If the recovering addict returns to an addiction treatment program and continues on the path to recovery instead of using a relapse as an excuse to return to a life of drug abuse and addiction, this can be seen as a minor setback instead of a complete failure of the addiction treatment.

When you are ready to seek help for your addiction, treatment is available to set you on the road to recovery. Fill out our short contact form or call 1-800-928-9139 for more information about addiction treatment and how to recover from drug or alcohol addiction.