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 toward offering you relief from the addiction through detox, when needed, and by teaching you the skills necessary for avoiding a relapse back into the addictive behavior.
Addiction Treatment Options
There are a wide variety of addiction treatment programs available. Most successful programs offer an individualized approach to treatment that looks at the background and addictive behavior of the patient before creating a customized approach to battling the addiction. Every patient in a recovery program is different, each with their own reasons for the drug, alcohol, or behavioral addiction, along with individual reasons for seeking to end the addiction. By customizing their treatments, addiction recovery programs for various addictions can find the best treatment methods possible to help that particular individual. Customization requires a baseline from which to work through, and because of this, there is a well-developed base treatment process that programs use as a starting point upon which they can build the customized options.
No matter what type of addiction is being treated, there are a few guidelines that every treatment program should follow in order to provide for effective long-lasting relief. The first rule is that of individualization. Without individualizing the treatment to each patient, the most effective treatment options may be overlooked. There is no cookie-cutter treatment method that meets the needs of all patients, even when treating an addiction to the same drug or behavior.
All addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol, and behavioral addictions should adopt a plan of continually reassessing the chosen treatment plan for the patient. At every step of the plan’s implementation, the clinicians providing treatment should reevaluate the plan’s effectiveness with the intent of making any change that could raise the chances of successful recovery for the patient. This is especially important when the treatment is a complicated one that involves medication, therapy, and any secondary medical or psychological treatments occurring on a dual-treatment basis.
Treatment should be available immediately to provide the patient with relief from the addiction. Making a commitment to begin treatment can be a difficult step to take. Once this decision is made, it’s best to get the patient into treatment immediately. Waiting for the start of treatment only increases suffering through continued addiction.
The goal of addiction recovery programs should be to significantly reduce or completely end addictive behaviors. For drugs and alcohol use, simply ridding the body of the addictive substance through detoxification isn’t enough to prevent a relapse. For successful long-term treatment, the program needs to address the underlying reasons for the addictive behavior in the patient. Finding the reasons and dealing with them is the most common method of ensuring that the same reasons won’t reassert themselves at a later date, causing a relapse into the addictive behavior.
Alcohol and Drug Detoxification
For alcohol and drug users entering into one of the many addiction recovery programs available, detoxification is usually the first step in the treatment process. During detoxification, the addictive substance is removed from the patient’s system. This is done in a number of ways, with the choice of detox treatment dependent largely on the addictive substance of choice. The safest way to do this is in a program that specializes in drug and alcohol detox and that is staffed by experienced and credentialed medical and mental health professionals.
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A second method of detoxification is a drug tapering process. The tapering process calls for the replacement of the patient’s drug of choice with another drug from the same family that does not provide the high sought by the patient and is less addictive than the original drug. This drug alternative gives the patient’s dependent body the substances it needs to prevent drug withdrawal. The alternate is then tapered down in doses over a period of weeks. Each day the drug is given, it’s lowered in potency until, toward the end of the tapering period, the dose amount is small enough that stopping the drug use will not cause withdrawal symptoms. After the tapering off period ends, further recovery techniques can be applied.
Recovery from drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions is best done under medical and psychological supervision in an appropriate facility. In an inpatient recovery program, a patient can get the help they need to cope with a life lived drug-free. Regardless of the addiction, most programs follow the same general treatment processes, customizing them as needed to fit the individual needs of the patient. “Treating one condition while ignoring the other can lead to complete failure in treating the patient for the addiction.” Upon entering a program, a full medical assessment is carried out on the patient to determine if there are any secondary conditions requiring treatment. Any addictive substance use causes a variety of symptoms that can conceal other medical or psychological problems in the patient. This concealment may have lasted for years, forcing the patient to come up with their own methods of coping with the hidden condition. Discovering the condition after the detoxification process ends can help those treatment personnel who are charged with customizing the addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions. Before addiction treatment can commence, it’s important that any treatment of an accompanying condition be included simultaneously. Treating one condition while ignoring the other can lead to complete failure in treating the patient for the addiction. This is where the customization of each treatment program is important.
Treatment for addiction often involves the ingestion of medication during the treatment process. Drug and alcohol abuse can alter the patient’s body chemistry, and medication is often necessary to bring the chemistry back into balance. Behavioral addictions may also require medication, as many are due, in part, to chemical imbalances in the brain.
The majority of the treatment given while a patient is going through one of the facility’s recovery programs consists of cognitive behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is a type of addiction counseling that nearly all patients in a treatment program receive. It is geared toward changing the patient’s behaviors around their addiction, which occurs through the substitution of healthier behaviors for addictive behaviors. One aspect of this type of therapy includes building self-esteem.
As the patient gains a higher sense of personal value, many of the reasons behind the addictive behavior no longer apply. However, patients must be self-motivated to resist those impulses that led to the alcohol, drug, or behavioral addictions. Behavioral therapy can help them identify personal motivation to do so.
During the therapy process, the patient meets one-on-one with a therapist who’s experienced with drug counseling or takes part in group therapy sessions with other program participants. During these therapy sessions, the patient’s feelings, beliefs, and environmental conditions are looked at closely to determine which ones trigger the addictive behaviors. Once uncovered, the therapist and patient work on methods to help build coping mechanisms for these factors, replacing addictive behavior with reactions that do not involve the addiction. The patient and the therapist develop a set of skills to help in the resistance of the addictive activity. These skills are then available to the patient to help cope with those motivating factors whenever one occurs. In this way, the patient can avoid repeating the addictive behavior.
Therapy also works toward general life improvement. Completing a treatment program successfully means moving on to life outside the treatment facility. In order to continue in recovery, the patient needs to learn skills that will help them live a healthy lifestyle. This means finding replacement activities for the addictive behavior formally engaged in. Drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions can be time-consuming, so if the patient does not find a healthy way of filling that time, the desire to return to the addictive behavior will increase.
Life after participating in a recovery program can feel like starting over completely. Many of the recovering patient’s old behaviors must be set aside to make way for new, healthier behaviors. Developing this kind of lifestyle requires some form of support. Fortunately, most programs for drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions offer the aftercare support the recovering patient needs.
One of the more common support programs for recovering patients is those that use the 12-step method. These programs exist throughout the country and offer a structured method for dealing with life after ending an addictive behavior. The programs started in 1935 with the founding of Alcohol Anonymous. Since then, 12-step programs continue to grow, helping people with a multitude of addictions, from narcotics to gambling. The basis of these programs is the 12 steps that a recovering patient must take in order to continue to deal with the addiction. The steps provide a guideline, but for those who’ve gone through a recovery program, the strength of the program is in its meetings.
Any recovery support group needs to have regular meetings with other members. Whether the group is a 12-step program, a spiritual one, or simply a gathering of peers who all have the experience of addiction and recovery in common, getting together helps to strengthen the motivation to continue to resist the addictive behavior.
During a support group meeting, members of the group share common experiences with addiction. This sharing helps to reduce the isolation the recovering patient may feel in their life among those who don’t have an addiction. The sharing also includes current difficulties with recovery people are having and the solutions that members have found in dealing with them so they don’t fall back into addictive behavior.
There are other support programs available besides peer groups like 12-step meetings. For example, wellness coaching is available to help recovering patients deal with the everyday issues they face in life without returning to the addictive behaviors. Everything from financial guidance to interpersonal relations can be gone over and improved upon during wellness coaching sessions.
In addition to outside support programs, the recovering patient can build a support group of their own with members of their family or close friends. Participating in family therapy can also help a recovering patient, as well as family members. The therapy can aid the patient in rebuilding relations with family members while giving everyone an insight into the patient’s addiction.