How Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers Fight Addiction
Addiction can be a long and uphill battle. However, there are options to help those caught in the midst of the fight to come out on top. An addiction treatment center does not cure an individual of an addiction— there is no single cure. What an addiction rehabilitation center does is help the patient learn how to manage their condition effectively. Facilities allow those suffering from addiction the chance to regain control of their health and take back their lives. Rules vary for each addiction treatment center. Some allow visitors while others do not, and some have private rooms while others will require residents to share facilities. Nevertheless, the odds of gaining sobriety and maintaining it increases in an addicts rehabilitation center.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is the physical and psychological dependence on a substance, and it can take on a variety of forms. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance, making up more than half of the documented treatment cases. Drug abuse can include both illegal and prescribed drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs when an individual takes a drug in a way other than how it was prescribed. Behavioral addictions, like eating disorders, may on the surface appear to be a less severe addiction, but the reality is that behavioral addictions can be equally life-threatening.
Treatment varies according to the individual’s substance of choice yet typically occurs in three main stages: detox, therapy, and aftercare.
Upon admittance to a drug addiction treatment center, an initial evaluation will be done to assess the individual’s needs. They are evaluated on their mental status, physical health, medical history, substance abuse patterns, and any disabilities. Socioeconomic factors may also be assessed as they can have an impact on the individual’s usage. These factors can include, financial status, demographics, living conditions, and access to transportation. A treatment plan unique to the individual is then created. It is common for these plans to include a combination of various forms of therapy, including individual counseling, group sessions, and the management of medical and psychological conditions.
Detox is typically the first phase of rehabilitation, during which the patient is weaned off the abused substance. Extreme changes in the body can occur during this phase as the body sheds the toxins and reclaims its autonomy. Symptoms of withdrawal range from uncomfortable to life-threatening and the length and severity of this experience will vary depending on the type of substance and how frequently it had been used. Many addicts who attempt to undergo detox outside of a facility often relapse before the process is done due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms. In addition, some symptoms of withdrawal can be life-threatening. In a facility, the patient can receive round-the-clock monitoring by a medical team who will focus on both their safety and comfort. They may also administer non-addictive medications to ease the discomfort of withdrawal.
Treatment of the psychological components of addiction is the second step in the rehabilitation process. Trained professionals will help the patient uncover the underlying reasons behind their addiction and tend to any associated medical and psychological needs. Facilities are a safe space to work through an individual’s problems with the use of individual counseling, group therapy, and peer-based support.
The focus is placed on building life skills to help ease the transition back to daily life. Patients are taught how to identify triggers in order to avoid relapses before they happen, and how to cope with the stressors of life in order to fight the temptation of cravings. Some facilities even have programs geared towards gender-specific health, and the treatment of mental health such as depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, insecurity, and other personality disorders.
Facilities may also take on a holistic approach to rehabilitation, focusing on the individual as a whole to better integrate their mind, body, and spirit. Programs like these will often utilize additional methods to well being such as diet, fitness, natural remedies, emotional health, and spirit-building exercises. Emphasis is placed on concepts such as mindfulness, positive self-talk, and improved communication skills, in addition to alternative treatments like drama therapy, art therapy, and animal-assisted therapy.
Some programs may call on family members of the patient to join in on the process. This can be helpful when those relationships have been damaged due to the patient’s substance abuse. Through family therapy, the patient and their loved ones can learn how to better communicate and support each other. Family relationships have the potential to be the client’s greatest support system in recovery.
Group therapy has also been shown to be very effective in treating substance abuse. Members get support from other sober peers who are capable of sharing their own experience and wisdom of the recovery process. It also serves to ease the isolation that can arise during recovery, allowing patients to feel connected to others and see examples of successful recovery. Patients soon begin to model the behaviors of their sober peers and pick up better coping mechanisms along with real-time feedback and encouragement.
The final phase of rehabilitation involves aftercare. Upon discharge, every patient is given a plan of care aimed at providing long-term support in the ongoing battle against addiction. This aftercare can include the attendance of follow up sessions and support groups or placement in a home committed to a sober lifestyle. Many patients continue to attend individual and group therapy, as well as addiction support meetings. A drug addiction treatment center may even offer extended care or long-term programs, aimed at helping patients who are struggling even after the initial rehabilitation. Extended programs are often self-perpetuated, with the progress of the individual determining the length of treatment, with the ultimate goal of easing them back into daily life.
For most patients, staying at a rehabilitation facility is not the end, since addiction is a lifelong condition that must be managed. But, with the skills gained through the care of professionals and the support of peers, patients can better navigate their lives without fear of resorting to their substance of choice.