Whether you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, the right approach is required in order to successfully treat the condition. Addiction affects each and every one of its victims, their lives, and their families differently. So it is important to note that there is no cure-all pill, or one-size-fits-all method of treatment.
The first step on the road to recovery is the decision to make a change in the first place. This is often especially difficult for the addict because they may see their habits as something completely normal or unproblematic. This is especially prevalent in alcoholism, considering the large role alcohol has in society, communities, and even television. If you have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction, then first thing to do is to get them to see that they have a very serious condition that requires expert help. Interventions are especially helpful for these scenarios.
The next step is to get information on a treatment plan for drug and alcohol addiction. There are three primary methods of treatment: inpatient, outpatient, and dual diagnosis.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Inpatient is generally the most recommended way to go about treatment. With this method the addict will stay at a recovery facility and live there while they go through withdrawal, detox, treatment, and therapy. The best thing about this form of drug rehabilitation is that it allows the client to be free of triggers (objects, places, people, or situations that drive them to abuse a substance) and focus on their health. Recovery takes a lot of work and any distraction can easily derail your progress, so being in a fresh environment has numerous benefits to it. One of the biggest advantages of inpatient is that the client will be surrounded by expert medical professionals who will be able to help them through withdrawal, whether with therapy or medicine.
Outpatient treatment is a method involving multiple visits to an alcohol addiction treatment center and partial hospitalization. When needed, the client of an outpatient program will have access to medical resources, psychiatric care, and hospitals for a more formal form of treatment, but will still be able to return home at the end of the day. This is a method used by those who wish to continue going to school or work while they simultaneously work on getting help for their addiction. Still getting the skills and knowledge needed to fight addiction, while continuing to live life.
Dual diagnosis rehab facilities are programs that involve treating an addiction as well as treating a mental or behavioral health disorder. Sometimes those with mental conditions will turn to drugs or alcohol in order to help them cope with their condition. At the same time those who abuse drugs or alcohol for long periods of time can sometimes develop mental health conditions, so dual diagnosis is available for this exact situation. Psychiatric health issues commonly associated with drug and/or alcohol abuse are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some of these conditions can be caused by substance abuse (depression and anxiety.)
Addiction Treatment vs. Addiction Triggers
An important thing to take into consideration when looking into treatment methods is triggers. These are objects, people, places, or situations that drive a person to abuse a substance, and they can be anything. A favorite beer mug, an old drinking/drug buddy, bumping into a familiar dealer, seeing your favorite bar, walking past a park bench you used to get high on, a familiar argument, or an annoying co-worker that made your job more difficult. Any one of these things can send an addict spiraling into a relapse, whether they are dependent on alcohol or drugs.
The very last thing anybody wants is to lose all the hard work you’ve put into your treatment and recovery. Without the proper skills and knowledge, resisting a trigger isn’t even an option. Addiction takes away our ability to say no, and instead replaces it with a dependency on that substance or substances, putting it at the top of our priorities list.
The Importance of Therapy for Treating Addiction
The definition of therapy, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is “the treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means.”
The simple version of this is therapy treats mental conditions by teaching a person how to fortify their mind and will, teaching skills to resist psychological urges. Whether those urges involve suicidal tendencies, depressing thoughts, or excessive abuse of a substance. Since the 1930s mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous have fought for conditions like alcoholism and drug addiction to be considered mental illnesses. As the years have gone one, medicine has begun to accept and apply this ideology and as a result we have seen significant progress in the treatment of addiction.
This is where therapy comes in. Once recovery services caught on that addiction had to be treated like a mental illness, and not merely as a lack of willpower, they began to use therapy alongside treatment. Therapy teaches addicts how to cope with the stress of reality in a positive way, whether by teaching them a productive outlet for stress or by giving them ways to block triggers. Many recovery services heavily advocate continuing therapy even after treatment is complete as a means of accountability and keeping their sobriety strong.
There are different ways to go about therapy, each method being successful in its own right depending on the person. Some clients have shown tremendous success when using physical exercise as a form of therapy, some choose music and art, others work with animals. Sometimes therapy can be as simple as sitting down, one-on-one, with a therapist and working through the issues. Often times we turn to substance in order to relieve stress after a long day, big fight, or tough work week. Recreational use at one time was relaxing, perhaps, but now it has gone into a full blown addiction, ripping away your choice to say no. Therapists can help an addict to identify the known and unknown stressors and help develop skills and mindsets that can be used to counter the urges.