Substance abuse affects everyone in different ways, so there is no one single solution to this issue. Modern substance abuse professionals use a combination of techniques and treatments to provide the best chance for recovery. It is important for everyone to know the signs of drug abuse and what to do about it. Additionally, anyone struggling with a drug abuse issue should know what to expect from the rehab and recovery process.
Individualized Substance Abuse Treatment
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The modern standard of care for substance abuse treatment is an individualized care plan involving various treatment methods. A few decades ago, substance abuse treatment typically consisted of nothing more than a few days or weeks in a detox facility, followed by group therapy, and then a return to normal life. Today, substance abuse treatment professionals and medical researchers know this is an ineffective and ultimately destructive approach to substance abuse treatment, and better results are possible with individualized treatment plans.
Many treatment methods exist for substance abuse and different facilities and service providers use different programs tailored to different patients’ needs. For example, less severe addictions many benefit from outpatient treatment programs that impose minimal interference in a patient’s everyday life. This will allow him or her to potentially carry on with work and other obligations during treatment. Other more advanced addiction cases may require long-term residential treatment programs or more intensive rehab services. Ultimately, the key to effective drug abuse treatment is individualization.
Examples of Residential Treatment Programs
Some substance abuse treatment organizations offer patients facilities in which to live during treatment. Hosting treatment in a residential setting ensures both security and focus; it is much easier for a patient to avoid temptation and negative influences in a residential program. While this may feel limiting to some patients, the reality is there is much less chance of securing drugs or alcohol in a residential treatment program, allowing treatment to continue unimpeded.
Short-term residential treatment may encompass a few weeks or a few months, while a long-term program can last a year or more. Again, the key to success is individualized attention. A patient who receives an individualized care plan has a much greater chance of overcoming substance abuse and remaining sober.
During the intake process for a residential treatment program, caregivers will conduct a medical examination of a patient and review his or her records. They may also meet with the patient’s friends and family to ask specific questions about the patient’s substance abuse and the effects the habit has had on the patient’s life. Any residential treatment program must involve a careful assessment of a patient’s personal history as well as a firm determination of the scope of his or her drug problem. Substance abuse recovery is different for everyone, and some people with advanced addictions or co-occurring mental health disorders require an even more refined approach to substance abuse treatment.
Elements of Recovery in Residential Treatment Programs
Substance abuse treatment professionals typically use a blend of therapies, counseling techniques, and rehabilitative treatments to offer the best chance of recovery.
Detox generally comprises the first phase of a residential treatment program. During detox, medical personnel remove the last of the drugs from the patient’s system and provide medical supervision, medications to handle withdrawal symptoms, and nutritional support. Many types of drug abuse involve dangerous withdrawal symptoms and undergoing detox without medical support is not only often ineffective, but also highly dangerous.
Individualized drug counseling is a crucial component of any residential treatment program. This type of treatment allows a patient to work one-on-one with a counselor in a more intimate setting, often opening avenues of communication that the patient may not want to explore in group settings. Individualized drug counseling also offers the best setting to explore deep-seated personal issues that relate to a patient’s substance abuse.
Group Therapy Sessions
Group counseling helps people in recovery learn from the experiences of others. Group therapy allows the sharing of stories and support among several people with similar issues. Many people form lasting friendships with the people they meet in rehab as they overcome their individual struggles with mutual support and respect.
Many residential treatment programs use the healing power of exercise and physical activity to encourage better recovery rates among patients. Physical activities can improve overall health and provide a better foundation on which to recover. Many people who complete rehab discover a love for regular exercise or learn new skills they then apply in their sober lives. Holistic therapies like massage, acupuncture, light therapy, and yoga can prove beneficial to substance abuse recovery patients in several ways. Most residential treatment programs offer a blend of stress-relieving activities with their medical services and counseling sessions.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
Some people notice signs of an emerging addiction early but do not know the best way to handle the situation before it escalates into full-blown addiction. Those fortunate enough to acknowledge and address their substance abuse issues early often have the best chances of making full recoveries and going on to lead productive sober lives. Outpatient treatment programs are ideal for people struggling with relatively minor addictions or those in need of maintenance therapy after completing rehab.
Unlike a residential treatment program that requires a patient to live at a treatment facility, an outpatient treatment program typically serves a patient on a regular appointment basis. This allows the patient to move freely to work and home between appointments. Some individuals must attend outpatient treatment programs as diversionary programs after first-time drug-related offenses.
For example, if the police arrest a person for a first-time offense for driving under the influence (DUI), and the driver did not hurt anyone or cause any damage, the judge may offer the driver the chance to complete an outpatient treatment program or attend alcohol counseling in lieu of heavy fines or jail time.
Individuals who seek outpatient treatment programs on their own typically do so to manage personal and professional obligations while getting the help they need to recover from substance abuse. Outpatient treatment programs take many forms. For example, a methadone clinic technically qualifies as a type of outpatient treatment program.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs function as outpatient treatment programs as well. Substance abuse treatment centers often offer more structured outpatient services for detox, counseling, and even holistic therapy geared toward substance abuse recovery.
One of the most crucial components of any individualized substance abuse treatment plan is behavioral therapy. This is usually a part of any residential or outpatient treatment program and involves close analysis of the behaviors a patient associates with substance abuse. Any addiction functions and is exhibited along lines of behavior; an individual starts to associate certain actions, feelings, places, and people with his or her substance abuse. Behavioral therapy helps identify potentially dangerous interactions and teach new ways of handling them.
Understanding the Value of Treatment
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps a patient recognize and cope with situations in which he or she would feel compelled to use drugs or alcohol. One of the benefits of a residential treatment program is that it essentially forces a patient to leave a problematic environment. By being in a supervised and safe place 24/7, he or she will only have limited contact with people who could otherwise be dangerous influences. However, the shock of returning to “normal” life after rehab without being provided life skills techniques during treatment can easily lead to a relapse.
Again, individualization is essential in any recovery program. Some people with substance abuse issues benefit more from a less disruptive outpatient program while others may need more intensive long-term residential care and ongoing support after rehab. Ultimately, any substance abuse treatment program must offer individualized care for the best chance of success.