What really goes on during addiction treatment? Do people really sit in folding chairs and discuss their deepest feelings? Are there celebrity sightings?
Knowing the basics of an addiction treatment program goes a long way toward making treatment seem achievable. Some time may be spent in a folding chair, but people also receive needed support from others who know what it’s like to struggle with addiction and want to find a way to live a healthier life.
Psychological Counseling Is the Heart of Addiction Treatment
Not all addiction treatment programs are created equal. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers guidelines on treatment types that produce the best outcomes. Even among well-designed programs, there are different types of treatment designed to meet different needs. Some people benefit from the greater flexibility of outpatient treatment while others need the more intensive atmosphere of inpatient treatment.
However the treatment program is structured, the best options include individual and group counseling that includes assessment, treatment planning and counseling according to SAMHSA. As a major part of addiction treatment, counseling offers a variety of support along with skills building. Some common forms of counseling include the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is a therapeutic technique that trains people how to recognize and stop negative thought patterns and behavior. For example, CBT teaches a person to become aware of the situations and feelings that lead to substance use and come up with plans to act differently when the situations occur.
- Contingency management – This is a technique that offers incentives to reinforce positive behaviors. An incentive may include movie vouchers or other rewards for remaining abstinent from substance use.
- Motivational enhancement therapy – This is a technique used at the beginning of treatment to motivate people to commit to a treatment plan. The process helps engage people in the program and increases time spent in treatment.
- 12-step facilitation therapy – Participation in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or other peer support programs allows people to be around others who successfully live in recovery and have experience avoiding temptations.
Basics of Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment begins with a detox and stabilization period that gives a person’s body time to let addictive substances completely leave the system according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Depending on the type of substance use, the detox process may include medical supervision to manage a wide range of symptoms. It’s important to wait until entering treatment to stop taking substances.
During detox, a patient is medically supervised in order to prevent life-threatening complications such as seizures. He also may go through compassionate interventions, such as massage, as he allows drugs or alcohol to completely leave his system. During stabilization, a patient is familiarized with the treatment process and becomes physically free of drugs or alcohol. Hhe is emotionally prepared for the expectations of treatment.
The next stage of treatment involves counseling or psychotherapy. Counseling is offered in groups or on an individual basis. To be completely effective, the counseling must give a person the skills needed to manage stressful situations after active treatment and build a toolkit of resources to manage the temptations to use substances.
In addition to various therapies, a patient may require additional supports to maintain the initial stages of recovery. A person in relatively good health with strong social support and motivation has a higher chance of maintaining sobriety according to WebMD. For people with lower levels of social support, poor motivation or mental health disorders, recovery requires more treatment.
Some people may need expanded services in addition to psychosocial therapy according to the NIDA. He or she may need medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation and/or social and legal services. For many people, ongoing care offers the best results. The most important part of treatment is to ensure that it meets a person’s needs at the current time. The addition of social services during the treatment process gives people the opportunity to truly change every part of their lives.
Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?
It can be a difficult first step to make the decision to seek help for addiction. When it’s clear a family member or friend needs help, there are many options for achieving and living in recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use problem, please call our toll-free helpline.
Our admissions coordinators are trained to offer expert advice and provide guidance about the best possible treatment options. We help individuals overcome addictions with a philosophy that addresses the whole person—mentally, physical and spiritually. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day for advice. Don’t struggle alone. Call us today.