Last updated: 09/17/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Substance abuse can very easily––and quickly––lead to addiction, so often and indisputably so that many individuals do not realize how dangerous their abuse has become until the addiction itself has already set in. If you have been abusing an illegal or prescription substance for a long period of time and are beginning to realize that you no longer have control over your drug abuse, you will need professional drug addiction treatment.
There are many forms of drug addiction treatment as well as multiple methods that may be used for any given patient.
Detox: The Beginning of Drug Addiction Treatment
Usually, the first step of drug addiction treatment is detox. This occurs when a person who has been abusing an addictive substance for some time is treated medically for the symptoms of withdrawal. In this stage, depending on the drug you use, you may be slowly weaned off the substance or your individual symptoms will be treated with other medications.
It is extremely important that you do not attempt to detox from a drug you have been abusing while at home. There are several reasons for this:
- Withdrawal is one of the times where you will be most likely to relapse. The symptoms can be extremely painful and uncomfortable and, in some instances, cravings for the drug can become very intense. All of these issues will make it harder to avoid relapse, which is why you should detox under a medical professional’s care.
- Some withdrawal syndromes, like those associated with benzodiazepines and alcohol, can cause severe side effects, ones that may even turn out to be deadly. You should always seek medical attention for withdrawal, even if your symptoms do not seem severe at first.
- People who do not go into a professional treatment program for withdrawal often do not attend addiction treatment afterward. This can lead to relapse because, even for those who get through withdrawal and are no longer dependent on the drug, the addiction itself is never addressed. Going through detox treatment can ensure you will receive the care you need for your withdrawal and your addiction, as well as a smooth transition from one type of treatment to the other.
Withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur anywhere between a few hours and a few days after your last use of the substance.
Treatment Methods for Drug Addiction
Because each drug is different and causes dissimilar side effects, separate methods often need to be utilized as treatment for each particular patient. However, it is also important for clinicians to take into account the needs of different patients as well. Therefore, your addiction rehab program must ensure that you are treated according to your needs: those that pertain to your substance abuse and those that do not.
In general, though, there are two types of evidence-based approaches for addiction treatment. They include:
The use of pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms of withdrawal, reestablish normal brain functions, and help to curb cravings and other issues that would compromise recovery.
- Many types of medications exist that can safely treat addiction, and many are also being tested and modified every day in order to become as effective as they can be before they are approved for this purpose.
- Unlike some individuals believe, medications used to maintain someone in recovery are not replacements for the drug of abuse. Instead, they create stability and the ability to focus without causing the user to feel intense or euphoric effects. Medications can be extremely beneficial to the ease of your overall treatment.
The use of therapeutic exercises and discussion between an addict and a counselor to promote better behavior, treat co-occurring disorders, and change attitudes about substance abuse.
- Not all behavioral therapy sessions must take place merely between you and a counselor. Some, like family therapy or group therapy, involve multiple people. This can be extremely helpful in the treatment of social issues and allow you to better interact with those around you, including the people who are most important in your life.
- Medications help to treat the symptoms of abuse and addiction, but behavioral therapies will actually help you make real changes in your life and alter your behavior and attitude toward drugs and the issues that may have caused you to abuse them in the first place.
- Massage therapy
- Dance/art therapy
- Pet/animal therapy
- Spiritual healing
- Legal advice
- Vocational counseling
- Educational help
Once you and your doctor decide together that you have achieved everything you can with your initial addiction rehab program, you will usually make the transition into an aftercare option. These programs usually provide more hands-off treatment but still will help you stay on track when it comes to your recovery. Above all, though, it is important to find out if a specific treatment program will:
- Cater to your needs
- Make you feel comfortable and safe
- Provide you with the treatment options you require in order to recover
- Provide the right options for your current stage of recovery
We can also help you find out more about your potential options for treatment, including whether or not a particular program will take your insurance and which type of program will be most beneficial for your needs.
Types of Drug Addiction Treatment Programs
Although the large amount of rehab programs in existence today makes many facilities defy categorization, it is important to understand the difference between the two main types of programs: inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for addiction.
Attending inpatient rehab will offer you the ability to stay in the facility itself while you receive 24-hour access to medical care and treatment from healthcare professionals. These facilities often offer more options than their outpatient counterparts and are usually the safest choice for anyone just starting out in their addiction treatment.
Outpatient programs do not provide 24-hour care like inpatient centers do. Rather, you would attend treatment at the program, likely once a day at first and then less often as you continue to recuperate. It is important to note, though, that outpatient programs offer fewer options for treatment as well as sometimes provide nothing more than just substance abuse education or medication.
Both treatment options can be beneficial at different times in recovery, and you may want to attend each as you continue through your life without substance abuse. Other options do exist as well, and these are often utilized as supplemental or aftercare treatment. These include:
- Halfway houses
- Sober living homes
- 12-step or mutual-help groups
When you are attempting to decide which drug addiction treatment program is right for you, it is important to follow certain steps.
- Make a list of all your needs, including those that pertain to your personal situation and even those that do not pertain to your substance abuse specifically. For example, if you feel more comfortable speaking a certain language or want to be in a facility with individuals of your same gender, age group, etc., it is important to list these as well.
- Decide which needs are the most important to you and begin searching for a program that provides you with as many of these as possible.
- Once you call and find a program that is suitable to your needs, call the facility itself and ask certain questions, such as:
- How long has your facility existed?
- What is your program’s success record with recovering addicts?
- What treatment options do you provide?
- Will you take my insurance plan?
- If you then feel that the facility you’ve found offers the things you need, you can begin your recovery treatment as soon as possible.
It is also important to know going into treatment which type of program will be most beneficial to you.
- If you fit any of the following criteria, you may want to attend inpatient care:
- Have been an addict for a number of years
- Have tried multiple times to quit abusing drugs or to cut back without success
- Have never attended drug addiction treatment before
- Have any co-occurring mental or physical disorders
- Do not have a strong social support system at home
- Feel unsafe at home and require a protected environment for your recovery
These programs are usually much safer to attend if you are suffering from a more severe addiction or dependency, have a co-occurring disorder, or require a safe and secure environment that you do not have at home. In general, though, it is usually best to begin with inpatient care and then to transition into a less intensive program as aftercare once your treatment has ended.
Of course, your personal needs and your safe recovery are the most important aspects of drug addiction treatment. What may have worked for someone else may not necessarily work for you. This is why you must find the treatment program that is most effective for your needs by being aware of these and asking questions before you choose a potential program.
Seek Help Today
No matter where you currently are in your addiction syndrome, we can help. Finding the right treatment program is the first step to recovery, and we want to ensure that you are able to receive the options you need as well as the level of care you require at this particular time in your recovery. Addiction is difficult and can make a person unrecognizable, but now is the time to make a change in your life and to start to see your true self again.