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Treatment Approaches for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

June 1, 2017 - , - 0 Comments

Drug and Alcohol AddictionAccording to 2011 statistics, roughly 21 million people in the US suffer from addiction.  More than 90% of this number started their drug or alcohol habit before turning 18, usually as young as 12 years old.  In the same year, more than 5 million people were sent to the emergency room due to drug-related causes.  An alarming rate of 100 deaths per day was traced to a drug overdose, tripling in the past two decades.  Data also shows that among roughly 17 million people afflicted with alcoholism, around 2.5 million use drugs as well.

With these disturbing figures in mind, only 2% seek drug and alcohol treatment.  Around 3% feel the need to go to rehab yet remain hesitant.  Sadly, 95% are in denial and stay in the illusion of having things under control.

If you suspect that your habit is gradually taking hold of your life, it is best to seek help ASAP.  Start by inquiring from various drug and alcohol treatment centers in your local area and select one that suits your particular needs.

Various Treatment Approaches

Addiction is a multifaceted disease that involves the physical, emotional, psychological, social and even legal aspects.  Therefore, a more involved treatment plan is required to address all sides of the problem.  Addiction can be treated.  However, being a chronic or relapsing disease, it demands a long-term effort to quit, stay sober and be rehabilitated into being productive members of society.

Here are safe, effective and evidence-based treatment approaches for substance addiction, as recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Outpatient Behavioral Treatment Approach

This is effective for people whose condition does not necessarily require hospitalization or a residential stay.  It is a good entry point for people who feel less committed to entering rehab but is open to attending regular behavioral therapy and counseling outside of office or school hours.  Mothers, fathers, professionals and students can still reap the benefits of rehab through this outpatient setting.  Here’s what to expect:

  • CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  This is a huge help in recognizing, avoiding and coping with difficult life situations that trigger drug use or relapse.
  • Motivational Interview/Assessment.  This makes it possible for addicts to feel more ready to change and hopefully decide to receive treatment.
  • Contingency Management.  This utilizes positive reinforcement for encouraging people to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy.  This was designed ideally for adolescents suffering from addiction.  It promotes family involvement and improvement as a basic means of addressing addiction triggers and patterns.  

Expect treatment to be more intensive in the beginning, usually requiring more sessions per week.  As you progress, meetings will be shorter and held less often.

Residential or Inpatient Treatment Approach

For those who are more severely afflicted with addiction or have co-occurring mental health issues, inpatient treatment is strongly recommended.  This approach can provide a wider variety of therapeutic approaches that may be absent in outpatient settings.  Generally, drug and alcohol treatment centers offer 24-hour residential facilities with secure housing and intensive medical care.  Some even promote holistic programs that involve massage, yoga, music, and spirituality.

Whether inpatient or outpatient, the steps to treatment and recovery success include:

  • Evaluation.  This helps to accurately identify the gravity of your condition as well as co-occurring mental disorders, i.e. post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.
  • Detox.  This entails abstaining from drugs and alcohol and flushing the remaining toxins from your body.
  • Medication.  Your therapist may prescribe non-addictive drug substitutes, sleeping aids or pain relievers to help you cope with symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Behavioral Therapy.  This modifies negative behaviors, positively transforming them into healthier and more productive life skills.
  • Relapse Prevention.  Even post-rehab, you will be constantly followed up and taught essential tips on identifying triggers and avoiding relapse.

To know which approach is best for your particular case, go to your rehab of choice and be assessed by a mental health professional now.

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