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Why Type of Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Should You Seek?

Recognizing that a physical or psychological dependency exists is typically the first step along the journey to sobriety. Many deny they have a problem. Some have been surrounded by the substance abuse culture so long that the lifestyle seems normal. Various factors influence someone to finally accept help.

An accidental overdose or a trip to the emergency room because of reckless behavior might serve as a wake-up call. Losing a job, the breakdown of relationships or other life struggles may put an addict face-to-face with the reality that a problem exists. Getting treatment for drug and alcohol addiction increases the likelihood of having a longer, healthier and more productive life.

Recognizing the Need for Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Statistics sadly show that millions of Americans from the age of 12 into adulthood fall into a substance dependent lifestyle. However, roughly 10 percent become involved in treatment programs. Regardless of the substance abused, or the length or severity of the addiction, there are programs and facilities that guide people desiring to overcome habitual use. Treatment is especially vital to someone who regularly uses more than one substance. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that people who chronically use alcohol or a single drug commonly veer down a path that involves addiction to more than one substance.

Many mix drugs and alcohol or multiple drugs to enhance the effects of one or the other. They might also use one substance to get high and another to come down, which leads to a vicious and dangerous cycle. Multiple substance abuse puts the user at greater risk of becoming a victim of accidental overdose, experiencing magnified side effects and making the walk to sobriety that much tougher. The practice can also lead to serious permanent health issues or death. Young people under the age of 25 and males in particular are more likely to engage in this type of risky behavior.

If seriously questioning whether you need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, consider some of these scenarios. Honestly determine how many apply to your situation.

* You have an underlying feeling that the amount of drinking or drug use should be reduced.
* You’ve tried to regulate usage, but failed.
* You’ve repeatedly attempted to quit, but failed.
* You lie to others concerning the amount or substance used, or the frequency of needing to get high.
* Family members, friends or other loved ones share their worries about your alcohol or drug use.
* You feel ashamed or guilty about your habit.
* You regret having done or said something while under the influence one or more times.
* You have experienced blackouts or suffer memory loss after being under the influence.
* The habit is a priority.
* The chemical dependency has led to personal or professional relationship problems.
* Alcohol or drug use has progressed to the point of having legal trouble.

In recent years, addiction research specialists have determined that up to half of all people involved in substance abuse stumble down the path of addiction because of mental health problems. They may use alcohol or drugs to escape from anxiety, depression, stress, poor self-esteem, trauma or other problems. However, research has also shown that drinking or using drugs often only makes matters worse.

Take an honest look at your family history for signs of emotional or psychological disorders. Ask yourself why you drink or use a specific substance. Persistent symptoms experienced while sober may indicate a problem that serves as the foundation for substance abuse. Without proper diagnosis and treatment of hidden issues, dependency continues.

Traditional Methods of Treating Addiction

Originally, methods of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction were developed during the 1930s in state penal institutions. Offenders were considered a faction of the criminal community and remained separated from the general population until undergoing detoxification. Current modes of traditional treatment are a combination of medical ideations and 12-step programs. The medical community has adopted the view that addiction is a chronic disease process that needs behavioral therapy and medication. The 12-step program adopts more of a self-help concept that features group meetings offering support.

In-house or residential treatment may last anywhere from 28 days to 18 months in length depending on the facility and the addiction. Once completed, clients are then encouraged to participate in 12-step community-based programs, which increase the likelihood of sobriety through ongoing support. Short- and long-term programs view the disease as incurable but manageable provided that the addict receives the proper course of treatment. Under the supervision of a physician, clients may receive medications that have been proven to minimize withdrawal symptoms, curb cravings and enhance the chances of remaining sober.

Outpatient programs vary from including basic addiction education to intense therapy sessions. Clients are required to attend programs for a designated number of times each week for a portion of the day. This option was designed for individuals having mild to moderate addictions and desiring treatment, but who have obligations requiring them to continue a normal lifestyle routine.

Traditional methods generally include individual and group counseling combined with behavioral therapy that enables chemically dependent individuals to identify possible underlying reasons for the addiction along with the triggers and temptations that may cause relapse. While in treatment, individuals may attend addiction education lectures that explain the problem as a disease process and how chronic substance abuse affects the central nervous system and other bodily systems. Some may require mental health therapy to help resolve issues, uncover emotional or psychological problems and establish appropriate treatment. Some facilities offer gender group programs that address circumstances unique to men or women.

Individual counseling with a licensed therapist allows individuals to openly discuss behaviors, feelings and thoughts. In this way, clients gain personal insight while learning ways to improve their situations. Group therapy sessions are conducted by counselors and encourage each member to share experiences, questions and answers while in a secure and sympathetic atmosphere. The meetings also serve as a chance for individuals to develop friendships with others without judgment or condemnation.

Before discharge, staff members work with individual clients to formulate a relapse prevention plan that identifies environmental risk factors and outlines strategies to use in an effort to overcome obstacles. If the plan includes attending 12-step meetings, newly recovering individuals often acquire sponsorship or support from someone who has been through treatment and has remained sober for an extended period of time.

Holistic Approach to Addressing Addiction

Holistic treatment for alcohol and drug addiction was designed to address an individual’s mind, body and spirit in a close-knit community that encourages strong ties with one another. From the initial assessment, addiction specialists treat each client as a whole person and not merely specific aspects commonly seen as being affected by chemical dependency. Not unlike traditional facilities, clients often endure a period of detoxification under the supervision of medical staff. Each client receives personalized care by attending a dozen or more customized sessions per week. Individuals are also required to attend small group therapy meetings.

The detoxification process within holistic treatment programs is commonly drug-free and offers exercise, acupuncture, massage, saunas, yoga and other forms of diversions combined with nutritional supplementation as needed. This phase of therapy ensures individuals remain free from alcohol and drugs while allowing the body to eliminate chemical residues. During this time, recovering clients are closely observed. Staff members monitor vital signs, sleep cycles, nutritional intake, and the appearance and progression of withdrawal symptoms. Techniques are employed to provide comfort and minimize symptoms. Therapy doesn’t begin until all physical effects have subsided.

Clients then attend classes that evaluate behaviors, thought processes and life choices that led to the dependency problem. Each person takes responsibility for his own choices while learning new ways of thinking. However, treatment plans aren’t the same for all and require individualization to ensure success. Clients also learn life skills and adopt a personal set of values based on what’s deemed the social norm. The focus then turns to the relationships individuals have with loved ones. Individuals learn what it means to establish long and healthy bonds with others.

Finally, clients assess drug-free groups and organizations within their communities that might offer benefits when re-entering normal life. Vocational and work abilities are evaluated in an attempt to determine if a client requires training to gain employment. Future housing, financial and transportation needs are also addressed. Clients are often encouraged and benefit from taking part in volunteer opportunities.

Through group sessions, all learn to hone communication skills while meeting and coming to know others who are also struggling with addiction. Programs are fashioned to improve physical, emotional and psychological health and increase energy levels in a relaxed setting. In time, clients are able to rediscover what once brought pleasure and satisfaction to their lives.

During the course of holistic treatment, programs may include the chance to engage in a number of favorite athletic pastimes or exercise. Depending on facility location, these opportunities may involve hiking, jogging, sports, water-based activities or taking advantage of fitness centers. Individuals who have a passion for music may encounter rooms filled with instruments and recording equipment. As many consider music a universal language, the medium allows clients to explore their creative side and paves the way for self-expression. Some may prefer dabbling in conventional arts and crafts projects. Certain facilities also help clients improve self-confidence and a sense of caring for others through pet therapy.

Holistic programs are created to increase the likelihood that clients return to their lives and remain free of alcohol or drug dependency. After leaving the program, individuals might periodically meet with staff members on a routine basis who ensure there’s ongoing support. Issues and situations are handled as they arise. Some may need to return to treatment centers for further assistance.

Factors That Help Determine the Right Option for You

Before deciding on a type of treatment, you should undergo assessment and evaluation by a healthcare provider, counselor or therapist for an unbiased opinion concerning the need for treatment and what type of program might best suit your needs. When looking at facilities or programs offering treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, you must determine if the agenda lines up with your personal beliefs or values.

If having a facility in mind, meet with a therapist and discuss treatment plans. Effective programs should offer more than educational lectures and entertainment options. Individualized counseling and therapy sessions are an important part of recovery. Successful programs also offer help for medical conditions, mental health issues, social problems, vocational shortcomings or legal matters. Select programs that have research-based validity.

As each person comes from a different background and circumstances, treatment programs should be customized to each individual. While certain forms of counseling and therapy benefit some, they’re not helpful to others. Look for rehabilitation centers or programs that recognize each person as an individual.

Treatment should be provided by a team of professionals who are certified, licensed and experienced. Make sure your option is also approved and licensed by the state. If deciding upon entering a rehabilitation center, determine how the team addresses aftercare services. Consider what options are available in your community for ongoing support.

Location is also a consideration for many people. While receiving locally based help is a necessity for some, others prefer a fresh start in a new destination. Part of addiction cravings and temptations stem from the brain being responsible for associating people, places and things with the act of alcohol or drug use. Changing physical location prevents the brain from bringing forth memories of abuse, which enables clients to more easily change attitudes, behaviors and thoughts.

If you suspect you may have an addiction, have been unsuccessful in efforts to overcome a dependency, or need information about traditional or holistic treatment programs, help is available via phone. Simply call the 844-806-6511 hotline and speak with a counselor today.

Our articles are written by individuals who have seen addiction up close. They may have watched addiction take a toll on someone they loved or had their own battles with substances, and they write for us to spare others some of that pain and confusion. If you find these writings useful and would like to speak to someone who gets addiction, call us at (844) 826-1700.

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