Treatment for Addiction

Though there are those among us who fail to realize it, drug addiction is a disease, albeit a self-inflicted one. The effects of the chemical changes that produce tolerance for the drug, once they have occurred as a consequence of long-term and deep-seated abuse, are beyond the willful control of the user.But the fact that drug addiction is a disease opens up the possibility for treatment and treatment does exist, provided that the addict is willing to play his or her part in acknowledging that there is a problem and cooperating in every way. This article discusses inpatient treatment only. (It should be mentioned, in passing, that alcohol and drug addiction have no “cure” as such — although many patients do cease to be physically and psychologically dependent on these substances as a result of treatment and go back to leading healthy and productive lives.)

Inpatient vs. outpatient treatment

Addiction TreatmentThe primary difference between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment lies in where they take place with inpatient treatment the patient resides in the hospital or treatment center, and in most cases other patients who are undergoing the same treatment will be living there too; whereas those undergoing outpatient treatment live at home and come to the treatment center for their therapy only. Also, inpatient programs are usually given a definite length of time though, as will be seen below, they may be extended if the client and/or the therapist find it necessary whereas outpatient programs tend to be more indeterminate.

There are many advantages of inpatient over outpatient forms of addiction treatment. One is that the patient has 24-hour, 7-day access to the treatment that he or she needs, any time he needs it. In addition to one-on-one sessions, he takes part in group therapy, which gives him the chance to meet with others who are undergoing the same treatment. People tend to feel less isolated in such conditions.

Patients also have their meals taken care of, a service which is especially valuable if they are too weak to prepare their own food. Inpatient programs also tend to be highly structured something that many people who are struggling with a chaotic addiction really need to have in their lives. Structure in general gives people a feeling of security and can help patients to remain off drugs. Drug treatment centers provide games and activities of all kinds for their patients that help to distract them from addictive substances. Statistics have shown, too, that those who go through a program of inpatient substance abuse have twice as high a rate of recovery as those who do not — particularly if they devote more than thirty days to rehabilitation.

Many patients take both inpatient and outpatient treatment. They go through inpatient treatment for the first stage of their rehabilitation, and follow it up later with an outpatient program.

Types of inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment for drug addiction can take on many forms, depending on the particular drug being abused, the length and severity of the addiction, and the amount of progress that the patient has made. Most inpatient programs last from one to three months, although some may last for as long as a year. If the patient has made considerable progress, but not enough to leave the treatment center altogether, then the program may be extended for some length of time.

Centers for inpatient substance abuse treatment, likewise vary greatly. Some of them treat only men, and others only women. There are those that are for patients who are on a particular class of drugs, or are in a particular age range, or fulfill any number of other criteria. One treatment center, for instance, is for women aged 12 and up who have abused illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, and inhalants.

What does on during inpatient treatment

It is imperative for those who have drug problems to learn to develop the tools that they need, which they can rely on to get by successfully whenever they find themselves experiencing those feelings which cause them to relapse into alcohol or drug abuse. At the ideal inpatient treatment center, the doctors and psychologists employed by the facility conduct sessions with the patients to try to get to the root of their drug problems, asking them questions such as:

  • When did you first start using?
  • What was the situation in which your abuse got started?
  • What happened as a result of your drug abuse?
  • At what point did you realize that you had a problem and that you needed help? Did anything bad happen that brought you to this realization?
  • What have you done so far to solve your drug problem? What will you do in the future?

The patient is also given an education about the dangers and destructive nature of substance abuse and how to recover from it. The treatment center staff members also do everything in their power to provide their patients with compassion and understanding. They encourage them in the process of self-awareness and spiritual renewal, give constant attention to their health and to any complications that could arise as a result of their addictions, provide emotional comfort and support so that they become more aware of the effects that their drug habits have had on their families and loved ones, and most important of all, help them to reconcile with those whom they have hurt.

Other things that might form part of an inpatient treatment program include:

  • family therapy
  • “expressive and experiential” therapy — These programs are designed to give recovering addicts a constructive and expressive way; they have been clinically proven to be effective at fulfilling that goal. Some of the activities that form part of expressive and experiential therapy include horseback riding, self-defense, arts and crafts, dance and movement, and outdoor sports and recreation such as volleyball, tennis, badminton, baseball, soccer, swimming, hiking, and gardening. The individual patients can choose from among those that they like the best.
  • trauma awareness and recovery
  • the classic twelve step program — This well-known system of alcoholism treatment was first invented by the pair known to their friends simply as Bill W. and Dr. Bob in 1938. It involves, among other things, acknowledging that one has an addiction that has gotten to be beyond one’s control; recognizing that there is a Higher Power above that can give one the strength to recover from the problem; examining and making amends for any errors that one has made; learning to live by a new code of behavior; and lending a helping hand to others who are suffering from the same or similar problems. Such sessions are often accompanied by on-site and off-site meetings.
  • weekly consultations with a psychologist
  • If necessary, anti-addiction drugs may be administered to patients, but great care must be taken as some of these medications, such as methadone, can themselves be highly addictive.

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