When you are addicted to a substance, it may feel like there is no way out. Luckily, treatment is a safe and effective way to recover and stay sober. Treatment can boost self-esteem, reduce cravings, and help to overcome negative thoughts that lead to wanting to use drugs. It can also help you to understand the reasons for your addiction. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and ways to take care of yourself are important skills learned through treatment that will help to keep you focused and on track throughout your journey.
Addiction treatment is not the same for everyone but is laid out for each individual depending on their different health needs and requirements. There are different stages to treatment and
Getting treatment necessitates the involvement of others- whether therapists, medical professionals, support networks, or other people going through a similar experience. As humans are social creatures, the structure, and social support that treatment provides make it more likely that you will succeed long term and that the treatment process is effective.
What Are Substance Abuse and Drug Addiction?
Substance abuse is defined as the abuse of either legal or illegal substances. Many people abuse legal substances such as alcohol or prescription medications, either by consuming too much or by ignoring medical recommendations. Using illegal drugs is always classed as drug abuse and is characterised by taking substances despite their negative health implications.
The difference between drug abuse and addiction is that those who abuse drugs are able to quit willingly, whereas those who are addicted have an inability to stop using and a lack of control over their drug use, even when it results in significant harmful consequences. Abusing drugs frequently can lead to addiction, so if you are worried about your drug use it is never too early (or too late) to seek treatment.
Substance use disorder (SUD) is the umbrella term for both drug abuse and addiction. Drug abuse is classed as mild substance use disorder, whereas drug addiction is classified as severe SUD.
In order to break the stigma surrounding drug addiction, it is essential to understand that addiction is a chronic disease that the individual is not at fault for developing. Addiction does not have a single cause and is the result of various factors in a person’s life. Some things that can contribute to the likelihood of developing an addiction include:
- Environmental factors
- Mental health disorder
- Peer pressure
- Early use of the drug
- Taking addictive substances
Can Drug Abuse or Addiction Be Treated?
Drug abuse or addiction can absolutely be treated. If you are suffering from drug abuse or drug addiction, there are effective treatment options available to help you throughout the recovery process and in the long term.
However, there is no quick fix. Addiction treatment is a long process, but it will be one of the most rewarding endeavours of your life. As addiction is a relapsing disease, long term treatment is necessary so that people feel supported and on track.
Effective addiction treatment acknowledges that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, but rather each person suffering from this disease should be given an individualized treatment plan. Detoxing from the drug is of course important, but getting to the root cause for why the addiction developed initially is the most effective way to understand your own addiction and ultimately prevent relapse. Having fast access to treatment is critical, as is access to therapy and medication if required.
What Addiction Treatment Options Are Available for Substance Abuse?
The first stage of addiction recovery is detox. This is a period of time spent tapering off drug use or abstaining from taking a drug, depending on the substance being abused. Some drugs are okay to quit at home, but it is imperative to seek guidance and support from a medical professional to ensure continued safety and efficacy.
However, for other substances—for example, alcohol and benzodiazepines—a detox should never be attempted alone. This is particularly true when attempting to quit cold turkey as these drugs can have side effects so intense they could result in death. It is therefore vital to attempt detox only under the guidance of a licensed medical professional as part of a detox program. You may have to attend inpatient treatment in order to have a safe and successful detox as, with many drugs, the chance for relapse is high.
Medication is often used during detox in order to manage substance withdrawal symptoms. It is used to treat opioid, tobacco, and alcohol addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe depending on the individual and the nature of the substance addiction. Certain medications can help to reduce cravings for specific substances and aid in relapse prevention.
To help with opioid addiction, the FDA approved an electronic stimulation device that works by sending electrical pulses to stimulate certain nerves in the brain. This device is placed behind the ear and can aid in opiate withdrawal.
Once you have successfully completed detoxification and have broken the physical dependency on the drug, it is highly recommended that you attend a rehab program. Most people who discontinue treatment after detox will relapse. Rehab programs are important in maintaining sobriety as they address psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol and seek out practical, healthy coping skills.
Inpatient rehab can improve a person’s life by offering around the clock medical attention and psychological support in a drug-free facility. Inpatient rehab is intensive and effective as it removes the triggers for using substances and offers access to 24/7 care.
Outpatient programs can help with drug or alcohol addiction by treating substance use disorders. These programs take place outside of a facility, but with the support of trained medical professionals.
Outpatient rehabilitation is a great option for those who are suffering from a milder substance use disorder, or for those with caring responsibilities. It is more flexible than inpatient rehab and allows a person to remain at home while completing treatment.
Group therapy is a common treatment option for substance use disorders. Group therapy involves treating multiple people at the same time, facilitated by one or more mental health professionals. This option can seem intimidating: it is often scary opening up and being vulnerable in front of strangers; however, group therapy provides support that is simply not possible with individual therapy alone. Some of the benefits of group therapy when treating addictive behaviours include:
- Feeling a sense of connection to others undergoing similar struggles
- Gaining inspiration from the recovery process and journeys of other group members
- Feeling supported by others
- An opportunity to listen to the perspectives of others and learn
- A chance to develop valuable communication skills and social skills
- Sharing your feelings leaves people feeling lighter like a weight is lifted
- A chance to gain outside perspectives and constructive feedback
There are several different forms of group therapy available and it is often used alongside individual therapy, although this is not a necessity.
Individual therapy is a great way to help people with addictions. The therapeutic techniques employed can help those with substance use disorders to understand their addictive behaviour and work on building a life free from substance abuse. Some common types of behavioural therapies used to help with addictive behaviour include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Dialectical behavioural therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
Support groups are a fantastic way to feel supported throughout your long-term recovery. Local support groups can help you to feel connected with others experiencing a similar thing and give you the motivation to continue your sobriety.
Some well-known support groups include Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 -Step groups, and SMART recovery.
Treatment for addiction will not be easy: it takes a lot of support, professional help, and willpower. However, following treatment plans that are individually tailored such as The Revoke Programme that include a range of therapies and ongoing support and care will help to ensure that you achieve a successful recovery long term and are able to live a life free from substance use. Treatment will be one of the most rewarding endeavours of your life; believe in yourself, recovery is possible.