Getting Treatment for Drug Addiction
For someone in the depths of drug addiction, sobriety can feel like an unattainable goal. After living under the influence of substances for so long, it can be hard to imagine functioning without them. These negative thoughts and feelings are almost universal for drug addicts, but it’s important to know that addiction can be overcome and sobriety can be attained. No matter how many times an addict has tried and failed, or how long they’ve been struggling with the disease, recovery is within reach. It’s never too late to get treatment.
The first step in the healing process is detoxification, the difficult, often painful period where the addict sheds the drugs from their system. During this phase, the person will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which can range from irritability and nausea to emotional outbursts and hallucinations. The severity and symptoms of withdrawal vary, depending on which drugs have been abused, and at what level. Detoxification is a crucial first step in preparing the addict’s body and brain to function without drugs.
Attempting detoxification without medical support can be difficult–not to mention dangerous. Most addicts find they can’t cope with the withdrawal symptoms on their own. Some drugs pose the risk of strokes or seizure during withdrawal, causing permanent damage. Top treatment centers and detox facilities are trained to make the withdrawal period as safe and comfortable as possible.
What to Expect From an Addiction Treatment Program
Addicts enrolling in a treatment program can expect to be immersed in the recovery process. While every treatment facility is different, the various programs share one common purpose: to promote healing and sobriety.
Before professionals at the treatment center can develop a personalized plan of action, doctors and psychiatrists will assess the client’s overall health. Once theses assessments have been completed, the addict will begin several types of therapy.
Most clients will engage in talk therapy, the practice of speaking with either an individual therapist or as part of a group. There they will discuss any and all drug abuse issues, including why they started using and their reasons for seeking treatment.
Another increasingly common form of treatment for drug addiction is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). During CBT, the patient will learn about new ways to react to the triggers that compel them to start using, and develop better coping mechanisms for stress. The skills that patients cultivate during this type of therapy will stay with them long after treatment, giving them the tools they need for lasting recovery.
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Alternative and Complementary Treatment Therapies
Just as no two individuals are the same, not all people will react the same way to treatment. What methods work for one client may not succeed for another. That’s why comprehensive treatment programs, which address each patient’s unique needs and offer alternative forms of therapy, have the greatest impact on recovering addicts.
For instance, some people respond incredibly well to art therapy, which gives clients a nonverbal outlet to express their negative feelings of shame or denial, or to explore past trauma.
Exercise and proper nutrition have also been shown to promote the recovery process, as individuals who feel stronger physically are less likely to relapse after treatment, and exercise can present an alternative activity to divert their time.
Alternative therapies (such as equine-assisted, yoga, experiential, and acupuncture) reduce stress, pain, and anxiety, increase self-awareness, and empower patients to explore a deeper connection between body and spirit. An individual combination of all the above therapies, tailored to a client’s needs, can create the optimal environment for recovery and meaningful change.
The Importance of Ongoing Treatment
Studies show that individuals should participate in treatment for at least 90 days to see the best results. However, the best indicator of success is not the duration of the program, but the mutual cooperation between the recovering addict and the treatment center, as they plan for continuing care after finishing the program.
The journey doesn’t end after the patient has exited the facility. The road to recovery lasts a lifetime, and addicts should expect to hit speed bumps and setbacks along the way. Regular therapy and participation in 12-step meetings can help addicts keep a level of preparedness for any challenges on the road ahead, and remain pointed towards their lifelong goal of sobriety.