Helping people get clean and sober and maintaining long-term recovery are the main goals of any addiction treatment program. While this is possible to do on one’s own, studies have shown that the best outcomes are achieved when an individual undergoes an integrated addiction program and long-term therapy and counseling.
Identifying the Problem
Before an individual can get clean and sober, he or she must acknowledge the need for treatment. It may be difficult to admit there is a problem, but if substance abuse is interfering with relationships, school, or work, professional treatment is probably required.
If a loved one is suffering from the disease of addiction, it may be necessary to stage an intervention to convince him or her that they have a problem and are in dire need of help. Addiction specialists and those trained in interventions can help guide loved ones through this process and offer the highest likelihood of success.
The next step is to seek professional substance abuse treatment from a licensed and accredited addiction treatment center as soon as possible. It is also vital to learn about the challenges you may face and understand what the recovery process is really all about.
Withdrawal symptoms can be a significant challenge for recovery from drugs or alcohol. Some substances induce severe withdrawal symptoms when the user suddenly stops using the substance. Withdrawal symptoms result from chemical dependence, which is a condition in which the body has adapted to a substance’s presence and cannot function normally without it. These symptoms can be highly unpleasant, dangerous and can prompt the user to relapse to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
For this reason, it is not advised for those dependent on substances to try to stop abruptly using the “cold turkey” method without undergoing medical detox. Severe complications, both psychological and physiological, can arise. In some instances, such as those related to benzodiazepines or alcohol, withdrawal has the potential to be life-threatening.
Another risk for many is that relapse can lead to an overdose. This may be more likely as an individual’s tolerance has been lowered, and if the user attempts to return to a previous dose, their body may be no longer able to manage it.
Don’t Underestimate Triggers
It may not be that challenging to remain sober while participating in an addiction treatment program because the environment is substance-free and promotes sobriety. And the longer an individual receives treatment, the higher the likelihood that he or she will be equipped to remain sober over the long-term. However, after treatment is over and an individual returns to the real world, they will face many of the same stressors and triggers that presented before.
Unfortunately, relapse is considered a relatively normal event in recovery. Overconfidence in one’s ability to deal with life’s stressors is one of the primary reasons individuals relapse, even those who have been in recovery for several years. For this reason, it’s essential to use the coping skills learned in treatment actively and reach out for help at the first clue that a return to using may be imminent.
Understanding Addiction Recovery
In some ways, addiction recovery is a life-long process that involves several phases before an individual can wholly be free from dependence on drugs or alcohol. People go through these stages in different ways. The time required depends on the individual’s personality and biogenetic makeup, the environment in which they reside, and the substance abuse properties.
For some drugs, such as benzodiazepines, a gradual tapering of the dose over weeks or months under the care of a healthcare provider may be required to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. Such a weaning process may extend the length of time it takes to recover from physical dependence and may impact emotional dependence, as well.
Leaning on the support of loved ones is another beneficial component of recovery. This, in and of itself, can often pose a challenge, especially if some of the former user’s friends or family are still abusing drugs or alcohol. For this reason, the individual in recovery may have to find a new support group of friends who are already clean and sober. 12-step support groups and sponsors can usually fill this role.
In some instances, family therapy or counseling may be needed to help the former user’s loved ones understand the treatment process. Therapy of this kind can show friends and family different ways to offer support and help foster their recovery.
Addiction treatment should be personalized to the specific needs of the person seeking treatment. Not all treatment approaches work as effectively for all persons. Also, physical addiction often requires different treatment options than one that is mainly psycho-emotional in nature.
Importantly, there are frequently co-existing mental health disorders that those who abuse substances experience, such as depression or anxiety. These conditions must be addressed in combination with addiction for treatment to be effective.
The most common types of intensive treatment are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, and peer group support. In some cases, medication is also necessary to wean the person off a drug or prevent withdrawal symptoms and mitigate cravings that could impair an individual’s ability to stay clean and sober.
Treatment can be conducted in a hospital, detox or rehab center, or at home using outpatient services. In many instances, a medical detox followed by intensive treatment is the best approach to ensuring that a person is afforded the best chance for recovery.
During medical detox, an individual is supervised by healthcare providers and administered medications and emotional support while the body purges itself of drugs and alcohol. Although detox is the first step, it doesn’t address the underlying causes of substance abuse—something a comprehensive recovery program is designed to do.
Intensive addiction treatment programs offer individuals assessment, therapy, counseling, support, structure, and medications to recover. These programs can also help address the underlying problems that contribute to drug abuse and teach people how to replace their dysfunctional substance abuse with healthy habits.
Getting Treatment for Addiction
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offers comprehensive, personalized addiction treatment programs in partial hospitalization and residential formats. We specialize in both addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.
After the initial treatment is complete, the person in recovery should collaborate with a healthcare professional or other specialist to develop a plan to avoid triggers and prevent future relapse. Relapse prevention is just as essential as detox and treatment because failure at this stage can undermine much of the progress already achieved.
Our programs feature research-based therapies and services vital for the recovery process, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- Peer group support
- Art and music therapy
- Mindfulness therapy
- Meditation and yoga
- Addiction education
- Health and wellness education
- Aftercare planning