Substance abuse, dependency and addiction cripple tens of millions of Americans, and adversely impact scores of others. With respect to addiction, it’s a complex, chronic disorder- like diabetes or high blood pressure- and if not confronted through rehabilitation and recovery, those under its dark spell will endure long-term physical, mental and emotional consequences. Relationships with those around addicts can also suffer greatly. Addicts hide behind many masks; including alcohol, drugs, sex and pornography, gambling, and even technology and the Internet.
On the positive side, a myriad of addiction rehab and recovery treatment options are available. From 12-step meetings to inpatient and outpatient facilities, these abundant resources offer addicts many viable, disease-management alternatives. And, these recovery choices are flexible to accommodate one’s addiction severity, the substance involved, income level, support needs, medical requirements, lifestyle, and much more. Bear in mind that an addict probably will not succeed without professional instruction and intervention.
Now let’s explore these beneficial addiction rehab and recovery choices further…
Addiction and other dependency issues develop over time, and treatment programs must focus upon the life-long nature of the disease. The first step down the rewarding road-to-recovery occurs when the addict admits they have a substance-abuse problem. Without this admission, no rehab or recovery program on earth will succeed. The afflicted must seek professional intervention willingly. Once that has taken place, and they are mentally-prepared, the illness can be effectively treated.
Initially for most addicts, this is the most viable intervention pathway to take. The patient needs to be separated from the “people, places and things” that feed into their specific addiction. Inpatient centers exist in per diem cost ranges from government-funded to private pay. Many private insurance plans cover inpatient treatment. Some of the more expensive facilities offer expanded activities like horseback riding and water activities to keep the recovering addict’s mind occupied. Having said that, this is what inpatient therapy entails:
- Selecting the Best Facility– Inpatient addiction centers exist typically as a part of a hospital, or as a stand-alone, brick-and-mortar facility. As was mentioned above, factors such as accessibility to loved ones, cost, and the kinds of treatment programs available (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.) are important. Seek out and read reviews from former patients or healthcare providers in your area. Speak with the director, staff members and medical professionals when researching a facility. Choose wisely with knowledge.
- Check-in and Orientation– Science has determined that addiction causes biochemical alterations in the afflicted person’s brain, specifically affecting dopamine levels. Once isolated from the source, all addicts will experience “withdrawal” symptoms which can be physical, mental, and emotional. At times, they are quite severe.
In anticipation of this, the patient will undergo an initial and thorough health screening by a licensed medical professional, and continuous evaluation- especially during the first few days- is required. On occasion, and typically in situations where opiate-dependency is involved, time in a hospital’s “detox” unit is necessary for the safety of all participants.
Within a week, however, the addict’s body and brain will be well on their way to repair. Their mind will have to deal with long-suppressed memories and events, and coping mechanisms will be initiated at the treatment facility. Restorative health truly does take place “one day at a time”.
- Instruction and Counseling– Most inpatient and outpatient centers feature staff members who are recovering addicts. As a result, they understand well the rehab and recovery process, and what it takes. During the recovering addict’s stay, which can last for up to a month, they will participate in a wide-variety of educational courses to support their efforts before and after they re-enter society. Life-coping skills are a big part of those studies.
The site’s counselors will understand that for addicts, most of their minutes every day are spent thinking about, planning, accessing, and using the source of their fixation. As a result, inpatient care includes filling a patient’s days with numerous programs to teach an addict how to stay busy and keep their mind focused on positive things. Those resources will probably include:
- Individual and Group Counseling Sessions. These are self-explanatory, and involve those in treatment getting together one-on-one, or as a class, to share their issues, coping methods, and what to expect post-discharge. Programs available on the “outside” are discussed, and action plans written down and shared. “Triggers” to relapse are identified, and means to overcoming those societal pressures are learned.
Most addicts suffer from some traumatic memories dating back to even their early childhood. Oftentimes, this started the progression of substance use, and then abuse, which eventually morphed into a full-time, daily uncontrollable obsession. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to addiction; as their brains are developing and changing rapidly. In any event, these underlying issues must be identified, and addressed, through counseling. Addicts begin using in many cases to suppress negative thoughts and emotions from their past.
Many times, fellow recovering addicts will be asked to come in and speak to the rehab patients, and to share their success stories of “life on the outside”. These powerful testimonies boost the confidence of those on the “inside”, and are a continuing part of future outpatient therapy through venues such as 12-step meetings in the community.
- Follow-Up Medical Evaluations and Recommendations
The inpatient facility’s medical coordinator will routinely meet with and examine the recovering patients. Medications might be prescribed, and changes in the addict’s mental and physical health documented. The doctors and nurses at inpatient treatment centers will also make suggestions on seeking follow-up care before the patient is discharged.
Prescription meds may be recommended by a physician in order to reduce a recovering patient’s “cravings” for the substance they are addicted to. Those may continue to be prescribed post-discharge, and during “after care”, until the cravings subside.
- Post-Treatment Care Education
Prior to the patient being released from the inpatient facility, they will sit down with a counselor and discuss how best to stay in recovery when exposed to temptation again. Recommendations for lifestyle changes and other protective skills will be covered. The patient will be instructed about aftercare opportunities and working with a strong sponsor on the outside to “shepherd” them on a daily basis. The process is just beginning, and a new life awaits for those who stay on the recovery path!
As the name implies, this form of addiction rehab and recovery care is less- intensive and restrictive than the inpatient variety. A recovering addict may spend up to a month inside a facility, and then be discharged into an outpatient setting. Or, a person may decide to bypass the inpatient route altogether, and pursue one or more outpatient treatment methods instead.
A critical factor in all recovery programs is that the recovering addict is held accountable once they are placed back into, or as they are functioning in, society in general. Surrounding oneself with a tough-loving circle of non- codependent family and friends is also a major plus. On the downside, outpatients statistically tend to relapse more frequently than do those who successfully complete inpatient programs.
Here is a summary of outpatient treatment resources:
Recovery Center-Based– This is a treatment facility where recovering addicts go part-time, perhaps for a few hours each day, to get support and care. These are more feasible for addiction-sufferers who aren’t severely impaired, have busy work or family schedules, or simply cannot afford the more expensive inpatient facilities. The resources there mirror those found within inpatient care units; but the recovery program is more independent and less time-consuming.
12-Step Programs– These are available under a myriad of names which reflect the source of one’s dependency; including Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.), Gamblers Anonymous (G.A.), and many others. Most are closed to the general public, and participants are very tight-lipped with a focus on confidentiality.
Meant to be a powerful recovery tool, 12-step meetings allow recovering addicts to share stories, seek support from their peers, and stay focused on “toeing the line” to avoid addiction-relapse. For those new to these meetings’ “tables”, connecting with a strong sponsor is critical. You need a mentor, not associated with your using past, to help you work through the 12 phases of recovery, to communicate with frequently, and to be there when you need support and motivation.
Church and Other “Faith-Based” Courses– There are many churches and other “faith-based”, community organizations that offer addiction-recovery programs in the evenings. A couple of examples include Celebrate Recovery and Re:Generation.
Halfway Houses- As the name suggests, these are actually residences where a recovering addict, usually from drugs, lives under the watchful eye of a house “manager”, and is accountable to others also living there in a semi-protected environment. In many cases, a halfway house resident has been recently released from prison after incarceration for drug-related criminal activities. These are effective “transitional” facilities for some recovering addicts.
In conclusion, when you or your loved one needs help for the chronic disease of addiction, don’t battle it alone. As we have uncovered in this article, many “tried and true” treatment options are available to those who need support, medical intervention and care. Don’t suffer from the mental imprisonment of addiction any longer. Become the vibrant person you once were again, or watch that friend, family member or spouse transition back to their former self starting today!