How Successful Is Drug Addiction Treatment?


What is a Drug Addiction Treatment?

The goal of all drug treatment programs is to make sure that the person can kick away his addiction and dependence on drugs. The idea is to help them lead productive, healthy, and sustainable lives free from drugs.

A big part of the program focuses on making sure that relapses don’t happen and the person doesn’t fall into his/her old patterns. It may incorporate not only the physical but emotional, social, familial, and mental aspects too that might be causing/worsening the addiction.

Are These Treatments Successful?

The effectiveness and success of drug addiction therapy depend on myriad factors; largely a person’s commitment to achieving sobriety and staying sober. After that, it also depends on the quality of the program, the interaction between the therapist and patient, duration of therapy, and the quality of follow-up; to name a few.

Type of Drug Addiction Treatment:-

i) Long-Term Residential Treatment

Long term residential addiction treatment can span several months. The patient receives round-the-clock help; typically in a non-hospital setting. This form of therapy views addiction-related issues from an eagle’s prospect.

It sees the whole context of a person’s psychological, social, economical, and familial deficits. It also nurtures a sense of personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions. By working on independence and self-esteem; it fosters socially productive lives.

This type of treatment can be rather structured and often confrontational. The activities are designed for patients (who often live on the same premise) to help examine their lives. This includes destructive thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors, etc.

It aims to eliminate destructive ways of life and instill more harmonious ways.

ii) Short-Term Residential Treatment

This type of program may offer intensive but comparatively brief treatment. It’s like a modified version of the 12-step program.

The original treatment model consisted of three to six weeks of hospital-based treatment which was then followed by extended participation in self-help groups and outpatient therapy which entailed regular visits with the doctors and therapists.

The goal of the follow-up treatment is to make sure relapses don’t happen after a patient has left the residential setting.

iii) Outpatient Treatment Programs

The intensity and the type of outpatient treatments can vary based on the nature of the program. In terms of cost, an outpatient program is a lot cheaper than an inpatient or a residential one.

It’s best for working professionals who cannot leave their life to join a rehab. It’s also good for people with a strong social support. However, you should know that many outpatient programs may not offer much other than drug education.

Group counseling, in particular, happens to be a major component. Some programs would take not just the medical but also the mental aspect of the addiction into account.

When taking part in outpatient treatment, you may be required to undergo an online drug and alcohol assessment to ensure you get the best support. For example, this assessment is key if you need to present your workplace with information, or you need to prove to a court order that you are taking your recovery seriously.

i) Detoxification

This is usually the first phase of any de-addiction program. Substance detoxification programs mainly aim to expel any remaining addictive substances in the body. This is done with medical assistance in a highly safe environment.

The doctors are present to make sure the withdrawal period is as easy and comfortable as possible. In the absence of medical assistance, this phase can be painful and sometimes even life-threatening.

Detoxification alone doesn’t cure addiction. This is why it’s used in conjunction with other therapies including medication.

ii) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT essentially follows the principle that almost all psychological issues (including addiction) stem from unhealthy thinking patterns, harmful beliefs, self-destructive  habits, behaviors, and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Therefore, it works on changing those thinking patterns from destructive to constructive. It teaches the patient ways to evaluate and recognize their problems. They learn how to adopt a problem-solving attitude in times of difficulties.

CBT also focuses on developing self-esteem and self-confidence. Patients learn to better understand their problematic behaviors so they can work on them. Rather than focusing on the past, cognitive behavior therapies emphasize the here and the now so patients learn to live with hope in the present.

iii) Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Also known as holistic treatment, complementary/alternative therapies tend to focus primarily on striking a balance between body, mind, and spirit. These types of therapies are routinely made available in upscale addiction treatment facilities.

Generally, it includes therapies like yoga, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, meditation, art therapy, laughter therapy, etc.

iv) Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Shortened as REBT – this therapy is quite similar to CBT. It also focuses on a person’s belief system and negative thought patterns; which together cause emotional distress.

However, the main difference stems from the fact that Rational Behaviour Therapy uses logic and reasoning to encourage a shift from irrational and negative beliefs to empowering ones.

v) Contingency Management

Contingency management uses the principle that positive reinforcement is more likely to increase the odds of instilling the desired type of behaviors/patterns (including sobriety). It, therefore, rewards the individuals every time they make a healthy and positive change in their life.

The reward can be vouchers, negative drug test results, a better relationship with your partner, better health, etc. Contingency management shifts attention to these benefits and rewards to instill healthy changes.

vi) 12-Step Facilitation

A 12-step facilitation therapy is a highly effective method for treatment of substance and alcohol abuse. This is a group therapy that comprises several steps, each one more progressive than the previous. It starts with the recognition of the fact that addiction leads to severe negative consequences across all facets of life.

This includes physical, spiritual, emotional, and social. It slowly moves towards surrendering to the higher power and regular involvement via group meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous is a classic example of this facilitation. It thrives around group discussions, meetings, and mutual support.

vii) Medications

Sometimes underlying issues like depression, and anxiety may be worsening the addiction. In treatment centers for co-occurring disorders, doctors may prescribe medication. Methadone, for instance, is a popular drug given to people recovering from opioids, heroin, and prescription painkillers.

The medication also helps with the often painful withdrawal periods.

The Bottom Line

Living with addiction is a dark reality which we all need to accept. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, know that help is always available. With the right support and the therapy – leading a healthy and productive life is possible.

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