If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction challenges, many addiction treatment options are available to help.
Addiction impacts the lives of millions the world over. Still, there is hope for those looking to start their recovery journey.
What is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic condition. It is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and usage despite potentially harmful consequences. It is a disease that impacts a person’s brain and behavior that leads to an inability to control their use of illicit or prescription drugs.
Can Drug Addiction be Treated?
The good news for those currently struggling with addiction is that while there is no simple catch-all solution, treating drug addiction is possible. Because it is a chronic disease, users can’t simply abstain for a little while and be cured of their condition. Instead, most people will need repeated care and long-term treatment. This will help them stop using and stay away from addictive substances.
Principles of Effective Treatment
Since the 1970s, addiction research and treatment science have expanded significantly. As a result, there are an array of science-based and evidence-based principles that form the basis of any effective treatment method, which include the following:
- Addiction is a complex yet treatable disease affective brain behavior and function
- Medically-assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment
- There is no single treatment that is right for everyone
- People need quick access to treatment options
- Mental health evaluations and diagnoses should be addressed
- Effective treatment options address all of the patient’s needs and not just their drug use
- Remaining in treatment long enough is vital
- Counseling and behavioral therapies are the most common forms of treatment
- Medications can play an essential role in treatment, primarily when used with behavioral therapies
- Treatment plans must be frequently reviewed and adjusted to fit the patient’s changing needs
- Treatment options should address any other possible mental conditions or disorders
- Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary for it to be effective
- Treatment programs should test patients for AIDS/HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other potentially infectious diseases that may result from drug use, as well as teach them harm-reduction methods to reduce their risk of contracting and spreading them
- Physicians must carefully monitor any drug usage during treatment
Types and Levels of Treatment
There are different types of treatment and levels of care available when it comes to treating addiction. The most common types of treatment and levels of care include the following options:
Detoxification, or detox, is the process of the body clearing drugs and alcohol after their consumption. The point of detoxification is to safely manage any potential withdrawal symptoms once someone stops taking alcohol or drugs. Most detoxes are medically-assisted and supervised in a drug treatment center to help safely wean the body from addiction and mitigate withdrawal effects.
Inpatient programs provide people with a safe, supportive setting for evaluating, treating, and rehabilitating people facing substance use disorders and addiction. This level of care offers live-in accommodations with around-the-clock 24/7 care with constant medical supervision. Their services include the intensive management of addiction symptoms and the monitoring and treatment of any potential physical or psychological complications that may occur.
A partial hospitalization program, also known as PHP, is a common program used to treat co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders. Essentially, they’re a structured program of outpatient psychiatric services that can serve as an alternative to traditional inpatient care. It’s more intensive than traditional counseling or therapy but not as intensive as most inpatient options. In essence, you get treatment during the day at a facility and get to go home each night.
Intensive outpatient programs, commonly known as IOPs, are services for people facing substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders. IOP is geared toward those who don’t need medical detoxification or constant around-the-clock supervision. Intensive treatment is an alternative to inpatient and residential treatment options, allowing patients to live at home, work, and continue their lives in ways other options do not.
Outpatient addiction treatment programs are similar to intensive outpatient options. This level of care allows people to live, work, attend school, and otherwise live out their daily lives but is often less restrictive. These programs allow people to meet their everyday obligations, build sober support systems, and implement healthy new strategies into their daily routines.
Sober Living Homes/Halfway Houses
Halfway houses and sober living homes are designed to ease the transition to sober living for those who no longer need inpatient treatment but aren’t yet ready for independent living. While similar, there are some differences between the two.
Halfway houses have historically served as places for reformed criminals to transition to life outside of incarceration, but over time opened up to accept those coming from treatment programs or as a way to mitigate homelessness. On the other hand, sober living homes have historically only served as places for people to detox and abstain from substance use.
What Therapies are Involved in Treatment?
There are many different types of therapies involved in the treatment of addiction. However, the most common types of therapies for addiction treatment include the following:
Medications & MAT
Physicians can use certain FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and opioids—and they’re especially effective at treating opioid use disorders. Research shows that addiction medications are clinically proven to help prevent overdoses and the recurrence of symptoms (also known as relapse) while substantially increasing the odds of successful, long-term recovery.
These medications are often prescribed as part of a medically-assisted treatment approach. Often at a drug addiction treatment center, prescribed medications are utilized alongside counseling and therapy to help a person get off and stay off drugs.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, couples and family therapy, contingency management, and various other behavioral treatments have been shown to be effective in treating and managing addiction and substance use disorders. These treatments have also been shown to drive positive outcomes in helping people overcome and manage their addictions.
Many psychosocial interventions and psychological therapies used in addiction treatment today can help address the underlying causes of one’s substance use. Common examples include talk therapy and group therapy. In talk therapy, a person speaks directly with a licensed therapist about their substance use and how to develop healthy coping strategies. In group therapy, a group of people discuss their substance use and share coping strategies, typically under the direction of a counselor.
Dual Diagnosis Therapies
A dual diagnosis is when co-occurring mental and substance use disorders are present. People with a dual diagnosis need specialized treatment options. These treatment options should address not only their substance use and addiction but also their mental disorder and how that may influence their substance use.
Several types of support groups are available for those struggling with addiction and those on their journey to recovery. Some are faith-based, while others are not. However, all are an excellent complement to traditional therapies in treating and managing addiction. Some of the most common kinds of support groups to assist in recovery include the following options:
Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is an international organization focused on abstinence-based recovery from alcoholism through its spiritually-influenced Twelve Step program.
Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, is an international organization that utilizes a 12-step model to assist those struggling with addiction in finding and maintaining recovery. It focuses more on various substance use disorders instead of just alcoholism.
Other Support Groups
While AA and NA are the two most common and popular recovery support groups worldwide, other options are available. Some are based on 12-step programs, while others utilize alternative recovery models and approaches, such as the SMART Recovery system. Others focus on catering to specific societal groups, such as racially-focused groups and LGBTQAI+-friendly options.
Other Holistic Therapies
In addition to traditional treatment options and support groups, various other holistic therapies available can help complement existing treatment plans and provide additional avenues for staying off of drugs and developing healthier strategies. Some common examples of other holistic approaches to addiction treatment include the following:
Mindfulness-based treatment approaches have been gaining popularity in recent years to help improve outcomes and help people overcome their addictions. You gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your actions by opening your mind to greater awareness. This can help reduce impulsivity.
Like other forms of physical activity, yoga can profoundly impact those trying to recover from addiction. A yoga practice or routine can help with recovery by preventing relapse, reducing withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and providing a healthy outlet to deal with stressors and triggers.
Exercise is another common suggestion as a complement to existing addiction treatment options. Like yoga, exercise can help prevent relapse, reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and provides a healthy outlet to deal with stressors and triggers.
How to Find the Right Addiction Treatment for You
Seeking help for addiction can be complicated for many and complex for some. 10% of people seek treatment partly because of their shame. The other reason is that the nature of addiction compels the addict to manage the pain of addiction.
Most people don’t seek treatment for addiction because the pain of stopping seems greater than the pain of addiction, and they don’t see any other alternative. However, options are available for those currently struggling with addiction, and recovery is possible.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, consider contacting the professionals at NYC Addiction Resources for help. They have information, resources, and referrals to drug rehabs and detoxes, alcohol detoxes, and dual diagnosis rehabilitation centers in and around the NYC area.