Patients who are addicted to alcohol or drugs often undergo treatment in order to stop their unhealthy behavior and learn how to avoid or manage relapse. The best addiction treatment acknowledges that substance abuse is a complicated yet manageable illness that can alter both behavior and brain function. It also addresses the physical, emotional and mental health needs of the patient, not just the addiction issues. Experience shows that the majority of patients undergoing addiction treatment also suffer from other disorders, especially depression.
Although addiction treatment is based on a few core principals, not all forms of treatment will be appropriate for all patients. However, an essential requirement for all forms of addiction treatment is that the person first stop drinking or using drugs. This initial detoxification should almost always be conducted in an medical facility or under the supervision of an addiction professional. Meaningful addiction treatment and true recovery can only be achieved when the patient is sober. Further, patients must be continuously monitored for relapse during the initial stages of addiction treatment. However, getting sober is just the first step on the long path to recovery.
Most addiction treatment revolves around individual and group counseling, with adjunct therapies such as acupuncture, massage and art therapy offered for an additional fee. Many therapists employ family therapy in order to ensure that the patient’s loved ones can identify triggers and assist in employing coping mechanisms to help the person stay sober. Variations of “talk” therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), have proven effective during addiction treatment.
In some instances, a patient’s addiction treatment will involve the administration of certain medications for a variety of reasons, including managing withdrawal symptoms and controlling any underlying or co-occurring issues. In difficult cases, medication such as Antabuse or Methadone may also be employed to reduce the desire to drink or use drugs.
No matter the form of addiction treatment, it is essential that personnel maintain adequate record of both the patient’s treatment plan and ongoing progress. This allows all team members to continually assess a patient’s status and modify the treatment plan to reflect the patient’s outstanding or ongoing needs. Once the patient is discharged from the program, the treatment plan will help guide followup counseling sessions, occupational training and ongoing medical treatment.
Because of financial constraints, however, addiction treatment is not available for everyone who needs it. Monetary constraints also mean that it is not always possible to attend addiction treatment for the amount of time deemed necessary to address all of the patient’s underlying issues. For this reason, it is essential that all addiction treatment be accompanied or followed by community based support such as 12 step meetings.