There are several types of treatment for addiction professionals will recommend after an initial consultation and evaluation. These types of treatment are designed to help individuals based on a variety of elements, including everything from the type of addiction to the individual’s social environment.
In this article, we’re exploring several common types of treatment for addiction.
Types of Treatment for Addiction
As the stigma surrounding drug addiction and alcohol addiction in our society decreases, the amount of help that is available increases. Those with addiction problems are no longer on the margins, shunned for a perceived lack of self-control.
Addiction has been recognized as a problem that exists in every area of society, and no portion of the population is immune. The prevalence of this issue has necessitated the development of a robust and varied approach toward addiction treatment.
The following are some of the types of treatment for addiction.
The most intensive form of addiction treatment typically involves a stay in a specialized facility. Treatment that is received while sequestered away from the norms of daily life is referred to as inpatient treatment. The working idea behind inpatient treatment is that removing a person from the environment associated with the addictive behavior provides a good foundation for new habits to be formed. There are many inpatient facilities that exist throughout the nation, and they vary in their approach, amenities, resources, and programs. Inpatient settings are also known as residential facilities.
For those who don’t have the time, money, or other means to take a break from regular life, outpatient treatment facilities provide consistent support toward reaching goals of sobriety. Many outpatient programs require group and individual therapy sessions on a weekly basis, and some will integrate regular drug testing for accountability.
The treatment schedule can be arranged to accommodate a work schedule or other obligations. Intensive outpatient treatment has been shown to often be as effective as inpatient treatment.
Medical Detox and Maintenance
Medical detoxification refers to an intensive application of medications – usually provided intravenously – which are designed to ease the symptoms of substance withdrawal that the body and brain would otherwise find agonizing. Due to the procedural nature of this process, medical detoxification typically takes place while in an inpatient setting. It is important to note that detox does not take the place of receiving ongoing substance abuse treatment therapy.
Medical maintenance refers to the types of medications that can be self-administered or obtained from a clinic on a walk-in basis. These medications tend to assist with reducing cravings to use, either through acting directly on the reward system of the brain or through alleviating other mental health symptoms – such as depression or anxiety – which play a role in the decision to escape reality through substance use.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Whether inpatient or outpatient, substance abuse counseling plays a central role in learning to manage life without addiction. Most states require that substance abuse counselors receive very specific training and certification, designed to equip them with a specialized set of skills and tools toward encouraging continuation with goals of sobriety. It is also common that substance abuse counselors have been through the nightmare of addiction, themselves. This provides them with an empathetic and understanding perspective.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment that is commonly integrated into other forms of support. The premise of CBT is that our behaviors are influenced by the thoughts and beliefs that we carry with us.
When it comes to the behavior of addiction, a professional therapist will work with you to uncover what underlying motives are fueling the desire to continue and initiate a plan to change those motives.
Treatment will typically involve keeping a log of daily thoughts and behaviors, establishing a response for avoiding or resisting temptations to use, and working to rectify dysfunctional belief systems.
Family systems theory posits that nothing we do exists in a bubble. The social environment in which we live has a major impact on the life choices that we make. For those in addiction, the entire family will be both suffering and playing a part in sustaining the problem. Rather than focusing solely on the addicted person, a family therapist will ask all involved members of the family to be present for treatment.
Together, the family will work on improving understanding, communication, and boundaries. The addicted individual will benefit from receiving family support and validation from loved ones and will be provided with the opportunity to learn more adaptive methods of coping.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) is a relative newcomer to the repertoire of substance abuse treatment modalities. Its primary function is to treat those with trauma-based disorders. It does this by assisting the brain to make new, less painful, associations. Many people who struggle with addiction are simultaneously suffering from the impact of having experienced trauma. Healing the wounds associated with the trauma can be a lasting step toward quelling the desire to escape through substance abuse.
Another treatment that is gaining popularity across the mental health treatment spectrum is animal-assisted therapy. The integration of an emotional support animal (ESA) has been shown to relieve common mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression and can ease the stress of trauma-related disorders. When a person is seeking to recover from an addiction, any form of psychological relief can be a welcome addition. The types of animals that can provide this emotional support range from common household pets to livestock.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of treatment that was specifically designed to assist those with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD.) Those with BPD tend to struggle with setting healthy social boundaries and tend to react to situations based on extreme emotions. Due to the volatile nature of these emotional fluctuations, rates of substance use among BPD clients is high. The substances are often used as a means of escaping uncomfortable feelings, as a means of seeking acceptance, or as an attempt to form a unique identity. A trained DBT therapist will work with an addicted person to accept reality as it is, and find new ways of coping with it. As coping skills increase, the need to escape through substance abuse tends to decrease.