The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that a problem exists. For many addicts, it is much easier to bury their head in the sand than to admit that they have an addiction to a substance such as alcohol or drugs.
Addiction is an illness that requires treatment. It is something that happens over time and many addicts are completely unaware that they have a problem. They will live in denial and do not want to contemplate the idea that they could be addicted. For them, it is easier to say that life is not that bad or to blame someone or something else for their drug taking or drinking.
Some addicts may be aware that they have a problem but are simply not ready to take the next step. They will come up with what they believe are plausible excuses for not quitting. It may take an ultimatum from a loved one or a health scare before they actually find the strength to get help.
Asking for Help
Once an addict has finally come to terms with his or her addiction, he or she will be ready to get help. There is so much help available from both the public and private sectors, but many affected individuals are unaware of where to get this help from. Thankfully, there are addiction services that can provide addicts and their families with the help they need to access the various available treatments.
The types of treatment offered for addiction will depend on the severity of the addiction and the substance to which the affected person is addicted. There are many different tools and techniques used to treat alcohol and drug addiction. Most rehabilitation clinics will tailor a treatment plan to the individual in question because there is no single treatment that will work for every single addict. Every addiction is different, just as every person is different. What works for one individual may not necessarily work for another. Below are a few examples of the various methods used in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
Detox is usually the first step on the road to recovery. It is the process of eliminating drugs or alcohol from the body. The person must stop drinking or taking drugs and then allow whatever is left in the body to be expelled. This process can take a number of days and, during this time, the individual may experience some physical and emotional symptoms. How severe these withdrawal symptoms are will depend on the type of substance the person was abusing and for how long. Other factors affecting withdrawal symptoms include the age of the individual and his or her general health. It is usually recommended that detox takes place in a medically supervised facility as some withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous.
The 12-step programme was a concept of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and it is now used by many different fellowship groups around the world in the treatment of all types of addiction. A 12-step programme is typically included in all addiction treatment plans because of its level of success.
The 12-step programme is aimed at getting addicts to completely abstain from drugs or alcohol for the rest of their lives. However, the programme works on a one-day-at-a-time attitude with plenty of support along the way. Members are encouraged to attend meetings where there is a concept of sharing. Nevertheless, no member is forced to share his or her experiences with others. For some, just listening to the stories of other members can be therapeutic.
For many, residential treatment is not an option, but there are many outpatient treatment programmes available. These are generally recommended for those with less severe addictions as they are less intensive. In most instances, it will be necessary to complete a process of detoxification before beginning outpatient treatment.
In general, outpatient treatment programmes will commence with an assessment interview and a physical exam. It will then be necessary for the individual to attend regular sessions with a counsellor or therapist. He or she will have individual therapy sessions and may also have family therapy sessions. An introduction to a 12-step programme may be included and there may be monitoring for drug and alcohol use, which could include urine screening.
For those with the most severe addictions, a programme of intense treatment will usually be recommended. This will involve a residential stay where structure and routine will be involved. Inpatient treatment is hugely successful for most affected individuals, especially when there are good support and follow-up care involved. An inpatient treatment programme will mean living in a therapeutic environment at which skills for sober living are taught. There will be constant access to support from counsellors and therapists, and no risk from external temptations. A residential treatment centre offers addicts a safe place to begin their recovery journey. For many recovering addicts, a programme of inpatient care will be combined with outpatient treatment on completion of the residential care.
The above are just a few examples of the types of treatment offered to those with alcohol or drug addictions. The treatments given will depend on the individual, his or her circumstances, and the organisation providing the care.