Currently, there are an estimated 21.5 million people struggling with a substance use disorder in the United States, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In the wake of the opioid epidemic, the numbers associated with opioid overdose deaths are increasing. The current estimation is approximately 115 people die each day as a result of opioid overdose.
Addiction is a serious public health issue in this country and around the world. This, coupled with the social stigma attached to those struggling with addiction, have left most people with substance abuse disorders without access to needed medical care.
While there is no cure currently available, the advent of modern addiction treatment practices has offered hope to many people in their fight against substance abuse.
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What Is Addiction Treatment?
Addiction treatment is an important facet of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Countless people seek drug rehab options, each year, to help them overcome these and other disorders. Understanding what addiction treatment is and how it works is essential to obtaining the best addiction care. Read on to learn more about addiction treatment and what if offers.
The overall goal of addiction treatment is to assist those struggling with substance abuse disorders to understand, address, and learn how to prevent drug-seeking behavior. Addiction treatment is also effective in preventing future relapses following the completion of the recovery program.
Treatment for substance abuse and alcohol use disorders have the same underlying goal. Each addiction treatment program features its own unique amenities and curriculum but follows a similar course of treatment by beginning with medical detox and finishing with outpatient programs and maintenance programs such as 12-step programs or alumni services.
These sequential levels of care are known as the full continuum of care. Completing these different aspects of treatment in a “stepped” format allows for treatment to naturally progress with the client. As the client becomes more stable in their recovery and treatment program, they will receive less intensive hands-on clinical and medical intervention.
Medical detox is the important first stage of treatment. During this stage, the client undergoes a full medical assessment and evaluation, which takes a look at the severity of the substance use disorder and overall physical health. Since physical dependence is often a key symptom associated with substance abuse, attempting to stop using drugs and alcohol and becoming medically stabilized is important.
A team of medical professionals consisting of doctors, nurses, and medical support staff tend to the client’s needs directly. They craft a customized detox plan of different detox medications intended to treat any potential detox side effects. The health and progress of the client are under 24-7 surveillance by the medical team to ensure safety and comfort during the detox process.
Detox, like other levels of addiction treatment, may be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Depending on the personal needs and the severity of the addiction, it will be determined which course of action is best suited for the client.
Ongoing care may be completed at a live-in facility or by attending an outpatient clinic. This phase of treatment involves multiple therapy techniques designed to assist in managing your emotional, mental, and spiritual health. The majority of recovery programs will implement a combination of different addiction therapy methods, which may include the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Individualized Counselling
- Group Therapy
- 12-Step Programs
- Addiction Education Workshops
- Family Therapy
- Relapse Prevention Planning
- Holistic Therapy (Yoga, mindfulness meditation, art therapy)
The amount of time spent in the recovery program will vary on a case-by-case basis. The amount of time will depend on the level of severity of the substance/alcohol use disorder, and if the client is struggling with other mental health issues. Having a substance use disorder and other mental health disorder simultaneously is known as co-occurring/comorbid disorders or a dual diagnosis.
After successfully completing an addiction treatment recovery program, clients are often encouraged to continue working on their recovery through aftercare programs. This may include attending support meetings, alumni programs, or any type of outpatient therapy program. Continuing to engage in aftercare post-addiction treatment programs can help increase the likelihood of maintaining long-term sobriety.
Addiction Treatment Programs
There are many types of addiction treatment programs available, but the client’s individual needs determine the type of addiction treatment method, which will be most effective. Addiction treatment is not considered one-size-fits-all and will differ from person to person.
If the substance abuse has not been particularly severe in nature, and/or has only been ongoing for a relatively short amount of time, then higher levels of care may not be required. Residential and inpatient treatment programs are typically reserved for more severe substance use disorders and may prove to be ineffective. Finding an outpatient program may serve and meet the needs better, as it requires a lower level of care than the inpatient alternatives.
Outpatient treatment programs require its clients to find alternative housing. This means as opposed to living at the treatment facility, the client may stay in their home or may choose to reside in a sober living facility/halfway house. Regardless of the living arrangements, the client will commute to the outpatient clinic for therapy sessions. Typically, this occurs for multiple days out of the week and maybe for an hour or longer.
The regular attendance of these sessions is required to stay enrolled in an outpatient program, and self-monitoring is expected. This means that during off time, the client cannot engage in drug and/or alcohol use, but still can continue meeting regular responsibilities such as maintaining employment or family obligations. This type of personal responsibility may be overwhelming to some at the beginning of recovery, but for others who may require less intensive care, this may be the best form of treatment.
There are multiple different types of outpatient programs such as:
- Intensive Outpatient (IOP)- This is a “middle ground” between regular outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment. IOP programs typically require clients to attend therapy sessions at an addiction treatment facility multiple times a week for anywhere between two and four hours at a time. IOP combine higher levels of care’s intense therapy methods with outpatient program flexibility and freedom.
- Partial Hospitalization (PHP)- This is the best option for clients who may need more medical intervention and care. They are also best suited for clients battling co-occurring disorder. While still being able to return to an outside environment, whether home or halfway, clients have access to intensive medical care. They will require substantial support systems and must attend these sessions more frequently than IOP, and for a longer period of time. Typically, PHP is anywhere from three to five days per week, with four to six hours spent in each session.
However, if the client or their loved one has been battling a more severe substance use disorder, and for a more extended period of time, or experienced multiple relapses, perhaps higher levels of care are more appropriate.
Inpatient addiction treatment will involve living onsite at the facility full time. This means that the client will not return home at the end of therapy sessions, but rather to the living quarters provided by the recovery program. This may be helpful in avoiding outside stressors and temptations that can lead individuals in recovery to become distracted from their addiction treatment or even relapse.
There are different types of inpatient treatment program options, too. The following is a breakdown of inpatient addiction treatment levels of care:
- Residential Treatment – This type of treatment is utilized in treating the physical and psychological aspects of substance use disorder. Residential treatment is typically long-term drug rehab that features amenities reminiscent of dormitory living. Clients will usually have their own room and share common areas like a kitchen and living room with other clients. Residential treatment facilities will provide 24-7 clinical and medical services if/when needed, and residential will do full-time clinical treatment, spending around five hours in therapy per day.
- Intensive Inpatient Treatment- This type of inpatient treatment is for advanced cases of substance use disorder that require round-the-clock medical care for the client. Supervision cannot be limited as in residential treatment. These patients will need medical stabilization. Usually, intensive inpatient treatment provides intensive therapy sessions and support groups but engaged in a hospital-like setting.
Will I Be Given Medication?
Throughout the time in medical detox, there are different prescription medications that will ease the severity and frequency of uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Certain drugs and alcohol may require medications due to the nature of the withdrawal process, as they may be life-threatening. Withdrawals are the physical and emotional manifestation of symptoms whenever drug and alcohol use is stopped.
During opioid withdrawal, clients will normally receive medical maintenance therapy drugs like suboxone, buprenorphine, and/or naltrexone. These drugs can ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and when monitored correctly by medical professionals can be safe to use.
Medication is typically only administered during the detox portion of addiction treatment, however. There may be exceptions in certain cases. For example, with a dual diagnosis, certain medications may be prescribed for the underlying mental health disorders such as SSRIs for depression.
How Are Co-Occurring Disorders Treated?
According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), nearly half of all Americans that seek substance abuse treatment have also been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. This means that people with a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder are more likely to struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder than those who do not have those disorders. Many people with mental health conditions may turn to substances to help alleviate their mental health symptoms.
People struggling with a dual diagnosis require a specific approach to addiction treatment. Since it is nearly impossible for dual diagnosis clients to treat one disorder successfully without addressing the other, it becomes a cycle of each condition flaring up. Unless both conditions are treated in tandem, recovery is unlikely for dual diagnosis clients.
Dual diagnosis treatment requires medical administration and different forms of behavioral therapy that work together to address the substance use disorder and their mental health disorder. It is important to be seen by dual diagnosis professionals who understand how each condition impacts and influences the other. By engaging in integrated treatment, the client with a dual diagnosis can find success in addiction treatment and recovery.
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How Long Does Addiction Treatment Last?
This is a common concern among addiction treatment clients. Knowing just how long completing addiction treatment may take is a difficult question to answer, considering the variable nature of addiction treatment as a whole.
There are typical lengths of time spent in addiction treatment. Inpatient treatment programs may last from 28 to 90 days, depending largely on the unique and individual needs of a client, as well as their progress throughout treatment. Without engaging in treatment for at least a month, it is unlikely that a client will be successful in their addiction treatment program. Clients struggling with the more severe substance use disorder will generally require longer stays in treatment in order to be successful.
Some residential programs can last for a few months, six months, or even a year. A large part of what determines the length of stay in addiction treatment programs is health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, sometimes insurance only covers a portion or a short stay in treatment, regardless of the needs of the client. Insurance plans vary from person to person, and it’s important to understand the benefits prior to attending addiction treatment.
The median amount of time spent by clients in addiction treatment programs is 45 days. While on the surface this may seem like a long time, it generally progresses quickly due to the amount of time spent actively working in therapy sessions and groups. It’s important to spend as much time as possible learning new life skills, coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention techniques to improve the likelihood of maintaining long-term recovery even after addiction treatment ends.
How Much Does Addiction Treatment Cost?
Many people struggling with addiction are worried about how much proper addiction treatment care may end up costing. Once again, the answer is different for everyone, depending on a variety of factors like what the client’s insurance company is, what they will cover, whether the treatment facility accepts that particular insurance, and the level of care that the client will require.
All of these different factors will create a wide range of what the cost of addiction treatment may be. Many addiction treatment centers will accept major insurance providers, but getting insurance verified by the facility is important prior to enrolling in the program.
Another substantial factor is the length of time required in treatment. Different insurance companies and policies may not cover the entire cost associated with addiction treatment. If the client does not have private health insurance or the policy will not cover treatment, most facilities have other payment options available as well. Different payment plans can help ease the toll out-of-pocket costs may take financially, but receiving proper addiction treatment is vital.
How Do I find the Addiction Treatment Program that’s Right for Me?
Finding the right addiction treatment program can prove to be challenging.
Luckily, there are certain aspects of treatment to look for to help separate the best programs from the others. By prioritizing the right treatment options to suit individual needs, the best and most effective addiction treatment program can be found.
Asking specific questions, and looking for certain criteria, can also be useful in finding the right program. Some things to keep in mind while searching for the right drug rehab and alcohol rehab programs are:
This is a common concern among addiction treatment patients. Knowing just how long completing addiction treatment may take is a difficult question to answer, considering the variable nature of addiction treatment as a whole.
There are typical lengths of time spent in addiction treatment. Inpatient treatment programs may last from 28 to 90 days, depending largely on the unique and individual needs of a client, as well as their progress throughout treatment. Without engaging in treatment for at least a month, it is unlikely that a patient will be successful in their addiction treatment program. People struggling with the more severe substance use disorder will generally require longer stays in treatment in order to be successful.
What is Holistic Addiction Treatment?
Holistic addiction treatment may refer to treatment that uses a variety of methods to treat a client from multiple angles. Addiction is a chronic and multifaceted disease that can affect many parts of a client’s life, including physical health, mental health, relationships, finances, and legal standing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) relays that addiction treatment needs to address multiple needs instead of focusing on just treating a substance abuse problem.
Many of the other issues in life can be the underlying causes of addiction. For instance, mental health problems can cause a person to self medicate with alcohol, which leads to an alcohol use disorder. If alcohol abuse is treated, the underlying mental health issues may lead right back to the alcohol use disorder. For treatment to be effective, multiple aspects of the client and their issues need to be addressed. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous also address a client’s spiritual needs of reconciliation and forgiveness as a part of addiction recovery.
Holistic addiction treatment may also refer to the use of alternative therapies in treatment. The therapy options available to someone who’s going through addiction treatment can be broken into two major categories: evidence-based therapies and alternative therapies.
An evidence-based approach to treatment involves a therapy that has been studied in a scientific setting and shown to be effective in a significant number of people. Examples of evidence-based therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy, family behavior therapy, contingency management, and motivational enhancement. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common therapy types in addiction treatment. CBT involves identifying the triggers to addiction, improving self-efficacy, and developing relapse prevention strategies.
Alternative therapies involve treatment approaches that haven’t been proven to be effective in scientific studies. Instead, they have been used in treatment settings, and some people say they have moderate to significant benefits in treating addiction. Examples of alternative therapies include yoga, art therapy, acupuncture, Tai Chi, and dance therapy. Though some people have used these therapy options and found success in addiction treatment, there is no evidence to suggest that they should be implemented in a wide range of settings for many people.
However, they can potentially increase a client’s engagement with treatment. For that reason, the involvement of alternative therapy options in treatment may not be a bad thing. Still, it’s important that the treatment plan is grounded in evidence-based approaches, and alternative therapies are kept as supplemental.
How Effective is Addiction Treatment?
Another concern many people have when considering addiction treatment is the effectiveness of the program. There are many discrepancies surrounding the statistics of success correlating to completing an addiction treatment program. So, does it work?
The short answer to the questions is yes. While many people can find success after completing just one round of addiction treatment, others may not be so fortunate. The success of recovery depends largely on both the quality of the program and the willingness of the client to put their full effort into their addiction treatment program and continuing on in recovery after rehab ends.
However, addiction is a chronic disease, and relapse is a serious threat for everyone in recovery. According to NIDA, around 40 to 60 percent of people who make it to sobriety will relapse. It’s important to know those rates are similar to other chronic diseases.
Type 1 diabetes causes symptoms to relapse 30 to 50 percent of the time, hypertension sees 50 to 70 percent relapse rates, and asthma also relapses in the 60 percent range. This also doesn’t mean that relapse is inevitable. Many people achieve lasting recovery after treatment. Others may relapse several times before they achieve life-long recovery.
Relapse is not the hallmark of failure. It does not mean that the client has failed or that the addiction treatment program has failed either. Relapsing is a fairly common occurrence in recovery and should be considered a normal aspect of the recovery process.
Suffering from a relapse may indicate that the relapse prevention plan needs alterations, or it can be an indicator that unhealthy behaviors have returned through lack of engagement in the recovery process.
The important thing to remember about a relapse is that it is not a permanent state of being. Getting help immediately following a relapse is recommended, and relapses can serve as learning experiences to prevent relapse in the future.
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https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/co-occurring from https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/co-occurring
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). How do other mental disorders coexisting with drug addiction affect drug addiction treatment? Retrieved April 06, 2018, from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/frequently-asked-questions/how-do-other-mental-disorders-coexisting-drug-add
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Nicotine). Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, June 11). How effective is drug addiction treatment? Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment