The most common drug addiction treatment options include:
Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. These centers offer 24-hour comprehensive, structured care including safe housing, schedules, a substance-free environment, and medical monitoring. The first step of inpatient treatment is detoxification. Then therapy and other services are introduced. The program typically lasts between 30 to 90 days, sometimes longer.
Unlike inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment does not involve 24-hour care. Instead, outpatient programs organize treatment sessions around the patient’s schedule. These programs also vary in length, the types of services offered, and levels of intensity. The overall goal of outpatient treatment is to provide counseling, support, and education in a flexible environment.
Residential treatment centers (RTC) are inpatient programs that offer 30, 60, or 90-day treatment plans. While an individual is recovering at an RTC, they participate in a variety of different treatments and behavioral therapies. These may include the 12 steps, interpersonal therapy, medication-assisted therapy (MAT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), among others.
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is the most comprehensive level of care for people struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD). PHP is only available outside of an inpatient, outpatient, or residential treatment facility. All of the treatment services take place at the facility. However, patients return home to eat, rest, and sleep.
After someone undergoes addiction treatment, there is always a chance for relapse. So, relapse prevention is used after treatment to help prevent this from happening. Most relapse prevention strategies focus on building cognitive-behavioral skills and coping strategies. Cognitive behavioral skills refer to a person’s ability to recognize their thought patterns, which influence emotions and behaviors.
Detoxification is when the body is adjusting to functioning without drugs or alcohol. When an individual is detoxing, they will also experience minor to severe withdrawal symptoms. Due to this, medical professionals do not recommend detoxing or withdrawing from a substance without proper medical supervision.
You should never quit “cold turkey” because withdrawal symptoms can become very severe. In some cases, seizures and death can occur (depending on the substance).
Doctors treat substance withdrawal based on the severity of a patient’s symptoms. Severe cases may require hospitalization and temporary 24-hour monitoring.
SMART Recovery, which means “Self-Management And Recovery Training,” is a peer community that offers support to people struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD). The primary goal of these support groups is to teach people how to move forward after they overcome an addiction.
During treatment, whether at an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization facility, patients also go through a series of therapies. Depending on needs, treatment plans may include a combination of behavioral therapy, medications, interviews, group therapy, and natural therapies (e.g., yoga or meditation).
Common therapies include, but are not limited to:
In terms of substance use disorders (addiction), CBT is especially useful in treating people with co-occurring disorders. This refers to when someone has both a mental health condition and substance use disorder (SUD). The basic principle of CBT is understanding the connection between how you feel, what you think, and how you behave.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a common type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It focuses on helping people develop new skills to manage harmful emotions. It also teaches people how to build healthy relationships and reduce conflicts.
Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) involves the use of medications that help reduce the negative side effects caused by detoxification. Doctors may prescribe medicines to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Only certain substance use disorders (SUD) require medications.
Biofeedback therapists help patients control different functions in their bodies. Strategies typically include relaxation exercises, such as breathing training, and other similar practices. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health condition, biofeedback therapy can teach you coping skills to help manage these conditions.
Contingency management (evidence based therapy) is a behavioral therapy that rewards or reinforces a patient when they provide evidence of positive changes in behavior.
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) focuses on using a patient’s ambitions to build an actionable, goal-oriented recovery strategy. In terms of addiction treatment, it is often used to promote change in problem-drinkers and people abusing substances.
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a short-term psychotherapy treatment that helps people identify and cope with negative feelings and thought patterns. Therapists then help patients replace these thoughts with productive and healthier beliefs.
The Matrix Model is a beneficial framework for those struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD). For example, if you are addicted to a stimulant (e.g., cocaine or meth), this treatment provides techniques that can help you achieve and sustain abstinence. Patients meet with trained therapists to learn critical information about relapse and self-help techniques. They are also monitored for drug use through frequent urine testing.
Experiential therapy is a relaxing therapeutic strategy that involves physical activities and expressive tools. These may include arts and crafts, music therapy, caring for animals, role-playing, and guided imagery. Depending on patient needs, these activities may be beneficial in boosting energy levels and creating healthier habits during the treatment process.
Holistic addiction therapy involves non-medicinal recovery techniques that complement traditional treatments. Holistic therapy helps connect the mind, body, and spirit. Common strategies include meditation, yoga, nutritional therapy, massages, acupuncture, exercise, and recreational therapies.
Some treatment plans for substance use disorders (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) require medication-assisted therapy (MAT). In these cases, patients will undergo a series of treatments and therapies, along with the use of medications for a short period. These medications reduce the harmful effects of withdrawal and help prevent relapse after treatment is complete.
Common types of addiction medications include:
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