What Are My Options for Substance Addiction Treatment?
Recognizing that you're ready for drug or alcohol addiction treatment is a huge first step, but deciding which type of treatment you need can feel overwhelming. Treatment for addiction is a personal decision, with the best treatment option varying depending on your situation. Compare the treatment options and understand how each type works to find one that fits your lifestyle.
Just like everyone's addiction story is different, the best approach to addiction treatment can also vary. Your options range from self-help groups to intensive, inpatient programs, depending on how much support you need. Here’s a look at some treatment options available in many areas.
An inpatient treatment program is an intensive option where you spend 24 hours a day in a treatment facility. The programs can range in length from around a few weeks to a few months or longer. It's a highly structured treatment option, often with very little contact with people outside the treatment facility. You might be limited in what you can do, and you often don't have a lot of choice in how you spend your time.
Inpatient treatment programs are often individualized and include a variety of treatment components under one roof. This might include:
- Medication treatment
- Individual and group therapy
- Support groups
- Medical supervision
- Treatment for other related conditions
Inpatient rehab is often ideal for people with chronic addictions requiring intensive treatment or those with co-occurring conditions that also need to be addressed. You stay in the facility 24/7 during the treatment period, so you won't be able to work or take care of your family while you receive treatment. However, being in the treatment facility full time keeps you away from triggers that might cause you to relapse.
Outpatient rehab offers similar comprehensive services with different treatment options, but you continue living at home. You might be able to continue working and taking care of other responsibilities. How much time you spend in the outpatient rehab program depends on your situation and the type of treatment you receive. Some options are day programs where you spend the day at the treatment facility but go home at night.
This option is better suited for people with mild addictions since it doesn't fully keep you away from temptations or potential triggers. It allows you to continue working and taking care of your family, but you might also have to work harder to keep from falling back into old habits. Some people go through outpatient treatment as the next step after completing inpatient treatment.
Various types of therapy and counseling can help you deal with the underlying causes of your addiction. A substance abuse counselor can help you identify what led you to abuse drugs or alcohol, for example. This type of treatment can also help you learn coping strategies to help you avoid drugs and alcohol and learn how to deal with triggers.
Detox is a common part of the addiction treatment process. It involves slowly and safely withdrawing from the substance you use to get it out of your body with medical supervision. This is often necessary for people with moderate to severe addictions. Some of the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, while others are life-threatening, depending on the substance you're misusing.
Detox might involve medication that helps the body deal with the withdrawal symptoms, with those medications being gradually decreased. You'll typically need additional treatment because detox only focuses on getting the substance out of your system and does not treat the causes of your addiction.
For some people, medication can help with addiction. Medication can serve different purposes, depending on your needs. For example, some medication options can help decrease your cravings for your substance of choice or help control your addictive behaviors. Certain medications can block the effects the substance you use has on your body to make it less appealing. You might take medication that helps you with your mood if that's causing you to rely on drugs or alcohol.
This option works well if there's a medication that can address your specific need. For example, if your cravings for the substance are strong, you might take a prescription that reduces those cravings. You'll typically engage in other treatment options as well, such as therapy.
Support groups, such as the popular 12-step program, surround you with other people going through a similar journey to help you break your addictions. The idea is to attend meetings regularly where you have shared experiences and complete specific activities to help in your recovery. You typically use these programs along with other treatment options, rather than as your sole form of addiction treatment. This option might be good for minor addictions if you want to do it yourself, or as a follow-up to other treatment options.
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Your circumstances help you determine which type of addiction treatment is best for you. Many people use multiple treatment methods together, or you might start with an intensive treatment type and move on to options such as sober living or support groups as you progress through recovery.
The severity of your addiction is often one of the deciding factors for treatment type. If your addiction is minor, therapy and an outpatient program might be the key. If you're battling severe addiction or you've had ongoing addiction issues you can't beat, you might choose a more intensive inpatient program.
Your responsibilities can also play a role in your decision. Not everyone can leave their families, work or other responsibilities behind for weeks or months to complete an inpatient program. In those cases, you might choose multiple options you can do while living at home, such as therapy, outpatient treatment and a 12-step program.
Having a professional evaluation done by an addiction specialist can help you decide how to proceed. The specialist looks at your situation and recommends a treatment plan that offers the highest chance of success.
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