Enrolling in Treatment
Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a chronic physical and mental illness that will not relent until the addict seeks help. The path of addiction leads to relinquishing control over one’s life… that’s why enrolling in treatment can help. Cravings for alcohol or drugs will be a constant demand on an addict and they will become compulsive users. Addiction is very difficult to stop on one’s own because it affects not only the body but also the way the brain functions. The more an addict consumes the drug of their choice, the more their brain will adapt to the chemical processes that these drugs produce. Addiction affects learning, memory, reward, motivation, behavior control, cognition and decision making. These areas of the brain will stop functioning normally and the intake, processing and expression of them will be altered, leaving the addict powerless to control himself or his environment.
Addiction will affect every area of an addict’s life and treatment will have to address all of these areas. Most treatment programs offer a wide range of effective therapies that will help to resolve the issues that an addict faces. Enrolling in treatment is one of the most beneficial and effective ways to help with these issues.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about two and one-half million people annually receive treatment for alcohol or drug abuse at a hospital, mental illness facility or a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center. Research shows conclusive evidence that treatment to stop drug or alcohol addiction, avoid relapse and begin a new life is possible. Criteria to follow for treatment should include:
- Treatment should be given according to individual needs, medical history and drug/alcohol abuse.
- Treatment should address brain function and behavior.
- Remaining in treatment for the appropriate amount of time is crucial to recovery.
- Individual and group counseling and other behavioral therapies should be given.
- Medications may be given when needed to assist the patient during detox and recovery.
- A continual assessment and modifications of each individual’s progress should be made.
- Drug use should be monitored during treatment.
- Other biological and psychological illness should also be treated.
Enrolling in Addiction Treatment
The first thing the staff at the rehab center will do is gather medical and other information about the patient. A physical exam and psychological profile may be necessary, and then an assessment and treatment options will be decided that best meet the needs of the patient. There are different programs suited to individual needs and they include: medically assisted detox, inpatient rehabilitation, partial hospitalization and outpatient rehabilitation. Other issues such as medical insurance, legal, family support and employment are also taken into consideration.
After the patient is enrolled and has settled in they will begin the detoxification process. They will be monitored during detox to see how the body is responding to the treatment. Medications will assist the patient in eliminating or reducing withdrawal symptoms. The patient will be slowly weaned off of the drugs or alcohol to reduce withdrawal flare-ups and give the body a chance to readjust itself. Withdrawal symptoms will depend on what substance was used, for how long and at what dosage. Once the detox process is complete the patient will begin other therapies.
Psychological counseling will help to uncover how the addiction started and how to prevent a relapse. New thinking and behavior strategies will be taught so the patient can cope with triggers, cravings, emotional upsets and other problems. Behavior modification therapy will teach the patient new coping skills to address stress, difficult people and situations in life. Cognitive therapy will unearth negative programming and replace it with positive, productive thoughts and behavior.
Enjoying new activities such as nutrition, exercise, prayer, meditation, massage, dancing and more will soothe and strengthen the body, mind and spirit. 12-step programs and group therapy provide a forum to share experiences and help each other stay focused on healing and avoiding relapse. Family counseling will provide assistance in healing and strengthening family ties and building new, happy memories. The patient should continue with long-term counseling to remain strong and substance free and enjoy a productive life.