Comparing Three Addiction Treatment Methods

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Everyone who suffers from addiction is affected by it differently. That’s why there are numerous forms of addiction treatment out there. This can often make the experience of seeking treatment seem daunting and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know which treatments you need or where to start.

When you or a loved one is ready to receive drug addiction treatment, it helps to know what your options are, and how these treatments work.

Here’s a breakdown of the three main treatments used for substance use disorders and addiction and how you can contact The Haven today to begin your recovery journey.

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What Are the Three Main Methods for Addiction Treatment?

To experience long-term recovery from addiction, you must treat every single aspect of your addiction in full.

This means addressing physical dependency, which is your physical desire, need, and reliance on drugs or alcohol, along with the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you suddenly stop using these substances. It means addressing compulsive behaviors that arose from your addiction and any other related behavioral problems. It also means addressing the underlying causes of your addiction, such as a mental health condition, stress, trauma, or physical health problem.

These three treatments for addiction can address all these components, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Medication for Withdrawal

After you become addicted to (or physically dependent on) drugs or alcohol, you will start to experience withdrawal symptoms within hours of taking your last dose or drink. These symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and life-threatening, depending on the number of drugs you’ve been using regularly. Medications can help minimize your symptoms during withdrawal, along with the risk of complications like seizures and heart failure.

Treatments that help you get safely through withdrawal are known as detox treatments. Detox usually takes place in an inpatient or hospital-like environment where medical staff can closely monitor you while you go through withdrawal. This can help you stay safe and comfortable and avoid complications.

Detox doesn’t always require hospitalization and may also take place in an outpatient setting. For instance, if withdrawing from benzodiazepines, your doctor may put you on a tapering schedule where your doses get gradually reduced over several weeks or months. If your symptoms are stable and relatively minor, you can perform your usual daily activities while also receiving therapy at a drug and alcohol rehab center.

All detox treatments are usually personalized for each patient based on factors, including medical history, metabolism, and nutrition. It’s critical to remember that this particular treatment is only the first stage of addiction treatment and only addresses physical dependence on drugs and alcohol. It will not help you stay sober long-term.

Medication for Relapse Prevention

Certain substances like opioids and alcohol can trigger strong cravings after you stop using them, making it more difficult for you to stay on track with recovery. These cravings can be strong enough to make you relapse despite your best intentions and motivation to stay sober. This doesn’t make you a weak person—it’s just how these drugs are made to interact with your brain chemistry.

People receiving treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction have the option of using medications that can effectively reduce their cravings. Some medications produce specific effects that reduce your desire to drink or use opioids. All these medications are known as relapse prevention medications.

Opioid relapse prevention medications include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Buprenorphine and methadone reduce cravings and minimize all other opioid withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, which means you won’t experience euphoria and other pleasurable effects if you use an opioid.

Alcohol relapse prevention medications include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. Acamprosate reduces your desire to drink and can minimize alcohol withdrawal symptoms in those who have a severe dependency. Disulfiram helps you stay sober by causing unpleasant effects like vomiting, heart palpitations, and difficulty breathing if you drink any alcohol while using this medication. Naltrexone blocks the effects of alcohol so you won’t feel its pleasurable effects if you have a drink.

Relapse prevention medications can be only prescribed by doctors who are licensed and trained to do so. Many of these doctors work at drug and alcohol rehab centers, though some family physicians may also have proper licensing. In some instances, you may be required to meet certain eligibility criteria to receive these medications, such as having a history of previous addiction treatment.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is imperative as it helps you change harmful attitudes and behaviors related to drug use. Many people think that substance abuse treatment is mainly about helping people get through withdrawal and become clean, but without behavioral therapy, these individuals will fall back into their previous routines and resume behaviors associated with addiction.

According to the NIDA, behavioral therapy also helps you develop healthy life skills and stay engaged with your addiction treatment plan. For example, if you were using cocaine to stay focused at work and to relieve stress, your behavioral therapy may revolve around teaching you how to focus and reduce stress using exercise and meditation instead of cocaine.

Common behavioral therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, motivational interviewing, family therapy, and support groups.

CBT teaches you how to recognize, avoid, and cope with situations that may lead to drug use, while contingency management involves giving you rewards when you demonstrate positive behaviors, like abstinence. Motivational interviewing uses techniques that motivate you to stay sober, while family therapy helps you rebuild and strengthen relationships with loved ones affected by your addiction. Support groups and group therapy like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous encourage peers to help people in recovery stay on course with treatment.

Which Drug Addiction Treatment Will I Need?

The type of treatment you need depends on many different factors—there is not one specific treatment that can “cure” anyone of addiction. Generally, most people need detox and behavioral therapy to treat addiction in full both physically and mentally and/or behaviorally. At this time, relapse prevention medications are available only to treat alcohol and opioid dependence, so not everyone can benefit from them.

There are countless therapies and treatment programs for addiction. The great thing about addiction treatment is that it is usually always customized for you based on your unique situation and challenges as they relate to addiction. Your doctors and therapists can discuss all your treatment options and help you choose the best therapies before you join a rehab program.

The key to recovering from addiction in full is receiving comprehensive treatment that includes both detox and behavioral therapy. Without both of these treatments, you’ll face a high risk of relapse and most likely need additional treatment later on. When exploring your options for rehab centers, make sure you choose a facility that understands the importance of detox and behavioral therapy.

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Are There Other Types of Addiction Treatment Available?

Though the NIDA suggests that the best type of therapy for addiction is a combination of medication and behavioral therapy, these are not the only treatments available, and they may not be ideal for everyone. For instance, some rehab centers offer highly effective natural and alternative treatments that do not involve medications. Herbal and nutritional supplements, yoga, massage, and acupuncture are commonly used at rehab centers that focus on natural treatments.

The best treatment program for you will be one that addresses the underlying causes of your addiction and that aligns with your personal goals and preferences as they relate to your recovery. Don’t hesitate to review all your possible options when searching for a drug and alcohol rehab center.

What Are the Principles of Effective Addiction Treatment?

The NIDA states that the following 13 principles should form the basis of any effective addiction treatment program. These principles are developed based on scientific research conducted on addiction treatments since the mid-1970s.

  1. Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  2. No single treatment is right for everyone.
  3. People must have quick access to treatment.
  4. Effective treatment addresses all the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use.
  5. Staying in treatment long enough is critical (the NIDA recommends treatment programs that last at least 90 days).
  6. Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
  7. Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies.
  8. Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
  9. Treatment should address other possible mental health conditions (known as co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis).
  10. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment.
  11. Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective.
  12. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
  13. Treatment programs should test patients for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases, as well as teach them about steps they can take to reduce their risk of these illnesses.

How To Contact The Haven for Addiction Treatment

At The Haven, we offer a wide variety of detox and behavioral services for those who need help recovering from addiction. We’ll be more than happy to discuss all your treatment options and develop a customized addiction treatment plan just for you.

Don’t let addiction affect or control your life. Contact us today at (561) 328-8627 to learn more about our many available addiction treatment programs.

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