Addiction is not just one disease, it is many diseases. Different drugs cause different addictions and each individual has a different relationship with that substance and a different reason they fell under its spell. You wouldn’t treat two completely different infections with the same antibiotic – one might be resistance to that treatment – and the exact same reasoning applies to the treatment of addiction. Each addiction needs its own tailor-made treatment. As such getting your treatment approach right is incredibly important. Many say that self-help rehabilitation has a poor rate of recovery and that’s no surprise. Without having a specialist individualized plan – one may be treating their addiction with the wrong drug! So what are the different approaches and how do you know which is best for you?
Detoxing is one of the first and most important steps in your process of recovery. This is an unpleasant and often painful process, with symptoms of withdrawal ranging from a fever to hallucinations dependent on the drug you are detoxing from. Helpfully doctors are able to prescribe medications that reduce the burden of these symptoms and can help you land into the withdrawal process without some of the unpleasant effects of detox.
Other medications can be prescribed to slowly wean an individual off a drug. For instance, opiate addiction can be tackled with methadone – a substitute drug taken every day that should reduce cravings.
Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be incredibly useful during the rehabilitation process. As mentioned above – the story of you and addiction is unique and so needs a unique therapy. Each therapist knows how to talk and overcome the root cause of many addiction problems. This is achieved in therapy sessions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has a strong evidence base and has been shown to work effectively in all sorts of drug addictions.
Inpatient vs outpatient
Another important choice to make on the treatment approach is whether you want an inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatments have a number of advantages including 24/7 support and the opportunity to focus on breaking the cycle without the distractions of the outside world. However outpatient treatment may suit some that have a good support system or those who prefer a 12 step approach. Outpatient is often cheaper but patients are still subject to the same stresses that led to addiction in their lives. They are still surrounded by the same people and environment that maintained that addiction and so change is often slower but if done correctly can be lasting.
As mentioned above – choosing your approach is dependent on your individual circumstances and journey. It’s difficult to know exactly what is best for you if you don’t have an intimate knowledge of all the options (of which a few are discussed above) and which work for which people. As such its important to get in contact with a specialist rehabilitation clinic – of which there is a number scattered across the United States.