Substance Abuse Treatment Options

Posted in: Treatment

April 23, 2018

A circle therapy group

People and their problems are complex. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are various rehabilitation program types, styles, and treatment philosophies. What works for one person may not be as effective for another person. Part of that relates to the relatively new concepts of holistic treatment.

Those concepts take into account other mental and physical ailments that need to be addressed and treated in order for rehabilitation to be successful not just in the present but also over the long term.

For example, successful rehab for alcoholism may require treating Dual Diagnosis conditions, such as addiction that occurs alongside depression or another mental health disorder. Treatment philosophies can differ between rehabilitation programs, with some stressing cognitive therapies over pharmaceutical treatments, whereas others may weight their treatment plans more towards behavioral modification in highly structured circumstances. Some rehab programs utilize multiple approaches, adjusting the balance and focus of these approaches as treatment progresses.

Types of Rehab Programs

While rehabilitation programs are typically thought of in relation to substance abuse, there are other types of rehab programs as well. Sometimes courts order rehabilitation for some types of offenders, including those who may need assistance in reintegrating into society. These sorts of rehab programs often are built upon similar philosophical perspectives and can be organized in a similar fashion as substance abuse programs.

Here are some of the common rehab program types:

Residential Rehab Programs

Residential rehab programs are those in which the patient is housed during treatment. These are voluntary but participation is also often court-mandated. Patients are supposed to remain in the facility full-time. Some are locked-door programs, with patients being restrained from leaving. Others do not interfere with a client intent on leaving, though they may forbid return. Typically, these intensive rehab programs are 28 days in duration; however, there are some that, when necessary, do last longer.

Halfway Houses or Sober Living Houses

Halfway houses or sober living houses are aftercare options for patients after they have completed a more traditional rehab program. While patients are residents, they are allowed a good amount of freedom in a sober living home. They are able to go to work or school and, with permission, able to participate in certain recreational activities.

Outpatient Treament

Outpatient treatment is a type of rehab program in which the patient lives in their own home and attends to the daily routines of life, such as work, school, and family obligations, while going to the rehab facility at regular intervals for treatment. The intervals vary according to need, and can be daily, weekly, or on whatever schedule the mental health or substance abuse professional deems necessary.

Community-Based Programs

Community-based programs are those that are set within the community, rather than at a more formal facility. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one example of this type of rehab program. Storefront drop-in centers are another. Many of these community-based programs, such as AA or Narcotics Anonymous are based on the 12-step treatment model.

Treatment Approaches

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “no single treatment is appropriate for everyone.” Therefore, there are a variety of treatment approaches in use today. Often, treatment approaches are used in conjunction with each other. However, professionals are as varied as the rest of us and may hold slightly different treatment philosophies that value one approach over another. When using multiple approaches, the balance between the approaches is often continuously evaluated and adjusted according to the progress of treatment or changes in the treatment needs of the individual. These are some of the most common treatment approaches:

  • Behavioral modification has its primary focus on controlling behavior. This is a strong element of residential treatment, as being in-house allows for that. Part of the behavioral control in such settings is achieved by highly structured, even rigid, routines.
  • Pharmaceutical treatment is sometimes used as complementary treatment in a rehab setting. For example, it may be used to help relieve symptoms of a co-existing condition so that the primary condition can be more successfully addressed.
  • Cognitive therapies are those that focus on conscious mental processes. They seek to eliminate unhealthy or nonproductive thought processes, to replace negative thought processes with those that are productive and positive, and to help incorporate coping strategies into daily living, providing alternative solutions for the problems and stresses of life.
  • Holistic treatment involves rehabilitation programs that focus on the whole individual, not just the presenting or primary problem. This approach acknowledges and actively attempts to treat other conditions that may impede rehab success. For example, the rehab treatment plan for a recovering heroin addict may also include dental treatment if during the addition period teeth were neglected and are currently painful, as chronic pain may contribute to a relapse. Holistic treatment may also employ a variety of natural activities that support a healthier lifestyle, such as yoga, meditation, art therapy or outdoor activities.

Success in Rehabilitation

Success in rehabilitation depends a great deal on a variety of factors. In the case of particularly pernicious substance addiction, as is often found with methamphetamine and alcohol, it may take multiple rehabilitation attempts before long-term success is achieved.

Sometimes a person just isn’t quite ready to succeed, as is frequently the case when participation in a rehabilitation program comes from outside of the person, such as a court order or pressure from family and friends. Sometimes success is a matter of finding the right balance of treatment approaches, which can be a very individual thing.

A person who is highly motivated from within himself to succeed will generally find a good relationship with treatment professionals. If this person has found a rehabilitation program featuring treatment approaches that meet his individual treatment needs, he can expect to reach his goals. It may take some time and there may be a few tumbles on the way, but eventually, with continued effort, rehabilitation will work for most self-motivated people.

Intervening With Long-Term Success in Mind

Rehabilitation programs are an important part of recovery and successful reintegration into a healthier, more productive life. Inner motivation offers the best drive for achieving long-term success in sobriety.

Therefore, the best types of interventions result in the person herself realizing the need for treatment, rather than participating because of pressure from family.

For example, a husband may participate in drug rehab strictly because his wife has said she and their children will leave the home if he does not, not because he has any real desire to give up his substance of choice. Sometimes achieving that inner-directed desire for rehabilitation requires professional help, such as the type of assistance an experienced intervention professional can offer.

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