Recovery is a Process: Treatment for Addiction and Beyond
When people think about addiction, they’re often preoccupied with the most negative aspects of this compulsive behavior – the harm, betrayal, and dangers associated with drug and alcohol abuse. But what about the possibility of recovery? Treatment for addiction can go a long way to helping addicts recover, regain their self-esteem, and reintegrate into society. September is National Recovery Month in the US. This countrywide observance highlights not only the treatment side of recovery, but also celebrates those who take steps to get clean and stay clean.
Different Treatment Programs
There are multiple ways to tackle addiction and no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Even people addicted to the same substance may have different reasons for why and how they use. This is why every addict needs to find a tailored approach that suits his or her needs.
The first big choice is whether to opt for an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. With inpatient treatment, the patient lives at the rehab facility, whereas outpatient treatment allows the patient to return home after attending therapy during the day. With outpatient treatment, you’re allowed more flexibility and freedom, and don’t have to take time off from work. However, it’s up to the patient to monitor and control their behavior outside the rehab facility: they are responsible for avoiding triggers that could lead to relapse. With inpatient treatment, the patient signs up for a specific period of treatment – typically a 30-, 60- or 90-day program. There’s more structure to the treatment, as well as more support from medical and psychiatric professionals.
In either case, a vital step to recovery is detoxing. It can be a dangerous endeavor, especially for those who are not only mentally addicted but also physically dependent on the substances they abuse. This is why some addicts opt for inpatient treatment: one of the many advantages is medical supervision and assistance during the detoxification phase.
There is some debate as to how to handle the differences between alcohol addiction and drug addiction. On the one hand, alcohol is available legally, making it easily accessible for most adults. It’s also more socially acceptable, and many alcoholics struggle to admit that they even have a drinking problem at first. Illegal drugs, on the other hand, are perceived to be far more dangerous and detrimental. Ultimately, however, addiction is addiction, no matter the substance. Treatment for addiction isn’t about simply focusing on what you’re addicted to, but also the why and how of addiction. As we said earlier, treatment should be tailored to patient’s specific needs and problems – this is why we offer dual diagnosis and treatment at Beachside Rehab, for example. Part of the recovery process is understanding your own addiction.
Treatment is Forever
In a goal-oriented society of quick fixes, it’s easy to expect treatment to be a once-off experience that will eliminate addiction permanently. This is why patients can become disheartened and think treatment doesn’t work when they hear about relapses. But it’s not that simple. Addiction is something that must be managed over time, and a holistic approach is often helpful. After treatment, it’s important to keep working at sobriety. Maintain healthy habits, like good diet and exercise. Find substance-free ways of dealing with stress: keep a journal, talk to friends, meditate, or express yourself artistically. Thinking about recovery as a life-long process isn’t a negative. You’ll find that sober living is more enjoyable and rewarding, and less stressful and guilt-ridden, than your times as an addict.