05 April 2017

Addiction Treatment – What Are the Options?

Addiction is a chronic illness that has complex underlying reasons and causes. It is, essentially, a mental disorder, and in order to be successful, an addiction treatment needs to address both the addiction itself and its underlying causes. There are many different approaches to treating addiction, so it is important to find the treatment method best suited to you. We will look at some of the options available, and what they involve.

What Is the First Stage of Addiction Treatment?

For any addiction, the first stage in successful treatment is detoxing, or withdrawal. This still applies to non-chemical addictions such as gambling and gaming as there can still be psychological symptoms from their withdrawal. While these are not as potentially life-threatening as the physical withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and most drugs, they can still have a serious impact on the addict.

For withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, in particular, it is of vital importance that there is trained medical assistance available in case of any serious side effects occurring. While some individuals do go through detox by themselves, it is much safer to have medical supervision on hand for this stage, just in case any complications should arise.

What Is the Next Stage of Addiction Treatment?

The next stage of treatment and recovery depends very much on what treatment method would be best for the individual. Addiction occurs for a broad range of reasons, and every addict is an individual, so effective addiction treatment is not a ‘one size fits all’ model, rather it should be tailored to the individual to achieve the best results. However, all treatment programmes will include some sort of rehabilitative therapy, which has two goals. Firstly, to help the addict understand the psychological and emotional issues which led to their addiction, and secondly to help them learn coping strategies to prevent them from relapsing.

Methods used in rehabilitative therapy can include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT: This is one of the most effective counselling methods used in treating addiction. It is goal-orientated and seeks to help individuals to manage their behaviour by changing the way they behave and think about their addiction. CBT can be used to treat all kinds of addiction.
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy: This therapy is similar to CBT, but also helps people to accept who they are without judgement at the same time as changing the harmful behaviour. It has an element of meditation involved and is particularly successful in treating eating disorders.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: This type of therapy seeks to help people to understand deep-rooted feelings and associations they might have with their past. For addicts, this can help them to understand the reasons behind their addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy is really helpful in treating addiction. By sharing experiences within a group, addicts realise that they are not alone in their addiction, and members of the group are able to support one another. Being part of a group also gives a level of accountability; if a group member relapses, they are not just letting down themselves, but are letting down the whole group. For many addicts who have limited feelings of self-worth, this can be a powerful motivator.
  • Music and Art Therapy: These give recovering addicts an important way of expressing their feelings – something that many addicts struggle with verbally. They can also be helpful later in the recovery journey in preventing relapses.
  • Nutrition Therapy: Many addicts have neglected themselves for extended periods of time and can be malnourished. Nutrition therapy helps to ensure that recovering addicts have a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet, which can help in their recovery.
  • Exercise Therapy: Again, appropriate exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle and successful recovery. Recovering addicts are sometimes, where applicable, encouraged to use exercise as an alternative to addictive behaviour.

These are the main types of therapy used to aid recovery from addiction. Which specific therapies are used will depend on the personal circumstances and needs of the person undergoing treatment. Therapy is also available for the families of addicts, as alcohol and drug addiction has an enormous impact on the families of those who suffer from it. It is important that they get the help and support needed to cope and provide support for their loved one.

What is the 12-Step Programme?

Many people have heard of the 12-step programme for treating addiction and dependency, but what is it?

The 12-step programme was developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous to help their members to come to terms with their addiction and aid their recovery. The principles behind the programme are now widely used in treating all types of addiction. The process involves going through the following fundamental stages, which are then further broken down into the twelve steps; the stages are:

  • admitting that you cannot control your addictive or compulsive behaviour.
  • recognising the existence of a ‘higher power’ that can provide strength
  • examining, and recognising, past mistakes
  • making amends for these past mistakes
  • learning to live your life with a new behavioural code
  • helping others to also recover from addiction.

How Will I Know What Therapy Is Best for Me?

If you would like more information or advice on choosing a treatment method, then please contact us at UKAT today. Our fully trained counsellors can explain the treatments we provide and help you decide what would be best for you.

Sources:

  1. (Drug Abuse) Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
  2. (UKAT) Addiction Treatment

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