It’s been a tough call to make, but you’re finally ready to get substance abuse treatment for yourself or your loved one.
You’ve made the right decision – even if things seem to be improving, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 40 to 60 percent of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol will experience relapse. That rate is similar to relapse rates for type 1 diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. Like these conditions, substance abuse often cycles through remission and relapse, and requires regular or ongoing care and management. Fortunately, there is a wide range of treatment options for clients at every level of care.
Types of Treatment
The first step to quitting drugs or alcohol is to detoxify, or detox. This involves stopping use of the substance and letting the body go through withdrawal to reset itself to a drug-free state. Depending on the substance, this process can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, and it is best performed under medical supervision. Inpatient medical detox facilities can help keep clients safe, stable, and comfortable while they go through withdrawal. Residential facilities can also supply a variety of medications that can reduce the severity of withdrawal.
After detoxing, clients are ready to begin a treatment program to help them build a new, sober life. Some clients may also receive additional ongoing medication that reduces cravings, blocks the effects of drugs, and promotes abstinence. Treatment programs can be inpatient, in which clients live on site in residential facilities, or outpatient, in which clients live in their own homes and come in to the facility for treatment.
If clients are not yet ready to live on their own, are likely to return to substance use, or have other medical conditions that require ongoing management, then they are excellent candidates for residential care. This level of care features around-the-clock medical monitoring, many hours a day of intensive individual and group therapy, and coaching on social and life skills. Nutritional counseling and fitness training may also be available to help clients rebuild their bodies after having been depleted by long periods of drug use.
In this time, clients also receive a full medical workup, as they may have co-occurring physical or mental conditions that also require treatment.
In the case of a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and a psychiatric disorder, integrated treatment offers the best chances for success. Integrated treatment combines treatment for both conditions under one roof, with the same therapist or team of therapists treating each client for everything. Research shows that integrated treatment is twice as effective at promoting one-year sobriety as traditional programs, which treat each disorder separately.
Other options for clients who would benefit from housing support including therapeutic communities and sober living communities. Unlike short-term residential programs, which seek to stabilize the client for rapid transition to outpatient care, these long-term treatment plans provide a structured, therapeutic living environment that is dedicated to supporting substance-free living.
Once clients are ready to live on their own or with family, they can continue receiving treatment via outpatient care. This can consist of anything from a booster session once a month to several hours a day of intensive treatment five days a week. Types of therapy might include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which helps clients identify and modify their maladaptive thoughts, behaviors, and coping strategies that fuel substance abuse
- Motivational enhancement, which is a brief series of interviews that helps clients find their own inner motivations to get and remain clean
- Contingency management/motivational incentives, which offer prizes, vouchers, or cash rewards for attending meetings or passing drug tests
- Twelve-Step programs, which teach clients that their addiction is out of their control, that abstinence is the only answer, and that regularly attending meetings and participating in activities is the best path to abstinence
- Family therapy, which helps teach families how to best support their loved one, including rewarding positive behaviors and changes, as well as teaching clients how their addictive behaviors have hurt their loved ones
Questions to Ask
When looking for the right rehab clinic, there are a number of factors to keep in mind.
- What treatment methods does the clinic use? Consider whether its treatment types are right for you – for example, if you have social phobia, then a clinic that only offers group therapy may not be right for you. Make sure that the clinic you choose uses scientifically grounded treatment methods. Some clinics might offer experimental and unproven treatment methods, such as ultra-rapid detox (which NIDA reports doesn’t work) that can be ineffective or even dangerous.
- What is the duration of treatment? NIDA reports that most people need at least three months of treatment in order to have a real chance of reducing or quitting substance use. Find out about aftercare programs, which provide ongoing support and counseling to prevent relapse after formal treatment has ended.
- Does the program customize treatment to meet the individual needs of each client? Programs should take a holistic approach and treat the whole client, taking into account specific needs that might arise as a result of gender, ethnicity, culture, or age. In addition to treating substance abuse and mental health disorders, programs should also take into account other medical needs, job or parenting skills training, family therapy, and legal support. As the client’s needs change, so should the treatment program.
- Does the clinic provide specialized services? Many clinics offer services targeted to help specific populations, such as pregnant women, LGBT individuals, or people of faith. Figure out what your special needs may be, if any. Find groups that offer treatment that is philosophically appealing to you – for example, an atheist may not benefit as well from faith-based 12-Step programs, many of which require the acknowledgement of a higher power.
- Is the clinic covered by your insurance? Get in touch with the clinic to find out which carriers they accept and what services are covered. You can also contact your insurance company directly to find out about services and treatment programs.
Finding a Treatment Center
When it comes to finding a treatment center, there are various resources available to help guide you to the right treatment option for you. Foundations Recovery Network hosts a variety of treatment centers across the nation that are ready to provide you or your loved one with comprehensive dual diagnosis care. In addition, you could seek help from the following resources:
- Check your health insurance company’s website. They should let you search for programs near you.
- If there is a nearby medical school or psychology university, they may be accepting patients to work with student therapists at low costs.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find facilities that treat substance abuse and mental health disorders. You can also call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to get a treatment referral.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is ready to help 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It can also offer help with alcohol and drug abuse, and give referrals to nearby treatment providers.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a nonprofit support organization that can get you in touch with providers. Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday 10 am – 6 pm, email [email protected] or find a local NAMI branch.
- The American Psychological Association has a psychologist locator tool.
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a treatment provider locator tool.
- The National Association of Social Workers has a locator tool.
- The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Society of Addiction Medicine both have treatment provider locator tools.
- The American Psychiatric Association has list of tools for finding treatment.
- The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has a helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE (378-4373).
- Mental Health America is a nonprofit support group with a list of programs and resources.
Our skilled admissions coordinators are standing by to take your call. We can give you a free assessment of your insurance benefits and walk you through the admissions process step by step.
We’re ready to answer your questions about treatment types, payment plans, insurance coverage, and more. Call today to find out more.
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.