Know Your Type: 5 Time-Tested Approaches to Treat Drug Addiction

Drugs and drinking

Many people think of drug addiction as being accustomed to using both legal and illegal substances. Some see it as merely a lack of willpower or ethical nature. But there is much more to that. Also called substance use disorder, drug addiction is a disease that impacts a person’s mental state and behavior. When you’re addicted to alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and other forms, you may continue using them despite the potential harm.

Drug addiction starts with curiosity or experimental use, usually during recreational and social situations. But for some, the application becomes a craving. Others resort to drugs after being exposed to prescribed medications. Drug addiction, however, varies depending on the type of drug. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers pose a higher risk and cause addiction faster than others.

The more you use a drug, the more it is difficult to go without it. You will need higher doses to get high. If you attempt to stop, cravings may intensify and make you suffer from withdrawal symptoms. But like any other form of addiction, this is not a hopeless case.

Fortunately, there are various treatment options you can take, including institutions such as the Nashville men’s clinic. But before that, let ‘s talk about the symptoms of drug addiction.

Symptoms

If you are addicted to drugs or if you know of someone, the following symptoms or behaviors manifest:

  • The intense feeling that you must use a drug from time to time, sometimes multiple times a day
  • Having intense urges for the drug that hinders out any other thoughts
  • As time passes, you feel the need for a higher dosage of drugs and exploring different types
  • Ensuring that you maintain a regular drug supply
  • Not doing obligations and work assignments, or refraining from social and recreational activities due to drug use
  • Continued use of drugs despite you knowing its adverse effects on your physical and psychological being as well as your relationship to others
  • Resorting to illegal activities such as stealing so that you could buy drugs
  • Engaging in risky activities while under the influence of drugs
  •  When you stop using drugs but withdrawal symptoms manifest
Smoking

Rehabilitation/Treatment Options

Researchers involved in treating drug addiction classified the programs into several types or modalities. Treatment types and individual applications, however, are continually evolving and diversifying since many cases entail different approaches.

Detoxification and medically guided withdrawal are usually the first stages of treatment. Detoxification works by managing the potentially dangerous physiological effects of stopping drug use. It is not enough, however, to address the social, psychological, and behavioral problems linked to addiction. Thus, it does not usually produce sustainable behavioral changes entailed for recovery.

Fortunately, there are various rehabilitation or treatment options, which include formal assessments. Among these are the following.

1. Long-Term Residential Treatment

The long-term residential treatment provides handling 24 hours a day, mostly in non-hospital settings. It could be at the house of the person struggling with addiction. The treatment’s best model is the therapeutic community (TC) with a 6-12 months length of stay.

TC considers the program’s entire community such as residents, staff, and the social context as active components. The person’s addiction is viewed in the lens of his social and psychological deficits; thus, TC focuses on pushing for personal accountability and socially productive environment.

The treatment follows a highly structured mode and can sometimes be confrontational. The underlying activities seek to aid the person to reflect negative beliefs, self-concepts, and damaging patterns of behavior so he can adopt a more positive way of interacting with others.

2. Short-term Residential Treatment

The short residential program offers a modified 12-step and provides an intensive but relatively brief treatment. It was initially used to address alcohol problems. But the proliferation of cocaine use in the mid-1980s prompted clinical experts to use the method for substance use disorders.

The original residential treatment applied a 3-6-week hospital-based inpatient approach. Outpatient therapy and participation in a self-help group follow. Even after this phase, however, the person is required to actively participate in outpatient treatment programs to help prevent the risk of relapse.

3. Outpatient Treatment

The outpatient treatment presents different types and intensity of services offered. Compared to the previously mentioned programs, it provides lesser costs and is appropriate for people holding jobs or large social groups. Take note, however, that programs like this offer little more than drug education though there are more capable models, such as intensive day treatment.

4. Individualized Drug Counseling

Individualized drug counseling gears on reducing drug abuse by also dealing with related areas of malfunctioning such as employment status, family/social relationships, and illegal activity. It emphasizes short-term behavioral goals, thus, encouraging the patient to develop coping strategies and tools towards abstaining from drugs and avoid relapse.

The counselor for this program utilizes the 12-step participation and recommends necessary supplements, psychiatric, and other health-related services. By the way, this program is also popularly used for people struggling with alcohol addiction.

5. Group Counseling

Group counseling capitalizes on the social and even emotional reinforcement by peer discussion and to encourage drug-free lifestyles. Studies show that there are positive results attained when group therapy complements individualized drug counseling. Same goes when it is structured to manifest the principles of cognitive-behavioral treatment or contingency management.

Today, scientists and researchers are experimenting with conditions wherein, group therapy can be standardized and made more community-friendly. Group counseling can also effectively deal with other addictions, especially those rooting from emotional and psychological breakdowns.

Alcoholics, for instance, can undergo a group counseling program called Alcohol Anonymous, where they can be accountable for one another. And it works as well for people abusing drugs due to similar reasons.

About the Contributor Jon Stolzer

Jon Stolzer is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in health care. He was spotlighted in Top 100 Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” for Health Care, recognized by Williamson County for cutting edge med-tech, and the Nashville Business Journal for Rising Stars. Jon Stolzer focuses on vulnerable patient populations and merges the latest medical advancements in therapies for both men’s health and patients in recovery. Jon has assembled a team of top experts, including the state of Tennessee’s only double board-certified doctor.

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