Four Treatments for Drug Addiction

Dr. Purushothaman
January 12, 2014


There are a variety of treatment plans and therapies available for active and recovering drug addicts, and choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task. Each program has a specific purpose, and because substance abuse is such a gravely serious problem, its important for addicts and their loved ones to seek the proper kind of help. Sifting through confusing medical literature and a lexicon of strange addiction-related terms can make this decision a nightmare for someone who is already suffering the stresses of drug addiction and its consequences. To make the choice easier, here are the four primary treatment programs for drug addicts.
Before addicts can begin the more highly-involved treatment programs, they must go through detoxification, or detox. Lasting five to fourteen days depending on the severity of a patients addiction, detox weans an addict off of an abused substance. Because of the withdrawal symptoms all addicts face when they suddenly stop taking drugs, this can be a very painful, frustrating, and emotional process. However, it is completely necessary to long-term recovery. There is no cure for addiction, but ridding patients of their physical dependencies on foreign substances allows them to actively engage their therapies and develop better lifestyles and decision-making skills.
Inpatient Programs
Most addicts who are either seeking first-time help or cleaning up after a long relapse choose residential inpatient programs. These treatment plans are highly structured and geared towards large, rapid changes in lifestyles and behavior patterns. They involve a thirty to ninety-day stay at a rehabilitation clinic, during which patients receive fifty or more hours of intensive therapies per week. Though they are highly supervised, inpatients are also expected to cook, clean, shop, and perform other daily activities for themselves. This combination of intensive therapy with normal, daily living makes for an easier transition into a drug-free life.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Addicts who have completed residential inpatient programs or who have relapsed sometimes require an intermediate program before they resume their normal, sober lives. For these patients, partial hospitalization plans offer the same proven therapies as inpatient programs but do not require them to live at their treatment facilities. Instead, addicts attend their therapies during the daytime and are allowed to return home at night under the supervision of a clinic staff member. The length of participation in partial hospitalization is typically one to three months.
Outpatient Programs
Some addicts experience very short relapses of only one or two drug uses. Still, these relapses are extremely serious, and treatment is necessary for continued sober living. For these addicts, outpatient programs are usually the best option. They do not require patients to stay at their treatment facilities or disrupt their professional or personal lives, but they do involve the same, proven therapies as more intensive treatment plans. Clients can attend a few hours of treatment per day and are free to leave for work, school, or other obligations for the rest of their time.
With any of these programs, rehab clinicians use proven techniques such as evidence-based therapies, biofeedback treatments, and individual and group counseling sessions.

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