How to Start the Right Addiction Treatment
American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states that addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.1 People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.
Those who suffer from addiction often tend to be misunderstood and misconstrued as having low morals or no willpower, and generally can be looked down upon. The stigma that surrounds the topic of addiction may often be the reason why people who suffer from it are reluctant in seeking treatment.
When It’s Time to Start Addiction Treatment
When you’re struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know when to seek help, or even recognize and admit that they need it. If you are aware that you have a problem, that is probably a good sign that you may want to talk to someone. If you see your addiction starting to worsen, or you feel like you are losing control and can’t manage your life in a healthy way you should consider undergoing treatment.According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health among people aged 12 or older in 2019, 60.1 percent (or 165.4 million people) used a substance, in particular:2
- 50.8% used alcohol
- 21.1% used a tobacco product
- 13.0% used an illicit drug
Why It’s Important to Start the Right Addiction Treatment
Realizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery. The next is starting the right treatment. There are many different treatment options and facilities, and it can be very overwhelming choosing the right one for you. Also, different people can react differently to the same treatment, so what worked for someone might not work for you.
It is important that before starting addiction treatment, you evaluate your wants and needs. What are your goals? You should take your time and decide carefully when choosing a treatment facility and specific treatment. You may also want to discuss different options with your loved ones, do your own research, and in the end make a decision that you feel most comfortable with.
Different Treatment Options
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are many options that have been successful in treating drug addiction, including the following:3
- Behavioral counseling
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
When it comes to alcohol addiction treatment, there are many different possibilities, such as 12-step programs, behavioral therapy, support groups, and even medication-assisted therapy.4
Regardless of the type of addiction you are struggling with, it is generally advisable that you talk to your primary care physician. They will examine your overall health and advise you on appropriate treatment options.
What to Expect From Addiction Treatment
When starting a treatment program, you are likely to undergo an initial assessment for substance abuse. This will enable you to start the right addiction treatment tailored to your needs. Along with your medical and mental health professionals, you may decide to go for an outpatient or inpatient treatment plan.
For different types of substances, after a period of chronic use and before treatment, some patients may need to join a detoxification program and experience a withdrawal period. This is often the most challenging part of substance abuse rehabilitation. A supervised medical detox helps minimize discomfort and help ensure a safe withdrawal.
After a detox, you may be encouraged to transition into an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program to continue your recovery.
- Outpatient treatment programs allow for the patient to stay at home during the recovery process while receiving scheduled treatment. That enables the patient to continue with their normal activities in a familiar environment.
- Inpatient treatment programs are usually settings for more intensive rehabilitation treatment. They can vary in length (short-term or long-term), depending on the patient.5 This type of program is focused on healing and recovery. Additionally, removing the patient from their usual environment reduces distractions and factors that contributed to their substance use.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Before starting addiction treatment, you should be aware of what treatment options there are available. For instance, you should explore different programs such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs, counseling, medication, and follow-ups, as well as the features of each option.
You should also be prepared for the challenges that rehab can bring. Some of those can be fear of abandonment (by friends or family), trouble letting go of your old coping mechanisms, fear of failure, and fear of relapsing. There are also physical symptoms that may occur during treatment (especially when it comes to detox).
According toSAMHSA, recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.6 However, to achieve the desired results, you first need to be certain that you’ve found the right addiction treatment program for you.
- Addiction treatment should be tailored to the patient’s unique needs to achieve the best results in the rehabilitation process. To help, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created a brief guide containing five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program:7
- Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
- Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?
- Does the program adapt treatment as the patient’s needs change?
- Is the duration of treatment sufficient?
- How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?
- When choosing a specific addiction treatment facility, you should consider the following factors:
- You should go with a verified and acknowledged facility.
- The center should employ specialists from different backgrounds, who are educated and have experience in the field.
- You should also be acquainted with the staff of the facility, their credentials, and their role in the program. As those will be the people guiding you through your rehabilitation, you should feel comfortable with them.
- They should have full disclosure about their programs, what they specialize in, and their success rates.
- Relapse can sometimes be a part of recovery.8 Treatment programs are generally designed to prevent relapse. However, if it happens, it doesn’t mean that the treatment has failed. You should talk to your treatment provider and focus on getting you back on track.
1. American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2019). Definition of Addiction.
2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.
4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014). Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.
5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Types of Treatment Programs.
6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Recovery and Recovery Support.
7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask.
8. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction: Treatment and Recovery.