Understanding Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery is a long process that involves a few different stages before a person can be considered free from dependence on alcohol or drugs. Not everyone goes through each stage in the same way, and the length of time required depends on the person’s individual personality and biology, as well as on the specific substance being abused.
The Detoxification Process
If your addiction encompasses an actual physical addiction as well as a psychological one, detoxification is a necessary step before long-term treatment can begin. In some cases, detoxification involves stopping the drug or alcohol use suddenly, after which withdrawal symptoms occur for a few days until the drug has completely left the system and the body has readapted. Other drugs induce severe withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking them, so a sudden cessation of drug use may be painful or dangerous. In these cases, detoxification may involve a gradual weaning from the drug or the use of substitute drugs, such as methadone, to help the user become less dependent on the drug over time. Most people who seek treatment for a physical addiction undergo detoxification at a residential inpatient facility so that trained medical professionals can monitor them during the process. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, detoxification alone is generally not sufficient for addiction recovery because the detoxification process does not teach the user how to avoid drugs and live a clean and sober life. People who do not complete a treatment program after detoxification return to drug use with patterns similar to those who have not gone through detoxification or treatment at all.
The Treatment Process
Following detoxification, a treatment period is necessary to train the recovering addict better ways of coping with daily life issues so that he or she does not suffer a relapse. This process can be done in conjunction with the maintenance phase of medically managed detoxification in cases of highly addictive drugs such as heroin or narcotic painkillers. During treatment, the recovering addict undergoes behavioral therapy and psychological counseling. He or she may also participate in a 12-step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These types of programs provide peer support that can aid the addiction recovery. During treatment, other issues may also need to be addressed to ensure a complete recovery. If the person has any mental disorders or physical problems that require medication, these problems should be solved as well, or an appropriate course of treatment for the patient should be established before he or she is considered free from the addiction. In some cases, family counseling is also an appropriate part of the treatment process and can aid in recovery.
The Importance of Inpatient Addiction TreatmentFor individuals who are suffering from an addiction, an inpatient addiction treatment program may be a good option. This type of treatment differs from an outpatient treatment in that patients are admitted into a treatment facility. This article will briefly describe inpatient addiction treatment.
This type of counseling teaches family members how to interact with the recovering addict in a way that encourages him or her to remain drug free. The treatment phase of the recovery process generally lasts for a minimum of 90 days and can last for years or decades in some cases. Inpatient treatment programs often last between 6 and 12 months, during which time the patient lives at the facility and is constantly monitored for compliance to the treatment program. Even people who are not admitted voluntarily can recover from drug and alcohol addiction through an intensive treatment program.
For successful recovery from drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, follow-up care is essential. Depending on the specific substance that was abused and the person’s progress during treatment, follow-up care may consist of visits with a therapist, blood tests to ensure that the person has not started using drugs again, or re-admittance to an inpatient facility if a relapse does occur. For many drug users, recovery is a lifelong process.
Relapses are possible, but the addict can repeat the detoxification and treatment process to return to a sober lifestyle. If you or someone you know needs help with finding an appropriate treatment program for drug or alcohol abuse, call our free helpline at 1-800-660-0986 or fill out our short contact form to start your journey towards addiction recovery.