If you’ve come to the conclusion that you have a drug and alcohol problem and have begun to explore addiction treatment and rehab options available to you, the future may seem hopeless.
It’s an understandable feeling, especially if you’ve reached a point of desperation in which you’re looking up a drug and alcohol treatment facility online. Many of us in recovery often waited until the wheels had come off before we started to examine the magnitude of our addiction, and by that point, it was hard to feel anything other than despair.
As trite as it may seem, however, know this: If you’re still breathing, there’s still hope. No matter the consequences you may be facing, there are addiction treatment and rehab options available to you, from a multitude of facilities and organizations, and the more you explore them, the more bewildered and overwhelmed those choices may seem.
Relax. Take a deep breath. Let’s take a look at what’s out there, what you need and the best way to make a choice that will lead you from guilt, shame and dereliction and into a place of sustained recovery that gives you an opportunity to live life in ways that you can’t imagine when you’re shackled to drugs and alcohol.
If you’ve ever tried to stop drinking and/or using on your own but found the suffering unbearable, you’re not alone. A great many addicts and alcoholics try to quit on their own, but the pain, sickness and inherent health dangers from the sudden cessation of chemical substances in the body can lead to a great deal of distress. In other words, withdrawal is no fun, and while it can be done on your own, being slowly and safely withdrawn from alcohol and drugs in a medical setting is a much more preferable alternative.
So what does Medical Detox involve? Generally, patients brought into a drug and alcohol treatment facility, for a full continuum of care or for detox only, are thoroughly assessed by a combination of clinical and medical staff members. That involves the standard health screenings — blood pressure, pulse ox, temperature, etc. — as well as a comprehensive question-and-answer session to get a detailed picture of a patient’s history of drug and alcohol use. It’s important that those patients answer thoroughly and honestly, because only by putting together a complete history of the drugs and alcohol you’re consuming, how much you’re using and drinking and how often you do it can the treatment team tailor your Medical Detox to best meet your needs.
So from all of the addiction treatment and rehab options available to you, how do you select the right Medical Detox? That’s an easy enough question to answer — do your homework. A reputable drug and alcohol treatment center has a comprehensive website that gives plenty of information about its various services, and if you’re still unclear after perusing it, you can always call and ask to speak to someone on the medical staff. Some questions you might want to ask them:
- How long is the typical detox stay at their particular facility? (Most standard Medical Detox stays are from three to five days, depending on the severity of the patient’s addiction.)
- What comfort medications are given, if any, to ease the symptoms of withdrawal?
- Does the facility have medical staff members on duty around the clock?
- What is expected of patients in Medical Detox during their stay?
- Does the clinical staff help patients set up a care plan for after they discharge?
If Medical Detox is the only drug and alcohol treatment you’re interested in, it’s important to select the right one for you. But if you want more, it’s also important to consider if the facility you’re thinking about for Medical Detox offers other services.
Addiction Treatment and Rehab Options Available to You:
Residential inpatient is the official nomenclature of standard drug and alcohol treatment. Conventionally, it lasts roughly four weeks — 28 to 30 days, based on a historical approach known as the Minnesota model — and is the next phase of treatment for patients who complete Medical Detox.
Think of residential inpatient as “recovery boot camp,” without the screaming drill sergeants and early morning calisthenics. It’s a combination of education, therapy, experiential learning and planning for the future, all designed to give you a better understanding of the problem that plagues you and what you can do about it. While every drug and alcohol treatment center approaches residential inpatient differently, by and large the underpinnings of care are similar:
- Addiction and alcoholism are diseases, recognized as such by the medical and scientific community. Ergo, you’re not a “bad” person who needs to be good; you’re a sick person who needs to get better.
- Recovery from addiction and alcoholism involves much more than simply stopping the use of alcohol and drugs. By and large, many addicts and alcoholics are using substances as a way of coping with other problems: trauma, abuse, mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder and more. Removing alcohol and drugs is just the first step — recovery involves addressing those underlying issues so that abstinence is sustained.
- Recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. While many drug and alcohol treatment centers focus on 12 Step-based traditional recovery principles, the facilities with the biggest success rates employ a variety of treatment modalities, from psychotherapeutic tools like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Therapy to Activity Therapy and Fitness Therapy. By treating the whole person — the body, mind, emotions and spirit — a successful recovery program uncovers the damage that addiction and alcoholism have caused in all areas of a patient’s life, and shows them how to begin repairing it.
- You’re not alone. Addiction and alcoholism are great equalizers, and while the general stigma is that addicts and alcoholics are homeless or criminals, the data reveals a much more complex truth. Addicts and alcoholics come from all walks of life, all vocations and all social classes. Discovering those commonalities helps to dispel feelings of worthlessness, because it demonstrates to everyone afflicted that there is strength in numbers.
There are, of course, many other roles that residential inpatient plays in a patient’s recovery, and it’s important in choosing the best addiction treatment and rehab options available to you that you find a program that best fits your needs. For example, does a particular facility have a single program, or are there multiple programs broken down by age groups, gender and recovery needs? Is the clinical staff made up solely of fellow recovering addicts, or is it a blend of counselors with recovery experience, master’s level therapists and others who bring to the table both real world and educational expertise? Does the facility offer family support through therapy sessions with loved ones? Will staff members help patients put together an aftercare plan to help them stay sober after discharge?
If You Do Need Addiction Treatment And Are Wondering How To Pay For It Then ReadHow To Pay For Rehab
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For some individuals, it’s simply not possible to go away for a month to get help for a drug and alcohol problem. Family commitments, work requirements and other obligations make it difficult, but those individuals still recognize they need some outside assistance. That’s where an Intensive Outpatient Program — IOP, for short — can be both a game changer and a lifesaver.
Essentially, IOP treatment is made up of therapeutic sessions held several hours a day, multiple days a week. It provides the therapeutic benefits of a residential inpatient program in a more compact setting, and it allows attendees to live at home — which can be financially beneficial — and continue to work, if they’re unable to take time off for treatment. Many IOP plans are flexible, meaning that you can attend in the mornings if you work second or third shift, or in the evening if you work first shift.
There are both benefits and concerns to this particular treatment path. You’re given more freedom (although most IOP counselors conduct regular drug tests of those who attend to ensure compliance) but are still tethered to a recovery program by the safety line of a scaled-back treatment protocol. At the same time, many individuals who can’t bring themselves to commit to residential inpatient think that IOP is a better alternative, only to find that circumstances in their lives make it impossible to stay clean and sober without the accountability of a 24-7 program.
Ultimately, the decision to enroll in IOP should be made with careful deliberation by individuals exploring their first-time treatment options. Questions to consider:
- Is there a support system at home that can help patients remain accountable to the goal of abstinence and recovery?
- Is there a support system at work or school that, even if they don’t know exactly why the individual needs to leave early or change schedules in order to accommodate IOP, is willing to be flexible?
- Is the individual’s state of mind too fragile to cope with the “outside world” in the early stages of recovery?
- Have years of addiction and alcoholism destroyed any semblance of normalcy in the individual’s life, making it impossible for them to live and function outside of a drug and alcohol treatment center without time and effort?
IOP is a great option, but it may not be your best option if you’re exploring first-time addiction treatment and rehab options available to you. On the other side of the spectrum, however, it can be the perfect complement to residential inpatient treatment for those who aren’t ready to transition home. By transferring to IOP, preferably on the same campus where you’ve gone through residential inpatient treatment, you’re able to extend the safety net of early recovery from mere weeks to months, since most Intensive Outpatient Programs last from eight to 10 weeks. Depending on the circumstances of the patient’s home life, job situation and real-world circumstances, extending to IOP is often the best scenario to give many addicts and alcoholics the best chance at long-term sobriety.
Sober Living Facilities
Finally, in examining addiction treatment and rehab options available to you, it’s important to consider long-term living arrangements during your early recovery. Many reputable treatment centers have on-campus or nearby Sober Living Facilities, which are essentially recovery communities of men and women whose cohabitation provides a means of recovery support, accountability and friendship.
Sober Living Facilities can be ideal transition homes for individuals whose lives were a mess of devastation and destruction prior to coming to treatment. In many instances, frayed relationships with family members mean that patients have no place to live after treatment. In others, the scope of their addiction or alcoholism is so deep and lengthy that immediate reentry into the “real world” is best delayed until they’re on their feet — financially and in terms of recovery.
Sober Living Facilities may take the shape of shared apartments, houses or dormitories that are gender-specific but allow for much more freedom that residential inpatient programs. In many cases, IOP patients take advantage of Sober Living Facilities to stay close to the treatment facility at which they’re enrolled. Still other Sober Living residents are alumni of a treatment facility’s residential inpatient and IOP programs who aren’t ready to be on their own, but are slowly reintegrating into society through a steady job, transportation and other responsibilities. And if a facility doesn’t have Sober Living options, the reputable ones will help you find such accommodations as part of your discharge plan.
Living in a sober community while building strong foundations of recovery, finances, vocations and social interactions is often the key to long-term sobriety. While there is more freedom in a Sober Living Facility, there is still some level of accountability to the clinical staff at the affiliated treatment center or oversight program. Residents may be expected to attend a certain number of recovery meetings each week, and they may be asked to submit to random drug tests, especially if they’re still enrolled in IOP. By the same token, access to those staff members can be incredibly beneficial during times of stress or when presented with triggers that may precipitate thoughts of drug or alcohol use.
If you’re wanting to get the most out of the addiction treatment and rehab options available to you, planning a full continuum of care — from Medical Detox to Residential Inpatient to Intensive Outpatient to a stay at a Sober Living Facility — is, far and away, a proven formula of success.
However, any option is better than none. Ultimately, deciding on the best addiction treatment and rehab options available to you comes down to a thorough and exhaustive examination of the scope of your problem and the extent of the help that you need. It’s vital to understand, however, that such help is available, if you seek it.