What is addiction?
Many drugs (including alcohol) and behaviors that provide either pleasure (gambling, video games, sex, etc.) or relief from pain pose a risk of addiction which is a:
- Chronic disorder precipitated by a combination of genetic, biological/pharmacological and social factors.
- Compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its consequences.
- Craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure, and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus (indicating dependency).
How many people get treatment for addiction?
According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22.5 million people (8.5 percent of the U.S. population) aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2014. Only 4.2 million (18.5 percent of those who needed treatment) received any substance use treatment in the same year. Of these, about 2.6 million people received treatment at specialty treatment programs.
How is addiction treated?
Successful treatment has several steps:
- Evaluation for the appropriate level of care and any co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Detoxification (the process by which the body rids itself of a drug)
- Medication (for opioid, tobacco, benzodiazepine or alcohol addiction)
- Counseling (individual, family and/or group)
- Support groups
- Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
Comprehensive care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
There is no single “right way” to treat a drug or alcohol addiction. And while popular groups like Alcoholics Anonymous preach that abstinence is the only way you can kick an addiction, others (i.e. Moderation Management or Smart Recovery) focus on the behavioral cues that lead a person to drink or take drugs in excess. At the onset of your treatment, together with your therapist, you’ll need to figure out what path works best for you and your needs.
How does therapy treat addiction?
Behavioral therapies help patients:
- Modify their attitudes and behaviors related to substance use
- Increase healthy life skills
- Comply with treatment recommendations, such as medication
What are the different levels of care?
Outpatient behavioral treatment, such as the services offered at Urban Balance, includes a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a behavioral health counselor on a regular schedule. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling, or both. These programs typically offer forms of behavioral therapy such as:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs.
- Multidimensional Family Therapy: addresses a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning.
- Motivational Interviewing: makes the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment.
- Motivational Incentives (contingency management): uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs.
Treatment is sometimes intensive at first, where patients attend multiple outpatient sessions each week. After completing intensive treatment, patients transition to regular outpatient treatment, which meets less often and for fewer hours per week to help sustain their recovery.
Inpatient or residential treatment can also be very effective, especially for those with more severe problems (including co-occurring disorders). Licensed residential treatment facilities offer 24-hour structured and intensive care, including safe housing and medical attention. Residential treatment facilities may use a variety of therapeutic approaches, and they are generally aimed at helping the patient live a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle after treatment. Examples of residential treatment settings include:
- Therapeutic communities, which are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. The entire community, including treatment staff and those in recovery, act as key agents of change, influencing the patient’s attitudes, understanding, and behaviors associated with drug use. Read more about therapeutic communities.
- Shorter-term residential treatment, which typically focuses on detoxification as well as providing initial intensive counseling and preparation for treatment in a community-based setting.
- Recovery housing, which provides supervised, short-term housing for patients, often following other types of inpatient or residential treatment. Recovery housing can help people make the transition to an independent life—for example, helping them learn how to manage finances or seek employment, as well as connecting them to support services in the community.
For more information or to be connected with a therapist who specializes in addiction at Urban Balance, please contact email@example.com. For more addiction resources, check out our wellness directory.