This is a question commonly asked by those who are considering addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one. There are so many forms of treatment out there such as detox, family therapy, medicated assisted therapy, adventure programs, 12-Step, PHP, IOP, outpatient… it’s like learning a new language! What do all of these treatments mean, and how can you determine which will work best for you or a loved one?
If you’ve been seeking addiction treatment options, you’ve probably heard of some of these programs that are typically offered at treatment centers. But what do all of these treatments mean? Will they treat mental health along with addiction? Which program can help me or a loved one have a chance at long-term recovery?
We’ve heard all of these questions before and we’ll answer the most important ones below.
Is Detox Always Necessary?
Detox is commonly referred to as the first step when one enters a rehab facility. But is a detox necessary for all drugs? This may surprise you, but a detox is only needed to rid the body of alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines. It’s actually not necessary to detox for an early stage alcohol addiction, cocaine, meth, and hallucinogenic drugs.
If a detox is necessary for you or a loved one, it’s important to note that the process can be life-threatening without professional medical help. It’s essential to go to an experienced detox or rehabilitation center to detox safely.
A detox is necessary in order to remove the physical dependence of the drug that is abused. Notice we’re talking about the physical dependence, which is entirely separate from the mental health issue of addiction.
A good example for this is smoking cigarettes. You may know that the physical dependence of nicotine lasts for only 72 hours, then the body no longer craves it. If you know a smoker, they’ve probably tried to quit once or twice before but end up smoking again after two weeks, two months, or even two years after quitting. This is because the psychological addiction is much more difficult to break than the physical dependence.
It takes seven to 14 days for a body to completely rid itself of most drugs that can be abused. While you or a loved one are detoxing, medication can be prescribed to make the withdrawal symptoms less severe and make the transition to sobriety an easier one. During this time, it’s very important to meet with doctors and counselors so they can evaluate you or a loved one’s mental and physical health.
Some people think that after detox is finished and the physical dependency is no longer there, no other treatment is required. In reality, after detox ends, this is just the beginning of the treatment process. Now it’s time to work on removing the psychological dependence of addiction and learning healthy behaviors, which is a much more difficult process.
What Do Other Levels of Care Entail?
We won’t go into too much detail here, we’ll just tell you the basics. Generally, other levels of care “step down” after detox and can be based on several different factors. Some of these factors include the amount of time spent at a facility, whether the patient needs to be in a different environment, and how severe their addiction is. Here are brief explanations of each level of care:
Residential: When a patient stays at a facility for 24 hours a day
Partial Hospitalization (PHP): When a patient spends 6-8 hours a day at rehab, but they have the option of sleeping at home or at an outside sober-living facility.
Intensive Outpatient (IOP): Spending 3-6 hours a day at rehab to receive treatment while the patient spends the rest of their time at home, or at an outside sober-living facility.
Outpatient (OP): A patient receives 2-4 hours of treatment a day at rehab, but spends the rest of their time at home.
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Work?
Earlier we talked about how, during the detox process, medication can be prescribed to help make the transition to sobriety easier. This is where MAT can play a role in the recovery process. Although MAT is not implemented in all treatment centers, it can be very beneficial for long-term recovery for you or a loved one, especially if the addiction is related to opioids.
So, how does MAT work? Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are a few examples of medications that can be prescribed to normalize brain chemistry and body functions, block the euphoric effects of opioids, and relieve psychological cravings without feeling the negative effects of the abused drug.
Skywood Recovery uses Vivitrol for MAT, which is a shot that lasts about a month. A patient is unable to get high off of opioids after receiving this shot, but they will be able to get high off of other drugs. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for those who struggle with addiction to try to get high off other substances while taking medications like these, which is why it’s essential to also receive therapy along with medication.
Behavioral therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are commonly used for MAT. Both of these therapies are evidence-based and can be effective for many, but they will be explained in more detail later.
MAT has been extremely beneficial for many. For example, MAT has helped patients gain and maintain employment, improve birth outcomes for women who struggled with addiction while pregnant, and most importantly, patients have shown about a 40% decrease in the risk of overdose!
However, MAT doesn’t work for everyone. If you or a loved one are currently taking an anxiety medication, MAT would not be advised. Combining these two medications can be fatal, which is why it’s so important to receive treatment at a professional recovery center with licensed medical practitioners.
12-Step Programs Can Work for You, Even if You Aren’t Religious
For many, 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are one of the first treatment options they think of when seeking out addiction treatment. That’s because 12-Step has become one of the most accessible forms of treatment since its conception, and is still very popular to this day. It’s heavily based on faith, so if you or a loved one are looking for a treatment option with a spiritual or religious tone to it, this could be a great fit.
12-Step can be a great option for those who don’t believe in a higher power as well. These programs can serve as a beneficial support system with other individuals who have gone through similar experiences and are trying to get their lives back on track. A simple step-by-step guide is also implemented in a 12-Step program, which can be easy for most to follow.
Due to the fact that 12-Step is so popular, support groups can be found in most communities, which can make these programs more accessible than others.
Although 12-Step programs are a great fit for some who are struggling with addiction, it doesn’t work for everyone. Many recovery centers, like Skywood Recovery, offer other treatment options that can be a better fit for you or a loved one.
Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is So Beneficial
It’s probably not a shock to you that mental health plays a major role in one’s addiction. The concept of “numbing the pain” with drugs or alcohol is very common for those who struggle with their mental health.
These behavioral therapies are implemented in dual-diagnosis treatment, which aims to treat the underlying mental illness and addiction at the same time.
One goal for this form of treatment is to help patients recognize unhealthy ways of coping and harmful thoughts, which are essential factors towards long-term recovery. You or a loved one have the choice of attending these therapy sessions in a group or individual setting.
Before going through dual diagnosis treatment, it’s important to realize that this will not be a quick fix. Reconstructing thought patterns and understanding why previous thoughts and coping mechanisms were unhealthy can take several years to complete.
Think of it like physical exercise. If you stop working out, you’ll likely regress back to your original state. Behavioral therapies are like an exercise for your brain.
What Can I Learn From Family Therapy?
Family members of those who struggle with addiction normally have many concerns, such as worrying if they’re enabling their loved one, codependency, and the uncertainty of how to help them remain sober after treatment ends. Concerns like these can be addressed in family therapy.
Tools of communication and working toward reconciliation for past wrong-doings can be implemented during these therapy sessions. The ultimate goal of family therapy is not only to help your loved one who is struggling with addiction, but to help the whole family heal as well. Several different methods are available to try, but what works is ultimately up to your family and your therapist.
One method that could work for your family is “tough love,” but every family is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This method works about 50% of the time, but your therapist can help your family find a method that is a great fit.
Going to a treatment center is the first big step towards recovery, but maintaining healthy relationships and having a support system are major keys learned in family therapy that can make the chance of long-term recovery much stronger. Family members can be one of the most important sources of long-term recovery.
The Importance of Physical Health in Adventure Therapy
You’ve probably noticed that your loved one hasn’t been in the best physical shape after they’ve been using drugs or alcohol. Adventure therapy, which can include yoga, walks through nature, and other fitness-related activities can help your loved one get their physical health back on track.
This form of therapy can be very beneficial because it’s been proven that exercise has significant effects on mental health, physical recovery, and overall well-being. Exposing these activities to patients can also help them find a hobby that they thoroughly enjoy, and can continue to do after treatment ends. It’s important for patients to find hobbies that they enjoy doing throughout the recovery process.
Along with physical exercise, patients can find other hobbies to dig into, such as art therapy and equine therapy, which allows patients to interact with horses. Engaging activities like these can help patients find the motivation they need in order to remain sober; discovering hobbies they love can help sustain recovery at the same time.
Your loved one can find an activity they’re passionate about through several options that we offer at Skywood Recovery, when you’re surrounded by beautiful nature and Augusta skies, it can make adventure therapy even more enjoyable.
How Can I Choose Between Outpatient Rehab vs. Residential Rehab?
One of the most important decisions you’ll make for yourself or a loved one before entering treatment is deciding on outpatient or staying in a rehab facility for 24 hours a day. How can you determine which option will work best?
The first obvious difference between the two is that, when a patient stays in residential rehab, they’re staying in the facility with 24-hour medical and emotional support. This option generally lasts about 28 days to six months, depending on the needs of you or your loved one.
The other option, outpatient rehab, consists of attending therapy sessions and other forms of treatment at the rehab facility about 10-12 hours a week while residing at home for the rest of the week. Most outpatient programs can last three months to a year, depending on how many hours a week a patient attends treatment.
Residential rehab may be the better option for those with a more severe addiction, since it provides 24-hour support for any required needs. However, it can be difficult to be away from your job and family while experiencing normal life stressors in an artificial environment. If the addiction isn’t as severe, outpatient rehab could be a better fit, but this decision is ultimately best left to clinical professionals.
The environment the patient lives in is another huge factor to consider. Taking a month or so off for treatment may be difficult for a loved one if they have a full-time job, but if they are currently in a toxic environment, getting away to reside at a rehab may be life-changing for them.
If taking time off work to receive treatment is a concern for you, there are options out there. One option you may not be familiar with is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Family Medical Leave Act requires your employer to protect your job during your time off in treatment.
Clearly, there are many factors to consider before deciding on what form of treatment is best for you or a loved one. It’s important to realize that receiving any form of treatment is a step in the right direction toward sobriety.
Deciding on Next Steps
It’s important to be familiar with the treatment process before getting help for yourself or a loved one. However, an experienced clinical professional will decide what treatment options are best for you or a loved one in order to work toward long-term recovery.
Every person has a different story and their own specific needs to be taken care of. Figuring out which treatment options can deliver the best results is overwhelming, but crucial in achieving sobriety. At Skywood Recovery, we tailor an individualized treatment plan unique to each person. If you or a loved one need help with addiction, call us at 269-280-4673 today.