Addiction Treatment Options

There are several different treatment options for people suffering with addictions. Some are professional, while other options are more community-oriented. Treatment with prescription medication is rare, although addicts suffering with some other form of emotional disorder may use prescription antidepressants to aid in their recovery. When treating an addiction, it’s important to receive any help necessary for other emotional disorders, as these can make recovery from an addiction much more difficult and may be one of the factors that drove to the development of the addiction in the first place.

Treatment Centers

In-patient rehabilitation facilities and treatment centers allow addicts to live in a safe environment while they tackle the feelings and motivations that drove their addictions. Counseling is provided as well as access to 12 step programs. Counseling for drug and alcohol addiction may follow several different models, and each treatment center is different. Some use behavior modification, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, or a combination of different methods. The period of time spent in treatment depends on the treatment center’s program, insurance coverage, and the desires of the patient.

Twelve Step Programs

Twelve step programs are non-professional. Essentially, the programs are based on the concept of one addict helping another addict stay sober with the help of the twelve steps and a higher power. Twelve step programs are spiritually-based, although concepts from cognitive behavioral therapy can be seen woven throughout the steps. While twelve step programs have been developed for every kind of addiction, the steps were originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Here are the twelve steps:

  1. Admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Most addiction counselors recommend Alcoholics Anonymous or other twelve step groups to their clients. Members of AA attend meetings and work these steps based on the idea that working with other addicts and maintaining spiritual growth will keep them sober.

Prescription Medication for Addiction

In recent years, much has been said about medications that actually interrupt the addict’s need for their substance. Methadone is commonly used in the treatment of heroin addicts. Methadone works to appease the centers in the brain that crave heroin and stave off the severe withdrawal effects of the drug without the consequences. It is administered at clinics by medical professionals, and dosage is tapered off until no longer needed.

Anabuse is a controversial drug used to help recovering alcoholics. It creates negative physical effects when someone taking it imbibes alcohol. The idea is that Anabuse will create an aversion to alcohol in anyone who takes it. Most professionals agree that more traditional methods of treatment such as counseling and twelve step programs are more effective, allowing the alcoholic to detox and arrest the physical dependency altogether.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Many addicts suffer from other emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder. These emotional disorders often have a hand in the development of an addiction, so treating these disorders as well as the addiction is vital. If someone is finding that simply focusing on their addiction issues isn’t getting the job done, seeking the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed counselor for talk therapy or prescription medication may be necessary.


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