Which form of addiction treatment is right for you? Part Two

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Which form of addiction treatment is right for you? Part Two

by Ned Wicker


Here’s another important factor to consider in treatment, the family. Treatment centers also understand that addiction is a family disease and each member of the family has a role to play in the recovery of an addict. Is there a family therapy program? The program must include sensitivity to gender issues, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. The pathway to becoming clean and sober is not just limited to the physiological issues, it must include the entire scope of human experience.

Many Theories

Counselors and therapists will employ a variety of theories and techniques to help the individual through the rehab process. This is another important area to consider when choosing the right rehabilitation program. Here are a few examples of approaches that behavioral health professionals will use in helping patients.


This is the disease model of addiction. This theory suggests that addiction is purely a physiological problem. For example, one of the aspects is temperament and this model would suggest that human temperament is a physiological phenomenon, nothing more, and some temperaments are more predisposed to addiction than others. The points they examine for diagnosis are heredity, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. They exclude the impact of personal history or any spiritual component.


Most people have heard of Sigmund Freud, who was the father of psychoanalysis. You are familiar with the scene of a patient lying on a couch talking about their childhood. This theory would argue that drug addiction is caused by unresolved conflicts and repressed anxieties. The therapist would use free association, memories, dreams and tests like the ink blots to make a diagnosis. The therapist will probe the unconscious and try to identify defense mechanisms. They assume some childhood anxiety is at the root of your defensiveness, and somehow using drugs is a coping tool.


The therapist using this model is looking for incongruence. Say for example, that you are asked how you feel. You render a deep sigh and replay with a droopy face, “Oh, I’m OK.” That’s incongruence. They would view drug addiction as being a problem, because it limits or denies self-actualization. It is all based on the patient’s reporting of their attitudes and feelings.


The operative word is learned. Drug addiction would be considered a maladaptive behavior, caused by deficiency in learning—that is, you’re not learning the right things. Drugs are a conditioned response. You take drugs, you feel good and you want more. Therefore, you have to unlearn that maladaptive response.


This perspective integrates all of aforementioned approaches. Borrowing from all four, a spiritual component is added. This is “soul care” and is an integrated, holistic approach to the problem. A prime example is the 12 Step process, although it is not, by definition, a faith-based method, as practiced by Alcoholics Anonymous. It encompasses all of the theories, but also addresses the helplessness of addiction by introducing the idea of a “Higher Power” and “God, as we understood him” to help the individual deal with the changes. Many religious groups have embraced this approach, adding their own belief system to the process.

Treatment is designed to restore the individual to his/her family and life. Treatment, however, is really just the beginning. A person is well advised to become a part of the recovery community to maintain healthy choices and have access to emotional support when dealing with difficult moments.


What does it mean when a person says, “I’m in recovery?” They have gone through treatment and they’re back on their own, trying to stay clean and sober. They are not using. If a person is using, they are not in recovery.

Availability Critical for Drug abuse programs

Everything needs to be in place in order for drug abuse programs to be effective. If a person is in need of treatment, treatment needs to be available.

If a person is put on a waiting-list, or if there is not treatment available in their community, or perhaps a short distance away, the degree of difficulty increases.

By the time people are entering drug abuse programs, in so many cases, they have lost their driving privileges, or they’ve recently lost their job, or worse yet, they have nowhere to live. In many cases the drug abuse programs have been ordered by a judge. Regardless of the circumstances, people need services, individual services to meet the needs of their condition.

Some people who enter drug abuse programs must first go through medical detoxification, which in effect gets the drug out of their system, but that isn’t the answer to the problem. While they may not have the drugs in their system, patients completing detoxification needs to begin work on managing their drug addiction.

In-Patient can be either short-term or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient, and all too sadly, the patient’s ability to pay. People have a busy schedule of therapy sessions, which are not limited to drug addiction but can include job counseling, socialization skills, etc. The day is filled from early morning to bedtime.

Out-Patient can be very similar only sometimes people just come in for their therapy sessions, but are well enough to go home at the end of the day. These programs are well-designed for people with jobs, people who have family support and access to resources.

Drug abuse programs Take Time

Drug rehabilitation programs can be long and arduous and because of that people need encouragement to stick with it and finish. According to research statistics, drug recovery patients will reach a milestone in their recovery after three months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the treatment program is finished, or that additional treatment will not be helpful.

When people leave their treatment programs early, and do not hit that all important stage in their recovery, their chances for full recovery drop. Even with full completion of the program, patients can fail and need to return to treatment. It’s important to stay with it.

While in drug abuse programs patients need to stay off drugs. This is a minimum expectation, but centers will inspect wheat they expect, and drug testing is routine. If a patient relapses and uses during treatment, the program will require modification to meet the needs of the patient.

Even if a patient makes it through the program, there is a change they may fail sometime in the future, and therefore, some people need to go back into treatment to completely manage the addiction problem. People fail. But it’s important to remember that the person’s health is most important, so if it takes two or three attempts, or more, so be it.

Whether in-patient or out-patient, drug abuse programs can vary in intensity and length, and so careful examination of each program is necessary to make the best choice of treatment.

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