Addiction recovery refers to a process where someone addicted to drugs or alcohol spends a certain amount of time in rehab getting treatment to help them overcome the habit of substance abuse. Substance abuse disorder, also called addiction, is a brain disease that can keep you trapped in a cycle of abusing illicit or prescription drugs or alcohol despite the harm it causes.
The period of recovery varies from person to person depending on a number of factors. These factors include the severity of the addiction, how mentally prepared you are to receive treatment, the type of substance or substances involved, and the presence of underlying mental disorders.
The Detoxification Process
A drug or alcohol detox is a process that helps you get the substance and built-up toxins out of your system. Detox is sometimes medically-assisted which means that medication will be administered to help you withdraw and stabilize while reducing the risk of relapse.
Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is especially helpful in patients with long-term addiction who are at risk of experiencing severe or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. They include paranoia, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, seizures, high blood pressure, or irregular heartbeat. The administered drugs help taper you off the addictive substance until you lose physical dependence on drugs or alcohol.
Phases of Addiction Treatment
Overall, addiction treatment involves stages or phases and levels of treatment. These are the four broad phases of treatment:
- Evaluation and Intake: The first phase of addiction treatment begins the moment that you seek help for drug or alcohol addiction. During this initial stage, it’s normal to have second thoughts but critical to remember why you have decided to enter treatment.
- Detoxification: Once you have committed to addiction treatment, the second stage would be early abstinence, or detox. This is when you will experience withdrawal symptoms which produce cravings that threaten recovery. During this phase, trained professionals will teach you the coping skills needed to lead a healthy life in recovery.
- Maintaining Abstinence/Rehabilitation: When detox is completed, you will transition to the therapeutic phase of treatment. This includes all levels of addiction care including inpatient and residential programs. During this phase of treatment, you will learn about addiction and participate in different therapeutic exercises to develop the skills and strategies needed to prevent relapse and promote sobriety.
- Ongoing Recovery: This phase of treatment includes aftercare and ongoing support in order maintain continued recovery. It may include IOP, PHP, and other traditional outpatient services. These organizations, referrals, and other resources uplift the individual to build upon their progress in treatment.
During the intake process, you will undergo a comprehensive addiction evaluation by a team of medical and psychological professionals. Their primary goal is to determine which treatment option is most suitable for you. They do this by assessing your level of addiction and evaluating you for psychiatric disorders linked to substance abuse, known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Some of these disorders are:
- Anxiety disorder
- Panic attack
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Levels of Care
Within the phases of addiction treatment, there are four different levels of care as listed below. The goal is to provide a continuum of effective care for individuals who need it.
- Medical Detox
- Residential Inpatient
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
Being able to continue living at home is the main distinction between outpatient and inpatient care. It is suitable for persons with mild addiction, e..g, those transitioning from an inpatient facility, or who need to maintain their jobs or career, care for family members, or are not ready to commit to residential treatment.
You will receive face-to-face services provided by medical and mental health professionals for a required number of hours each week. Outpatient programs typically last for 30-90 days but could be longer based on your needs.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Intensive outpatient care is designed for those who have already completed detox, don’t need to undergo this process, have a record of repeat relapse, or have a higher risk of relapse coming out of an inpatient program. These are individuals who need continued care but not the full-time care offered by inpatient rehab. They still require structured care with some degree of flexibility that allows them to carry on with other aspects of their lives. However, IOP requires a higher level of commitment to recovery than traditional outpatient.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recommends that patients receiving intensive outpatient services get at least 9 hours of therapeutic contact hours per week. These hours should be spent attending at least 4 group therapy sessions and 1 one-on-one meeting with the therapist. The partial hospitalization programs are similar to the IOPs but last longer. You will need to attend at least 4 hours a day for at least 5 days a week.
Inpatient treatment is more suitable for people with chronic addiction and who may need round-the-clock supervision during detox and withdrawal. They could spend the entire time there or start there and then enter an outpatient program. This is called a “step down” approach, since outpatient treatment usually targets people with mild addiction who have a lower risk of relapse and can manage substance use triggers on their own.
The average treatment time is 28-90 days. However, those needing long-term care for severe addiction may have to stay in rehab longer. The medically-managed intensive inpatient care is an aspect of residential treatment that provides 24-hour medical and mental health supervision for patients who need this level of care.
The Treatment Process
Psychological treatment is a critical part of addiction recovery. It typically follows after detox and stabilization. Different therapies may be used to help you to first understand why you turn to drugs or alcohol and what you can do to change that.
People with disorders or mental health problems co-occurring with substance abuse usually undergo behavioral therapies, mainly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Therapy may be done with your therapist in a one-on-one or in a group setting (group therapy).
Individual therapy: This allows you an opportunity to discuss thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that trigger substance abuse. It equips you with alternative ways of coping with these personal as well as environmental triggers, e.g., seeing people drink or use drugs. Managing substance use triggers is the basis of your relapse prevention plan.
Group therapy: In group therapy, you’ll get to meet people who are struggling with addiction and hear their stories. You can draw strength and get motivation from each other as you seek to conquer addiction.
Family Therapy: Since treatment for addiction takes a comprehensive approach, family therapy is incorporated into the treatment plan. It allows loved ones a chance to understand how addiction affected everyone and ways they can help you sustain sobriety after rehab.
Ongoing medical care: You may receive medication during therapy to help manage cravings and psychological symptoms that may persist after detox. This is called “maintenance.”
Life in Recovery
Treatment for alcohol or drug addiction does not end after you complete rehab. Because addiction is a brain disease that has no cure, you will essentially always be in recovery. Recovery involves lifetime management of substance use triggers and a personal commitment to never go back to substance use or abuse. There are several things you can do to help maintain your sobriety.
The first thing is to use the relapse prevention plan you were equipped with during therapy. This plan is a road map to keep you on a sober path. You should always lean on members in your support network. This could be your spouse, family members, loved ones, recovering peers, therapist, and/or counselor. These are the people that best understand your need to stay off drugs or alcohol. They can provide emotional or psychological support to help you manage cravings or deal with life stressors that may tempt you to go back to substance abuse.
Involvement in Recovery Groups
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests you remain in treatment for an adequate amount of time. It means that even after formal treatment ends you should get involved in sober groups made up of others who, like you, are recovering. Doing this improves your chances of staying clean.
Alcohol Anonymous (AA) is a widely known program for people recovering from alcohol addiction while Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offers post-rehab services to those recovering from drug addiction. There are sober living homes where you can spend a certain amount of weeks or months armoring yourself to combat substance use triggers once you return to your normal environments.
Starting Your Addiction Recovery Journey At The Detox Center of L.A.
You don’t have to struggle with addiction for the rest of your life. The Detox Center of L.A. offers outpatient and residential treatment programs that can help you. The treatment plan will be tailored based on your recovery needs and personal circumstances. In addition to behavioral therapies, we help you develop occupational and educational skills which you can use to cultivate a good quality of life free from addiction.
Both programs are delivered in a safe, stable, and compassionate setting. The outpatient programs are scheduled around your life allowing you to attend treatment during the day and return home at night. Call us today to talk to an admissions counselor.
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