The Principles of Treating Drug Addiction – Part Two

January 2nd, 2011

Short-Term Inpatient Addiction Treatment Short-term inpatient addiction treatments are an powerful means of introducing people to the 12 step philosophy and are modelled on an adapted 12-step Minnesota model method. The patient usually stays at the addiction treatment centre for 4 to 6 weeks in Primary Care and then 4-12 weeks in Secondary Care followed up with extended outpatients if needed. Once discharged patients return to the clinic for weekly aftercare group therapy and perhaps some individual counselling should they be in crisis.

In the early days along the road to recovery from active addiction patients that have just left treatment can find some solace, kindred spirits and a healthy way to full their time, by attending and actively participating in a 12-step meetings (self-help support groups like AA-Alcoholics Anonymous and NA-Narcotics Anonymous) every day. Keeping patients engaged in aftercare programs are essential as they help to decrease the risk of relapse.

This form of treatment is used by the most successful drug addiction rehabs around the world and is experienced by addicted patients as less confrontational and more challenging. After all, allowing the addicted patient to increase insight into their behaviour, accept responsibility for their illness, the harm they’ve casued theselves and others (in a balanced, non punitive way) and to begin making the necessary behavioural changes that would allow them to move forward in a healthier way is the optimal aim.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Programmes

Outpatient addiction treatment programmes are varied and cost less than inpatient treatment. They are more suitable for those who have jobs or family commitments and cannot be away for an extended period.

Outpatient treatment provides excellent drug education and is effective if the patient is abusing alcohol or drugs and is more of a binge pattern user as oppose to addicted (dependent). Once the patient has moved from abusing drugs or alcohol to actual dependence (a full blown addiction), inpatient rehab is necessary. Some outpatient programmes with intensive day treatment may be more effective, dependant upon the patient’s needs. Group alcohol addiction counselling and participation in 12 Step, self-help groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) is often a major part of the successful addiction recovery.

Individual Drug Addictions Counselling

Individual, or one-on-one, drug counselling focuses on decreasing or stopping drug and alcohol use. Once again, if a patient is abusing drugs or alcohol, outpatients or individual addictions counselling to reduce intake and a harm minimisation approach may be successful but if the patient has crossed the line into addiction (the correct clinical term is dependence as it seems everyone’s addicted to something these days – shoes. chocolate etc) then drug addictions treatment as an inpatient is absolutely necessary.

It’s important that the addictions counsellor helps the patient to move from the ‘culture of addiction to a healthier ‘culture of recovery’. This transition from one culture to another involves the individual drug counselling dealing with the consequences of drug use and the associated lifestyle, such as unemployment, criminal activity, and family and social relationships.

Individual Drug Addictions Counselling looks at developing the patient’s recovery programme by formulating a treatment plan that covers these areas and gives the patient enough support to make the necessary changes.

Short-term behavioural goals help the patient to develop coping strategies and tools to not only stop drugs but most importantly to be able to stay off drugs. Participation in 12-step recovery fellowships is encouraged on a regular basis and referrals are given for medical, psychiatric and other services.

Group Addictions Counselling

Group therapy for addicted populations reinforces drug-free living due to the peer discussion and interaction. Research has proved that group therapy in conjunction with individual drug counselling has positive results. When group therapy mirrors the principles of individual therapy, it is extremely helpful. One of the first, and crucial, benefits of group addictions counselling is that patients develop and sense of what Dr. Irvin Yalom calls ‘universality’ that they aren’t alone and can relate and identify with their peers in rehab.

This beginning of trust in their peer group as well as the addictions counselling team is of paramount importance to the success of alcohol and other drug addiction treatment. For more information on the best treatment options for individual circumstances please contact WeDoRecover for independent and expert advice on private drug addiction treatment in the UK, South Africa and Thailand.

All calls are treated in absolute confidence. Part one of this article is here – The Principles of Treating Drug Addiction.

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