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Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports some disturbing statistics. Nearly nine percent of Americans over the age of 12 have used an illicit drug or abused a prescription drug. That is roughly 22.5 million people. While underage drinking and alcohol addiction has declined, binge or heavy drinking is still a big problem for adults.

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey, 23.5 million Americans need treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Of these, only 2.6 million or 11 percent actually receive treatment for their addictions.

The road to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a long, painful, and very personal journey. It takes courage to make one of the most important decisions in life – the decision to change directions and pursue a path to health and happiness. Many programs exist to treat substance abuse and addiction, but inpatient treatment offers the most promise.

Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Inpatient treatment centers provide all of the tools and resources that recovering addicts need to fight their addictions. Medical and clinical staff are on site to help patients and their families learn to relate to the world around them. By learning to replace old behaviors with new, healthier choices, patients can overcome their drug and alcohol addictions.

Inpatient treatment is generally more intensive than outpatient therapy. The trade-off for flexibility is structure. Inpatient programs are residential programs; they require patients to live at a treatment center for an extended period of time. Most recovery programs range from six weeks to 90 days, but some individual plans require a year of intensive therapy.

Treatment Process

After admission to a substance abuse treatment center, addicts need medically supervised detoxification to rid their bodies of drugs or alcohol. This often occurs at the treatment facility. Following detox, medical and clinical staff work together to develop an appropriate therapy plan. During the first week of treatment, patients undergo thorough medical examinations to diagnose other symptoms or conditions.

Alcohol AddictionMany recovering addicts face a dual diagnosis. In addition to their addiction, they may battle depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders. Addiction is closely tied to feelings of anger, despair, abandonment, and hopelessness. Treatment center staff takes this into account when determining a treatment plan.

Patients in inpatient treatment programs are usually assigned to a personal counselor and one of several support groups. Individual counseling and specialized sessions pave the way for more intensive therapy on the road to recovery.

As patients progress through treatment, their individual plans expand to include in-depth lectures, group therapy sessions, and 12-step programs. Recovering addicts also receive training to help them manage their emotions, behaviors, and situations that could potentially cause a relapse.

After Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Following treatment, the temptation to use drugs or drink alcohol can overwhelm recovering addicts. Relapse prevention is one of the major goals of inpatient treatment. Specialized clinicians teach patients the coping skills they need to live a full and satisfying life outside the world of addiction.

Families are an important part of the recovery process. Drug and alcohol addiction affects them as much as it affects the addict. While treatment center patients can see their loved ones only during scheduled visitations, family participation during and after treatment is crucial to the whole family’s recovery.

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can find effective treatment centers across the United States. Many facilities offer gender specific treatments or special programs for women and young adults. Most treatment centers are located in beautiful settings that are conducive to health, wellness, and spirituality programs. Some facilities have financial assistance programs based on income eligibility.


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