What are the treatment options for addiction?

If you are in the grip of an addiction, you might not know where to turn or what to do next. Addictions can be very destructive, not only to the person involved but to everyone around them.

Drug or alcohol addictions can be very harmful to the user’s own physical and mental health, while behavioural addictions such as gambling and sex addiction can also lead to destructive behaviours.

It can be very difficult to break free from an addiction of any kind without professional addiction recovery treatment. Addiction is seen as a disease, which can affect the way your brain deals with areas such as pleasure, reward and impulse control.

The National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain”, adding that it is considered “both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness”.

It is also considered the most severe substance use disorder of a wide spectrum but luckily, like other diseases and conditions, it can be successfully treated.

A modern addiction treatment program delivered through a drug or alcohol rehab will use evidence-based and highly effective treatments developed and refined through many years of research and experience.


Treatment for Physical Addictions

Physical addiction refers to having an addiction or dependency on a particular substance or substances. This could involve illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, legal drugs like alcohol – which is both widely available and socially acceptable but can be very addictive and harmful – or prescription drugs such as painkillers.

These drugs may have been misused for recreational purposes but in other cases, an addiction to painkillers or other prescription drugs can start more innocently, with them being prescribed and taken for legitimate purposes.

Long-term use of any addictive substance can lead to a physical addiction as your system gets used to the chemicals involved and the effects they have on the brain and body. Drug or alcohol addiction can have a number of consequences.

You can build up a tolerance, meaning you need more and more to get the same effect or even to feel normal. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe when those chemicals are removed.

Managing withdrawal symptoms is a key part of the detox process but a complete and long-lasting recovery will also look at the root causes of your addiction and your associated behaviours and thought patterns.


The Detoxification Process

The period during which you ‘flush out’ the toxic elements of the drugs or alcohol already in your system is known as detoxification or detox. As mentioned, this is usually accompanied by a range of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be severe, very unpleasant and – in the worst cases – dangerous. This is why it is always better to undergo detox in a controlled and supervised environment wherever possible.

One of the benefits of an outpatient treatment programme is that you can continue living at home, which may be important if you have family, work or other commitments. Set against that, a residential addiction treatment program will allow you to really focus on your recovery in a tranquil, secure environment.

You will have access to round the clock care and support and this can be especially important during the detoxification process. It is a stumbling block for many people trying to overcome an alcohol or drug addiction alone, but the support you receive in a professional detox clinic, as well as prescription medication where appropriate, can help you through this difficult period.


Talking Therapies

Getting clean and sober is a vital part of the recovery process but it is only part of the journey. As part of a holistic alcohol or drug addiction treatment programme, you will also be encouraged to explore and tackle the root causes of your addiction and substance misuse.

You will also have the opportunity to develop coping strategies and to challenge and change the way you think and behave around drugs and alcohol. This is mainly done through treatments & therapies including a range of talking therapies. 12-step models have helped many people around the world to overcome their addictions but there are also other treatment options.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is commonly used to treat mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety but has also been shown to be a very valuable type of treatment in the field of addiction recovery.

Other useful techniques include 1:1 counselling and group therapy sessions, where you can speak with others going through their own recovery journeys about your issues. We can also offer couples and family therapy sessions where this is appropriate.

It’s worth bearing in mind that rehab treatment services can also help people who are experiencing mental health issues such as depression, serious stress and eating disorders, as well as providing effective treatment for behavioural addictions.


Holistic Therapies

A good alcohol or drug rehab programme will tend to take a holistic approach to recovery. Improving your general well-being can help you to avoid stresses and temptations moving forward, helping you to stay drug-free and avoid relapsing once you leave the treatment centre behind.

Some useful holistic therapies in this regard include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Reiki and massage
  • Personal training
  • Beauty therapies

Alternative and holistic therapies are not compulsory, but they can provide a great benefit for your mental and physical health, as well as helping you to keep focused and resist temptations when they arise.


Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

Those temptations and difficult periods will inevitably come. Addiction recovery tends to be an ongoing journey that does not necessarily end the moment the doors of a treatment facility close behind you.

Part of the whole aim of the treatment programme will be to provide you with the tools, knowledge and information that you need to avoid relapse as you move forward, but there may be times when you need extra support. Support groups and aftercare support programmes can be very useful at such times as you move into a new, more positive future.