Addiction and Alcoholism Drug Treatment: Considering your Options
So what are your addiction and alcoholism drug treatment options?
Whether you’re addicted to drugs, alcohol or both, I’m going to take you through the main options available to you – and hopefully we can narrow that down to the best option for you.
Your treatment options can also basically be categorised into two broad categories – Inpatient and Outpatient.
Inpatient essentially means spending a period of time at a rehab or drug treatment center, whereas outpatient means you basically receive regular treatment or counselling while still staying at home and trying to go about your normal, daily activities.
So let’s begin by looking at the Outpatient Treatment Option in more depth:
The first critical thing to make sure of when going the outpatient route is to make sure you follow a specialist addiction recovery programme given by experts in the field.
Simply going to see a Psychologist or Psychiatrist once a week or whatever is not enough, especially because most of them are not specialists in the field of addiction. Addiction is a very specialised field – so you need to make sure you’re dealing with Specialists, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.
So find a Specialist Addictions Counsellor or Medical Professional and get them to recommend an appropriate outpatient programme. If you don’t know how to find one – contact the rehabs/treatment centers in your area and ask for a recommendation.
Some treatment centers also offer outpatient programmes – so speak to them and see if they don’t offer something suitable.
A good outpatient programme will share many similarities with an inpatient programme, in that you will undergo regular therapy/counselling, likely meet other addicts going through what you are in a group therapy environment and have Specialists running an organised recovery programme.
The biggest advantages of going the outpatient route are the lower costs compared to going into an inpatient program and the fact that you can stay at home.
The major disadvantages of an outpatient addiction and alcoholism drug treatment programme is that your treatment isn’t as intensive as with the inpatient programme – and being at home living a ‘normal’ life means the temptation to relapse from your recovery programme will be much greater in those first, few critical months.
This simply means you spend a period, typically 3-6 weeks, at a specialist addiction and alcoholism drug treatment center, commonly known as Rehab.
Mention the word ‘Rehab’ though – and people immediately go pale and think of all sorts of reasons why it isn’t a good idea or why they don’t need to go.
Rehab is unfortunately just one of those words that carries all sorts of negative connotations - despite it being nothing like you think it will be and being an immensely effective and powerful way to treat addiction.
Before I went to Rehab, I thought of it as some horrible place where only total misfits with no real hope go. Surprisingly when I got there – I saw most of the people were pretty much like me, who just like me happened to be struggling with an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.
And it was nothing like the horrible, prison-like environment I imagined. The staff were friendly and helpful and the place was pretty nice – we even had a swimming pool.
Now Rehab is no picnic – it’s not meant to be. It can be pretty intense. But would you expect anything less in trying to overcome something as damaging and potentially life threatening as an addiction?
The advantages of going the inpatient route is that you are removed from your everyday life so that you can focus all your attention on laying the foundation for effectively overcoming your addiction and leaving a life of alcohol and drugs behind you. No distractions, no temptations – just doing what you need to do to start your life of recovery.
The disadvantages can be the cost and finding the time to get away. In this drug and alcohol rehab article I talk of ways to get around the cost issue – and as for finding the time – we’re talking about your life here, you can find ways to make it work.
How to Decide on the Outpatient or Inpatient Route
I always say you should try and go the inpatient addiction and alcoholism drug treatment route if at all possible. Simply because it’s more intensive, you’re removed from the everyday stresses of ‘normal’ life so you can focus on your recovery and you won’t be faced with unnecessary distractions and temptations.
And if your addiction is to drugs, in most cases I say inpatient treatment should be a non-negotiable because the risk of overdose or permanent damage are potentially just around the corner. The same goes for advanced cases of alcoholism where death or irreversible damage become real possibilities.
If your alcoholism is perhaps not as advanced - or you’re addicted to substances like marijuana or certain over the counter and prescription drugs that don’t carry the immediate threat that most Class A drugs do – sure, try an outpatient programme first.
But I still think you’d be better off going the inpatient route due to the reasons I mentioned above. I also think psychologically, choosing the inpatient addiction and alcoholism drug treatment option shows an additional commitment and determination to do whatever it takes to come clean.
And having that attitude is critical in the fight against addiction. Half measures won’t work. I know sometimes it’s simply impossible to go the inpatient route – but at least do everything you can to get into an inpatient programme if you possibly can.
I suggest you also read all the other articles in the Drug and Alcoholism Addiction Treatment and Drug and Alcohol Rehab Sections to give you additional insights and information.
Treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is available to those who admit they need help and wish to find permanent change. From detox to rehab to sober living and joining a recovery program.
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