When substance use reaches the point where the individual 1. has a craving 2. has lost control over its use and 3. continues to use the substance or participate in the activity despite negative consequences, it’s time to seek help for addiction.
In order for an addiction treatment program to be successful, you must understand…
…the problem of addiction
At the heart of any substance or behavioral addiction is the reality that the object of addiction offers a biological, psychological and/or social reward. Effective treatment works with the patient to identify the reward, then structures a program to mitigate the effects, or replace the object with something less destructive. Alternative systems that challenge, engage, and satisfy the addict must be developed and implemented, not only for recovery to begin, but to “take” to avoid a relapse.
Common stages associated with treatment
Pre-treatment: The period before seeking treatment during which the dependence problem is denied. At this stage, developing a desire to change is impeded.
Realizing a problem exists: When the fact that a problem exists is identified. However, the individual may be indecisive about seeking treatment.
Accepting that a change needs to take place: When the need to change is accepted and methods to bring about change are sought. This process may range from attempts to reduce the quantity or frequency of use to gathering information about rehabilitation facilities.
Actively seeking change: Taking direct action towards recovery, such as participating in peer counseling groups or 12-Step programs, working with a private therapist or entering into a treatment facility.
Maintaining new behavior: It’s hard to kick the desire to return to the old behaviors, especially if treatment becomes difficult. A successful treatment program anticipates this stage and prepares a number of strategies that can be implemented to ensure that recovery keeps moving forward.
Relapsing: A return to the old behavior, which may or may not occur, but is not uncommon. It’s important not to become discouraged and give up during a relapse, and to realize that relapse is a sign that the patient’s needs must be reassessed and the treatment program adjusted to better address those needs.
Effective Addiction Treatment
Today, the most effective programs employ motivational interviewing early in treatment. This directs the patient to examine his or her addiction and to look at gaps between desires and goals, and the role the object of addiction plays. During this process, the patient is steered towards accepting responsibility for all of the choices made and actions taken.
One problem with any addiction treatment program is the development of a new addiction replacing the old one — for example, increasing food consumption to compensate for quitting smoking or drinking. A good program will be aware of this possibility, and be prepared to prevent such an occurrence.