If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a drug or alcohol addiction or you’re worried you might meet the criteria, you’re probably wondering what happens during drug abuse treatment. For many people, treatment facilities are much more warm, welcoming and friendly than they expect. After all, overcoming chronic health conditions requires support, nurturing and kindness from a team of professionals.

Continue reading to find out more about drug abuse problems and what to expect when seeking treatment, including types of treatment facilities and treatments.

What Is Drug Addiction?

A drug is a substance that changes a person’s psychology or physiology, and most drugs of abuse produce a psychoactive effect. This means they alter the chemicals that govern the way you move, think, feel or behave. One of the main elements of addiction is your reward system, which gives the sense of pleasure or “high” associated with drug use. Commonly abused substances include:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Prescription drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Inhalants
  • Z drugs
  • Legal highs
drug abuse problems

What Happens When the Reward Center Is Activated?

When this part of your brain is activated, it reinforces that the action you’ve taken (using drugs) is positive and should be repeated. It’s something of a flaw in the brain, which has no way of distinguishing a healthy behavior from an unhealthy one.

The reward center is activated by eating food, exercising, sex and other functions that are vital for our survival. However, it’s prone to disorder, and this is what addiction is. Not everyone is susceptible to addiction, and those who are aren’t weaker or less moral — they simply have a set of genetics that makes it more likely. Not only that, but a ton of factors must also be present.

Is a Substance Use Disorder a Disease or a Choice?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute on Drug Addiction, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Medical Association and the overwhelming majority of addiction experts, a substance use disorder is a relapsing disease. Addiction is also included in the DSM-5 manual of mental health issues.

The Disease Model of Drug Addiction

The disease model of addiction proposes that drug addiction is caused by a mixture of biological, social, environmental, psychological and behavioral factors, just like diabetes or heart disease. Genes account for around half of the likelihood of getting addicted. Untreated addiction can lead to physical and mental health issues and severely impair a person’s life, restricting your ability to function and find happiness.

Guilt and shame are common among people with substance abuse disorders because it’s instinctive to feel like it’s your own fault. Understanding that it’s an illness is an important step that helps many people heal and avoid relapse.

Is Outpatient or Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Better?

When it comes to drug addiction treatment, choosing between residential treatment settings and outpatient programs is a key consideration. Inpatient treatment is often the best option because it provides a chance to reset your routine and go through withdrawal and early recovery under 24/7 medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms prevent many people from seeking help, especially those with opioid addiction. At rehab, you can get medically assisted treatment to ease the discomfort associated with withdrawing.

However, it’s not viable for everyone to remove themselves from daily life to attend inpatient rehab, which requires you to take one to four months out of work or school to attend. Thankfully, the addiction treatment protocols offered at inpatient and outpatient treatment are exactly the same. The only difference is that you go home for evenings and weekends with outpatient rehab.

Which Addiction Treatment Options Are Best?

The best drug addiction treatment centers offer a variety of therapies and support them with psychoeducation, holistic therapies and lifestyle interventions. A multipronged approach is most effective because everyone responds differently to treatment and needs to find the mix of approaches that suit them best.

Below is a breakdown of the main types of treatment used to treat substance abuse disorders.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies are the cornerstone of addiction treatment because they don’t just help you understand yourself and your past — they help you take action. Thoughts and beliefs underpin behavior, and these are often established during early childhood before you’re able to make big decisions for yourself.

A CBT counselor helps you identify these unhelpful thought patterns and provides tools that help you redirect them and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

MET is an approach that aims to help people see the positive reasons to change their life and feel worthy of making those changes. It involves motivational interviewing, which many counselors and therapists deploy to help their clients see themselves in a better light and understand why recovery is worthwhile.

Addiction is often a way of masking difficult feelings, and it can be highly effective, which is why you might feel reluctant and scared to quit. This type of therapy helps you see that there are alternative ways of dealing with challenging emotions.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is an eye-opener that helps you understand addiction, yourself and other people better. You share your story and listen to other people, which provides you with a broad range of perspectives to ponder over. It also encourages you to open up and share your feelings and empathize with the experience of other people.

Family Therapy

Getting therapy with family members is vital for many people in recovery. Addiction can tear families apart and lead to resentment, anger and shame from all parties. A counselor helps you establish healthy boundaries and communicate in a healthy, constructive manner. It provides your loved ones with knowledge about the best way to support you through recovery and provides a safe space to work through issues under guidance from a qualified professional.

Drug Education

Unless you’re a medical professional or scientist, there’s a good chance you don’t fully understand the mechanism behind addiction. Learning about the reality of how substance abuse impacts the brain and body can be a wake-up call and complements therapy by helping you understand the terminology and reasoning behind it.

Lifestyle Interventions

Someone who is in the throes of a substance use disorder prioritizes their drug of choice. This means elements of a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness can fall by the wayside. A good rehab center should offer a range of lifestyle interventions such as fitness classes, yoga, meditation, stress management classes, nutritional counseling and spiritual development.

Get Help for Substance Use Disorders Today

If you’d like to find out about the addiction treatment programs at Brookside Treatment, call our friendly team of addiction experts today at 606-342-7089.

A psychotherapist talking to a group of individuals recovering from alcohol and drug addiction

General Outpatient Therapy

No matter what stage of addiction you’re at or how long you’ve been using substances, you can overcome addiction. Call Brookside Treatment today to find out more.