Addiction Treatment 101 – The Steps to a Free Existence

Addictive behaviours can occur in relation to a series of habits and fixation objects. The connection between addiction and mental illness is not yet clearly established, but it exists. Receiving treatment for both is a crucial step in the healing process but the starting point is admitting your issues.

Addiction is a chronic disease and like any other condition on this spectrum needs continuous help and management. The UK is one of those countries with a severe drug-related problem. In 2018, there were approximately 7,545 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related issues. In 2018, there were 14,053 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. The numbers are staggering and growing.

For addicts who want to break an unhealthy cycle of addiction and associated mental difficulties, there are several steps that will help them tackle the issues and live an addiction-free life.

#1. Acknowledgment

The first step to breaking the addiction cycle is acknowledging the use of substances has become a problem. Once the patient recognizes the use as a problem lowering their life quality, they can research facilities where patients with similar issues are taken in and receive treatment.

Generally, treatment for addictive behaviours is tailored to each individual needs and disorder specificities. Therapy centres will also take closer care of different physical conditions that might have appeared as a result of addiction. Withdrawal is a sever issue former addicts battle during the recovery period, and extra attention to their physical and mental health during that interval is necessary.

#2. Detoxification

The first step in addiction management programs is detoxification. The process is designed to help the patient clear off the substances from their body and limiting the previously-mentioned withdrawal symptoms. To ease these reactions, medical centres rely on medication, in most of the cases.

For cases of addiction to more than one substance medication to combat withdraw will be used for each of those.

#3. Counselling and Behavioural Therapies

All rehabilitation programs are tailored with an extensive counselling program. It has been proven to be the most effective and suitable for a variety of patients. Counselling and therapy sessions can be individual, group-based or family-based. They are designed to get to the mental root of the addiction and remove it through proper therapy programs. An adjusted number of sessions will progressively reduce the symptoms and relapse chances.

According to, there are different types of therapies.

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy – this type of therapy helps people identify and change the cognitive pathways associated with substance abuse. Identifying what is the root of the addiction will help the patient remove those and the addiction itself easier.
  • Motivational incentives – motivational incentives reinforce good behaviour through praise and recognition. In most patients, this approach shows high rates of success when combined with cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Multi-dimensional family therapy – this therapy is designed to improve family dynamics and increase family members’ support in relation to the patients’ recovery process.
  • Motivational interviewing – this therapy method increases each patient’s willingness and desire to change the negative patterns in their lives.

In mild cases of addiction, therapy and counselling sessions might work on their own, without additional help from medication and hospitalization. Inpatient facilities are recommended for these cases. They work so well because they help sufferers to change completely attitudes and emotions associated with substance use.

#4. Rehab Programs

Long-term rehabilitation programs are designed to help addiction free-patients to avoid relapses. They are incredibly effective on people who try to rebuild their lives after struggling with addiction. The main purpose of these programs is helping former addicts to develop new social, professional and familial lives.

In this case, patients should seek accredited facilities. These programs are designed to support the patients 24/7, offer them a housing solution and offer them the necessary medical care and assistance. There are several types of rehab programs interested people can choose from.

  • Recovery housing offers a supervised environment where people struggling after addiction can engage with others and develop new responsibilities. This will teach them how to function independently, without using substances. Training sessions for finance management or finding a suitable job are also offered in recovery housing facilities.
  • Short-term residential treatment usually focuses on preparing the patient for longer intervals in rehabilitation centres and for detoxification.
  • Therapeutic communities help patients with severe addictive behaviours to receive proper treatment and therapies. These facilities usually admit patients for 6 to 12 months.

#5. Self-Help Sessions

In many cases, meeting others with similar issues has a huge therapeutic role. This usually boosts motivation and makes the patient feel included and part of a community. In some cases, self-help sessions offer the chance to introspection and self-analysis. Also, they offer incredible educational resources that can help the patient deal easier with their emotions.

Some examples of self-help sessions are the AA and NA. A simple Google search will offer plenty of suggestions to people interested in similar sessions.

#6. Medication

Substance abuse recovery is usually treated with medication. So are the associated disorders and complications. But most of the times, medication is used to help patients go through withdraw easier. Not all addictions are treated with the same type of medication. A medical assessment is mandatory before administration. Medication is used to reduce relapse chances and, in most cases, long-term use is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Addictions are complex and difficult to treat conditions. They are usually compared to chronic diseases. In the vast majority of the cases, they need long-term care and medication. Depending on the type of addiction a patient is battling, treatment should be adjusted.

Seeking professional therapy and medication will make the recovery and maintenance steps more manageable. In some cases, patients might be admitted to special facilities for as much as 12 months. Constant supervision will then be necessary as well.

Although substance addictions are the most common, there are many other types of addiction: food, shopping, work, even sex addiction. Depending on the symptom’s intensity, the approach will be designed by a professional.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.