When you break a bone, you go to an orthopedic doctor; when you have an eye infection, you go to an ophthalmic clinician. Similarly, when you have an addiction problem, you check out an addiction rehab.
However, due to some misconceptions, families of addicts or addicts themselves, first tend to go to other places for addressing addiction issues. Some land up at ashrams, or go for a nature retreat or a Yoga camp. While these are useful in the long run, first the primary addiction must be treated at an appropriate facility.
Rehabs have professional and experienced therapists and medical staff to deal with addictions. Some of the important elements of an effective rehab are:
Assessment : An expert assessment by a physician is critical before starting a treatment. Accurate diagnosis of the addiction and assessment of any physical damages caused, enable the medical staff to manage the individual in a holistic manner. Usually a complete check-up also involves taking a blood sample to check physical parameters.
Moreover, a psychiatric assessment is also important to screen for any co-occurring issues, such as depression, bipolar disorder or other psychiatric conditions. Dual diagnosis cases (where addiction occurs along with a mental health issue) have to have a treatment plan that addresses both conditions simultaneously.
Detox : Stopping the substance intake (drinking/ drugging) will usually result in some uncomfortable feelings, including acute craving. Detox is basically medical management of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms vary, depending on the severity and duration of addiction and the physiology of the addict, and the type of drug he or she has been abusing. Sometimes, withdrawal can get complicated and may require expert medical interventions. In any case, an alert monitoring of the individual in withdrawal is essential for the safety of the addict and will help in alleviating the pain of acute withdrawal.
Individualized treatment : One size doesn’t fit all. Each person is different – with their unique history, family dynamics and cultural background. A good rehab will prepare a treatment plan that is best suited for the individual. If the facility has experience in cross-cultural approach along with gender-specific treatment, the recovery is going to more effective.
Multi-disciplinary approach : Addiction is a complex issue that affects all areas of the addict’s life – physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual. An integrated treatment model that addresses all these areas is most likely to work. A team of addiction counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists working along other therapists such as Yoga teachers, physical trainers, Mindfulness facilitators are best suited to address addiction issues.
Family support : When one member of a family is struggling with addiction, the rest of the family gets greatly impacted. The family goes through significant trauma. For any successful treatment, all the affected members should be part of the treatment process. Family members too should be helped in initiating their own recovery.
Relapse prevention : Actually, staying clean and sober is nothing but preventing relapse. An addict is highly prone to relapse and he (or she) should be helped by their therapist to identify the unique triggers that might cause a return to active addiction. A strategy of healthy responses to these triggers has to be developed and learnt, prior to discharge.
Aftercare : Getting back into the real world after discharge from the protected environs of a rehab can be stressful. The individual will need support and guidance from his counsellor to deal with the stresses and ensure continued recovery. Most rehabs offer aftercare services to their clients.
Substance abuse and other behavior addictions wreak havoc in an addict’s life. There are treatment options available.
Addiction recovery is a difficult journey, but totally worth it! Choose your support wisely and you will enter a new, wonderful phase of life.