What Is the Best Drug and Alcohol Treatment?
Living with addiction is a nightmare. Whether you or a loved one is afflicted, it is tough to be in that position.
Addiction is a pervasive and all-encompassing disease that impacts relationships, finances, and health. It can feel like you are in an ocean of despair without a life jacket, but there is hope.
Many types of treatment are available for those trying to get their heads above water and begin to live a happy, healthy life. Choosing the right treatment program to give you or a loved one their best chance at success is essential. Your doctor will work with you to determine what program is most appropriate.
Below we will discuss some treatment options to help you on your path to recovery.
Let’s get started!
What Is Drug and Alcohol Treatment?
Drug and alcohol treatment is the process of healing your body from drugs and alcohol so you can have a healthy, sober life. It can include detox and medical intervention if necessary. You’ll go through a treatment plan guided by medical staff and experienced, licensed practitioners. The combination of medical care and behavioral counseling will teach you how to overcome or live with your addiction.
Drug and alcohol treatment can occur in various settings, including residential facilities, outpatient clinics, self-help groups, and online therapeutic services. The best treatment depends on the patient’s needs, circumstances, and budget.
Several therapies, including fun and effective options such as art or music therapy, are available.
Addiction is a chronic, often relapsed condition, requiring patients to learn how to manage their addiction for life since it is not a curable disease. Treatment will help you or a loved one develop coping mechanisms and support structures to avoid people or situations that trigger drug or alcohol abuse.
History of Drug and Alcohol Treatment
Drug and alcohol treatment has come a long way since its inception. The first drug treatment service was the Salvation Army’s program, established in 1881 in London, England. The program was exclusively for men with alcohol addiction. Since then, drug and alcohol treatment has become inclusive, with programs available for all genders and all variations of substance abuse.
Substance Use in the 20th Century
In the early 20th century, drugs now considered illicit were prescribed and readily available to the public. For example, doctors supplied cocaine as a stimulant for soldiers during World War I. Additionally, heroin was marketed as a painkiller and cough suppressant in cough syrup and other products.
As more people became addicted and died from overdoses, many countries began restricting or banning these substances. Alcohol was made illegal in the US with the ratification of the 18th amendment in 1919, going into effect in 1920. Prohibition was active in America until 1933 when the 21st amendment repealed it.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the US passed its first anti-drug legislation: the Anti-Heroin Act. This legislation stayed in effect until it was replaced by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in the 1970s.
Early Addiction Treatment and Recovery
In the early 1900s, addiction treatment was limited to medical intervention in the form of detox and withdrawal management. The most famous facility is the elite Charles B. Towns Hospital in New York, which famously treated Bill Wilson (one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous) four times.
Unfortunately, a stay in that hospital was costly, and although its medical treatment for alcoholism was effective, it was not within reach for most Americans. Additionally, it did not focus on therapy or social programs that allowed alcoholics to reintegrate into society successfully with long-term recovery.
In 1906, the Emmanuel Clinic in Boston opened. It was a church-based organization that was the first of its kind to offer psychotherapy to treat addiction. The Emmanuel movement influenced the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, along with the Oxford group.
In 1921, the Oxford group was established. The Oxford group was heavily Christian and believed Christ could cure all addictions. The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous were members for a period and heavily based the 12 steps on its program.
In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. The creation of this program was the single most effective treatment for alcohol abuse at the time, as well as today. While the group initially only focused on alcohol addiction, all forms of addiction recovery are welcome in its modern application.
AA’s approach to recovery has three core principles:
- Abstinence from mind altering substances.
- Acceptance of power greater than oneself.
- Helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Modern Addiction Treatment and Recovery
The next significant change in the realm of addiction recovery came in the 1960s with the availability of methadone maintenance for heroin addicts. In 1986, naltrexone (an opioid antagonist) became available. In 2002, Buprenorphine, an opioid partial agonist more commonly known as Suboxone and Subutex, was approved by the FDA to treat Opioid Use Disorder. These medications are still widely used in medication-assisted treatment programs for opioid use disorder (OUD).
In recent years, there has been a shift toward more comprehensive approaches to treating substance use disorders (SUDs).
The Value of Individualized Treatment Plans
Individualized treatment plans are the most successful way to overcome substance use disorders. These plans are tailored to the patient, recognizing that no two people respond similarly to treatment programs and interventions.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to substance abuse treatment, doctors and other medical professionals take into account all of the factors surrounding an individual with a substance use disorder when designing their individualized treatment plan:
- The severity of their addiction
- Their medical status (i.e., whether they have another physical illness)
- Their psychological state (i.e., other mental health concerns like depression or anxiety)
- The patients desire to enter a detox center or have outpatient treatment.
At some treatment facilities, doctors will prescribe an abundance of psychiatric medication or maintenance drugs like methadone to support their patients. Although these medications can be effective, they are a short-term fix. The best approach to recovery will always be holistic and tailored to a patient’s needs. For many, long-term abstinence from all mind-altering substances is the goal, and it is attainable with the right treatment program.
How to Determine What Treatment Is Best for You
There are many factors to consider when deciding on the best treatment. For example:
- How much do you drink or use drugs?
- Do you have a co-occurring mental health disorder?
- How long have you been addicted to alcohol or drugs?
- How supportive are family and friends of your recovery?
- Are family and friends likely to help keep track of your treatment progress and encourage healthy behaviors?
- What is your budget for treatment?
Some treatment programs are more costly. An inpatient program that includes housing and 24/7 support and monitoring is only affordable for some. There is likely a level of care within your budget, especially since most health insurance will cover some portion of treatment. Contact our admissions specialists today to find out what your insurance does and does not cover.
Treatment Often Begins in an Inpatient or Residential Setting
Inpatient treatment is the most intensive level of care. While participating, you will live in a residential setting and receive 24-hour medical supervision and support. Inpatient treatment is the best option if your addiction is severe to the point that it has become a physical dependency as well as behavioral.
Many people with substance use disorder need medical intervention to detox safely, especially if they have physical or psychological co-morbidities. Inpatient programs offer a combination of detoxification and therapy over an average of three to six weeks.
The benefits of inpatient treatment include relatively no risk of relapse while coping with withdrawal symptoms. Do not underestimate the value of round-the-clock monitoring by medical professionals in a secure environment.
Some insurance policies include partial or total coverage of inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is the best option for those with flexibility in their familial and work obligations.
The Highest Rates of Success Come From Inpatient Treatment
Is inpatient or outpatient treatment the best choice for you? It depends on your needs, goals, and budget.
Inpatient treatment is the most effective, medically intensive, and expensive option. It can last up to 90 days, making it difficult for those unable to leave their familial or work obligations for an extended time.
However, for many people battling drug or alcohol abuse, inpatient treatment is what they need to achieve long-term sobriety. For those who have made the commitment and followed through with their aftercare, they would say inpatient treatment is worth every penny.
Treatment Should Address More Than Substance Abuse
Addiction is a disease that affects all aspects of your life. This can include relationships, finances, and health.
If you are struggling with substance use disorder, working with a therapist can teach you how best to navigate and heal the aspects of your life that have been affected by addiction.
Learning to Deal With Cravings and Triggers
In treatment, you will learn coping skills to deal with cravings and triggers that lead to substance abuse. This skillset is essential to the maintenance of long-term sobriety.
Cravings can be scary, but keep in mind that thoughts and feelings are only temporary. If you feel like giving up, remember that although recovery is not always easy, it is always worth it!
If you have been struggling with drug and alcohol problems for a prolonged period, chances are that your body has become physically dependent on the substance. Your brain chemistry has likely changed as a result of substance abuse. This means that quitting cold turkey may lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle aches
- Anxiety and insomnia
- Sweating and tremors
- Diarrhea or constipation
If someone chooses to participate in treatment, they typically start the process by detoxifying before beginning therapy sessions. Detox can be a grueling process, but rest assured that you will have a team of experts to support you every step of the way.
Suppose you are not in an inpatient treatment facility. In that case, you can typically go to a hospital or clinic where doctors may prescribe medications (such as methadone) to help you cope with withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms can last from five days to six weeks, depending on the type and amount of drugs used.
Treatment Doesn't End When You Leave the Program
Follow-up care is the icing on the cake of treatment. You’ve done all this hard work, but you can’t stop there and expect to remain sober. Follow-up care is vital; it provides several benefits to those in recovery:
- It connects you to outside sources to support long-term recovery
- It helps mitigate and prevent relapse
- It enables you to transition back into the “real world,” including occupational assistance when needed
Aftercare can take place in several ways, with the best option always tailored to your needs. For example, if you took part in outpatient treatment at home instead of inpatient, online counseling might better suit your needs than in-person group therapy sessions. Your treatment team and medical support staff will help you decide what follow-up care is the best fit.
There Are Many Different Drug and Alcohol Treatment Options
If you have been looking for drug and alcohol treatment options, you have likely come across many different types. It is important to remember that the best treatment option for someone will depend on what works best for their particular needs, which may change as they progress in their recovery.
Outpatient treatment might be sufficient if your symptoms are mild and don’t interfere with your daily life. If you are at high risk of relapse or require medical intervention for detox, then an inpatient or a partial hospitalization program (PHP) would be the best choice.
Taking time away from home can help you set up new boundaries with your loved ones while removing any temptation between your old life and recovery. For example, if your home has liquor or prescription drugs, removing yourself from the threat is best. Even better, that will give you time to have your loved ones remove those substances from the house or lock them away safely.
Another significant consideration when selecting a treatment program is your medical status. Suppose you have additional mental health issues outside substance use disorder (dual-diagnosis). It is usually best to have a high level of medical supervision. If a patient has any physical limitations or mobility issues, they may want the additional support that would come from inpatient treatment. It is best to discuss these options with your doctor.
Additionally, if you speak with a treatment center and wonder if their plan is right for you, seek a second opinion. You are in the driver’s seat of your recovery. Make sure to advocate for yourself or have people around who can do it for you.
The Best Help for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder
We all have struggles; some require more support than others. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, it is imperative to get help. The most important thing is to find the right treatment program to meet your needs and goals for recovery.
Sunshine Care Centers has a suite of specialists with over 30 years of experience in drug and alcohol rehabilitation to assist you on the road to recovery. Whether in North Texas or Southern California, Sunshine Care Centers offers the highest level of care available. We pride ourselves on our clean, compassionate, and secure environment. We use evidence-based addiction treatment with flexible programs that cater to your needs.
Don’t wait to receive the help you deserve.