What is Addiction?
An addiction is the physical or psychological dependence a substance or activity. Whether it’s to food, drugs, or any other activity that takes over one’s life in a negative way, it’s usually a symptom of a deeper issue. Eventually it becomes a problem in itself and before long the addict finds their life spinning out of control. It’s often at this point that people choose to seek help. Sometimes that decision is made at the instistance of those closest to them, but true healing begins, as stated, when the addict realizes and accepts the fact that they need help.
The Next Step
Therapy is a the best way to get to the heart of the matter. Self-help, cold turkey, and other methods of kicking a habit may work, but usually only in the short term. To get to the root cause of the addiction, it helps to have someone who can objectively help put things into perspective.
A therapist who’s trained and experienced in addiction counseling is able to help the addict gain that perspective and get to the cause of the addiction. There are several treatment options for battling addictions, and each has their benefits. Here is an overview of the most common and proven methods of overcoming an addiction.
Though the words “group therapy” and “individual therapy” may seem self-explanatory, let’s delve a little deeper into these recovery options and discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Individual therapy is a when a person meets privately with a therapist on a set schedule, usually once a week in their office. Though this option is more expensive than group counseling, there’s a greater availability of private counselors. Individual therapy also provides the client with one-on-one attention and focus on their specific issues.
Scheduling individual therapy is often more flexible as well, and it’s sometimes easier to talk about problems privately than in front of a room full of strangers. However, there is a lack of opportunity for feedback from people who have similar problems or to participate in role-playing scenarios, which sometimes helps people in recovery learn how to handle pivotal situations in a more positive way.
Group therapy consists of meeting on a regular basis with others who have similar issues. These sessions are usually mediated by one or more professional counselors who have extensive experience and training in that particular issue. Some people begin with private therapy and move on to group as there recovery progresses. Grouptherapy sessions also more affordable than private sessions.
There are social and emotional benefits to group therapy, including the sense of camaraderie and emotional support that can develop within the group. It’s also helpful to get a wider perspective on addiction and interpersonal issues that’s hard to obtain with individual therapy.
However, despite confidentiality rules that are in place in most group sessions, safeguarding the privacy of other members of the group isn’t guaranteed. Flexibility is a problem, too. Individual sessions can usually be scheduled at the convenience of the client, but group therapy is set on a timetable that’s sometimes inconvenient or difficult to schedule around. Group and individual therapy in an out-patient setting also leaves the addict in their home environment, which may be unhealthy or unsupportive to their recovery.
An option that usually involves both group and individual therapy is in-patient treatment. In-patient addiction recovery is available through hospitals, mental health centers, and residential treatment facilities. Commonly referred to as rehab, it has a high success rate and it’s sometimes the last hope for those who’ve been unsuccessful with other methods of recovery.
The benefits to in-patient treatment are many. When one enters a residential facility, they’re separated from the daily stresses that trigger substance abuse and relapse. The patient is surrounded by those who share their addiction and can understand what they’re going through. It’s a great way to develop a support system in a safe place at one of the most critical phases of recovery. Since there are also usually medical professionals on staff, residential care is beneficial to those who are battling addictions that require detoxification and medical supervision.
Residential treatment centers offer stability and routine, factors that are essential to breaking destructive patterns and establishing more positive coping mechanisms. The residents also have the benefit of working with therapists privately to map out an individual treatment plan, as well as the opportunity to work within a group dynamic to discuss common problems and pitfalls and to role-play real-life situations.
When searching for the right treatment center for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to do some research. You may begin by getting referrals from medical professionals or other who have experience with addiction treatment. Once you have a list of possibilities, it’s important to visit the facility and meet with the director to discuss their philosophy and see how well it meets with your recovery goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your search. Finding the right fit is essential to the success of treatment.
Here are some examples of questions to ask:
- Staff to client ratio
- Number of residents
- Available treatment options
- Accommodation information
- Average length of stay
- Typical daily routine
- Phone and Internet availability
- Is aftercare available?
- Visitation rules
Addiction recovery is a personal thing, and the best method is the one that helps the person in recovery get to the root of their addiction, recognize what triggers their addictive behavior, and learn to make healthier and more positive life choices once they return to their regular home and work routine.