Addiction Treatment: Multiple Options Are Available
by David R
There have been numerous advances made in a variety of medical areas. Diseases that previously were terminal or had no treatment option are now filled with treatment options that have offered life-changing choices and cures for diseases that were once common. While this is important, mental health continues to languish on the back-burner of the media and doesn’t receive the notoriety of some of these other diseases. With this in mind, it is important for everyone to understand that addiction is a disease and should be handled as such. The reality is that there are actually many treatment options that are available for an individual or a family that is struggling to overcome this challenging disease. It is important to note that different treatment options may work better for one person than for someone else. What are some of the treatment options available?
The Prevalence of Addiction
While many people think that those who struggle with addiction tend to hang out in the shadows of the country, this is far from the reality. Anyone has the potential to suffer from addiction and it is far more common than most people realize. Statistics published in 2013 from the National Database of Drug Abuse showed that in the month prior to the study coming out, close to 25 million Americans had tried or used an illicit substance in the past year. This population includes people 12 years of age or older and represents close to 10 percent of the population. When compared to only ten years ago, this represents an increase of 2 percent (the same study found 8 percent had used illicit substances in 2002). Importantly, this same study found that most people were teenagers (or younger) the first time that they tried these substances, highlighting the importance of reaching the youth population with information regarding the dangers of these substances. Addictions are clearly difficult to overcome and the best treatment is always to prevent them from happening in the first place; however, when addiction does take root, it is important to think about the treatment options that are available.
Inpatient versus Outpatient Treatment
One of the first decisions that the individual and their family is going to have to make is whether or not to go with inpatient therapy or outpatient therapy. This is a big decision that should always be made in conjunction with a medical professional. In general, someone whose addiction has caused them to land in a hospital should think about going to inpatient therapy. A common length of stay in thirty days. While this can be scary for someone, this is sometimes necessary to ensure the best chance at a full recovery. Someone whose addiction is impacting their relationship with friends or family but has not put them in a hospital may be appropriate for regular outpatient therapy. This could include day-long stays or single-hour appointments. Of note, people should always check to see if their insurance provider will cover their cost of treatment.
Whether or not someone chooses to go with inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment, it is possible that they could be placed on medications to help them recover. It is important to review the benefits and side effects for any medication that is going to be started. Patients should also inform their medical provider of any drug allergies that they might have. There are numerous medications out there. Most people have heard of Chantix or something similar for smoking addiction. Naloxone is commonly used for people who overdose on opioids. Another common medication is methadone, which can help people with the cravings that they might have. Suboxone and Naltrexone are often used to help people with opioid addiction as well. As someone recovers from their addiction, they could experience withdrawal symptoms or side effects of these medications. Treatment options are available for the shakes, trouble sleeping, and even depression that people might experience. All anyone has to do is ask for help.
As people recover from their addiction, they may be transitioned to other forms of therapy, such as group therapy. This is a common recommendation of numerous medical professionals and has been shown to help countless people. While speaking with healthcare professionals is a cornerstone of treatment, those who are recovering may find it more helpful to talk to others who either have been through addiction themselves or are recovering just as they are. This is the point of group therapy. In these sessions, people will share stories of success and failure while also sharing strategies that they have found to help them. Here, recovering patients may find new strategies that they can use to help them on their path.
Relapse Is Common: Do Not Be Discouraged
One of the problems that many people who are recovering may experience is relapse. It is important for everyone to understand that this is not a failure of anyone or anything but is merely a part of recovery and another hurdle that must be overcome. A large percentage of people will relapse at some point and the entire family needs to be supportive of the process. Those who relapse should ask for help and may need to revisit one of the steps above.
This review article provides only an overview of some of the many options that are available to help someone who is struggling to overcome an addiction. Remember, an addiction can take all different shapes and forms. Families should not be discouraged by relapses but should continue to encourage their loved one to get the help that they need. Recovery is a group effort and most people cannot do it alone. Recovery and treatment for addiction starts by taking that first step, so anyone with concerns should speak with their medical provider so that all of the options can be discussed. This means finding the option that works best for the individual and making a commitment to a full recovery. While it takes time, these treatment options have the potential to be life changing.