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What Is Drug Therapy? Treatment Approaches to Addiction

“Just stop using drugs.” Since addiction is a chronic disease, this is much easier said than done. Long-term exposure to drugs rewires the brain’s chemistry, making it just about impossible to stop using without help. For this reason, quitting drugs or alcohol without medically assisted treatment or care can be downright dangerous due to possible seizures and convulsions. But a new life is possible.

What is drug therapy and which options are available?

Detox and Medically Assisted Treatment

The first step of any treatment involves detoxing from the drug. This is when the body struggles to rid itself of the drug or alcohol. Most treatment centers use some type of medication or medically assisted treatment to assist patients through the painful withdrawal period.

Relapse Prevention

After completing detox, patients must work hard to prevent themselves from relapsing. Again, many medications for drug treatment are available to prevent opiate and alcohol use. Many patients use drugs in the first place to self-medicate their underlying mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. A drug treatment plan might involve mental health medication such as mood stabilizers or antidepressants.

Behavioral Therapy

Without identifying the reasons why they used drugs in the first place, patients will likely pick up the drug or bottle again. Comprehensive behavioral therapy addresses what led to abuse and how a patient can avoid relapsing in the future.

Inpatient Treatment

When choosing a drug addiction treatment center, patients should plan their stay with their long-term future in mind. Most facilities offer several inpatient drug rehab programs in thirty-day increments. Ninety days sounds like a long time to someone who currently lives minute-to-minute looking for the next high, but planning long-term is crucial to recovery. This experience involves structured programs with one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and other hands-on activities that prepare the patient to live a drug-free life when they leave the facility.

Outpatient Treatment

It’s easy to stay sober when confined to rehab for drug treatment. The real challenge arises when a patient leaves the facility and is thrown back into all the same problems of daily life. Developing an outpatient drug treatment program can make or break a patient’s recovery. Outpatient addiction treatment may include long-term counseling, group therapy, or meetings.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a drug addiction treatment center:
  • Remember your goals: The goal is to stay drug or alcohol-free and living a satisfying life. Recovery is a difficult and emotional time. Remember that staying sober should come first before anything else.
  • Plan long-term: Many patients are afraid to start treatment due to losing their job or destroying relationships. Patients should keep in mind that recovery will help both their career and relationships in the long term.
  • Comprehensive treatment: While detoxing might seem like the most difficult part, several medically assisted treatment options are available. Recovery must also involve structured behavioral therapy.