In the first part of the series, we talked about how the addiction treatment industry evolved over the years to introduce a multi-pronged approach to addiction treatment.
As a continuation to the first part of this series, here we present the second part talking about the components of rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation aims at helping individuals dependent on substances maintain sobriety, addressing issues that caused the problem in the first place, and finding alternative ways of coping with similar issues. It facilitates lifestyle changes, which lead to a better physical and psychological health, along with improved social and occupational functioning. Rehabilitation usually involves many components. These include Pharmaceutical Treatment, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Biofeedback, Cognitive Remediation, Individual Counseling, Group Therapies and Family Therapy.
Pharmaceutical Treatment: This alternative uses the approach of administering drugs to help reduce cravings so that the person undergoing treatment does not relapse. The treatment approach can be used during different stages of addiction treatment including detox and relapse management. It can be clubbed with counseling, individual and group therapies.
The changes in the brain that are characteristic of addiction can persist long after ceasing the use of the addictive substance, resulting in relapse. Medicines, like Antabuse, can help in relapse management. Some drugs work as a deterrent, make the person sick if they consume any alcohol. In the long-run, pharmaceutical treatment can treat cravings and prevent relapse until the alternative therapies start showing an effect on the individual by modifying their thinking and behavior.
Counseling, Individual and or Group Therapies: All types of therapies, including counseling, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), biofeedback, neurofeedback, cognitive remediation, support groups and other forms of individual and group therapies, play a crucial role in addiction treatment. They aim at facilitating lifestyle changes that bring in force new ways of thinking, behaving and coping with life situations, thereby preventing relapse. Some of the therapies used are discussed below.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): The underlying principle of this therapy is that by identifying and controlling thoughts, one can modify behavior. In practice, it involves two distinct stages: Functional Analysis and Skills Training. While Functional Analysis involves identifying thoughts, feelings and circumstances that might have led to use of the substance and determining what, in the future, could lead to relapse, in Skills Training, the individual is encouraged to unlearn old habits associated with substance use and adopt new skills to cope with situations that might trigger relapse. Scientific research has shown CBT to be an effective addiction treatment for addiction disorders and to be compatible with the other approaches, including support or self groups – even though very different from them.
Biofeedback and Neurofeedback: Biofeedback involves training the mind to heal the body. In Biofeedback, sophisticated equipment monitors one’s movement, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature, and other indicators to provide moment-to-moment information about how one’s body is behaving. Initially, the equipment is used to monitor bodily processes and correlate them with thoughts and feelings and slowly, with training, the individual learns to identify and control their mental state to bring about the desired physical and physiological changes in their body amplifying the addiction treatment process.
Both Biofeedback and Neurofeedback have shown increased success rates and relapse prevention when used with conventional treatments for addiction. Additionally, an improvement in the overall functioning – cognitive and psychological – can be observed in patients who undergo Neurofeedback Training. It helps replace self-defeating patterns of thinking and behavior in patients, replaced with healthier patterns and choices, thereby making it an addiction treatment of choice.
Cognitive Testing and Remediation: There is evidence that substance abuse causes deficits in brain functioning. These deficits can impair the success of addiction treatments. Brain functioning can be improved with cognitive testing and remediation, but not many treatment programs incorporate this. Cognitive testing comprises a 6-week program, comprising of exercises for the mind that have been proven to generate new dendrites and increased blood flow to brain.
The testing processes are simple and occur at the beginning to set a baseline and again after 6-weeks to measure and show progress. The tests indicate the strengths and weakness, allowing a custom remediation program for each patient aimed at teaching them to utilize their strengths and improve weak areas. The end result – improved ability to make choices, think clearly, and recall what they have learned – assists in the successful recovery process.
Social Support Groups: Social support groups are those where individuals with a common problem like alcohol or drug addiction meet on a regular basis to share their experiences and help each other overcome the problem. Alcoholics Anonymous is probably one of the biggest and the best-known support group. Research has shown that participation in support groups, in conjunction with other addiction treatments, are more effective in helping individuals suffering from addiction remain sober as compared to participating in addiction treatment by itself.
Family Therapy: Families can play an important role in recovery. The main aim of this therapy is to identify and negate factors blocking the patient from recovering within the family. The therapy sessions can help assess and address issues that could lead to relapse in future, increase family support in the individual’s recovery and improve the overall functioning of the family.
Aftercare plans and continuing care: The key to long-term success is providing patients with a structured aftercare plan, making the transition from an intense staff supported recovery to smooth outpatient care. The components of aftercare plans and continuing care remain more or less the same as treatment, but occur less frequently – for example, the patient might be required to see their counselor only once a month or engage in group therapy once a week, instead of every day as in continuing addiction treatment.
Seeking help for drug addiction
Drug addiction can be treated provided one is willing to seek help. If you or someone you know is looking for treatment for drug addiction, contact the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline. Call our 24/7 addiction treatment helpline 866-576-4147 or chat online with one of our experts to know more about drug addiction treatment programs. We have evidence-based treatment programs that can be customized to suit your needs and requirements. Call now