Hearing "drug treatment" may make you think of sitting in a weekly 12-step program, but there are many different types of drug treatment programs.
From intensive inpatient care to regular drug counseling meetings, you have many options available.
If your addiction is serious and you need intensive drug addiction help, long-term residential care may be your best bet. A long-term rehabilitation program allows you to stay for a period of time, often six to 12 months, in a non-hospital setting with a community of other patients and caregiving staff. The most common type of long-term rehab program is the therapeutic community (TC), which works hard to identify the underlying causes of your drug program and replace your self-destructive patterns with more harmonious and constructive ones. TCs often involve employment and social skills training along with drug counseling. If you have chronic unemployment problems that could lead to a relapse, the TCs can help you; the same is true if you tend to cave to peer pressure or if you’re so shy that you feel you need drugs in order to interact with others at all. A serious drawback of long-term residential care, however, is that it’s difficult to maintain a job or keep up important relationships with others if you’re in a rehab facility for six months. Inpatient care can also be extremely expensive and may not be covered by your insurance.
Not everyone can afford to take six to 12 months for residential care, but there are different types of drug treatment programs for those with different needs. A short-term residential or inpatient stay – usually somewhere in the neighborhood of three to six weeks – can give you drug addiction help and allow you to detox in a safe, controlled, supportive environment. Short-term programs can take place either in hospitals or rehab facilities, and they often use a modified 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of them have doctors or nurses on hand to help you with the physical side effects of withdrawal, and they may also have psychiatrists to help you with underlying mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Although a six-week program won’t take you away from your job and family for as long as a six-month program, short-term care does have the same disadvantages as long-term care.
Although inpatient programs remove you from the temptation of drugs entirely, they can also be extremely expensive, and it’s hard to enter an inpatient program while maintaining a job or taking care of your family. Outpatient care may be the best solution if you have a tight budget or external responsibilities. An outpatient program generally takes place at a rehab facility just like an inpatient program, with regular check-ins for your physical well-being and mental health. Group therapy is a frequent component of outpatient care, and you will regularly meet with an assigned substance abuse counselor. Because you leave the center afterward, you have the opportunity to go to work and take care of friends and family, which is an advantage over inpatient care. However, you also have the opportunity to return to drugs, so if you have the means to attend an inpatient facility, consider whether you would be too tempted by the freedom an outpatient facility provides. Be aware, too, that you must research your outpatient facilities carefully. While some provide care that’s identical to an inpatient facility, others do little more than provide drug education.
Individual drug counseling is a part of long-term, short-term, and outpatient care, but you can also see a substance abuse counselor without the help of a full rehab facility. In individual drug counseling, you meet regularly with a substance abuse counselor who helps you to identify the negative thought patterns and perceptions that cause you to fall into drug use in the first place. You come up with coping mechanisms and other tools that help you to get through the urge to use drugs, and you identify the underlying problems with employment, relationships, and self-image that make you want to use. As a general rule, a substance abuse counselor isn’t an M.D. or psychiatrist, so she can’t prescribe anything to help with detoxing or give you any psychiatric medication to address underlying psychological problems. However, she can refer you to people who can do that or work with your primary care provider to do so, depending on your insurance. Most outpatient facilities put all of those staff members in one place so that you don’t need a referral, but individual drug counseling is even more flexible and less expensive than an outpatient facility as part of different types of drug treatment programs.
Group therapy is also frequently a part of different types of drug treatment programs, and if you choose to attend individual drug counseling, you can also supplement it with group therapy sessions. Group therapy can give you a sense of support as you talk to other people who are struggling with the same problems as you, and you can exchange ideas with your peers about the best ways to live drug-free. There are a variety of group therapy options, from free Narcotics Anonymous meetings to sessions that may be offered through your private counselor to religious meetings that you might find through your church, synagogue, or other house of worship. Find the type that works best for you; a Christian therapy session may work wonders for a Christian who is struggling with addiction, but would hardly be helpful for an atheist or Buddhist.
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