There are thousands of addiction treatment centers across the country. Each one has its own unique way of approaching addiction. It is important that as you are looking at centers you take into consideration some of the best practices that have evolved over the decades of addiction treatment.
There are several elements that comprise addiction treatment. The first is detox. Before an addict (alcoholic or drug abuser) can be treated for addiction, the patient must go through alcohol detox or drug detox. Why? While the body is in the grips of addiction, rational thought and behavior are not possible. Alcohol and drugs distort a person's brain function, bodily function, emotional function, and intellectual function. In a phrase, addiction impacts the brain, the body, and the mind.
A medically based detox, which is considered a best practice, can ease the difficult, uncomfortable, physical and psychological experience of detox. Not only will it ease the discomfort of alcohol or drug detox, it can ensure that the process is safe as it can be dangerous to simply quit alcohol or drugs cold turkey.
It is important to understand a treatment center's approach to detox and to their philosophy of utilization of medicines during this period. Best practices demonstrate that prescribing drugs to help a patient move through detox is fine, though there is debate about keeping a person on a drug after the detox process has been completed. A quality drug rehab program will not just substitute one addiction for another. Medication will be used to ease the detox process and the patient will be weaned off all medication, except those for mental health disorders.
Following detox, a formal addiction treatment program is needed to address the underlying reasons for the development of the addiction. This process includes addiction education, group therapy, individual therapy, individualized treatment programs, regular evaluations, multidisciplinary teams, life skills training, nutrition and exercise education, relapse prevention, individualized aftercare plans, and dual diagnosis treatment when needed.
Providing all of these elements requires trained medical and therapeutic staff. Check to see whether the treatment center you are considering has addiction certified physicians or Master's level therapists, psychiatric nurses and clinicians. Despite the growing number of people who suffer from a mental health disorder and substance abuse, many treatment programs cannot handle the needs of the dually diagnosed. Best practices are based upon decades of research. Today's researchers understand far more about addiction and brain function than thirty years ago.
It is beneficial to anyone seeking treatment to ask questions related to the elements of treatment programs. Breaking through addictive behavior and thinking takes skill and education. If given the proper tools based upon best practices, addiction treatment works.
This article was contributed by Lakeview Health Systems, a nationally recognized treatment center located in Jacksonville, Florida.