Treatment Modalities for Substance Abuse

Oct 28, 2022 | Substance Abuse Treatment

The successful treatment of substance use could depend largely on the type of approach or modality used. Treatment modalities for substance abuse could vary largely in method, duration, and strategies used. In many cases, finding that one particular approach could spell the difference between a successful recovery and increased chances of a relapse.

In instances where the client is having great difficulty with the rehabilitation program, there is a good chance that the treatment itself is not something that works best for the client. While some aspects of treatment cannot be altered, there are other areas that could be tailored to the specific needs of the client. This is why it is crucial to assess the progress of the treatment that the person is receiving in rehab.

The increased number of treatment modalities today does not translate directly into a higher recovery rate for those in rehab. This is because unless the treatment is best suited to a particular client, the success rate is not necessarily guaranteed.

treatment modalities for addiction

What are the Treatment Modalities Used in Dealing with Addiction?

Due to the numerous studies done on human behavior relevant to addiction, there are numerous treatment modalities being used in different rehab facilities. There are a few, however, that remain as standards for addiction-relevant treatment.

Medical Detox

The entire process of recovery from addiction begins with medical detox. The first objective is to stop the client from taking any more of the substance or substances involved in the addiction. Depending on the substance that the person was addicted to, detoxification could range from an uncomfortable experience to something that would require hospitalization and medical care.

During detox, the systems of the body begin to go back to the state they were in before the substance abuse began. People might suffer from the rebound effect, which is the resurgence of the symptoms of the condition for which they took the prescription medication. There are many instances where the discomfort and pain are simply too much, and medication is needed to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms. The duration of the medical detox could depend on a number of factors, including

  • Type of substance
  • Duration and frequency
  • Quantity used
  • Individual factors/Current condition

There are certain substances that are so potent that they cause chemical changes to occur in the body. When the client stops taking the substance, the body slowly starts to go back to what it was before the substance abuse began. This can be extremely painful and difficult, especially if a person has suffered from long-term addiction.

How Long Does Detox Last?

The duration of substance abuse, also plays a part in the length of time that medical detox takes place. A client who has been using substances for far longer also develops a greater dependence on them, and will therefore have more difficulty kicking them. Certain substances, such as benzodiazepines and opioids, are so potent that it takes as little as six to eight weeks of regular use to build a heavy dependency on them.

Heavy substance use is a major determining factor for the duration of detox. Even people who have only been using for a short time tend to develop a heavy dependency on the substance, especially if they are using it frequently and heavily. People who use substances in large quantities are also those at the highest risk of an overdose.

The first symptoms of alcohol withdrawal could start within a few hours after the last drink and could peak within the next 24 to 72 hours. Heavy drinkers could experience serious symptoms called delirium tremens 48-72 hours after the last drink and last for anywhere between 3 to 8 days. Delirium tremens include anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. It can lead to long-term brain damage if not treated effectively.

Withdrawal symptoms for short-acting opioids like heroin, generally begin around 8 to 24 hours after the last time it was taken and could last between 4 to 10 days. For longer-acting opioids such as methadone, fentanyl, and oxycodone, the withdrawal symptoms may not show up until 2 to 4 days after the last time it was taken. These withdrawal symptoms have a high likelihood of diminishing after 10 days.

Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, may appear within 1 to 4 days after the last use, and the worst of it may be experienced in the first 2 weeks. There are protracted withdrawal symptoms, however, that could remain for months or years if the symptoms are not treated.

treatment methods for addiction

Behavioral Counseling

Counseling is an integral part of rehabilitation and an essential modality of treatment because this is where the client is aided in developing the mindset and the attitude that will not only help them get through rehab but also in staying sober during the recovery period outside of the treatment facility.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy where the client works with a mental health counselor or therapist. This form of psychotherapy helps the client become aware of the inaccurate or negative way of thinking the client may have about specific things. By identifying, isolating, and understanding these negative ways of thinking, harmful thought patterns that influence behavior could be avoided.

CBT helps by challenging the negative thoughts that push a person to use substances. These could be thoughts relevant to triggers, and what kind of reaction the person may have to these triggers. The most common reaction to these triggers is to drink or take substances because they think that it will make the trouble go away. It is important to seek help as soon as you think you may have an addiction.

Some people just can’t seem to get out of trouble or harm because of their inability to manage or handle their emotions, and the resulting reaction to these emotions. This is where dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) works best. This form of psychotherapy spun off from cognitive behavioral therapy, but with a more keen focus on how best to react to troubling thoughts and emotions.

This form of psychotherapy seeks to instill two integral values in the person: acceptance and emotional regulation. DBT was first used to help people suffering from borderline personality disorders, but therapists, later on, saw the vast potential it had in helping with other forms of mental issues as well.

DBT teaches people to accept certain realities where control is not an option. Even in the worst situations, a person still has the power to choose how to react. This brings in the second value, which is emotional regulation. Options are only available through logical thought, which is why emotional regulation is as important as acceptance.

Assessment for Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions

There is an alarming statistic involving the sheer number of alcohol-dependent former service people who developed their dependency due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma is a mental condition that so many people suffer from, and most of them may not even consciously know that a lot of their troubles are because of how that trauma is influencing their behavior and mindset.

This treatment modality deals with the possible origin or source of the substance dependency. It is important to get to the root of issues like this because no amount of therapy or counseling would truly work if the source of the problem remains unaddressed. Many people who successfully went through rehab suffered a relapse not long after because their issues just resurfaced and pushed them into using substances again.

Long-Term Social and Peer Support

Support groups are so popular all over the United States that there are entire communities built around them. The idea that a person is not going through their suffering alone is immensely effective at getting people through their darkest moments. This treatment modality involves joining a group of people who could be in the same situation, such as others who are in recovery and are in danger of a relapse, or people in need of further therapy but are afraid for one reason or another.

People find strength and support by hearing other people talk about their troubles and share their insights as to how these issues might be resolved. Many people involved in group therapy continue to become moderators and facilitators of these groups.

Find the Best Treatment Modality For You

treatment methods for substance abuse

The success of any kind of treatment often depends on two things: the willingness of the participants to engage in the treatment, and finding out if the treatment is best suited for the client. So many attempts at treatment fail because the client loses the will and determination to continue somewhere along the way. This could be because the treatment modality was never a good fit for the client to begin with.

Here at Chapters Recovery, we make sure that our clients receive treatment that is best suited to their needs. Contact us now and find out what works best for you!

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