If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know how to approach the process of recovery.
Addiction is a complicated mental condition and a chronic disease. The brains of people who are addicted to substances experience a shift in how memory, motivation, and rewards are processed. This leads to addictive behaviors.
A person with substance use disorder pursues the reward (the effects of the substance to which they are addicted) compulsively, often to the detriment of several aspects of their life.
Long-term effects of addiction include mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. People with substance use disorders are at an increased risk of suicide as well as physical health issues and are more likely to experience problems in both their work and personal lives.
Every individual is different and people rarely experience substance dependence in the same way, meaning that there is no single path to seeking treatment for addiction.
There are various programs available to people who feel that they might have a substance use disorder, and successful treatment hinges on choosing the right treatment options.
In our guide to addiction treatment, we will be providing information about the main treatment options for addiction, including available therapies and support groups.
While recovery from addiction is never an easy process, being informed about the steps you can take to get better or help someone else to get better will improve your chances of success.
Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs and Services Offered by TruPath
Different Addiction Treatment Services
Inpatient Drug Rehab
12 Step Program
Medical Drug And Alcohol Detox
Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab
Outpatient Drug Rehab
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Holistic Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Addiction Treatment for Professionals and Executives
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Disorder) Treatment
How to Tell if Myself or a Loved One Needs Rehab
Many people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol use disorder do not seek help when they need it because they do not want to admit that there is a problem.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding addiction. Damaging language and misconceptions continue to be used by people who often mean well but don’t fully understand what addiction is or how it impacts the brain.
It is important to understand that addiction is not a moral failing. It is a serious illness that should be treated with the same compassion as any other mental health condition. This is why it’s crucial to seek help from professionals who truly understand substance use disorders and how to treat them.
If you think that any of the following applies to you or someone you love, you should consider looking into the treatment options outlined later in this article.
Substance Use Disorder Symptoms to Look for in Yourself
- You have an overwhelming urge to consume alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication)
- You find yourself needing more of the substance over time
- You feel that you have little control over your drug or alcohol consumption
- You will go to extreme lengths to get alcohol or drugs
- You engage in risk-taking behavior when under the influence
- Your alcohol or drug consumption impacts your social or work life negatively
- You have tried and failed (perhaps repeatedly) to stop taking the substance
- You experience symptoms of withdrawal when you try to stop
- You have started to feel unwell since you began using the substance
Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction to Look for in Others
- The person is not performing as well at work or school
- The person shows signs of physical illness
- The person appears less sociable and more secretive
- The person starts to have unexplained financial issues
Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Here are the main treatment options for people who find themselves struggling with a substance use disorder.
Not all of these treatment pathways will be appropriate for everyone because some are geared towards addiction to certain substances. Furthermore, the suitability of some services depends on the severity and nature of the addiction.
Therefore, it’s important to read the information below thoroughly to ensure that you choose the most suitable course of treatment.
If you’re reading this article because you’re concerned about a loved one, you might be wondering how to get that person to seek treatment in the first place. While it might seem extreme, an intervention is often necessary to encourage someone to seek treatment for drug addiction.
The purpose of staging an intervention is to give the friends and family of someone with an addiction a space to come together with that person and motivate them to get help.
Ideally, interventions should be conducted with the help of an intervention specialist – a professional who can mediate the discussion and ensure that it remains productive, positive, and non-judgmental.
Medical Drug and Alcohol Detoxification
For people who are addicted to particularly dangerous drugs or who are very severely addicted, the first step toward recovery may need to be detoxification.
Detoxification treatment is required when someone’s withdrawal symptoms are too severe to be managed without additional support. Medication might be needed to lessen the severity of the symptoms, starting with a higher dosage and gradually decreasing until there is no longer a physical dependency on the substance.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
While medication is a part of detoxification therapy, medication also has a place in the later stages of addiction treatment.
There are many kinds of medication that can be used to manage the symptoms of addiction beyond the initial withdrawal. Some people find that certain medications help to reduce their cravings.
Other times, medication may be used to treat other disorders such as anxiety or depression, which might otherwise make it more difficult to recover from addiction.
Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
Sometimes, rehabilitation can be done on an outpatient basis. This means that the individual is not signed in to a facility for the duration of their treatment but is able to continue rehabilitation treatment while living at home.
Outpatient rehabilitation has many benefits. For one thing, the patient can continue to work, earn money, and care for their family while engaging in their treatment program. For many people, being in a familiar environment that feels safe, and surrounded by loved ones, can help to foster a healthy and supportive recovery journey.
However, outpatient rehabilitation is not appropriate for some people. Being treated outside a facility means that the patient is more likely to come into contact with triggers for their addictive behavior, from alcohol to illegal drugs.
These encounters can be incredibly difficult to manage, especially toward the beginning of a person’s recovery.
For this reason, outpatient rehabilitation is often seen as the next step after an initial period of inpatient treatment, especially if there are people in a person’s life who might enable their addiction.
Inpatient Rehabilitation for Drugs and Alcohol
Inpatient rehabilitation is one of the more intensive approaches to treating addiction. In inpatient rehab, the patient is treated in a rehabilitation facility.
This type of rehabilitation is the best option for treating severe addictions because these facilities are completely substance-free, so there are no triggers to contend with. Inpatient rehab also means that patients can receive medical care on a consistent basis, ensuring their safety and access to support at all times.
Sober Living and Halfway House Programs
An alternative to inpatient rehab programs is treatment in a sober living residence.
Most of the time, sober living homes are treated as a middle ground between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. These homes can be useful for people who want to progress in their recovery journey but need some extra support before returning home.
Faith-Based Addiction Recovery
If you have religious or spiritual beliefs that you feel will encourage you through your recovery, a faith-based recovery program might be your best option.
Faith-based recovery treatment involves meeting with groups of people who hold similar beliefs and supporting one another through a spiritual journey to addiction recovery.
What are the Different Types of Therapies Used to Treat Addiction?
Within or alongside any of the treatment options outlined above, people recovering from addiction should undergo one or several of the following therapies.
Therapy for drug addiction can be done individually or in groups, depending on the person’s needs and preferences.
The nature of a person’s addiction, including the severity of the substance use disorder and the motivations behind the addictive behavior, is also taken into consideration when choosing an appropriate form of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Addiction
One of the most common forms of therapy used in drug addiction treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often referred to as CBT.
CBT primarily aims to unearth the thoughts and feelings that motivate certain actions (in this case, substance use). Once these have been identified, the therapist can then work with the patient to challenge unhelpful or untrue thought patterns and ultimately change their thinking, leading to healthier behaviors.
While CBT is used to manage many mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and OCD, it is a useful tool for treating addiction. This is because many people dealing with addiction find it so difficult to change their behavior due to deeply entrenched thought patterns.
Changing these patterns is instrumental to treating addiction.
It is worth noting that while this article is specifically concerned with reliance on addictive substances, addiction can take many other forms. It is possible to become addicted to food (sometimes, but not always, as part of a diagnosable eating disorder) or gambling.
Although not recognized by the DSM-5, sex, and pornography addictions can seriously impact a person’s mental well-being and relationships. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to help people with many kinds of addictions.
Much of what happens in the brain during addiction often remain unknown to both the therapist and the client themselves. This can make it difficult to overcome the addiction because the patterns behind it are unclear.
Biofeedback therapy uses skin sensors to monitor a patient’s brain waves. This gives the therapist insight into the patterns of their client’s brain, allowing them to recommend techniques to counteract these patterns.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a form of talking therapy that aims to help the client to learn how to manage difficult emotions and thoughts without turning to
Part of dialectical behavior therapy involves learning to self-soothe, regulate emotions, accept difficult situations, tolerate emotional distress, and manage interpersonal relationships more successfully without turning to destructive behaviors.
Many people turn to substances in an attempt to regulate painful emotions or soothe themselves during difficult times. Dialectical Behavior Therapy provides healthier strategies and tools to use instead.
Psychodynamic therapy is based on the psychology of the subconscious mind. This type of therapy aims to help people to recover from addiction by bringing to light some subconscious, perhaps repressed thoughts and emotions behind their addictive behavioral patterns.
Experiential therapy is not a traditional form of therapy, but many people have had positive experiences with this therapy as part of their recovery process.
Experiential therapy these days tends to involve activities that allow the client to express themselves healthily while developing skills. This therapy looks different for different people, but it might involve outdoor recreation such as wilderness therapy or rock climbing, music therapy, animal therapy, and art therapy.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Even when a person realizes that their substance use disorder is causing problems for them and their loved ones, it can be very difficult to find the motivation to seek help and ultimately stop.
This could be due to limiting thoughts that the person has about themselves. Maybe they don’t believe they deserve help or feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting treatment. Many people don’t feel able to overcome their addiction because the condition can be so all-consuming.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy aims to boost motivation by challenging negative thought patterns and replacing them with a concrete plan for recovery.
Holistic therapy takes the client’s overall well-being into account, including both the physical aspects of drug and alcohol withdrawal and mental wellness.
Therefore, holistic therapy may be conducted alongside a medication plan and could involve meditation, yoga, art therapy, and other therapeutic experiences aimed at building emotional and physical well-being.
Different Types of Addiction Support Groups
Recovering from addiction is easier when you have a reliable support system. Addiction support groups are an important part of successful recovery.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Narcotics Anonymous is a support group for those who are recovering from drug addiction.
Because of the name of this support group, many people mistakenly assume that Narcotics Anonymous only deals with opioid addiction, but this is not the case. Whether you’re addicted to illicit drugs or struggling with prescription drug addiction, you can attend this support group.
This group provides a space for members to share their stories and experiences of both addiction and recovery. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in recovery or still using, and there is no obligation to talk at any time.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous is similar to NA, but it’s aimed at people who are dealing with alcohol addiction.
Again, you don’t have to participate in the meetings if you don’t want to, and you’re welcome whether you still consume alcohol or have stopped.
Sometimes, there are open meetings that family members can attend, but most are closed meetings.
12-step programs for addiction are support groups that provide members with actionable steps to change their lives.
Following a 12-step program involves admitting the problem, seeking help, and making amends (if appropriate) for any harm caused to others through addiction.
The original model for the 12-step program was faith-based, but you don’t have to be religious or particularly spiritual to engage in this support group.
Group and Individual Addiction Counseling
Group counseling for addiction can serve as a support system for people in recovery. This kind of support group involves meeting with other people in recovery along with a counselor who will guide the sessions.
Nar-Anon & Al-Anon
Nar-Anon and Al-Anon are similar to Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous, except that they are for the loved ones of people in either addiction or recovery.
These groups are spaces for family and friends to express their feelings and learn how to effectively cope while supporting someone through recovery.
SMART is a recovery support program that is similar to 12-step programs. The difference is that there are only 4 steps, and while the 12-step program is designed to be followed in order, you can complete the steps in this program in the order of your choice.
If you are going through addiction or know someone who is, please know that there is help out there.
From immediate, short-term treatment such as detoxification and rehabilitation, to long-term recovery tools like therapy and support groups, you can find treatment options to suit your needs.