Drug Abuse Treatment Options

The drug abuse epidemic has gotten so serious that there are now approximately 10,000 rehabilitation and treatment centers in the US. The cause of drug abuse is said to be an inability to cope with life’s difficulties in a healthy manner, resulting in an attempt to self-medicate through the use of drugs. If the drug is addictive, then the addiction becomes an additional, independent cause of drug abuse.

Many factors must be considered when determining drug abuse treatment options – insurance coverage, cost, additional like family support services, group therapy, 24-hour medical care, post-discharge monitoring and support, etc.)

Drug abuse treatment can be divided into 3 categories: outpatient, inpatient (short-term) treatment, and long-term residential treatment. With inpatient and residential treatment, follow-up outpatient treatment is usually offered to ensure that the patient does not lapse.

Outpatient Treatment: This usually involves medication that reduces the desire for drugs and inhibits withdrawal symptoms (Methadone, for example), and counseling.

Inpatient Treatment: This is usually short-term and conducted in a hospital or similar environment. It uses a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. A drug known as Naltrexone is used for detoxification and withdrawal symptoms. Counseling is a necessary supplement to Naltrexone.

Residential Treatment: This is reserved for abusers with serious problems. It is offered in an atmosphere that resembles a home rather than a hospital. Treatment is usually for six to twelve months. Treatment includes medication, group therapy, and individual counseling. These patients usually have serious habits aggravated by mental health problems that are treated alongside the drug abuse treatment. Counseling is often confrontational and aims to re-socialize the patient (some call it brainwashing). Some treatment centers also offer occupational therapy. Available Counseling methods generally include therapeutic community group therapy and cognitive therapy. Occasionally other forms of therapy such as reality therapy may be offered. The purpose of residential treatment is to remove the patient from his usual surroundings, provide round the clock counseling support, and encourage the formation of supportive bonds with other patients.

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