Addiction is not a one-size-fits-all disease, and this is also true for the methods used to treat it. From what has been learned about the complexity of this disease is that once developed, it is something that requires a lifetime of being treated and monitored. A recovering user can be 20 years sober and still suffer from effects related to the disease.
Once a person has completed a medical detox and received a treatment plan, they must decide with their medical team, which approach adequately meets their needs to ensure they get the best results.
Residential treatment is one of the options, and it’s a major portion of the continuum of care.
Addiction affects everyone differently, so the style, duration, and types of therapies all depend on the individual and any complex issues they have that need to be addressed. Residential treatment aims to help you address the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that serve as the root of the addiction.
The actual duration of residential treatment is also determined by one’s specific needs. On average, it lasts about 30 to 90 days. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), recommends a full 90 days from detox to completion to obtain the highest level of success.
Residential care, however, takes about a month before advancing to outpatient treatment and starting the journey to an independent life.
During your time in residential treatment, you will live at the facility and participate in the daily therapies, modalities, and activities provided by your treatment center that are geared toward helping you build a solid foundation to maintain your sobriety and fight relapse triggers down the road.
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While most treatment plans cover a variety of therapy options, behavioral therapies are the most common. The primary objective of this therapy is to change behaviors through motivation, incentive programs, and thoughtful analysis. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the foundational principle that your behaviors begin with your thoughts, and finding the ability to control these thoughts and exercise healthy coping skills that will, in turn, positively influence all behaviors. CBT is one of the most common and beneficial methods of relapse prevention planning.
Not everyone is on the same path, but people in recovery have similar stories to share and benefit from. This portion of treatment is of high value because of the support clients offer to their peers. This therapy session offers assurance that everyone in attendance is on their path together. Treatment can sometimes feel like a lonely place, but group therapy is a strong reminder that everyone is in this together.
Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. The family of the substance user goes through as much pain as the user. It is important to make this a focal point of the recovery process to help treat the wounds of everyone involved and make a plan to heal together.
Some individuals spend such a long period of their lives trapped in addiction that they need to relearn basic life skills. However, some of the younger individuals who never learned these, have the option to gain skills such as carrying out a plan for self-care and general nutrition and meal prepping, creating a resume, paying a bill, and managing a budget.
Having little knowledge of how to participate in life can lead someone to continue using, but once these skills have been acquired during treatment, they can help the person avoid relapse.
When an individual enters drug treatment, one of the first tasks is to detox their system and get through the challenging and often dangerous task of withdrawing from an addictive substance.
During one’s time in residential treatment, medical detoxification is designed to ease withdrawal symptoms while ensuring the client’s safety. While withdrawal will involve discomfort despite the medication and assistance, it can be reduced with the right team of medical professionals.
In the event of addiction to specific substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, withdrawal can be dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. A study released shows that even low-doses of benzos over an extended period can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that must be managed under the care of a professional. The professional must have the ability to administer medications to alleviate the worst symptoms.
Medication is an effective way to maintain abstinence from addiction until the client can better manage the challenge of recovery on their own. Withdrawal to opioids or alcohol is better assisted with medicines that reduce cravings and the need for the high the substances provide. It allows the individual to develop tools and avoid behaviors or situations that may trigger a relapse.
Medications that physicians provide come with their own sets of risks, and must be administered only under the care of the doctor. They are most easily managed in a residential setting where addiction specialists oversee their use or discontinuation.
While residential treatment has been proven to be effective, many people cannot put their lives on hold for 30 days to live at a facility. Obligations such as work, school, family, and even legal issues can make getting away difficult.
For this reason, many residential treatment centers offer case management, assigning a professional to your case to help you put those obligations on hold for the duration of your stay in treatment. This allows you to focus on your recovery rather than worrying about your responsibilities outside of rehab.
Residential is ideal for those who have tried outpatient treatment in the past and met with regular relapse. Being in treatment while being surrounded by the stressors and triggers of everyday life can make avoiding relapse more difficult than it has to be. A residential treatment center will provide you with a safe, comfortable, and drug-free environment to spend some time solely focused on beating your addiction.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) created an assessment that helps clinicians place clients at the right level of care for their needs. Once clients understand the ASAM criteria, they will better understand the particular benefits of residential treatment.
Residential treatment is a high level of care in addiction treatment that immediately follows detox. The ASAM criteria use six dimensions to create a holistic approach to treatment. Many people who complete detox still need medical monitoring, so these criteria can help guide them to the appropriate placement.
Upon successful completion of treatment, clients must leave prepared for any and all obstacles that lie ahead. Aftercare planning is part of the recovery program that allows them to have resources set in place for when they complete the residential program and return home. These options can include sober-living homes, long-term counseling and support, and support groups. Clients are also encouraged to stay connected to the people they meet during their time in the residential program.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (January 2018) How Long Does Drug Addiction Treatment Usually Last? A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition) Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment
American Society of Addiction Medicine (N/D) What is the ASAM Criteria? Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
Chanell.baylor. (2015, July 21). Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment
Lader, M. (1987, December). Long-term anxiolytic therapy: The issue of drug withdrawal. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2891684
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification