Treatment Programs Tips

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What is Dual Diagnosis and How Does it Affect Treatment for Substance Abuse?

Dual Diagnosis and Treatment

Very common in substance abuse recovery are those clients who are "dually diagnosed." This term means that the person recovering is struggling with both substance addiction and a co-existing mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety.

It is important that recovering addicts with dual diagnosis seek treatment in a facility that offers well-trained practitioners in this area, as recovery from the addiction alone is not enough to create a satiating or even safe lifestyle for such clients.

If you are a recovering person and seeking several treatment options, but still suffer from major depressive symptoms, anxiety and/or other related mental disturbances, it is recommended that you seek attention from a medical professional, particularly a psychiatrist, for further examination. There is no reason that anyone should be taking all the necessary steps toward recovery and still feel bad all of the time.

If you are interested in learning more about dual diagnosis, treatment and some common mental disorders that co-exist with addictive disorders, visit the website for Dual Diagnosis and Addiction Treatment for further information.

Do I have to Participate in Residential Living to Get Sober?

Residential Living and Recovery

Residential living is sometimes recommended as part of the drug rehabilitation process. Such a decision-making conversation would occur between the inpatient client and his/her treatment team members. Such facilities, such as Hazelden in Chicago, while often beneficial, can cost exorbitant amounts of money and are not always an option to people who are just getting sober (in fact, they are most often not an option). While such programs for those in early recovery can prove very helpful in offering a safe haven for living, they are not the only options.

Any person who desires sobriety has the option to get sober by attending free Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and/or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and spending most of his/her time with those recovering men and women who are ready and willing to be of service to new members.

What are Common Features of Drug Rehab Centers?

Drug Rehab Centers

Drug rehabilitation programs can vary in treatment focus and/or specialty areas. Most drug rehab centers have staff that are trained in substance addiction as a whole, including Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors, Medical Doctors, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Case Managers, Nurses and/or Psychologists. These centers focus on a team approach to treatment and often include additional family services. It is not unusual for assessments, individual, group and even couples/family therapy to be offered. Some more expensive facilities may even offer services such as yoga, meditation and nutritional programs. These amenities, while of course nice, are absolutely not essential to the rehabilitation process.

What are methadone maintenance programs?

Methadone Maintenance Programs

Methadone has for many years been a maintenance drug for people addicted to opiates. Because methadone itself is addictive and can cause fatal overdoses, patients usually receive it weekly or more often at a clinic, which may also provide support services such as therapy and self-help groups to help addicts stay grounded in their recovery.

A new drug, buprenorphine, has some of the same effects as methadone but can be administered by prescription. This allows people in recovery to avoid the stigma of visiting the clinic on a regular basis.

What are Some Additional Resources Available for Drug Rehab?

Additional Resources for Drug Rehabilitation Treatment

The choices regarding addiction rehabilitation are so numerous that it would require several books worth of information to provide adequate detail for an incoming, recovering addict. One very helpful resource in finding a treatment program that focuses on your individual needs is Drug Rehabs at 1-866 Sober12. This resource offers information relative to particular addiction (including process addictions like gambling and eating), state and type of facility (Halfway House, treatment center, detox, extended care, etc.).

Other helpful resources to consider:

  • local library
  • local hospital intake line for psychiatric services
  • local mental health center that takes intake phone calls
  • local twelve step office

How is Substance Abuse related to Mental Illness?

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

There are some existing cases where the substance abuse problem seems to be the less causative difficulty in treatment, and the recovering person's mental illness symptoms, such as hallucinations, paranoia, and/or suicidal or homicidal ideation are prevalent. It is not yet known if in such cases it is the severe disturbances in such person's brain functioning that causes the person to abuse substances, or if the addiction began prior to the mental illness.

It is known, however, that both substance abuse and other mental illnesses do have a genetic component and that those struggling with severe and/or chronic mental illness and homelessness are the most common population to struggle with substance abuse issues. There are most likely multiple causative relationships for this reality.

If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of both severe mental illness and/or substance abuse, it is highly recommended that you visit the website for the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) where limitless resources and advocacy/educational materials and programming can be found. Help is available for both those struggling with such severe symptoms and their families.

What are Some Other Notable Drug Rehab Programs?

Other Treatment Programs of Note

Both Hazelden in Minnesota and The Betty Ford Clinic in California are well-respected and prominent treatment centers that, while expensive, do not focus on treatment as a luxury, but rather focus on the very basic tenets of treating the alcoholic/addictive thought and behavioral process. Rules and regulations apply to these centers, no matter how famous and/or wealthy the patients, and the focus is on recovery, not on living in luxury. Money goes toward extremely knowledgeable and highly trained professionals who work with patients/clients to "break down" the addictive though processes and break through denial so that the addict can in fact live a sober life.

There are other treatment programs, such as Lakeshore Hospital in Chicago, that offer highly dedicated and trained doctors and social workers, as well as programming for recovering addicts with dual diagnosis. Programs such as this one are far less expensive than those named above, and, if the recovering person is willing, lead to the same end.

What are Some of the Prominent/Luxury Drug Rehab Facilities?

Exclusive Drug Rehabilitation Programs

In a 2004 article, Forbes Magazine offered a comprehensive guide to the top luxury rehabilitation programs. These luxury facilities offer high-end spa services, food services and other exclusive amenities that only the wealthiest of recovering addicts can afford. Two of the most expensive and most luxurious of these facilities are Passages Rehab in Malibu and Sanctuary in Australia. These treatment facilities can cost upwards of $40,000 per month, and, again, while they may be pleasant, they don't guarantee sobriety.

If a person wants to stop using drugs and/or alcohol and to live a more fulfilling life, he/she can do it on the beaches of Malibu and/or in small town Mississippi. Even if you can afford the star treatment, however, you should really take stock of your willingness to seek help before you spend that much money. Willingness to both admit one has a problem and to follow more experienced persons suggestions are by far more important factors to recovery than the surroundings with which one is provided.

Is it Necessary to Go to California to Rehabiliate from Drugs/Alcohol?

California Drug Rehab

California is well-known as a mecca for drug and alcohol treatment facilities. One often hears fetching stories of the "luxuries" of recovering like the stars. While California drug rehab programs may offer top-notch amenities and services, it must be noted that there are plenty of high-quality rehab programs all over the world that do not require one to take out a second mortgage on his/her home.

It is not uncommon for recovering addicts to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for the "best" treatment, and find themselves in a much cheaper and equally useful setting finally getting clean. Much of this has very little to do with the facility and very much to do with the potential recovering person's frame of mind. In fact, for those in rehabilitation who are looking for some sort of rewarding vacation for their addictive patterns, romanticizing this life/death illness may actually prove detrimental to the recovery process.

Why Do Some Treatment Centers Focus Primarily on Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol Rehab Centers

While some recovery-seekers who attend programs also abuse other substances, they consider their primary addiction or drug of choice to be alcohol. Most alcohol rehab programs also offer educational classes and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. For more information about well-established alcohol rehab programs around the country go to the website for Sober Recovery.


I need treatment for addiction. What should I do?

Start with your family doctor, and tell him/her the truth about your situation. Get a physical exam to rule out any physical problems caused by your addiction. Then, consult an addiction professional about what kind of treatment would be best for you; either in-patient hospitalization or out-patient treatment. If you have a long-standing addiction accompanied by depression or physical illness, you'll need in-patient detoxification and treatment. Insurance companies will cover these costs. Most in-patient treatment lasts from 14-28 days. You'll gain an enormous amount of insight about your addiction and how you can stay sober. Well-structured out-patient programs are equally as effective for those whose addiction hasn't yet caused serious physical or emotional problems. These programs will guide you through physical withdrawal and maintaining your sobriety. You should also seriously consider attending Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous or Rational Recovery support groups. Statistics prove that professional treatment, enhanced by these support groups are much more effective than either one alone can achieve. Stop denying that you have a problem TODAY - all the help you need is there for you.

What happens when I join a 12-step group?

12-Step Groups for Addictions

Especially in the initial stages of recovery, the 12-step model encourages an intense experience for participants, with "90 meetings in 90 days" a standard recommendation from experienced group members.

12-step groups ask that members attend sober, but if a person has not yet stopped using, he/she will still be welcomed in the meetings and often referred to a drug treatment center. The theory is that at least for the time the meeting is taking place, that person is not using, and may be learning things that will eventually lead toward recovery.

Experienced members suggest that a newcomer find a "home group," one that seems comfortable and is convenient to get to, and build connections by arriving early to help set up and/or staying late to help clean up.

Over the course of the first several weeks of meetings, the new member may identify a more experienced person with whom she seems to bond (usually someone of the same gender), and may ask that person to act as "sponsor" -- a sort of coach through the 12-step process and first point of contact for dealing with cravings or other troubling situations.

The "Anonymous" in the names of 12-step groups is just that. Members pledge to keep one another's identities and personal stories confidential, and to come together as equals.

What happens in a transitional home for drug or alcohol addicts?

Transitional Living

Transitional living arrangements are group homes of recovering addicts who live communally as they negotiate new lives without addictive substances. Many such homes are run by charitable groups or as adjuncts to inpatient programs.

In a transitional living environment, residents commit to a contract requiring them to abstain from drug use, violence, and other forms of disruptive behavior. In exchange for this commitment, they get a safe, affordable place to live while they return to work and establish drug-free lives.

Many transitional living homes also include resident 12-step meetings to formalize the process of supporting and learning from fellow residents.

What is Hazelden Rehabilitation and Publishing?

Hazelden Rehabilitation Center and Publishing

Those early in recovery may be confused by terms like "conference approved literature" and Hazelden Press. Hazelden is a very expensive and world-renowned drug and alcohol treatment facility located in Minnesota. This organization also has a smaller residential facility in Chicago and owns the premier press company for the manufacture and distribution of recovery literature for sober addicts and professionals. The term "conference approved" means that the literature has been approved for use in twelve-step meetings by the World Service Office of AA. For further information about Hazelden Rehab Center and Publishing, or to purchase more reading and/or educational materials, visit the company's comprehensive website.

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