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Addiction Therapy
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Addiction Therapy

Addiction therapy is designed to help a person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse to overcome the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Since each person’s addiction triggers are different, the right combination of addiction therapy options must be specifically catered to the individual person.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease of the brain. Abusing psychoactive substances prompts the brain to release a flood of dopamine and serotonin into the system that short-cuts the natural reward pathways. The experience is stored in long-term memory as an easy short-cut, which further deteriorates the brain’s ability to seek out natural ways to earn the same rewards.

The result develops into a devastating dependence on drugs. The user experiences overwhelming cravings to keep taking more drugs, even if negative consequences begin to occur.

Addiction Statistics in Alabama

According to a report by the Trust for America’s Health, drug abuse has become a public health problem. It has been reported that the number of deaths in Alabama caused by accidental overdose on prescription medication now exceeds the number of overdose deaths from heroin and cocaine combined (1).

A study conducted by Express Scripts reported that Alabama has the highest rate of prescription narcotic use in the country (2). While the study shows that more women than men are likely to fill prescriptions for opioid narcotics, a further study conducted in West Virginia found that around 50% of people who died from an opioid narcotic overdose in Alabama, did not have a prescription from a doctor for the medication.

Why Is Addiction Therapy Necessary?

Many people believe that an addicted person simply needs to detox and then exert a bit of willpower to stay away from drugs. In reality, psychoactive drugs change the brain’s chemistry to such a degree that specialist addiction therapy is necessary to correct dysfunctional attitudes and habits associated with addictive behavior.

Addiction therapy also works to educate the recovering person about effective skills and recovery tools that will allow them to maintain long-term sobriety.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs are ideal for people with mild to moderate addictions and cannot be away from work or family commitments for any period of time. Intensive therapy continues throughout the day, but the person is allowed to return home each evening.

By comparison, inpatient treatments are better for those with moderate to severe addictions. The person is admitted into a licensed treatment facility for a period of time to begin detox treatment before intensive addiction therapy commences. Statistics show that inpatient treatment programs have a higher success rate than outpatient treatments, as the person is in a safe environment away from people and places associated with substance abuse.

Addiction Treatment Options

The right combination of addiction treatment options depends heavily on the type of drug being taken, along with the severity of the addiction and whether any co-existing mental illnesses need to be simultaneously treated.

Treatments available include:

Detox: the detox process is the first step in treatment, and is designed to break the physical dependency to the addictive substance.

Individual therapy: individual behavioral therapy works to address the psychological part of the addiction, looking to correct dysfunctional attitudes and habits associated with addictive behaviors by replacing them with healthy, positive habits.

Group therapy: regular attendance at group therapy meetings is the ideal way to develop a healthy support network of peers going through similar challenges.

Family therapy: most people think that treatment is only for the addicted person. However, addiction also affects the individual’s family members. Family therapy works on strengthening family bonds and helping each person understand their role within the family unit.

Relapse prevention: a recovering addict is taught new coping skills for dealing with everyday stresses to keep them from turning to drugs or alcohol. Relapse prevention strategies work to help the recovering person to maintain sobriety over the long-term.

Aftercare services: addiction therapy does not end once the person graduates from rehab. Recovery requires ongoing maintenance and support, with help from a variety of aftercare services.

Other Effective Treatment Approaches

Incorporating alternative treatment programs in conjunction with traditional therapy can significantly improve success rates. Many people respond extremely well to alternative treatment programs that help them to manage stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Yoga and daily exercise are alternative therapies that are highly recommended, as they promote relaxation and reduce stress. They also help to improve physical health and boost the immune system, which can help to enhance self-esteem.

Creative therapies provide effective options for those who need alternative outlets to express emotions. These therapies can include art, music, dance, writing, painting, and drama.

What Happens after Addiction Therapy?

The tools acquired in addiction therapy can help a recovering person maintain long-term sobriety. When a person leaves rehab therapy, it is important that they continue to employ the various strategies that were taught during treatment in order to manage cravings and avoid personal addiction triggers.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, call a substance abuse facility in Alabama today to learn about the addiction therapy options available for treatment.