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How Residential Inpatient Treatment Programs Help Overcome Drug Addiction

Residential inpatient treatment programs offer drug addicts and alcoholics the best chance for success in overcoming the disease of addiction. Unlike short programs such as medical detox or an outpatient treatment center, inpatient programs generally last from 30 to 90 days or even longer, depending on the addict’s personal needs. This length of time is necessary to help the patient get past the stage of Acute Withdrawal and teach them how to deal with the long term effects of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS. Additionally, inpatient programs provide therapies and counseling that a person in recovery can use not only to stay clean and sober, but also to better their lives and create more meaningful interactions with the people in it.

One of the most significant benefits of a residential inpatient substance abuse program is that the patient is removed from environments and people that could facilitate drug use. While merely warehousing addicts is not an effective form treatment, providing a drug-free environment can help set the stage for lasting recovery. In fact, according to the United States Department of Labor, addiction treatment does not need to be voluntary in order to be effective. (1) This means that people who attend treatment on their own volition, by court order or while incarcerated all stand a good chance of achieving lasting recovery from substance abuse or alcoholism. However, there is a lot more to an inpatient treatment center than just safely housing addicts.

In most cases American residential inpatient treatment centers must employ evidence based practices or EBP. Evidence-based practices refer to therapies or treatment modalities that have been tested and considered proven under various government and industry standards. In a journal article for Elsevier, Suzette Glasner-Edwards and Richard Rawson refer to the Quality Chasm report and defining evidence-based practices as:

“. . .the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values.” (2)

In general EBP or Empirically Supported Treatment are tried-and-true practices that are readily available, affordable to the patient or insurer, are applied and developed according to the individual’s needs, address underlying causes and co-occurring conditions, of sufficient duration to achieve success, and constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of the recovering addict or alcoholic.

Residential inpatient treatment programs with high success rates combine EBP with reality based therapies. These types of therapies help addicts to engage their treatment plans in a way that can be successfully applied in the real world environment once addiction treatment has been completed. This is accomplished in two basic ways:

1.) Clients live and receive treatment in the same place. This mimics the real world as much as possible and helps the addict to take care of themselves by doing their own laundry, cooking, cleaning, attending appointments and engaging in other activities considered a part of everyday life.

2.) Clients are taught that they must accept two things about reality: a.) There are some things that are within the control of the client, and; b.) There are some things that the client cannot control. Reality therapy helps people to find balance by controlling what they can and accepting or coping with the things they can’t control. Counselors focus on the following in order to achieve this understanding:

* Focus on the present
* Avoid discussing symptoms and complaints
* Focus on what patients can do directly – act and think
* Avoid criticizing
* Remain non-judgmental and non-coercive
* Focus on specifics
* Help addicts make specific, workable plans
* Be patient and supportive (3)

Evidence based practices and reality therapy are combined with cognitive behavioral therapies at the most effective inpatient drug rehab centers. Cognitive behavioral therapy is unique from psychoanalysis in that it is direct, instructive and in many cases requires homework assignments to be completed by the patient. In this way patients are directly responsible for the level of success of their treatment. The National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists defines CBT in very simple terms:

“Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.” (4)

Again, the trend at inpatient treatment centers is patient accountability. By empowering the individual to control their own treatment and the direction of their recovery, addicts are able to take direct action instead of being hand-held through the process. This is accomplished with three primary therapy types:

1.) Individual Therapy

This type of therapy consists of sessions with an addiction counselor that seek to uncover underlying problems that cause or exacerbate substance abuse, deal with issues related to denial, and diagnose and treat and co-occurring conditions such as depression, dissociative identity disorders and PTSD, among others.

2.) Group Therapy

Group therapy is widely considered one of the most useful treatment tools at an inpatient drug rehab center. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information;

“The natural propensity of human beings to congregate makes group therapy a powerful therapeutic tool for treating substance abuse, one that is as helpful as individual therapy, and sometimes more successful. One reason for this efficacy is that groups intrinsically have many rewarding benefits—such as reducing isolation and enabling members to witness the recovery of others—and these qualities draw clients into a culture of recovery.” (5)

3.) Family Therapy

When appropriate, family therapy seeks to integrate those who are closest to the addict in his or her treatment. This is important because it is likely that these same individuals will have an impact on the long-term success – or lack thereof – of the addict’s recovery program.

Finally, residential inpatient substance abuse programs provide tools, resources and support for the addict once treatment has been completed. This can be in the form of a hotline to call in case of trouble, the development of a support network of others in recovery, and the possibility for long-term counseling.

Therapies and treatments at an inpatient program are intense and extremely powerful; and necessarily so. Treating addiction isn’t like treating other diseases and disorders – addiction is progressive, potentially fatal if left untreated and has the propensity to inflict serious emotional damage to those close to the addict. If you’re struggling with a similar problem, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call us right now. There’s no obligation and the call is completely confidential, so you literally have nothing to lose but the vicious effects of addiction. Call us now.

(1) United States Department of Labor Treatment Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/drugs/workingpartners/sab/treatment.asp
Accessed 09/20/2011

(2) Suzette Glasner-Edwards and Richard Rawson Evidence-based practices in addiction treatment: Review and
Recommendations for Public Policy University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Integrated Substance Abuse Program
http://www02.homepage.villanova.edu/michael.j.mason/EBP%20review.pdf
Accessed 09/20/2011

(3) The William Glasser Institute Reality Therapy
http://www.wglasser.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=28
Accessed 09/20/2011

(4) NACBT.org Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
http://www.nacbt.org/whatiscbt.htm
Accessed 09/20/2011

(5) National Center for Biotechnology Information Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26210/
Accessed 09/20/2011

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