By Sandy Baker
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides a long list of principles that are a component of any effective addiction treatment plan for substance use disorder. Some of those principles include:
- Recognizing addiction as a complex but treatable disease that impacts behavior and brain function.
- Remaining in treatment long enough for the brain to heal.
- Individualizing treatment for each person.
- Addressing all of a person’s needs, not just the behavior of using alcohol or drugs.
- Following detox with counseling and behavioral therapies.
- Taking into consideration each of these components of substance use disorder treatment, we offer below five suggestions for approaching treatment that will help you optimize your success in recovery.
#1: Focus on Detox as the First Step in Addiction Treatment
If your substance use has been long-term or with highly addictive drugs, you may need to start your treatment with detox. Look for a program that offers medically monitored detox. This will ensure that your withdrawal from substances is effective and safe. Think of the goal of detox as this: to cleanse the body and brain to the point that you can think clearly. Detox is not the end of treatment; it’s the preparation for treatment. With your new mental clarity, you’ll be able to fully engage in the therapeutic activities that will help to restore you to full health.
#2: Learn About Addiction
Don’t just go through the steps of addiction therapy. Take an active role in learning about your addiction, including:
- Why it happened
- What addiction triggers impact you
- The way drugs or alcohol controlled your brain
- How addiction impacts relationships
- The risks of relapse and avoiding it
When you learn the science behind addiction, you’ll be more motivated to reach your goals. You’ll also have the resources to make better decisions later in addiction recovery.
#3: Focus on Treating Your Whole Self
Another important component of addiction treatment is treating the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Engage in the following activities to help strengthen your physical, emotional, and spiritual health:
- Work with a therapist to address any co-occurring disorders, like depression or anxiety.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet to reduce inflammation and fuel recovery.
- Engage in holistic activities such as meditation and nature therapy.
- Create a path forward by learning life skills or learning how to get back on track with your education.
- Develop improved social skills that allow you to communicate when you need help.
#4: Remain in Therapy Long-Term
You’ll feel better soon after entering into drug and alcohol treatment. But it’s important to see the program through and to find ways to get support after leaving treatment. Ongoing therapy, even just a few times a month, can help you remain confident in your sobriety. You may attend recovery meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous, or move into a sober living facility for extended focus on your sobriety.
#5: Build a Strong Support System
A strong support system is crucial to your long-term success. Your support network can include family, friends, therapists, and peers in recovery. Anyone who wants the best for you and who can help you avoid relapse is part of your support group. You may even want to select a mentor from a recovery group to help you stay on course.
It is a combination of all of these addiction treatment components that helps create a successful recovery. There is a lot of work involved in treatment. Yet, with the right treatment program for substance use disorder, you can have a successful and healthy future.