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Contemplating Addiction Treatment? What to Consider & How to Prepare

4 minute read

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that impacts an individual’s behavior and ability to function through everyday life. When it comes to addiction treatment, it is important to know what treatment options are readily available to the individual. In addition to being aware of the treatment options, it is important to understand that effective treatment is not a one-size fits all model. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone and therefore, finding a treatment program that is person-centered and matches well with the characteristics of individuals is the best route to take.

Once the commitment has been made to enter into a substance use treatment program, there are a few things one can do in order to be fully prepared. It is common to feel overwhelmed and stressed about putting things on hold in order to focus solely on one’s recovery; however, it is also important to understand that these things can be dealt with by taking the time to prepare for treatment. Below are some tips on how best to prepare for treatment.

First, be sure to understand what the various types of treatment options are and which options fit the individual’s needs at this stage in their recovery. Understanding what one wants out of treatment may help guide them to make a decision on which treatment program to attend based on their needs.

Below are some things to consider:

What level of care may be most appropriate:

1. Detoxification Services: an inpatient setting where individuals may receive medically supervised detoxification; length of stay is generally 3-5 days)

2. Residential Services: an inpatient setting where individuals may receive a wide array of services at the facility; length of stay can vary from 30-120+ days, usually determined by insurance and clinical support.

3. Partial Hospitalization Program: an outpatient setting where individuals attend treatment a minimum of five times a week for approximately six hours a day; length of stay is generally 30 days or as medically necessary.

4. Intensive Outpatient: an outpatient setting where individuals attend treatment anywhere from three to five days a week for three to five hours a day; length of stay can be one month or longer depending on medical necessity.

5. Outpatient: an outpatient setting where individuals attend treatment anywhere from one to two days a week for three to five hours; length of stay is generally 30 days or longer depending on medical necessity.

What type of therapies are important:

1. Individual Therapy: one on one therapy with a licensed clinician.

2. Family Therapy: therapy that includes the involvement of the family or other support systems the patient would like to include.

3. Group Therapy: therapy conducted with two or more individuals present at a time, led by a licensed clinician.

4. Trauma Therapy: a specific therapeutic approach geared towards assisting the patient in recognizing and emphasizing an understanding of how traumatic experiences impact the patient mentally, behaviorally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. As trauma is often prevalent in addiction, this has proven to be especially helpful in treating addiction.

5. Psychiatric Services and Medication Management: services provided by a licensed professional geared towards assisting the patient in managing co-occurring disorders with the support of medications.

6. Medication Assisted Treatment: the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders; includes medications such as Methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol, etc.

How else do I prepare:

Tell Friends and Family

Tell People at Work

Prioritize Recovery

Regardless of whether or not an individual’s friends and family are aware of their addiction, the people whom they love will more than likely be relieved to know that they are getting the help they need. It is important, to be honest, think about how to tell them and don’t doubt the decision to enter into treatment. The support of one’s family and friends can play a critical role in the success of that individual’s recovery, so being able to tell friends and family what is going on can allow those people to support an individual throughout the process.

While being open and honest with family and friends is the best policy, telling people at work is up to the discretion of the individual. Depending on the individual’s work policies around extended leaves of absence, it may be required that the individual disclose the reason for the absence to their Human Resources department; however, individuals are not obligated to tell their co-workers or direct boss the reason for this leave.

More Information to Help You Decide

Addiction treatment is not a one size fits all, so it is important for each individual considering addiction treatment to identify what their needs are and, when seeking out programs, determine if that program can truly meet their needs.

Last, but certainly not least, it is imperative that individual’s put their recovery first and foremost. Treatment is being sought because the extent of the substance use has become unmanageable. Entering into Addiction treatment is the time to put the focus on oneself. This is the time to hone in on the healing process, to rebuild one’s life skills and learn to function in life without the use of substances. Committing fully to that journey will allow individuals to experience the true value of treatment and long-term recovery.

Remember, addiction is treatable! Don’t ever hesitate to advocate for yourself or a loved one who may be seeking treatment. Take a moment to look at the different options and make the choice that fits your needs or your loved one’s needs at that moment in time.

Author: Bonnie Wright, MBA – Footprints to Recovery – Executive Director, Colorado

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