Over time, the patient often comes to believe that the drug betters them as a person and feels incapable of contemplating life without it. In short order, however, use of the drug will begin to cause problems for the user and to remove the good things in their life. All of the perceived “good” effects of using the drug will wear away, but the person will still continue to use, often becoming obsessed with the drug and doing anything they have to do to obtain the substance of choice.
Work with an intervention specialist. If your loved one is in strong denial about the problem, he or she will probably refuse to get treatment or even to listen to you. A substance abuse counselor or therapist who specializes in intervention can help you plan a formal meeting to confront your loved one with the consequences of their behavior and propose a treatment plan.
Inpatient addiction treatment focuses on stabilization and assessment of your health to ensure you are ready--physically, psychologically and emotionally--to learn about core recovery concepts and to begin practicing recovery principles. Each day, you will be given a schedule of treatment activities, appointments and services tailored to meet your specific recovery needs and goals. Learn more about what happens in a typical day of inpatient addiction treatment.
Just as some people with diabetes or asthma may have flare-ups of their disease, a relapse to drinking can be seen as a temporary set-back to full recovery and not a complete failure. Seeking professional help can prevent relapse — behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Most people benefit from regular checkups with a treatment provider. Medications also can deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse (e.g., divorce, death of a family member).
An influential cognitive-behavioral approach to addiction recovery and therapy has been Alan Marlatt's (1985) Relapse Prevention approach. Marlatt describes four psycho-social processes relevant to the addiction and relapse processes: self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, attributions of causality, and decision-making processes. Self-efficacy refers to one's ability to deal competently and effectively with high-risk, relapse-provoking situations. Outcome expectancy refer to an individual's expectations about the psychoactive effects of an addictive substance. Attributions of causality refer to an individual's pattern of beliefs that relapse to drug use is a result of internal, or rather external, transient causes (e.g., allowing oneself to make exceptions when faced with what are judged to be unusual circumstances). Finally, decision-making processes are implicated in the relapse process as well. Substance use is the result of multiple decisions whose collective effects result in a consumption of the intoxicant. Furthermore, Marlatt stresses some decisions—referred to as apparently irrelevant decisions—may seem inconsequential to relapse, but may actually have downstream implications that place the user in a high-risk situation.
While detox is often looked upon as one of the most difficult aspects of the recovery process, addicts aren’t in the clear once they make it through withdrawal.5The real work of recovery takes place post-detox in the therapeutic portion of treatment. In therapy, both individual and group, recovering addicts uncover the root causes behind their substance abuse, helping them to address these issues so they don’t cause them to return to substance abuse at a later date.3
Group counseling sessions– These involve meeting with other recovering addicts in the program. They provide opportunity for sharing life experiences and lessons learned.In so doing, a peer support network develops. Erroneous thinking and walls of isolation are exposed and addressed.3Aftercare– When individuals “graduate” from formal alcohol rehab, they return to the outside world. Oftentimes, it isn’t easy to make this switch. Treatment-energized hope may fade away over time. Day-to-day stresses can take their toll.Ongoing support through 12-Step meetings, personal and group therapies, holistic treatments and other supports are vital. They help to maintain what was learned and practiced in formal treatment.4
The behavior of people addicted to drugs is erratic, unpredictable, and secretive, and as their addiction deepens their health and physical appearance will inevitably begin to decline. They may lose their jobs, drop out of school, lose long-term relationships, experience financial difficulties, or be arrested for crimes directly related to their substance abuse.
In 2001, David Sinclair, Ph.D., a researcher in Finland claimed an 80 percent cure rate for alcohol dependence when anti-alcohol drugs Revia or Vivitrol are prescribed according to his Sinclair Method. Dr. Sinclair's research has been published in the peer-reviewed journals Alcohol and Alcoholism and the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. The Sinclair Method is the standard treatment protocol for alcohol dependence in Finland, the method is also used in the U.K., but the method has yet to catch on in the United States.
Many addicts feel the need to lie about their problems, whether it be to themselves or family members. A group therapy session creates a support mechanism in which patients are encouraged to open up about their issues in a safe setting. Since every member of the group understands that the patient is going through, there is no need for the patient to hide anything or lie.