About us - FAQ


What are the physical signs of abuse or addiction?

The physical signs of abuse or addiction can vary depending on the person and the drug being abused. For example, someone who abuses marijuana may have a chronic cough or worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Each drug has short-term and long-term physical effects. Stimulants like cocaine increase heart rate and blood pressure, whereas opioids like heroin may slow the heart rate and reduce respiration.

What is drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a complex, and often chronic, brain disease. It is characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use that can persist even in the face of devastating life consequences. Addiction results largely from brain changes that stem from prolonged drug use—changes that involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors. Drug addiction is treatable, often with medications (for some addictions) combined with behavioral therapies. However, relapse is common and can happen even after long periods of abstinence, underscoring the need for long-term support and care. Relapse does not signify treatment failure, but rather should prompt treatment re-engagement or modification.

How quickly can I become addicted to a drug?

There is no easy answer to this common question. If and how quickly you become addicted to a drug depends on many factors, including your biology (your genes, for example), age, gender, environment, and interactions among these factors. Vast differences characterize individual sensitivity to various drugs and to addiction vulnerability. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may overdose with first use, or become addicted after a few uses. There is no way of knowing in advance how quickly you will become addicted—but there are some clues, one important one being whether you have a family history of addiction.

How do I know if someone is addicted to drugs?

If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug(s) despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, family problems, or physical problems brought on by drug abuse, then he or she probably is addicted. And while people who are addicted may believe they can stop any time, most often they cannot, and will need professional help—first to determine if they in fact are addicted, and then to obtain drug abuse treatment. Support from friends and family can be critical in getting people into treatment and helping them to maintain abstinence following treatment. For information on substance abuse treatment providers, call 1-888-991-4244

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

Drug addiction can be effectively treated with behavioral therapies and, for addiction to some drugs such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol, medications. Treatment will vary for each person depending on the type of drug(s) being used. Multiple courses of treatment may be needed to achieve success.

What is detoxification, or "detox"?

Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

What causes drug or alcohol addiction?

Addiction is the result of many factors that, when combined; distort normal physiological and psychological functioning. Drugs and alcohol alter the brain’s ability to produce neurotransmitters and send appropriate messages to the body. These neurotransmitters and other cellular communications are responsible for sending vital messages that affect the body’s pain centers, reward centers, feeling centers, and systems centers. When an individual uses substances, the body and the mind grow accustomed to the alteration caused by the drugs or alcohol. Once that happens, both the physical and emotional health of the person is corrupted and addiction sets in.

What does stress have to do with addictive behaviors?

Many recovering addicts never learned how to negotiate feelings or daily stress. For the addict, everything that happens daily can be an excuse to use substances to cope. An addict needs to acquire coping skills to negotiate normal daily stress and feelings without the option of drinking or drugging.

What does trauma have to do with drug or alcohol abuse?

Many times, people will experience a trauma in their life and they will not have the support system to process the experience in a healthy way. People can experience a physical trauma, such as being in a car accident, or an emotional trauma, such as the sudden loss of a loved one. Witnessing violence against another can be experienced as a trauma as well. Whatever the trauma is, a person may turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate physical or emotional pain. As long as the trauma or pain remains untreated, the likelihood for developing addiction is increased. Once addiction has taken hold of the mind and the body, the addiction will need to be treated as well.

Is there a connection between eating disorders and substance abuse?

There does seem to be a connection between eating disorders and substance abuse. Statistics demonstrate that almost half of those suffering from eating disorders also suffer from substance abuse. 35% of addicts have an eating disorder. Drug abuse or alcohol abuse is usually an attempt by those suffering from eating disorders to self-medicate emotional turmoil being experienced.

Why is addiction classified as a disease?

Drugs alter the way the brain functions; addiction is a chemical imbalance that interferes with cell-to-cell communication. Like other diseases, such as diabetes, one who suffers from addiction is never completely “cured”. However, the disease of addiction can be successfully managed with therapy, medication (if necessary) and addiction support groups. Relapse, similar to the flare up of a condition like diabetes, occurs with stress or if the proper protocol for management is not followed. And, like other diseases, addiction will worsen if treatment and management plans are not followed.

Is there a difference between addiction and dependence?

The line between dependence, abuse, and addiction is not always clear. When a person is prescribed a drug and takes it as prescribed but goes through withdrawal when the prescription is stopped, the body has grown dependent upon the drug. This is different from misusing the drug, seeking it out from any source and taking the drug despite negative consequences. Once dependence shifts to abuse, it can lead to full-blown addiction. Is internet abuse considered an addiction? At the moment, though many psychiatrists expect this to change, there is no formal or official diagnosis for internet addiction, which includes internet pornography and internet gambling. However, many addiction healthcare professionals are finding more and more people suffering from what is now unofficially considered an internet addiction. If the definition of addiction is applied to internet use, one can see how internet abuse falls within the category of addiction. Addiction is compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance regardless of the negative consequence.

If I am addicted to a drug, does that mean I am addicted to other drugs?

There is a difference between addiction and dependence. If you have been prescribed a painkiller, have taken it as prescribed and are weaned off of it under the supervision of your physician, you are not considered to be addicted. If, however, you have abused drugs not prescribed to you by taking them from friends or family, for example, you are an addict. Once addiction develops, any drug, alcohol, substance, or behavior can be substituted for the original drug of choice. The addiction to the new substance may take time or happen quickly. Addiction is a programmed disease of the mind and the body that affects one’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.

What are neurotransmitters?

Every thought, feeling and action is stimulated by the brain. The brain’s ability to communicate with the body’s muscles and organs is based upon naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. There are different neurotransmitters for different thoughts and feelings. When there is too much of one type of neurotransmitter or too little of another, communication from cell to cell in the brain is disrupted. Normal function cannot occur if the chemical balance in the brain is imbalanced.

Do drugs and alcohol affect the brain?

Drugs and alcohol both have a profound affect upon the brain and the whole body. While different drugs and alcoholic beverages influence different parts of the brain, the alterations can sometimes become permanent. The human body is a finely tuned, living machine. Drugs and alcohol disrupt the proper functioning of this mechanism, leading to changes in organ function, cognitive function, emotional function and physical function..

How do drugs and alcohol change the brain?

Drugs and alcohol alter the brain’s ability to function through its natural production of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for all communications in the body and brain and affect all functions. Drugs and alcohol alter the amount of neurotransmitters present at any time and thus alter the brain’s functioning. For example, opiates block pain receptors, and alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, interferes with muscle control and balance. Long- term substance abuse can have profound, permanent effects on the brain, impacting organ health, emotional and intellectual well-being, and physiological health.

What does it mean when a drug is considered a Schedule I, II, III, IV or V drug?

In 1970, Congress passed a Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which classified certain types of drugs. The drugs were divided into 5 categories:
  • Schedule I- High risk of abuse without any safe accepted medical use
  • Schedule II – High risk of abuse but with some accepted medical uses
  • Schedule III,IV, V – Abuse risk not as high as I or II with accepted medical uses.

If I am prescribed painkillers by my doctor, how can I be addicted to them?

There is a difference between dependence and addiction. If you have been taking your medication as directed by your prescribing physician, your body can still develop a dependence upon the drug. Some drugs are highly addictive by their chemical composition, but your doctor will be able to wean you off the drug without any further problems. The difference between dependence and addiction is how you behave. Do you use the drug outside of the prescribed manner? Do you seek to get the drug from people other than your doctor or are you doctor shopping? Dependence does not necessarily involve compulsive seeking or the emotional need to use the drug. It could simply mean tolerance to the substance.

Why might I need to stop using controlled substances if they were prescribed by my doctor?

A prescription written by a physician is not a guarantee against addiction. The new classes of drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, or pain are extremely powerful. In many instances, these drugs, such as Xanax or Vicodin, are addictive. Physicians may be unfamiliar with the addictive nature of the drugs they prescribe. Either way, if you are taking a potent drug, you must speak with your treating doctor about your history of addiction, a family history of addiction, the addictive nature of the drugs, and the weaning off process, which may include withdrawal symptoms.

How many Indians are addicted to prescription drugs?

Millions of people in India are taking prescription drugs for both medical and non-medical purposes. There are no accurate numbers of the millions using prescription drugs illegally. Figures are based upon people who actively seek treatment, people who frequent emergency rooms, people who overdose, and the number of prescriptions dispensed in pharmacies. In 2014, 2 million people visited the emergency room for the misuse of prescription drugs. In 2015, a reported 16 million people used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. By 2016, 45 million people were reported using prescription stimulants. The numbers are staggering.

Does it matter if one is pregnant and using drugs or drinking alcohol?

Yes. The consumption of alcohol and or drugs even in small amounts during pregnancy has a direct impact upon the development of the embryo and then the fetus. No alcohol or drugs should be consumed during pregnancy; however, if you abuse alcohol or drugs and become pregnant, you should seek medical attention before you stop using substances. Any prescription use during pregnancy should also be reviewed by a knowledgeable addiction healthcare professional. Drugs and alcohol cause physical, mental, and emotional problems for the developing fetus during pregnancy and later in life.

Do drugs and alcohol affect women differently than men?

Yes. Women’s bodies respond differently than men’s to both alcohol and drugs. For example, women become addicted to alcohol faster than men and develop more serious health issues more quickly. This is because women do not have a certain enzyme in the stomach that breaks down alcohol, so it goes directly into their bloodstream. Also, men’s and women’s heart rates are different, fat content is different, and hormone levels and types are different. These factors combined with other physical realities impact the effect that drugs and alcohol have on women and men.

If alcohol is legal, why do so many think it is bad for our health?

The legality of alcohol has little to do with the health hazards of alcohol abuse or dependence. Cigarettes are legally sold, but they too are bad for one’s health. Alcohol has a direct impact on every organ in the body, including the brain. Alcohol alters the brain’s ability to communicate from cell to cell, cell to organs, cell to muscles or system to system.

If opiates work on the central nervous system, why am I having trouble sleeping?

The body builds a tolerance to all drugs that are used on a regular basis, including opiates. A tolerance for opiates develops quickly, requiring the user to ingest a higher dosage of the opiate to induce the same desired effect. Opiates are known to produce a “nodding out,” or drowsy, effect; however this is diminished when a tolerance develops. Once the body requires a higher dosage than is being consumed, the body will develop withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia is an opiate withdrawal symptom.es.

Am I at risk for sexual diseases when I abuse drugs?

Because drugs alter the workings of the body’s complex communication system, behaviors that might seem unthinkable when a person is sober lose their sense of danger when he or she is under the influence. The brain’s ability to sense danger and analyze situations and risks is greatly diminished when the use of drugs comes into play because the body’s naturally occurring responses are shut down. Drugs increase the likelihood of risky behavior, including sexual behavior that can easily lead to transmittal of sexual diseases.

Is there a difference between a major depressive disorder and depression caused by drugs and alcohol?

There is a significant difference between major depressive disorder and drug-induced depression. Without mental health treatment, the major depressive disorder will not be managed and the symptoms will grow worse. Drug-induced depression will subside once a patient has overcomes withdrawal symptoms and receives addiction treatment.

I am a drug addict/alcoholic. Are my children at risk of becoming addicted as well?

There is no simple answer to this question. What scientific research has demonstrated is that a combination of factors leads one to become an addict. These include:
  • Genetics (heredity)
  • Environment
  • Psychological well-being
  • Psychosocial factors
Genetics is one component. However, children exposed to drug or alcohol addiction without any education or exposure to the contrary are at greater risk of developing addictive behaviors as they mature. They tend to suffer from issues of low self-esteem, abandonment, feeling responsible for the addict, depression, feeling helpless, or high levels of stress. For these reasons, therapy and interventions are advised for the children of addicts.

Why do people keep using drugs when they see the harm it does to them or their families?

Once a person grows addicted to a drug, both body and brain functions are altered. Saying no to drugs before addiction begins is a choice that can be easily acted upon. Once addicted, the choice to say no is greatly diminished. With some drugs, it is impossible to stop using without medically monitored detox and addiction treatment. An addict is aware of the pain being caused to family members, but the disease of addiction is powerful. Like other diseases, it takes medical interventions, perhaps several types of interventions and treatments, to get addictive behaviors under control.

What does ‘addiction is a family disease’ mean?

When one member of a family suffers from an addiction, all other family members suffer as well. The family unit’s ability to function in healthy ways is altered as everyone adapts to the addict’s behavior. Normal order is destroyed and consequences for individual behaviors are disrupted. As the addict’s condition worsens, so does the physical and psychological health of other family members. Once the addict seeks treatment, it is imperative that the family as a whole receives addiction therapy as well.

What is a codependent?

Originally, therapists treating alcoholics noticed that family members seemed to suffer along with an alcoholic as the addiction progressed. These family members were called co-alcoholics. Several years later, therapists began to notice that co-alcoholics shared similar behaviors. These symptoms were classified as codependency. Today, mental health professionals understand that codependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from generation to generation. A person who constantly places others’ needs before his or her own to the detriment of himself is usually known to be suffering from codependency. Today, the term has been expanded to include anyone from a dysfunctional family unit who is addicted to a relationship or who has learned to repress his or her emotions and needs whether or not there is a relationship with an addict.

How accurate are drug screening tests?

The accuracy of drug testing depends on the type of drug test, when the drug test is conducted, when the last drug use occurred and the quality of the test. There are a number of ways to test for drug use:
  • Urine testing
  • Blood tests
  • Hair tests
Hair samples can reveal drug use up to 2 -3 months after use, but not the most recent drug use within the last couple of weeks. Alcohol use can be tested in the blood and with a breathalyzer.

What is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)?

The NIDA is a branch of the National Institute of Health. The NIDA is dedicated to “bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.” As a reflection of its mission, the NIDA has been a major force in providing finances for more studies and for the application of their evidence in programs that enhance treatment and its outcomes which shed light on the correlation between brain function, brain alterations and addiction.

What is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)?

SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the “impact of substance abuse and mental illness on International communities.” The Center for Mental Health Services, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality are all part of SAMHSA. SAMHSA promotes ongoing research, best practices, treatment and recovery for both substance abuse and mental health disorders.

What is a withdrawal symptom?

The medical definition for a withdrawal symptom is a physical or psychological response to the abrupt cessation of a substance. Drugs and alcohol usually produce a number of withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to life threatening. These include but are not limited to:
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Stroke
  • Death

How can I force someone to stop using drugs and alcohol?

The best way to stop a person from using drugs and alcohol is to allow that person to suffer the consequences of his or her behavior, not to force him or her to do anything. It can take a great deal of strength and courage to allow an addict to reach his or her bottom. There are legal methods to hospitalize a person whose use of drugs and alcohol is out of control and who is a danger to himself or herself, but in the end the addict is responsible for the choice to use or not use. Decades of research studies have found that certain approaches to addiction treatment and aftercare work better than others. These approaches are known as ‘best practices’ and are used by quality treatment programs.

What makes a quality drug rehab?

A comprehensive, medically based drug rehab of quality uses:
  • Best practices
  • Certified addiction physicians and other medical professionals
  • Therapists with advanced degrees
  • A multi-disciplinary team approach
  • A variety of therapeutic modalities
  • 12-Step program principles
All of these components can provide a newly recovering addict with the best opportunity to build a strong foundation for living life clean and sober. A quality drug rehab seeks to provide the patient with the best care possible.

What are the components of a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program?

Based upon several decades of scientific research, comprehensive drug rehab programs should at minimum include the following: Individualized treatment plans
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Regular evaluations
  • Addiction workshops
  • Relapse prevention
  • Mental health disorder workshops (if needed)
  • Medication management (if needed)
  • Aftercare plans
  • Life skills training
There are more component parts or modalities in treatment that can be offered depending upon the quality of the rehab center.

What are the differences in detoxification programs?

There are several different types of detoxifications programs.
  • Outpatient detoxification: A patient goes to a clinic and self-reports on progress through detoxification (detox), progress in treatment, and on drugs taken. The clinic may dispense medication to be taken at home relying again upon self-reporting as to the efficacy of the drugs.
  • Hospital detox unit: A hospital may have a specific unit in which people will come to detox.
  • Detox facility: A separate facility which houses only detox units. These facilities are usually medically based and staffed but offer no addiction treatment.
  • Detox unit within a drug or alcohol rehab facility: A quality comprehensive rehab center should have a separate medically monitored detox unit on the premises that operates as the first phase of the drug or alcohol rehab facility’s substance abuse treatment program. Whether from alcohol detox or drug detox, the alcohol or drug rehab center provides the addict with a seamless transition from detox to addiction treatment.

Why do I have to go to treatment if I have successfully completed detox?

There is a serious misconception among both addicts and family members that detox is alcohol or drug treatment. It is not. The purpose of detox is to rid the body of the drug or alcohol’s toxins. It is a complex process that can be life threatening depending on a person’s age, amount of substance used, how long use has occurred, physical health, and emotional and psychological health. Detox does not address the underlying reasons for substance abuse or the mental health problems that may accompany substance abuse. Addiction treatment is the next phase in the recovery process, but it can only occur after one’s body has been cleansed of drugs and alcohol in detox. Successful long-term recovery can only be achieved through addiction treatment; it cannot be achieved by undergoing detox alone.

What is an individualized treatment plan?

An addict entering a drug or alcohol rehab program should receive an individualized treatment plan created for the particular patient. The patient’s needs for treatment must be based upon the individual’s health condition, substances used, mental health disorders, emotional and psychiatric health, and a host of psychosocial issues. Not all alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers offer individualized treatment plans despite evidence that it is considered to be a best practice.

What is the difference between individual and group therapy?

When someone enters a quality drug or alcohol rehab program, he or she should receive a variety of different therapeutic modalities in addiction treatment to help him or her learn about self-destructive behaviors and coping skills. In individual therapy, the patient works one-on-one with a therapist trained in addiction and mental health issues. Group therapy is also a vital aspect of treatment. It involves a carefully comprised group of addicts who meet together with a trained therapist to work through personal issues. The group dynamic can be empowering as one learns that his or her issues are not unique while simultaneously receiving support and challenges from peers.

What is a multidisciplinary team approach to addiction treatment?

The best approach to treating addicts is to use a variety of scientific approaches. This means that a certified addiction physician, a psychiatric nurse, a psychiatrist with expertise in addiction and mental health issues, and other therapists and clinicians can pool their knowledge and experience together on a team. This team approach can create a comprehensive individualized treatment plan for each patient based upon the input of a variety of disciplines.

Why do some people go to long-term treatment?

For a variety of reasons, a person may not have the capacity to go through a short-term treatment program and remain abstinent from drug or alcohol use in his or her daily life. There can be emotional problems, environmental problems, physical problems or a combination of problems that make recovery harder to maintain. In these cases, after several tries at treatment, a patient may need to go to a long-term treatment program to achieve the best results. These programs can be 3 to 24 months in duration.

Why do people leave treatment early?

It takes a good deal of work, commitment and serious desire to go through treatment. Sometimes, an addict is challenged to look inward and take responsibility for what he or she has done with his or her life. The addict must be willing to do this self-reflective work in order to build the foundation for recovery. An unwillingness to self-reflect may lead a person to leave treatment early. Also, if a patient suffers from an undiagnosed mental health disorder, the emotional turmoil can lead the person to leave treatment. Finally, if a person decides to seek outpatient treatment instead of inpatient treatment, or the patient goes to an inpatient treatment program near home, family and friends can disrupt the patient’s focus. These different issues can cause a patient to leave treatment before the program has been completed.

How does treatment impact health issues such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C?

When a person is living in active addiction, he or she may engage in risky behaviors. The end result of risky behaviors can be acquisition of infectious diseases or other serious health conditions. In a quality treatment facility with a full-time medical staff, these conditions can be addressed and successfully managed.

What are specialty treatments?

Everyone who enters a drug or alcohol rehab program comes to rehab with a unique story. While everyone is unique, certain similarities remain constant. These similarities generally combine into demographics such as adolescent drug and alcohol users, senior drug abusers, members of the LGBT community, those seeking treatment through the filter of religion such as Christian treatment, or those suffering from mental health disorders. These groups require specific components of treatment to address certain demographic needs. Counselors are trained in the unique needs of each specific demographic in specialty treatment.

Do all treatment programs address sexual orientation?

No, all treatment programs do not address sexual orientation or other specific demographic needs. It is imperative that an addict finds a treatment program that philosophically believes in treating the individual and that will address the individual’s needs in a formal manner based upon personal self acceptance. Our guide to choosing an LBGT friendly drug rehab can assist you with your decision.

Why do people go to residential treatment away from home rather than outpatient treatment near home?

Outpatient treatment is best used as an aftercare approach to recovery once an inpatient or residential treatment program has been completed. Residential treatment or inpatient drug or alcohol rehab centers away from one’s home allow the addict time to focus solely upon himself or herself. In quality residential treatment, the therapists, physicians and other healthcare professionals can observe the patient’s behaviors and emotional status, providing an accurate and current evaluation of the patient’s progress with the ability to respond to emergencies as they arise.

Why should I go out of status for treatment?

There are many distractions or feelings of obligation to family or friends that can stop a patient from staying in treatment. If a patient goes out of state for treatment, communication between the patient, family and friends is limited and the possibility of leaving treatment to go home is less likely. Treatment takes effort, focus, and emotional space. Missing one’s children, for example, can cause a person who is close to home to leave rehab before treatment is completed. It is best to put distance between oneself and everything else to build a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

Are services provided for family members at drug treatment facilities?

Not all rehab facilities provide family members with therapy. Since the 1960s, scientific studies have demonstrated that addiction is a family disease. To change the environment at an addict’s home, everyone in the home must be treated for addiction. Issues of personal responsibility, consequences and codependent behaviors need to be addressed and tools need to be provided so that the family dynamic can move from dysfunctional to healthy.

If I have gone through treatment before, does it make sense to go again?

There is always hope for anyone suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Treatment will work if you are willing to face your addiction with complete honesty, personal responsibility, and willingness to make the changes necessary to grow. Scientific studies have demonstrated time and again that treatment works if the patient uses the tools provided in treatment and aftercare to achieve lasting sobriety.

Why are there separate programs for adolescents and adults?

Adolescents are still growing physically, emotionally and intellectually. The problems that confront an adolescent are different from those of an adult. It is for the safety of the adolescent that the groups are not placed together in any way during treatment. Adolescent treatment protocols are different than those for adults because the adolescent brain is still developing. Changes in the brain from drugs and alcohol affect adolescents differently than adults. In order to create a safe environment in which he or she can heal, the adolescent needs to find identification and support among his or her peers in treatment. Identification allows adolescents to see their self-destructive behaviors. To accomplish this self reflection, the adolescent needs to be physically separated from adults.

Is there a difference between addiction treatment for men and women?

There can be differences between addiction treatment for women and men. Women do not tend to resort to denial as much as men do, but they tend to suffer from more guilt and shame. Confrontational approaches that work better with male patients generally do not work well with female patients. Issues concerning rape, incest, domestic violence, body image and sexual abuse are often best dealt with in single-sex groups. Vulnerability around these issues is profound for both men and women and issues such as being re-victimized in a therapeutic setting has led to separate protocols for men and women in some cases.

What is holistic addiction treatment?

Quality holistic addiction treatment programs are based upon the concept that the whole person must be treated. While many of these programs employ natural remedies such as yoga, massage, meditation and natural diets, quality holistic addiction treatment will also provide the patient with formalized addiction treatment protocols and, when needed, medical assistance.

How can I save my job and take time to go to treatment?

If you have worked for a company for 12 months and meet other criteria, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provide you with the opportunity to take an unpaid leave of absence to enter treatment. You will need to find out the rules governing the FMLA and your company’s requirements. Validation of your medical leave needs will be required. The treatment facility should be able to assist with the paperwork. It should also be noted that use of the FMLA can protect your privacy so that where you are and why you are there is protected.

Does an addict have to enter treatment voluntarily for it to be effective?

Treatment can be effective even if an addict enters treatment through the threat of jail, the loss of a job or the loss of family. Once in treatment, the addict must be open to learning, listening and being honest. What happens during treatment is not dependent upon how one gets into treatment.

What is an intervention?

An intervention is an action that interferes with a behavior with the single purpose of changing that behavior. With regards to addiction, an intervention is the confrontation of one person by others to address his or her addiction with the goal of moving the addict into treatment. Years ago, interventions were aggressive and confrontational. That approach has proven to be detrimental to the desired goal. Today, there are several types of interventions, including professional and nonprofessional interventions. Depending on the circumstances, the people involved and the temperament of the addict, the style of the intervention needed can differ. For more information, refer to this guide to Planning an Intervention.

What is an addiction psychologist?

An addiction psychologist is a certified expert healthcare professional, usually a physician, trained to identify and treat addiction. The Indian Board of Addiction Medicine and the Indian Society of Addiction Medicine provide physicians with the opportunity to be board certified. The designation of board certification or the certification from ISAM is evidence of expertise.

What is the difference between a licensed therapist and a certified addiction specialist?

Both a certified addiction specialist and a therapist are licensed. However, a licensed therapist may not have any expertise or experience with addiction, addiction medicine or addiction treatment. Addiction treatment requires special training. There are different levels of certification such as a CAS (certified addiction specialist), CAC (certified addiction counselor), CAP (certified addiction professional) and board certified. Each different certification is determined by the level of education and training in addiction, treatment and recovery. The highest level is a board certified addiction psychologist, which is a physician with a specialty in addiction medicine. Â Here is more on Substance Abuse Counselors..

Are there pros and cons to being placed on methadone?

There was a time when methadone was seen as the only alternative for someone addicted to heroin. Many people do well on methadone, but it is a powerful drug whose use must be carefully monitored. In recent times and with the development of a variety of drugs, people no longer have to go on methadone maintenance to stop using heroin. A variety of new classes of drugs such as Subutex, Suboxone, and naltrexone can help an addict stop using opiates without having to substitute one addiction (heroin) with another (methadone).

How long does residential addiction treatment last?

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is very important to the long-term recovery of an addict. In general, the longer one can stay in residential treatment, the better the outcome. Many treatment programs are based upon insurance guidelines and the length of a treatment stay may be based upon insurance approval. Generally, residential treatment can range from a few days to 28 days especially if it based solely upon insurance allowances. However, in quality addiction rehabs, based upon a medical model, the treating physicians can speak to the insurance company and help extend the patient’s stay by several weeks.

Long term residential treatment is exclusively for those with several disorders and a history of unsuccessful treatment attempts that require extended treatment for a minimum of 3 months to a year.

How successful are addiction treatment programs?

Studies indicate that addiction treatment increases the chances of maintaining sobriety for longer periods of time. The success rate is dependent upon the gender, the drug of choice, the age, and finally the type of treatment received. Medically based treatment programs that combine 12 Step programs tend to have greater success rates than other types of treatment. Long term residential treatment is exclusively for those with several disorders and a history of unsuccessful treatment attempts that require extended treatment for a minimum of 3 months to a year.

Does everyone in an addiction treatment program receive the same treatment?

If you are seeking treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, or a dual diagnosis, you want to make sure to choose a treatment program that has a medical based, best practices, program. Such treatment programs will provide patients with individualized treatment plans. Not all facilities are medically based, nor do they have multidisciplinary teams of certified addiction physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, therapist and other clinicians.

What is a dual diagnosis program?

When an individual has a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, or suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, the person is considered to be dually diagnosed. Accurate diagnosis of the mental health disorder is of the utmost importance, as both the addiction and the mental health disorder must be treated simultaneously. Recovery is less likely if only one condition is treated. A quality treatment program will have a credible dual diagnosis program staffed by addiction physicians, nurses and therapists who have expertise and experience with dual diagnosis treatment.

Do all addiction treatment programs offer medically supervised detoxification?

No. All treatment facilities are not able to offer a medically supervised detox unit. A medically monitored detox requires medical personnel as well as an onsite pharmacy. Special licenses must be obtained to incorporate the pharmacy and the detox within the treatment facility.

What do I need to bring to rehab?

Laundry facilities are on site necessitating only a small amount of clothes. There is limited space and little storage available so a few loose fitting pants, shirts, and shorts, enough clothes for 7 days are all that is needed. Pajamas and personal hygiene items such as a toothbrush and a shaver are also needed. Short shorts, tank tops, shirts cut at the mid section and other provocative clothes are not allowed, nor are clothes with pictures of drug paraphernalia, drug expressions, or inappropriate language (sexist, racists for example). Specific treatment programs will have a list of items that are allowed and disallowed. The rules must be followed. Inappropriate clothing for treatment will be confiscated and held until the patient is ready to leave. All confiscated items will be returned.

Are visitors allowed at addiction treatment facility?

Treatment is an all encompassing process. To help maintain focus, patient safety and stability at a vulnerable time in life, visitations must be approved in advance by the treating therapist. Only significant family members or close friends will be given permission to visit a patient. Generally visitations will occur at specific times during month ends.

Can I bring my cell phone and computer?

The benefit of treatment away from home is the ability to limit communication with and distractions from the outside world. The absence of cell phones and other electronics provides patients with safety from dealers, bill collectors, friends and other potential distractions. Recovery from addiction takes effort and focus. Cell phones serve no positive value in the treatment environment.

How important is it to have a medically based treatment program?

Treatment programs have progressed over the last three decades. A medically based treatment program should be able to provide you with ongoing onsite evaluations conducted by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and therapists trained in addiction medicine. Things to ask:
  • Does the treatment facility have medical staff on site during regular business hours with additional on-call coverage 24 hours a day?
  • Is the medical team, doctors and nurses, employees of the rehab?
  • Does the treatment program follow the latest medical best practices, and research based protocols?
  • Are there individualized treatment plans created and are they updated regularly by the team?

Can you smoke cigarettes in addiction rehab?

Not all drug or alcohol rehabs allow smoking. However, if it is permissible to smoke cigarettes at a facility, smoking can occur only in designated areas during breaks between groups and during free time. You cannot leave group to smoke a cigarette during any scheduled sessions.

Can I just go to detox?

Free standing detox facilities do exist and you can choose to go to a detox facility without going to treatment after. However, detox is different than treatment. Detox is the process through which the body is cleansed of toxins created by drugs and alcohol. That is it. A detox facility will not provide you with individual counseling, addiction education, relapse prevention, dual diagnosis education, medication management, strategies to handle cravings or any of the components found in a treatment program. Studies have demonstrated that for the majority of people detox alone will not help you stay clean and sober.

What type of licensing and accreditation should a treatment program have?

For a treatment facility to legitimately operate it should have state and local licenses. That would be the minimum. The Joint Commission is an independent, non-profit organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations across the nation. Health care providers move through an extensive review of the facility grounds, structure of the organization, delivery of services, quality of staff, program philosophy as well as a providers ability to provide services across the continuum of care ensuring that the highest, safest, best quality of care is offered to all who seek help.

Recovery tends to be viewed, especially by those who believe in the 12-Step principles, as an ongoing process. Putting down the drink or the drug is the first step in the recovery process. Once that occurs, recovery is about learning to live an honest, responsible, accountable life that is drug- and alcohol free. Mind-altering substances and mind-altering activities such as internet abuse, sex addictions and gambling can bring a person to a bottom. Learning to manage life in a balanced, emotionally sober manner is a lifelong process. Self-growth is ongoing and never-ending.

Do the body and brain recover from drug and alcohol abuse?

Some changes in the brain and body caused by excessive and abusive using of substances are permanent. For example, once you develop cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol abuse, it cannot be reversed. Drugs too can alter the structure and function of the brain. The damage from substance abuse can remain years after the drug abuse has ceased. It is possible that, with years of abstinence, a return to normal function may return. There are no guarantees of either a return to normal functioning or the continuation of damage.

What is relapse prevention?

Relapse prevention is the component of addiction treatment that provides the addict with tools to handle the daily stressors of life outside of the treatment environment. Relapse prevention is crucial to building a strong foundation for long-term abstinence and continued personal growth.

Why do people have cravings?

Addiction alters the brain’s neurological functions. Once the substances or activities that lead to addiction have ceased, the addict still faces the possibility of cravings. These cravings, or neurological messages, are stimulated by triggers. According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, triggers are intense, urgent, or abnormal desires. Relapse prevention teaches the addict how to negotiate these cravings in life-affirming ways.

What does it mean to be abstinent?

Once a person has stopped using drugs and/or alcohol and is no longer using substances or self-destructive behaviors, he or she is considered to be living in abstinence. Going to meetings and other support groups helps the addict remain abstinent. In other words, abstinence means not using drugs or alcohol or picking up another addiction such as gambling, sex, or internet pornography.

What is a support network?

In treatment, the patient has a support network of his or her peers as well as the facility’s medical staff and therapists. When one gets out of treatment, the addict must build a new group of people that will help him or her stay off of drugs and alcohol. This is a support network. The support network can include other addicts in recovery. Such as those who attend 12-Step programs, a therapist or other healthcare professional, or a group of people that have a similar spiritual practice. These different groups can help the addict handle stress, cravings and triggers. Staying clean and sober is difficult to do in isolation. A multi-level support network that includes addiction support groups gives the addict extra security to help him or her through both difficult and joyful times.

What is a 12-Step program?

In 1935, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob met to talk about their drinking problems. What transpired between the two of them led to the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). After years of meetings and speaking with others about alcoholism and alcohol abuse, the established AA groups wrote the principles upon which their ongoing recovery was based. These principles and steps continue to guide other alcoholics to continued sobriety. The principles are embodied in 12 action steps. Millions of people have maintained sobriety by following these steps in addition to attending meetings. The AA 12 Step program has been so successful that other addicts have developed support groups based upon the 12 Steps of AA.

What is a halfway house?

Sometimes when a person leaves treatment, he or she is not prepared to go back home. To give newly sober individuals more time to learn how to live a clean and sober life, halfway houses opened. Halfway houses can be a blessing if they are reputable, quality houses. In order for a halfway house to be considered of quality, there should be rules and requirements that must be followed by all who live in the house. Halfway houses or sober living homes are not licensed or regulated so it is important to investigate a halfway house before committing to live there. Halfway houses are a way for a newly recovering addict to experience living, working and being responsible on a daily basis without using substances. The environment of a quality halfway house provides everyone with the same goal of recovery.

Why is exercise important in recovery?

Research has shown that the results of exercising regularly are a reduction in stress levels and an increase in a sense of well being. The release of certain neurotransmitters during exercise provides the brain with chemicals that produce a sense of calm and well-being. Before recovery, the addict tried to get this sense of calm from using drugs or alcohol. Exercise can produce long-lasting benefits, both physical and psychological, and will not alter the natural brain production of neurotransmitters as drugs and alcohol do.

What is the role of meditation in the recovery process?

Many addicts have busy minds. Their thought processes spin out of control with negative thoughts, especially during times of stress. Meditation is one method used in the recovery process to quiet the mind, providing the addict’s mind and body with some peace.

If I am addicted to opiates, why can't I smoke marijuana?

Here’s a simple reality about addiction: once you grow addicted to a substance, you are an addict. If you are addicted to opiates, you will quickly become addicted to another drug. The pathways affected by opiates are the same pathways affected by marijuana. The need to use a substance remains activated regardless of the drug being used. If you stop taking opiates and start smoking marijuana, the same neurotransmitter is affected. It never works to substitute one drug for another.

Why can't I drink alcohol if I am addicted to drugs and I am not an alcoholic?

There are a range of personality traits that seem to define those who develop addiction. The idea that you are a drug addict but can safely drink alcohol may be a distortion of reality. The addict who attempts to substitute one substance for another can awaken addictive behavior and addictive thinking. Whether it happens quickly or slowly, the alcohol will become the drug addicts new drug of choice.

Does controlled drinking work?

The debate concerning controlled drinking, the moderation or limiting of the amount of alcohol a person consumes, has been around since the 1960s. Since that time, the debate has shifted slightly from one position to the next. A person who is an alcoholic usually must practice abstinence. However, if a person abuses alcohol without being addicted, he or she may be able to cut back and moderate the amount of alcohol consumed. Sadly, many people who have tried controlled drinking either continue getting into trouble or lose control. They eventually have to admit that a problem does exist and that the problem requires help and abstinence.

Can I drink alcohol and go to NA meetings?

The answer to this question is clear and written in the NA preamble. Narcotics Anonymous does not make any distinctions between drugs and alcohol. They are both mind-altering substances. However, the only requirement for membership in NA is desire to stop using. Should you pick up a drink, it is advisable to go to a meeting.

Am I considered sober if I go to AA and smoke marijuana?

Ingesting any mind-altering substance is considered using. Since the beginning of AA, much has been learned about addiction, behaviors and brain function. Smoking marijuana alters your perceptions and your ability to be sober.

What is Recovery Connection?

Recovery Connection is a comprehensive website dedicated to helping addicts, family and friends find a solution to addiction. We have the most up-to-date information on addiction and mental health disorders. We also provide you with help in finding the right detox and treatment program for your needs. Our staff is specially trained, experienced with addiction, treatment, and detox and can answer most of your questions.

What happens after a client has completed rehab?

Depending upon the individual needs at the time of treatment completion, a patient may be given an aftercare plan. Part of that plan may include moving into a half way house before returning home, or it may call for attending outpatient treatment. To continue to build upon the work done in treatment, the addict or alcoholic will need to continue therapy while attending.

Are aftercare plans individualized?

An individualized aftercare plan should be developed before each patient leaves the treatment facility and should also include input from the patient. Each individual comes to treatment with a unique set of issues that must be addressed both during treatment and during aftercare. An individualized aftercare plan is a must.

Why do drug- addicted persons keep using drugs?

Nearly all addicted individuals believe at the outset that they can stop using drugs on their own, and most try to stop without treatment. Although some people are successful, many attempts result in failure to achieve long-term abstinence. Research has shown that long-term drug abuse results in changes in the brain that persist long after a person stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioral consequences, including an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences—the defining characteristic of addiction.

Long-term drug use results in significant changes in brain function that can persist long after the individual stops using drugs. Understanding that addiction has such a fundamental biological component may help explain the difficulty of achieving and maintaining abstinence without treatment. Psychological stress from work, family problems, psychiatric illness, pain associated with medical problems, social cues (such as meeting individuals from one’s drug-using past), or environmental cues (such as encountering streets, objects, or even smells associated with drug abuse) can trigger intense cravings without the individual even being consciously aware of the triggering event. Any one of these factors can hinder attainment of sustained abstinence and make relapse more likely. Nevertheless, research indicates that active participation in treatment is an essential component for good outcomes and can benefit even the most severely addicted individuals.

What is drug addiction treatment?

Drug treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.

There are a variety of evidence-based approaches to treating addiction. Drug treatment can include behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management), medications, or their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use.

Drug addiction treatment can include medications, behavioral therapies, or their combination.

Treatment medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including a new long-acting formulation), are available for individuals addicted to opioids, while nicotine preparations (patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray) and the medications varenicline and bupropion are available for individuals addicted to tobacco. Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are medications available for treating alcohol dependence,1 which commonly co-occurs with other drug addictions, including addiction to prescription medications. Treatments for prescription drug abuse tend to be similar to those for illicit drugs that affect the same brain systems. For example, buprenorphine, used to treat heroin addiction, can also be used to treat addiction to opioid pain medications. Addiction to prescription stimulants, which affect the same brain systems as illicit stimulants like cocaine, can be treated with behavioral therapies, as there are not yet medications for treating addiction to these types of drugs.

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment, offer strategies for coping with drug cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help individuals deal with relapse if it occurs. Behavioral therapies can also help people improve communication, relationship, and parenting skills, as well as family dynamics. Many treatment programs employ both individual and group therapies. Group therapy can provide social reinforcement and help enforce behavioral contingencies that promote abstinence and a non-drug-using lifestyle. Some of the more established behavioral treatments, such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are also being adapted for group settings to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, particularly in adolescents, there can also be a danger of unintended harmful (or iatrogenic) effects of group treatment—sometimes group members (especially groups of highly delinquent youth) can reinforce drug use and thereby derail the purpose of the therapy. Thus, trained counselors should be aware of and monitor for such effects.

Because they work on different aspects of addiction, combinations of behavioral therapies and medications (when available) generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.

Finally, people who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other health (e.g., depression, HIV), occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed concurrently. The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Psychoactive medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications, may be critical for treatment success when patients have co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. In addition, most people with severe addiction abuse multiple drugs and require treatment for all substances abused.

Treatment for drug abuse and addiction is delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral and pharmacological approaches.

Another drug, topiramate, has also shown promise in studies and is sometimes prescribed (off-label) for this purpose although it has not received FDA approval as a treatment for alcohol dependence.

Relapse rates for addiction resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma?

Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely, with symptom recurrence rates similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses—such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma (see figure, "Comparison of Relapse Rates Between Drug Addiction and Other Chronic Illnesses”)—that also have both physiological and behavioral components.

Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many deem treatment a failure. This is not the case: Successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification as appropriate, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases. For example, when a patient is receiving active treatment for hypertension and symptoms decrease, treatment is deemed successful, even though symptoms may recur when treatment is discontinued. For the addicted individual, lapses to drug abuse do not indicate failure—rather, they signify that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed

(see figure, "Why is Addiction Treatment Evaluated Differently?").

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral approaches help engage people in drug abuse treatment, provide incentives for them to remain abstinent, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse. Below are a number of behavioral therapies shown to be effective in addressing substance abuse (effectiveness with particular drugs of abuse is denoted in parentheses).

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Nicotine)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was developed as a method to prevent relapse when treating problem drinking and later it was adapted for cocaine-addicted individuals. Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role. Individuals in CBT learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills that can be used to stop drug abuse and to address a range of other problems that often co-occur with it.

A central element of CBT is anticipating likely problems and enhancing patients’ self-control by helping them develop effective coping strategies. Specific techniques include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use, self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use, and developing strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations.

Research indicates that the skills individuals learn through cognitive-behavioral approaches remain after the completion of treatment. Current research focuses on how to produce even more powerful effects by combining CBT with medications for drug abuse and with other types of behavioral therapies. A computer-based CBT system has also been developed and has been shown to be effective in helping reduce drug use following standard drug abuse treatment.

Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opioids, Marijuana, Nicotine)

Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of treatment approaches using contingency management (CM) principles, which involve giving patients tangible rewards to reinforce positive behaviors such as abstinence. Studies conducted in both methadone programs and psychosocial counseling treatment programs demonstrate that incentive-based interventions are highly effective in increasing treatment retention and promoting abstinence from drugs.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Nicotine)

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a counseling approach that helps individuals resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their drug use. This approach aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change, rather than guide the patient stepwise through the recovery process. This therapy consists of an initial assessment battery session, followed by two to four individual treatment sessions with a therapist. In the first treatment session, the therapist provides feedback to the initial assessment, stimulating discussion about personal substance use and eliciting self-motivational statements. Motivational interviewing principles are used to strengthen motivation and build a plan for change. Coping strategies for high-risk situations are suggested and discussed with the patient. In subsequent sessions, the therapist monitors change, reviews cessation strategies being used, and continues to encourage commitment to change or sustained abstinence. Patients sometimes are encouraged to bring a significant other to sessions. Research on MET suggests that its effects depend on the type of drug used by participants and on the goal of the intervention. This approach has been used successfully with people addicted to alcohol to both improve their engagement in treatment and reduce their problem drinking. MET has also been used successfully with marijuana-dependent adults when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, constituting a more comprehensive treatment approach. The results of MET are mixed for people abusing other drugs (e.g., heroin, cocaine, nicotine) and for adolescents who tend to use multiple drugs. In general, MET seems to be more effective for engaging drug abusers in treatment than for producing changes in drug use.

The Matrix Model (Stimulants)

The Matrix Model provides a framework for engaging stimulant (e.g., methamphetamine and cocaine) abusers in treatment and helping them achieve abstinence. Patients learn about issues critical to addiction and relapse, receive direction and support from a trained therapist, and become familiar with self-help programs. Patients are monitored for drug use through urine testing.

The therapist functions simultaneously as teacher and coach, fostering a positive, encouraging relationship with the patient and using that relationship to reinforce positive behavior change. The interaction between the therapist and the patient is authentic and direct but not confrontational or parental. Therapists are trained to conduct treatment sessions in a way that promotes the patient’s self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. A positive relationship between patient and therapist is critical to patient retention. Treatment materials draw heavily on other tested treatment approaches and, thus, include elements of relapse prevention, family and group therapies, drug education, and self-help participation. Detailed treatment manuals contain worksheets for individual sessions; other components include family education groups, early recovery skills groups, relapse prevention groups, combined sessions, urine tests, 12-step programs, relapse analysis, and social support groups.

A number of studies have demonstrated that participants treated using the Matrix Model show statistically significant reductions in drug and alcohol use, improvements in psychological indicators, and reduced risky sexual behaviors associated with HIV transmission.

12-Step Facilitation Therapy (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opiates)

Twelve-step facilitation therapy is an active engagement strategy designed to increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups, thereby promoting abstinence. Three key ideas predominate: (1) acceptance, which includes the realization that drug addiction is a chronic, progressive disease over which one has no control, that life has become unmanageable because of drugs, that willpower alone is insufficient to overcome the problem, and that abstinence is the only alternative; (2) surrender, which involves giving oneself over to a higher power, accepting the fellowship and support structure of other recovering addicted individuals, and following the recovery activities laid out by the 12-step program; and (3) active involvement in 12-step meetings and related activities. While the efficacy of 12-step programs (and 12-step facilitation) in treating alcohol dependence has been established, the research on its usefulness for other forms of substance abuse is more preliminary, but the treatment appears promising for helping drug abusers sustain recovery.

Family Behavior Therapy

Family Behavior Therapy (FBT), which has demonstrated positive results in both adults and adolescents, is aimed at addressing not only substance use problems but other co-occurring problems as well, such as conduct disorders, child mistreatment, depression, family conflict, and unemployment. FBT combines behavioral contracting with contingency management. FBT involves the patient along with at least one significant other such as a cohabiting partner or a parent (in the case of adolescents). Therapists seek to engage families in applying the behavioral strategies taught in sessions and in acquiring new skills to improve the home environment. Patients are encouraged to develop behavioral goals for preventing substance use and HIV infection, which are anchored to a contingency management system. Substance-abusing parents are prompted to set goals related to effective parenting behaviors. During each session, the behavioral goals are reviewed, with rewards provided by significant others when goals are accomplished. Patients participate in treatment planning, choosing specific interventions from a menu of evidence-based treatment options. In a series of comparisons involving adolescents with and without conduct disorder, FBT was found to be more effective than supportive counseling.

Behavioral Therapies Primarily for Adolescents

Drug-abusing and addicted adolescents have unique treatment needs. Research has shown that treatments designed for and tested in adult populations often need to be modified to be effective in adolescents. Family involvement is a particularly important component for interventions targeting youth. Below are examples of behavioral interventions that employ these principles and have shown efficacy for treating addiction in youth.

Multisystem Therapy

Multisystem Therapy (MST) addresses the factors associated with serious antisocial behavior in children and adolescents who abuse alcohol and other drugs. These factors include characteristics of the child or adolescent (e.g., favorable attitudes toward drug use), the family (poor discipline, family conflict, parental drug abuse), peers (positive attitudes toward drug use), school (dropout, poor performance), and neighborhood (criminal subculture). By participating in intensive treatment in natural environments (homes, schools, and neighborhood settings), most youths and families complete a full course of treatment. MST significantly reduces adolescent drug use during treatment and for at least 6 months after treatment. Fewer incarcerations and out-of-home juvenile placements offset the cost of providing this intensive service and maintaining the clinicians low caseloads.

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) for adolescents is an outpatient, family-based treatment for teenagers who abuse alcohol or other drugs. MDFT views adolescent drug use in terms of a network of influences (individual, family, peer, community) and suggests that reducing unwanted behavior and increasing desirable behavior occur in multiple ways in different settings. Treatment includes individual and family sessions held in the clinic, in the home, or with family members at the family court, school, or other community locations.

During individual sessions, the therapist and adolescent work on important developmental tasks, such as developing decision-making, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. Teenagers acquire vocational skills and skills in communicating their thoughts and feelings to deal better with life stressors. Parallel sessions are held with family members. Parents examine their particular parenting styles, learning to distinguish influence from control and to have a positive and developmentally appropriate influence on their children.

Brief Strategic Family Therapy

Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) targets family interactions that are thought to maintain or exacerbate adolescent drug abuse and other co-occurring problem behaviors. Such problem behaviors include conduct problems at home and at school, oppositional behavior, delinquency, associating with antisocial peers, aggressive and violent behavior, and risky sexual behavior. BSFT is based on a family systems approach to treatment, in which family members’ behaviors are assumed to be interdependent such that the symptoms of one member (the drug-abusing adolescent, for example) are indicative, at least in part, of what else is occurring in the family system. The role of the BSFT counselor is to identify the patterns of family interaction that are associated with the adolescent’s behavior problems and to assist in changing those problem-maintaining family patterns. BSFT is meant to be a flexible approach that can be adapted to a broad range of family situations in various settings (mental health clinics, drug abuse treatment programs, other social service settings, and families’ homes) and in various treatment modalities (as a primary outpatient intervention, in combination with residential or day treatment, and as an aftercare/continuing-care service following residential treatment).

Functional Family Therapy

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is another treatment based on a family systems approach, in which an adolescent’s behavior problems are seen as being created or maintained by a family’s dysfunctional interaction patterns. FFT aims to reduce problem behaviors by improving communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and parenting skills. The intervention always includes the adolescent and at least one family member in each session. Principal treatment tactics include (1) engaging families in the treatment process and enhancing their motivation for change and (2) bringing about changes in family members’ behavior using contingency management techniques, communication and problem-solving, behavioral contracts, and other behavioral interventions.

Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach and Assertive Continuing Care

The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) is another comprehensive substance abuse treatment intervention that involves the adolescent and his or her family. It seeks to support the individual’s recovery by increasing family, social, and educational/vocational rein forcers. After assessing the adolescent’s needs and levels of functioning, the therapist chooses from among 17 A-CRA procedures to address problem-solving, coping, and communication skills and to encourage active participation in positive social and recreational activities. A-CRA skills training involves role-playing and behavioral rehearsal.

Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) is a home-based continuing-care approach to preventing relapse. Weekly home visits take place over a 12- to 14-week period after an adolescent is discharged from residential, intensive outpatient, or regular outpatient treatment. Using positive and negative reinforcement to shape behaviors, along with training in problem-solving and communication skills, ACC combines A-CRA and assertive case management services (e.g., use of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, round-the-clock coverage, assertive outreach) to help adolescents and their caregivers acquire the skills to engage in positive social activities.

What Happens in Addiction Rehab?

Studies find that those who spend three months or longer in treatment programs have better rates of long-term sobriety. Longer programs afford the opportunity to focus on the root causes and behaviors behind the addiction, and more time to practice sober living behaviors.

Does Rehab Cure Addiction?

There is no cure for addiction, but it can be managed effectively. Regardless of its duration, drug and alcohol addiction recovery doesn't conclude after the patient completes a rehabilitation program. Recovery from substance use is an ongoing, lifelong process. Managing an addiction involves learning how to navigate through daily life without using, and involves hard work and dedication.

Addiction Rehab vs. Addiction Recovery!

Rehab helps people learn how to cope with drug cravings and get through those tough times when the temptation to relapse is strong. It can also teach people skills to prepare for the day-to-day struggles of recovering from addiction, and how to address the people or situations that may have contributed to or exacerbated the substance problem in the first place.

Long-term recovery, however, may involve ongoing therapy in individual and/or group form, along with attendance at 12-step or support group meetings. Some individuals find additional activities to be key for supporting their ongoing recovery. These activities may include meditation, yoga, exercise, or art, to name a few. Many good treatment programs offer their own types of aftercare programs, or work with you to develop a solid aftercare plan prior to leaving treatment to help support successful long-term recovery. In fact, studies have demonstrated that ongoing participation in aftercare programs is associated with fewer relapses.

What Happens If I Relapse?

Relapse should not be viewed as a failure but should instead be seen as an obstacle to overcome on one's lifelong journey to sobriety. It provides an opportunity to reassess one's path and get back into a program that offers the support and help needed to maintain sobriety.

Many people who are struggling with addiction complete more than one stay in rehab before they are able to find their footing in their recovery journey. The only person who can manage your addiction is you, and rehab will help you build the skills necessary to maintain sobriety.

Recovery Program Considerations

What is Luxury Treatment?

Luxury rehabilitation offers far more amenities and posh surroundings than standard rehab facilities. They are often located in secluded areas, so patients are afforded maximum privacy during their stays. Luxury rehab centers may offer holistic programs, adventure therapies, gourmet meals prepared by professional chefs, and innovative recovery therapies. High-level executives, celebrities and other public figures often choose luxury rehab for the exclusive amenities, privacy and the likelihood that they will be among their peers, but anyone may attend these types of programs if the costs can be covered high but results very low recovery rate, and out-of-pocket payments, or a combination thereof.

Is help available 24/7?

Yes, a Solutions there a-coach and support staff will be available night and day. Treatment takes place daily between approximately 9am and 6pm, so after-hours help is intended for emergencies only or as scheduled.

What does my loved one have to bring?

Yes, room and board is included. That means that we'll provide your loved one with an outfitted bed in a furnished residence, kitchen facilities, three meals a day, beverages, towels - everything you'd expect from a live-in treatment center. The cost of therapy and any medication for detox is also included. They will however, need to bring clothing, toiletries and money for sundries - like a coffee or a movie every now and then. Contact us to learn more about what's included.