What is addiction therapy like?

95

Alcoholism and other addictions are considered chronic diseases. The goal of their therapy is therefore to maintain abstinence and develop mechanisms that will allow an addict to enjoy life away from the substance. What is the treatment like and how are these goals achieved?

Although addictions are eternal problems that have accompanied people for generations, and the level of awareness about it is constantly increasing, stereotypes distorting the image of the so-called “Rehab”. Treatment of addiction can take different courses as there are many methods and ways such as 30 day drug and alcohol rehab program. Many people believe that alcoholics are being administered “miracle” drugs that easily overcome their cravings for substances. Some people believe that addiction is a choice and that recovery depends entirely on the will of the person affected. Still others claim that it is enough to isolate an addict from alcohol or drugs, or to “scare” the consequences of his behavior, to forget about his problem once and for all and learn to live a normal life.

All such claims result from ignorance and misunderstanding of the addiction mechanisms. It is them that make the alcoholic or drug addict unaware of losing control over their life for a very long time, and even when they become aware of it and want to break the vicious circle – they cannot do it.

The first step towards recovery is to motivate the addict to start therapy. It is not an easy task – often slow, gradual identification of the consequences of drinking is not enough and the so-called “intervention”. It is a meeting of several people close to the addict who will make him aware of the facts related to his illness. It is also important to refrain from helping the alcoholic: you should not pay off his debts, make excuses for his absence from work or hide him from family and friends. In this way, the patient does not have the opportunity to experience the effects of his / her behavior, and thus does not see the need to change it.

The next stage, which is the proper beginning of treatment, is the so-called basic therapy. It usually takes place in an addiction treatment unit or in a clinic with a similar profile. Characteristic features of this phase are the high intensity of therapeutic activities, the advantage of group meetings over individual meetings, and a fairly schematic program of meetings based on the program of the facility in which they take place. Inpatient treatment takes place in groups of seven to fourteen people, lasts from five to eight weeks, and patients feel more like in school than in a hospital. 

Therapeutic activities lasting several hours a day include group meetings, joint discussions of previously assigned written assignments, mini-lectures, and watching educational films. It can be said that this treatment is based primarily on psychotherapy and psychoeducation. There is no magic pill or injection for this disease, so you need to influence the alcoholic’s psyche with new information and conversations, and equip him with the tools needed to change the way he thinks and reacts.