) is the processes of medical or
treatment for dependency on
. The general intent is to enable the patient to confront
, if present, and cease
to avoid the
, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse. Treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders,
by experts and sharing of experience with other
Psychological dependency is addressed in many drug rehabilitation programs by attempting to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. In particular, patients are generally encouraged, or possibly even required, to not associate with friends who still use the addictive substance.
encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their
. Many programs emphasize that recovery is a permanent process without culmination. For legal drugs such as alcohol, complete abstention—rather than attempts at
, which may lead to
—is also emphasized (“One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.”) Whether moderation is achievable by those with a history of abuse remains a controversial point, but is generally considered unsustainable.
Types of treatment
The brain’s chemical structure is impacted by drugs of abuse and these changes are present long after an individual stops using, This change in brain structure increases risk for relapse, making treatment an important part of the rehabilitation process.
Various types of programs offer help in drug rehabilitation, including:
(in-patient/ out-patient), local
, extended care centers, recovery or
, addiction counselling, mental health, and medical care. Some rehab centers offer age- and gender-specific programs.
In a survey of treatment providers from three separate institutions (the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, Rational Recovery Systems and the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors)
measuring the treatment provider’s responses on the Spiritual Belief Scale (a scale measuring belief in the four spiritual characteristics
identified by Ernest Kurtz); the scores were found to
41% of the
in the treatment provider’s responses on the Addiction Belief Scale (a scale measuring adherence to the
or the free-will model addiction).
Scientific research since 1970 shows that effective treatment addresses the multiple needs of the patient rather than treating addiction alone.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends detoxification followed by both medication (where applicable) and
, followed by
. According to NIDA, effective treatment must address medical and mental health services as well as follow-up options, such as community or family based recovery support systems.
Whatever the methodology, patient motivation is an important factor in treatment success.
For individuals addicted to prescription drugs, treatments tend to be similar to those who are addicted to drugs affecting the same brain systems. Medication like
can be used to treat addiction to prescription opiates, and behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to prescription stimulants, benzodiazepines, and other drugs.
Types of behavioral therapy include:
, which seeks to help patients to recognize, avoid and cope with situations in which they are most likely to relapse.
, which is designed to support recovery of the patient by improving family functioning.
, which is designed to increase patient motivation to change behavior and enter treatment.
Motivational incentives, which uses
to encourage abstinence from the addictive substance.
Treatment can be a long process and the duration is dependent upon the patient’s needs and history of abuse. Research has shown that most patients need at least 3 months of treatment and longer durations are associated with better outcomes.
Certain opioid medications such as
and more recently
(In America, ”
” and ”
“) are widely used to treat addiction and dependence on other opioids such as heroin,
Methadone and buprenorphine are maintenance therapies
intended to reduce cravings for opiates, thereby reducing
illegal drug use
, and the risks associated with it, such as disease, arrest,
, and death, in line with the philosophy of
. Both drugs may be used as maintenance medications (taken for an indefinite period of time), or used as detoxification aids.
All available studies collected in the 2005 Australian National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence suggest that maintenance treatment is preferable,
with very high rates (79–100%)
According to the
National Institute on Drug Abuse
(NIDA), patients stabilized on adequate, sustained doses of methadone or buprenorphine can keep their jobs, avoid crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV and
by stopping or reducing injection drug use and drug-related high risk
is a long-acting
with few side effects. It is usually prescribed in
medical conditions. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opiates. Naltrexone cuts relapse risk during the first 3 months by about 36%.
However, it is far less effective in helping patients maintain abstinence or retaining them in the drug-treatment system (retention rates average 12% at 90 days for naltrexone, average 57% at 90 days for buprenorphine, average 61% at 90 days for methadone).
drug promoted by certain fringe groups to interrupt both physical dependence and psychological craving to a broad range or drugs including narcotics, stimulants, alcohol and nicotine. To date, there have never been any controlled studies showing it to be effective, and it is accepted as a treatment by no association of physicians, pharmacists, or addictionologists. There have been several deaths related to ibogaine use, which causes
long QT syndrome
. The drug is an illegal Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, and the foreign facilities in which it is administered tend to have little oversight, and range from motel rooms to one moderately-sized rehabilitation center.
A few antidepressants have been proven to be helpful in the context of smoking cessation/nicotine addiction, these medications include bupropion and nortriptyline.
Bupropion inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine and has been FDA approved for smoking cessation, while nortriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant which has been used to aid in smoking cessation though it has not been FDA approved for this indication.
sugar) are also used to treat alcohol addiction. Acamprosate has shown effectiveness for patients with severe dependence, helping them to maintain abstinence for several weeks or months.
Disulfiram (also called Antabuse) produces a very unpleasant reaction when drinking alcohol that includes flushing, nausea and palpitations. It is more effective for patients with high motivation and some addicts use it only for high risk situations.
Patients who wish to continue drinking or may be likely to relapse, should not take disulfiram as it can result in the disulfiram-alcohol reaction mentioned previously, which is very serious and can even be fatal
Nitrous oxide, also sometimes known as laughing gas, is a legally available gas used for purposes that include anesthesia during certain dental and surgical procedures, as well as food preparation and the fueling of rocket and racing engines. Substance abusers also sometimes use the gas as an inhalant. Like all other inhalants, it’s popular because it provides consciousness-altering effects while allowing users to avoid some of the legal issues surrounding illicit or illegal drugs of abuse. Abuse of nitrous oxide can produce significant short-term and long-term damage to human health, including a form of oxygen starvation called hypoxia, brain damage, and a serious vitamin B12 deficiency that can lead to nerve damage.
Although dangerous and addictive in its own right, nitrous oxide has been shown to be an effective treatment for a number of addictions.
In-patient residential treatment for alcohol abuse is usually quite expensive without proper insurance. Most American programs follow a traditional 28–30 day program length. The length is based solely upon providers’ experience in the 1940s that clients needed about one week to get over the physical changes, another week to understand the program, and another week or two to become stable.
70 to 80 percent of American residential alcohol treatment programs provide 12-step support services. These include, but are not limited to AA, NA, CA, Al-Anon
One recent study suggests the importance of family participation in residential treatment patient retention, finding “increased program completion rate for those with a family member or significant other involved in a seven-day family program.”
The definition of recovery remains divided and subjective in drug rehabilitation, as there are no set standards for measuring recovery. The Betty Ford Institute defined recovery as achieving complete abstinence as well as personal wellbeing
while other studies have considered “near abstinence” as a definition.
The wide range of meanings has complicated the process of choosing rehabilitation programs.
Drug rehabilitation is sometimes part of the
criminal justice system
. People convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, and those convicted of
driving while intoxicated
are sometimes required to attend
meetings. There are a number of ways to address an alternative sentence in a drug possession or DUI case; increasingly, American courts are willing to explore outside-the-box methods for delivering this service. There have been lawsuits filed, and won, regarding the requirement of attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step meetings as being inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, mandating separation of church and state.
In some cases, individuals can be court ordered to drug rehabilitation by the state through legislation like the
Traditional addiction treatment is based primarily on counseling.
Counselors help individuals identifying behaviors and problems related to their addiction. It can be done on an individual basis, but it’s more common to find it in a group setting and can include crisis counseling, weekly or daily counseling, and drop-in counseling supports. They are trained to develop recovery programs that help to reestablish healthy behaviors and provide coping strategies whenever a situation of risk happens. It’s very common to see them work also with family members who are affected by the addictions of the individual, or in a community to prevent addiction and educate the public. Counselors should be able to recognize how addiction affects the whole person and those around him or her.
Counseling is also related to “Intervention”; a process in which the addict’s family requests help from a professional to get this person into drug treatment. This process begins with one of this professionals’ first goals: breaking down denial of the person with the addiction. Denial implies lack of willingness from the patients or fear to confront the true nature of the addiction and to take any action to improve their lives, besides of continuing the destructive behavior. Once this has been achieved, professional coordinates with the addict’s family to support them on getting this family member to alcohol drug rehabilitation immediately, with concern and care for this person. Otherwise, this person will be asked to leave and expect no support of any kind until going into drug rehabilitation or alcoholism treatment. An intervention can also be conducted in the workplace environment with colleagues instead of family.
One approach with limited applicability is the
. In this approach, the client is serviced by provider(s) in his or her home and workplace – for any efficacy, around-the-clock – who functions much like a
to guide or control the patient’s behavior.
disease model of addiction
has long contended the maladaptive patterns of alcohol and substance use displayed by addicted individuals are the result of a lifelong disease that is biological in origin and exacerbated by environmental contingencies. This conceptualization renders the individual essentially powerless over his or her problematic behaviors and unable to remain sober by himself or herself, much as individuals with a terminal illness are unable to fight the disease by themselves without medication. Behavioral treatment, therefore, necessarily requires individuals to admit their addiction, renounce their former lifestyle, and seek a supportive social network who can help them remain sober. Such approaches are the quintessential features of
, originally published in the book Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939.
These approaches have met considerable amounts of criticism, coming from opponents who disapprove of the spiritual-religious orientation on both psychological
grounds. Opponents also contend that it lacks valid scientific evidence for claims of efficacy
. However, there is survey based research that suggests there is a correlation between attendance and alcohol sobriety
. Different results have been reached for other drugs, with the twelve steps being less beneficial for addicts to illicit substances, and least beneficial to those addicted to the physiologically and psychologically addicting
, for which
are the gold standard of care.
It does not subscribe to disease theory and powerlessness.
The group meetings involve open discussions, questioning decisions and forming corrective measures through assertive exercises. It does not involve a lifetime membership concept, but people can opt to attend meetings, and choose not to after gaining recovery. Objectives of the SMART Recovery programs are:
- Building and Maintaining Motivation,
- Coping with Urges,
- Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors,
- Living a balanced Life.
In his influential book,
, in which he presented the
to therapeutic change, psychologist
proposed there are three necessary and sufficient conditions for personal change: unconditional positive regard, accurate empathy, and genuineness. Rogers believed the presence of these three items in the
could help an individual overcome any troublesome issue, including
. To this end, a 1957 study
compared the relative effectiveness of three different psychotherapies in treating alcoholics who had been committed to a state hospital for sixty days: a therapy based on
two-factor learning theory
. Though the authors expected the two-factor theory to be the most effective, it actually proved to be deleterious in outcome. Surprisingly, client-centered therapy proved most effective. It has been argued, however, these findings may be attributable to the profound difference in therapist outlook between the two-factor and client-centered approaches, rather than to client-centered techniques per se.
The authors note two-factor theory involves stark disapproval of the clients’ “irrational behavior” (p. 350); this notably negative outlook could explain the results.
A variation of Rogers’ approach has been developed in which clients are directly responsible for determining the goals and objectives of the treatment. Known as Client-Directed Outcome-Informed therapy (CDOI), this approach has been utilized by several drug treatment programs, such as
Arizona’s Department of Health Services
, a psychotherapeutic approach to behavior change developed by
and modified by his followers, has also offered an explanation of substance abuse. This orientation suggests the main cause of the addiction syndrome is the unconscious need to entertain and to enact various kinds of homosexual and perverse fantasies, and at the same time to avoid taking responsibility for this. It is hypothesised specific drugs facilitate specific fantasies and using drugs is considered to be a displacement from, and a concomitant of, the compulsion to masturbate while entertaining homosexual and perverse fantasies. The addiction syndrome is also hypothesised to be associated with life trajectories that have occurred within the context of traumatogenic processes, the phases of which include social, cultural and political factors, encapsulation, traumatophilia, and masturbation as a form of self-soothing.
Such an approach lies in stark contrast to the approaches of
social cognitive theory
to addiction—and indeed, to behavior in general—which holds human beings regulate and control their own environmental and cognitive environments, and are not merely driven by internal, driving impulses. Additionally, homosexual content is not implicated as a necessary feature in addiction.
approach to addiction recovery and therapy has been Alan Marlatt’s (1985) Relapse Prevention approach.
Marlatt describes four psychosocial processes relevant to the addiction and
, outcome expectancies, 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 expectancies refer to an individual’s expectations about the
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 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.
For example: As a result of heavy traffic, a recovering alcoholic may decide one afternoon to exit the highway and travel on side roads. This will result in the creation of a high-risk situation when he realizes he is inadvertently driving by his old favorite bar. If this individual is able to employ successful
, such as distracting himself from his cravings by turning on his favorite music, then he will avoid the relapse risk (PATH 1) and heighten his efficacy for future abstinence. If, however, he lacks coping mechanisms—for instance, he may begin ruminating on his cravings (PATH 2)—then his efficacy for abstinence will decrease, his expectations of positive outcomes will increase, and he may experience a lapse—an isolated return to substance intoxication. So doing results in what Marlatt refers to as the Abstinence Violation Effect, characterized by guilt for having gotten intoxicated and low efficacy for future abstinence in similar tempting situations. This is a dangerous pathway, Marlatt proposes, to full-blown relapse.
An additional cognitively-based model of substance abuse recovery has been offered by
, the father of
and championed in his 1993 book
Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse
This therapy rests upon the assumption addicted individuals possess core beliefs, often not accessible to immediate consciousness (unless the patient is also depressed). These core beliefs, such as “I am undesirable,” activate a system of addictive beliefs that result in imagined anticipatory benefits of substance use and, consequentially, craving. Once craving has been activated, permissive beliefs (“I can handle getting high just this one more time”) are facilitated. Once a permissive set of beliefs have been activated, then the individual will activate drug-seeking and drug-ingesting behaviors. The cognitive therapist’s job is to uncover this underlying system of beliefs, analyze it with the patient, and thereby demonstrate its dysfunctionality. As with any cognitive-behavioral therapy,
and behavioral exercises serve to solidify what is learned and discussed during treatment.
Emotion regulation and mindfulness
A growing literature is demonstrating the importance of
in the treatment of substance abuse. Considering that
and other psychoactive substances such as
activate similar psychopharmacological pathways,
an emotion regulation approach may be applicable to a wide array of substance abuse. Proposed models of affect-driven tobacco use have focused on
as the primary driving force for addiction; according to such theories, tobacco is used because it helps one escape from the undesirable effects of
or other negative moods.
programs that encourage patients to be aware of their own experiences in the present moment and of emotions that arise from thoughts, appear to prevent impulsive/compulsive responses.
Research also indicates that mindfulness programs can reduce the consumption of substances such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, cigarettes and opiates.
Behavioral models make use of principles of functional analysis of drinking behavior. Behavior models exists for both working with the substance abuser (
Community Reinforcement Approach
) and their family (
Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training
). Both these models have had considerable research success for both efficacy and effectiveness. This model lays much emphasis on the use of problem solving techniques as a means of helping the addict to overcome his/her addiction.
Despite ongoing efforts to combat addiction, there has been evidence of clinics billing patients for treatments that may not guarantee their recovery.
This is a major problem as there are numerous claims of fraud in drug rehabilitation centers, where these centers are billing insurance companies for under delivering much needed medical treatment while exhausting patients’ insurance benefits.
In California, there are movements and law regarding this matter, particularly the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA) which declares it unlawful to unknowingly conduct such businesses.
Under the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity Act, rehabilitation centers are able to bill insurance companies for substance abuse treatment.
With long waitlists in limited state funded rehabilitation centers, controversial private centers rapidly emerged.
One popular model, known as the Florida Model for rehabilitation centers, is often criticized for fraudulent billing to insurance companies.
Under the guise of helping patients with opioid addiction, these centers would offer addicts free rent or up to $500 per month to stay in their “sober homes”, then charge insurance companies as high as $5,000 to $10,000 per test for simple urine tests.
Little attention is paid to patients in terms of addiction intervention as these patients have often been known to continue drug use during their stay in these centers.
Since 2015, these centers have been under federal and state criminal investigation.
As of 2017 in California, there are only 16 investigators in the CA Department of Health Care Services investigating over 2,000 licensed rehab centers.
Karasaki et al.,(2013).
The Place of Volition in Addiction: Differing Approaches and their Implications for Policy and Service Provision
- Kinsella, M. (2017). Fostering client autonomy in addiction rehabilitative practice: The role of therapeutic ‘presence’. Journal Of Theoretical And Philosophical Psychology, 37(2), 91-108.
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