Recovering from an addiction to alcohol isn’t easy. It takes a significant amount of willpower and self-discipline to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. However, you’re never alone on this journey. During rehab, you’ll build strong relationships with others in recovery who can relate to what you’re going through. Your family, friends, and other loved ones also have your best interests at heart during this time.
Your recovery from an addiction to alcohol depends on how much you put into the process. Discover the ways addiction is treated below to better understand what lies ahead.
Types of Treatment
Addiction treatment programs are different for each individual and can be customized based on unique needs and situations. The most effective types of treatment programs ensure that individuals in recovery are actively involved every step of the way.
Inpatient rehabs offer structured treatment programs designed to address all facets of an individual’s addiction. During inpatient rehab, patients reside in a substance-free facility and receive around-the-clock medical care and therapeutic support. Inpatient rehabs are a great option for individuals battling chronic addiction as well as those suffering from a co-occurring mental or behavioural disorder.
Outpatient rehabs are another form of comprehensive addiction care. These programs offer many of the same kinds of treatments and therapies as inpatient rehabs. However, outpatient rehabs allow patients to live at home during the recovery process. Patients can continue working and caring for their families while attending scheduled treatment sessions throughout the week.
It’s important to keep in mind that outpatient rehabs do not sequester patients from the real world; therefore, patients are at greater risk of encountering triggers that challenge their sobriety. Because of this, outpatient rehabs are suited for individuals with mild forms of addiction and a committed, disciplined approach to recovery. Outpatient programs are also an excellent “step-down” program after inpatient treatment and are often combined with sober living homes.
Detoxification helps people safely withdraw from alcohol until the substance is no longer present in their system. It is often the first step in treating individuals recovering from moderate to severe forms of addiction. In some cases, detoxing from alcohol requires medication-assisted therapy to help ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Medications prescribed during detox are usually tapered down until the patient is no longer physically dependent on addictive substances.
Addiction Treatment Medications
During detox and throughout treatment, patients may be prescribed medications to help with the recovery process. These medications are used for a variety of purposes that include managing withdrawal symptoms, reducing cravings, or treating co-occurring disorders. Medications for addiction treatment have the most effective results when taken in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment program.
Some people prefer a more spiritual approach to their recovery. Faith-based rehab centers provide specialized programs and facilities that center around faith. Within this type of rehab program, people in recovery can surround themselves with like-minded individuals who are looking for guidance from a higher power to stay strong in the journey ahead.
Choosing the Right Rehab
With thousands of programs and rehabs to choose from, it can be challenging to assess which addiction treatment programs offer the highest quality of care. Finding the right treatment facility is all too important given the time, money, and energy that substance use disorder treatment and recovery require not only of the individual but the entire family.
Research has identified elements that quality substance use disorder treatment facilities should possess. These range from personalized treatments to national accreditation, to a continuum of care.
Assessment and Treatment Matching (Identify)
Finding effective help for an alcohol or other drug use disorder begins with reliable and valid screening for a range of substance use disorders and related conditions, as well as any physical or mental health conditions. This is followed by a more comprehensive assessment of alcohol use history and related disorders, medical history, psychiatric history, the individual’s family and social networks, and assessment of available recovery resources. This process helps to uncover the many interrelated factors affecting the patient’s functioning and life, and assess their readiness to change. The assessment can also make the treatment team aware of important aspects of a person’s life, such as trauma or chronic pain.
Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment Approach (Treat)
As discussed above, patients in addiction treatment may have co-occurring psychiatric disorders, like depression and anxiety, as well as medical problems like hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, or sexually transmitted diseases. Programs should incorporate comprehensive approaches that directly address these additional concerns, or otherwise assertively link patients to needed services. Treating the whole patient will improve the likelihood of long-term sobriety and avoidance of relapse.
Emphasis on Subsequent Phases of Addiction Treatment and Recovery Support
Continuing care is defined as the “ongoing care of patients suffering from chronic incapacitating illness or disease”. Ongoing care provides essential recovery-specific social support and necessary recovery support services after the patient leaves or transitions away from the initial phase of treatment.
Addiction treatment programs that strongly emphasize this continuing care aspect will provide more than just phone numbers or a list of people to call but instead will provide assertive linkages to community resources, ongoing health care providers, peer support groups, and recovery residences. This “warm hand-off” or personalized introduction to potential peers and resources in the recovery community produces substantially better outcomes.
A Dignified, Respectful, Environment
The addiction treatment program should possess the same type of quality environment one might see in other rehabilitative environments. You don’t need palm trees and luxury mattresses, but you should expect a clean, bright, cheerful, and comfortable facility.
It is important that the program treat addiction with the same professionalism afforded to other chronic conditions. Creating a respectful and dignified environment may be particularly important for addiction patients because those suffering from substance use disorders often feel as if they’ve lost their self-respect and dignity. A respectful environment helps them regain it as part of recovery.
Significant Others and/or Family Involvement in Addiction Treatment
Engaging significant others and loved ones in addiction treatment increases the likelihood that the patient will stay in treatment and that recovery gains will be sustained after treatment has ended. Techniques to clarify family roles, reframe behaviour, teach management skills, encourage monitoring and boundary setting, create re-intervention plans, and access community services all help strengthen the entire family system and help family members adapt to the family system changes that occur in recovery.
Employ Strategies to Help Engage and Retain Patients in Treatment
Dropout from addiction within the first month of care is around 50% nationally. Dropout leads to worse outcomes, so it is vital to employ strategies to enhance engagement and retention. These include creating an atmosphere of mutual trust through clear communication and transparency of program rules, regulations, and expectations. Addiction treatment programs can also work to retain patients by providing client-centered, empathic counselling that works to build strong patient-provider relationships. They also can use motivational incentives to reward patients for continued attendance and abstinence throughout recovery.
Use of Evidence-based and Evidence-informed Practices
Programs that deliver services founded on scientific research and principles and that are delivering the available “best practices” tend to have better outcomes. In addition to psychological interventions, these should include accessibility to approved medications for addiction as well as psychotropic medication for other types of psychiatric conditions. This is typically combined with qualified staff.
Qualified Staff, Ongoing Training, and Adequate Staff Supervision
Having multi-disciplinary staff can help patients uncover and address a broad array of needs that can aid addiction recovery and improve functioning and psychological well-being. Staff with graduate degrees and adequate licensing or board certification in these specialty areas are indicators of higher-quality programs. In addition, clinical supervision and team meetings should take place at least once or twice a week for outpatient programs and three to five times a week for residential and inpatient programs.
Personalized Approaches that Include Specialized Populations, Gender, and Cultural Competence
Stemming from individualized comprehensive screening and assessment, addiction programs should treat all patients as individuals, attending to their needs accordingly. One size does not fit all, and neither does one treatment approach work for every individual. High-quality treatment programs identify the potentially different needs of men and women, adolescents versus adults, and those from different minority communities (for example, LGBTQ+, disabilities, or cultural backgrounds), creating addiction treatment plans that address their specific needs and acknowledge their available strengths and recovery resources.
Measurement of Program Performance Including In-Treatment “Outcomes”
A further indicator of quality treatment is reliable, valid measurement systems to track patients’ responses to treatment. Similar to regular assessment of blood pressure at each check-up in treating hypertension, addiction treatment programs should collect “addiction and mental health vital signs” in order to monitor the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the individualized treatment plan and adjust it accordingly when needed. Without any kind of standardized metrics, it is difficult to document and demonstrate patients’ progress.
External Accreditation from Nationally Recognized Quality Monitoring Agencies
The facility should have accreditation from external regulatory organizations in the province of Ontario and the Canadian government. These licensing and accreditation requirements serve as quality assurance that the treatment program is incorporating a certain level of evidence-based care in its model and is open to random audits of its clinical care.
At Addiction Rehab Toronto, we offer an abundance of treatments and therapies to help you through each stage of the recovery process. All programs are customized to our client’s individual needs and are led by compassionate staff who care about your recovery. All that’s left is for you to make the decision to get better. For more information about our treatment options, contact us today.