Addiction can become an all-encompassing aspect of your life, even if it did not start that way. Drinking or drug use can gradually morph from a recreational habit to a dependency that puts a strain on your health, happiness, and relationships.
If you have ever tried to quit your substance use and found yourself trapped in the same cycle of quitting and relapsing, or if you have felt so overwhelmed you have not even dared try to stop, you know that overcoming addiction can feel impossible. This can be further complicated when it feels like the people in your life are not able to understand the struggle or may even be enabling your substance use.
The Prevalence of Substance Abuse Services
If you are becoming concerned about your substance use and are looking for a way to regain control of your life, you are not alone in that feeling. According to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over one million people were actively involved in substance abuse services across the country in 2020.
The Northwest region is no exception; nearly 60,000 people in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho were accessing services from the 814 treatment facilities in the region. This means that 6% of nationwide clients came from this region. If you are struggling and seeking help, know that you have neighbors who are in a similar position.
What Can I Expect From Treatment?
There are a variety of treatments available for you if you have been impacted by substance abuse. You may already be familiar with some of these treatments because of their prevalence in popular culture, such as the 12-Step Program, which utilizes support groups and a religious framework to help keep participants accountable for their sobriety. While this is a common approach to helping you overcome your dependence on substances, it is far from the only option.
Levels of Treatment Services
As detailed in a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse treatment can come in several different forms. Depending on your needs, you may be better served by outpatient services, where you can continue living at home and maintaining much of your regular routine while pursuing treatment.
In other cases, residential or inpatient treatment, which entails a higher level of care where you stay at the facility where you are receiving treatment, might better suit you. The length of stay can vary from days to months depending on the severity of the issue being treated and the level of services being provided. There may also be a transitional period where you are supported as you “step down” from residential treatment and return to daily life.
A variety of behavioral strategies are implemented in treatment. One of these is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT emphasizes the thought patterns and cognitive distortions that guide behavior and reinforce unhealthy actions, such as substance use. The idea behind this therapy is that changing the way you think can change your behavior and promote healthier courses of action.
Another common strategy is motivational enhancement therapy (MET), which helps you resolve ambivalence surrounding your substance use and promote change. This therapy emphasizes the need for you to want to change and the development of internal motivation rather than being forced to change through external motivation.
A strategy that is very different from MET is contingency management, which introduces incentives earned on the basis of sustained sobriety. As you make more progress, the rewards become increasingly more valuable and enticing, therefore encouraging maintenance of abstinence.
Individual and group counseling are both utilized in substance abuse treatment, as is family counseling. Interventions aimed at the family unit can help identify unhealthy dynamics that are reinforcing negative behaviors and harming the relationships within the family.
Depending on the length and severity of your substance use, the other people involved, and any co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety, you may benefit from a combination of the interventions described above. It is important to speak with a licensed clinician about your options and what might work best for you.
Does Treatment Even Work?
When thinking about the effectiveness of treatment, it is important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease. It usually requires long-term treatment, and relapses are common. Similar to how conditions like diabetes or asthma are subject to ebbs and flows of symptoms, addiction can have periods that are easier or more difficult to manage. The goal of treatment may vary from person to person, but the purpose is generally to help you regain your quality of life and successfully participate in the activities and relationships that are important to you.
In order for treatment to be effective, it has to be sufficiently long and in-depth. In most cases, this means that you stay in treatment for about three months. Effective treatment also addresses the full constellation of your needs, such as comorbid mental health disorders, relationship problems, and health issues.
Although results may vary based on each individual, each of the interventions described above is backed by evidence and has been proven to reduce symptoms and promote wellness when struggling with substance abuse. There is hope.
Sometimes, the hardest part of treatment is getting started. It can be difficult to decide what type of treatment is right and whether a certain provider can meet your needs. We understand that this is no easy task, and that is why our staff at Family-Centered Services is committed to helping you and your family from that first phone call until you are back to living a life free from addiction. Our licensed clinicians utilize evidence-based strategies to provide comprehensive services such as individual and family therapy, case management, sober accountability, and interventions. If you think you or your loved one could benefit from treatment, please reach out to us at (509) 991-5822, and we can determine if our services are an appropriate match for your needs. All you need to do is take that first step, and you can trust us with the rest.