Most recovery begins with detoxification. This is a time to clear the body of toxins and any substances so that healing can begin. It is frequently managed by medication and requires the skills of a physician and mental health professional.
Once this phase of treatment is completed, a recovering addict might then participate in a particular treatment program in order to help sustain his or her sobriety. There are different levels of treatment depending upon the needs of a recovering addict, and often, the level of treatment is recommended by the doctor or mental health professional. Ideally, however, choosing which level of care to go into is a decision made by everyone involved – including the recovering addict.
The following describes the three levels of treatment available in recovery:
Long-term residential treatment – This level of treatment includes 24-hour care. It involves a wide range of professional services to tend to your needs, including your physical, emotional, psychological, and even spiritual needs. Typically, someone in a long-term residential treatment center would stay for a period of 6 to 12 months. Long-term residential treatment aims to re-socialize a client so that he or she is surrounded by a healing environment. Not only the professionals but the residents and the social environment play a role in the healing of addiction. Treatment is usually highly structured with many services that an individual attends throughout the day. The structured environment, staff, other residents, and professional services are meant to address the many needs of a recovering addict.
Short-term residential treatment – This form of treatment is also residential in that patients live at a facility for a period of time. Although it might be just as intense, it is not as long. It often lasts 3-6 weeks versus months at a time. Typically, this treatment form relies heavily upon 12-step principles and provides many psychoeducation groups. It’s common to use short-term residential treatment for those who want to reduce the risk of relapse once a person leaves long-term residential treatment. The aim of this treatment form is to provide a means for people to stay briefly within a highly healing environment so that they can strengthen their sobriety.
Outpatient treatment – This form of treatment is also known as after-care treatment. It’s a way of receiving services without residing at a facility, and typically is a form of treatment one receives after having been in residential treatment. For example, patients might attend various groups or services periodically throughout the week. These might be support groups, individual therapy, family counseling, or an AA meeting. Outpatient services can vary in intensity and form depending upon what is available in the community. Some outpatient services might be as little as one group a week, while others might include a day-long treatment experience five days a week. Various social services agencies within a community will provide a range of different services.
It’s important for a recovering addict and/or their families to explore what options are available to them. As mentioned earlier, ideally, everyone (including the doctor, therapist, patient, and the patient’s family) would be involved in deciding upon the level of treatment.
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