What Happens During Drug and Alcohol Treatment?

Your personalized treatment plan will depend partially on the type of substance for which you are seeking treatment, although some of the basic tenets of treatment persist across programs. These include an emphasis on sustaining recovery and ultimately reaching sobriety.

Medication-assisted treatment

Medication-assisted treatment is perhaps one of the safest treatment options for drug and alcohol addiction. Primarily utilized for opioid use disorder, medication-assisted treatment relies on both medication and counseling to detox the body of substances, manage withdrawal symptoms, provide support for long-term recovery and ultimately reduce the risk of overdose and death from addiction.

There are three main medication families approved for use by the FDA in medication-assisted treatment, often in a clinical setting where health professionals can monitor withdrawal symptoms and intervene if needed:

  • Methadone: A full opioid agonist that blocks the effects of opioids, while reducing the harmful impacts they can have on the body, like intense withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine: A partial opioid agonist that suppresses cravings for opioids, particularly at the withdrawal stage.
  • Naltrexone: An opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors to reverse and block their effects. A common NARCAN is a common naltrexone product that is frequently used to reverse opioid overdoses in emergency situations.

Medication-assisted treatment is not only beneficial for drug addiction; it has proven useful in alcohol addiction treatment as well. Naltrexone, for example, is one of the few substances approved for use in medication-assisted alcohol addiction programs.

The therapy component of medication-assisted treatment is helpful both during and after the detox and withdrawal phase. It promotes self-reflection on one’s addiction and provides tools that can be carried throughout the recovery journey. Detoxing and withdrawing is physically and mentally draining, and having a trusted advisor to confide in will help keep you on the road to recovery.

Partial hospitalization program

A partial hospitalization program is a happy medium between full-time residential care and less structured outpatient programs. A partial hospitalization program operates at a relatively high level of care as it tends to partially take the place of the participant’s school or work schedule for the duration of the program.

In a PHP program, participants can learn and grow from the guidance of psychiatrists, therapists, counselors and holistic experts through psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, recreational therapy, psychoeducation, mindfulness, trauma-focused therapy, exercise and group/individual counseling sessions. Partial hospitalization allows for enriching opportunities to focus almost solely on recovery after detoxing.

Intensive outpatient program

An intensive outpatient program is a step down from a partial hospitalization program. It requires less of a time commitment than partial hospitalization, however outpatient groups still meet for approximately two hours, four days per week. This allows time for small group and individual counseling sessions while living at home and coalescing back into daily life. Coping skills and psychoeducation aimed specifically at drug and alcohol addiction are also integral components of the program. 

Family intervention

The Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) method is an effective technique for enabling families to thoughtfully engage with their loved ones facing drug or alcohol addiction. CRAFT encourages and teaches friends and family members how to understand the root cause of addiction and the ways in which concern and care can be expressed in an empathetic, loving way. CRAFT is beneficial to both individuals struggling with addiction and their families in that it facilitates open communication between the two and provides a solid foundation for recovery.

SMART Recovery

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery is a recovery program built upon four core goals:

  1. Building and maintaining the motivation to change;
  2. Coping with urges to use;
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an effective way without addictive behaviors;
  4. Living a balanced, positive, and healthy life.

The SMART methodology can be applied towards treatment for any kind of harmful addiction or habit. It is a gradual approach towards confronting substance addiction while promoting self-empowerment, self-reliance and self-supported sustainable recovery.

Adolescent counseling

Outpatient treatment programs are available for both teenagers struggling with substance addiction as well as their families. Teen addiction treatment programs are unique and must be approached in a way that makes the participants feel safe, understood and cared for. Group and individual counseling sessions are led by psychiatrists, counselors and therapists specializing in adolescent psychiatry and psychology.

How can I begin substance abuse treatment?

If you are ready to begin treatment for your drug or alcohol use, Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling is here for you. Reach out today at 1-800-809-2925 to determine which drug or alcohol addiction treatment program is right for you.