Treating addiction is similar to treating any other chronic diseases, such as Diabetes. When suffering from a chronic disease it takes medical treatment to gain control and to long term management to prevent relapse within the disease. Without following the steps and medical advice from your provider the disease will only worsen, putting your life at risk.
If you have Diabetes you are going to start off on a medication, create a safe diet that helps to keep your blood sugar at a safe level and start monitoring your blood glucose levels at home. You may begin various exercises for weight loss if you’re overweight and to keep your blood flowing. You will return to your Doctor for follow up examinations, blood work and close monitoring. Over time your blood glucose levels will become regulated and you will start a maintenance dose for medication and will have created a new lifestyle for yourself that will help ensure that you are in control of this disease.
Just like a person with diabetes, an addict requires appropriate medical treatment, follow up care and life long maintenance to ensure they are in control of their disease. It is not going to be easy by any means, but with the right treatment you can stay a step ahead of your addiction and continue on to live a fulfilling life in recovery.
Admitting You Have a Problem
Unlike people with other chronic diseases, an addict has to first admit that they have a problem before getting the help they need to begin treatment. If you have gotten to a point in your life where you feel controlled by drugs or alcohol, your health is taking a great hit, your personal life may too be affected and your financial situation may be plummeting. Recognizing this may be what it takes to admit that you have a problem and need help, sending you in the direction of seeking treatment.
Treating the Disease
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. To beat this disease requires immediate treatment within an Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehabilitation facility and lifelong care.
The Treatment Process
The first phase in treating addiction is often detoxification, cleansing the body of the harmful chemicals and toxins related to drug or alcohol abuse. The detoxification process can take up to one week depending on the severity of the addiction.
Upon completion of the detox process you will continue onto a rehabilitation facility where you will, on average, undergo 30 days of treatment. When entering into the rehab you will go through an intake assessment to determine the severity of your addiction and put together an individualized treatment plan. Your treatment plan will include Medical care and medications, Therapy, Individual Counseling, Group Counseling, Chemical Dependency Education, Family Counseling and other Therapeutic exercises. During this time you will be under 24/7 supervised care in a sober living environment. You will be given the opportunity to develop the skills and tools needed to maintain your sobriety in your day to day life while receiving the medical care needed to begin controlling this chronic disease.
Life Long Maintenance
You may continue on with treatment past 30 days, moving onto an outpatient treatment program, living in a halfway house or relocating into a sober living community. Or you may return home, prepared to continue on with the proper maintenance to control your disease. You will attending NA and/or AA meeting on a regular basis, staying away from temptation and making the much needed lifestyle changes needed to maintain life long sobriety.
Regardless to where you are at in your recovery it is important to remember that you are suffering from a chronic disease that will require lifelong maintenance to control, just like with any other chronic disease. Without this care your disease could regain control and have devastating results.