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Staging an intervention

When friends or family members notice a loved one struggling with alcohol or drug use, they will try to talk their loved one into seeking treatment. An intervention is necessary when attempts to get a loved one into an addiction treatment center fail. To stage an intervention, close friends and relatives can arrange for an experienced interventionist to facilitate a structured conversation with the individual who shows signs of drug abuse. Planning an intervention requires advanced preparation, and it involves the participation of family members, significant others and a professional interventionist who specializes in removing obstacles to addiction treatment access. During the intervention, the loved one is presented with three main points about his or her drug and alcohol addiction. The conversation starts with specific examples to illustrate how the loved one’s substance use has affected each significant relationship. Types of destructive behaviors may include stealing, lying, verbal and physical abuse, work absenteeism, and/or driving under the influence resulting in financial troubles. After the loved one learns about his or her addictive behavior’s impact on family and
friends, a treatment plan with specific goals and guidelines is introduced, and the loved one also learns of the alternatives should he or she choose to refuse addiction treatment. With the help of the interventionist, friends and relatives would establish boundaries by spelling out their action plan if the loved one does not go into treatment. The goal of the interventionist is to break down the barriers of denial so that the loved one can see the negative impact of his or her alcohol and drug use on important relationships. By illuminating the consequences of the loved one’s behavior, the hope is to stir some motivation to get help for substance abuse addiction.

Cost of addiction treatment

There is no such thing as an “average” cost for substance abuse treatment, because the prices vary greatly from one addiction treatment center to another. Pricing can range from as low as $4,000 per month to $120,000 per month, depending on a number of variables in addiction treatment. The four main variables that affect cost include length of the treatment program, location of the treatment facility, amenities available at the facility, and the type of treatment required. If there’s a particular treatment program you’re interested in, it’s best to contact the treatment provider directly and verify your insurance benefits and coverage.

When considering the costs of addiction treatment, consider the alternatives of not choosing treatment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug treatment is much more cost-effective than incarceration ($4,700 for one year of methadone maintenance vs. $18,400 for incarceration). Every dollar invested in addiction treatment is worth $7 in reduced crime-related costs. Health care savings are significant, not to mention the social benefits of improved work productivity and reduced interpersonal conflicts.

Typical Day in Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment centers follow a structured itinerary throughout the day to help clients establish better habits and boundaries for life. Based on an individual’s treatment plan, a typical day may include any of the following programs:

• Alcohol and drug detoxification – clients are given pharmacological tools to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings under medical supervision
• Individual and group counseling sessions – clients receive evidence-based psychotherapy to identify and replace negative thought patterns and behaviors with positive ones
• Holistic therapy – individuals who don’t respond to traditional talk therapy can engage in effective alternatives such as equine therapy, art therapy, paddleboard therapy and surf therapy
• Specialized counseling sessions, such as gender-specific, LGBTQ and trauma-focused group
• Life skills training sessions – individuals gain important coping mechanisms that will help them manage stress better and prevent future relapses
• Nutrition counseling – people learn about the importance of food and its role in recovery, mental and physical health benefits. Nutritional therapists help clients establish better eating habits
• Educational programs – clients learn about the disease of addiction and other relevant information pertaining to recovery during and after the treatment program.

In the morning, everyone starts with a healthy breakfast and daily routine, such as yoga or mindful meditation, to help them relax and set the tone for the rest of the day. For residential treatment programs, nurses will make their rounds and ensure that everyone takes their proper medications as they do a progress check. Residents complete their assigned chores and head to breakfast to start the day.

After breakfast, group therapy sessions are facilitated by a substance abuse counselor who chooses a topic that would help participants gain insight about particular relationships and environmental stimuli that instigated their substance use. The afternoons are filled with intensive treatment, which may include individual counseling, family therapy, alternative therapy (e.g., holistic therapy) and specialized sessions (e.g., trauma-focused therapy such as EMDR). In the evenings, clients may go to a short group session such as a 12-step meeting.

Treatment Success Rate

The success rate of addiction treatment outcomes largely depends on the extent and nature of the patient’s characteristics, the appropriate level of care and the quality of the therapeutic alliance (i.e., the relationship between the therapist and the client.) Treatment outcomes are optimized if the patient remains in treatment, and it’s important to acknowledge that relapse is possible due to the chronic nature of the disease of addiction; therefore, it’s vital that addiction treatment centers provide continuation of care after program completion to ensure follow-up and prevention of future relapses. Continuation of care usually involves staying in touch with one’s substance abuse counselor, clinical director and peers throughout a lifetime, and oftentimes program alumni are encouraged to give back to the recovery community by volunteering their time to help others in their journey. Much of the data surrounding the success rates of addiction treatment outcomes focus on profiles of adolescents with substance use disorders. The emphasis is on prevention and early intervention. Individuals who exhibit symptoms of a developing behavioral disorder are prone to using alcohol or drugs than those without a mental illness. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) results show that of those adults with any mental illness, 18.2% had a substance abuse addiction, compared to 6.3% of adults with a substance use disorder and no mental illness. According to SAMHSA, early intervention can make a tremendous positive impact on the success rates of treatment, especially after the first episode of a serious mental illness. The cost-benefit ratios for early treatment and prevention for addiction and mental illness range from 1:2 to 1:10, according to the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council’s report. For every dollar invested in addiction treatment for co-occurring disorders, it yields $2 to $10 savings in costs for health care, lost productivity, education and criminal justice.

Preparing for Treatment

How do you prepare for addiction treatment? To minimize the stress and anxiety that can build up before your check-in date, the answer lies in planning ahead for family, financial and work obligations so you can fully engage in rehab. You are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which protects your job security while you seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. If you have little ones or pets that need care and attention, ask for help from friends and family who can take care of your children and animals. To take care of financial obligations while you’re away, set up online automatic debits or ask someone to help you manage your finances so you don’t have to worry about accruing late fees or suspension of services when you return from rehab. If applicable, notify the courts in writing that you will be away in rehab so they will know that your communication will be limited during this time. When packing for rehab, limit your luggage to just the bare necessities. This will make things easier on you when it comes to adhering to the addiction treatment center’s policies for allowed items. Lastly, spend some quality time with loved ones before leaving for rehab. This will give you the inspiration and reassurance you’ll need – a reminder, so to speak, of whom you’re doing this for.

Preparing for addiction treatment is one of the most important steps you’ll ever take, and when you complete treatment, you will return as a better version of yourself with so much more to give. You will be happier and more fulfilled as you apply the skills you learn from your recovery program. The sooner you begin preparing for treatment, the sooner you can reclaim your life from a bondage to drugs and alcohol.

Can I Get Sober and Clean On My Own?

The internet is saturated with DIY (Do-It-Yourself) guides to detoxification from drug and alcohol addiction, but this doesn’t mean it’s safe or even recommended for you. Without the education and understanding that medical professionals have about alcohol and drugs, you can put your own life in jeopardy if you try to get clean and sober on your own. What are the dangers of detoxing yourself from drugs and alcohol?

• Fatal potential of violent seizures associated with withdrawal from alcohol and certain drugs such as benzodiazepines
• High risk for overdosing, especially for those who have an addiction to opioids. Relapsing is very common for those who try to get clean on their own. Without pharmacological intervention under medical supervision, withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and painful, which propels the user to relapse. Very often, that last relapse, after a period of abstinence, leads to an accidental overdosing resulting in death.
• Transfer of addiction when a user attempts to try a different type of narcotic to ease the physical discomfort of painful withdrawal symptoms If you want to be safe and sure that you will have a successful, lifelong recovery, it is best to get clean and sober at an addiction treatment center that has a multidisciplinary team of medical and addiction professionals. You will have access to various types of evidence-based therapies that have proven results. With the help of licensed therapists, you can get rid of both physical and psychological cravings for drugs and alcohol so you can create a new life without the distraction of addiction. You will be surrounded by a team of medical experts who will monitor your vital signs, medicine intake and more, so that you can safely detox with a peace of mind.

What if I Relapse

Keep in mind that addiction is a disease, and it is chronic in nature. This means that if you relapse, returning to drug use after a period of abstinence, it is not a sign of moral failure or that the drug treatment program didn’t work. It’s tempting to throw in the towel if you feel ashamed or remorseful, but the key to successfully overcoming addiction is continuing the hard work you’ve been doing. You have come this far in your recovery; why stop now? Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Identify the triggers for relapse and work with a substance abuse counselor to observe any patterns and trends. Your perseverance will pay off as you persistently work on getting better and better. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the same principle applies to recovery.Substance use disorders are considered to be a chronic illness with a probability of relapse, but you can minimize the chances of another one if you take the following steps:

1. Make sobriety your top priority – Find a sponsor in a 12-step recovery program or a substance abuse counselor who will keep you accountable. Accountability serves as a protective factor against temptation and relapse.
2. Surround yourself with the right kind of social network – If your old friends are still living the lifestyle you tried to escape, it’s time to find new friends who will support your sober lifestyle and help you get stronger in your recovery. Many find new friends in recovery communities such as their addiction treatment center’s alumni aftercare program.
3. Remember why you started a drug treatment program. Your intrinsic motivators will help remind you that you are doing this for a cause bigger than yourself. Your friends and family who care about you want you to have a better life. They have seen the progress you’ve made, and they are your cheerleaders who will be there to support you through life’s ups and downs. Whether you voluntarily sought treatment on your own or needed an intervention to open your eyes, you started treatment with a “why,” and it’s important to remember that “why” when you feel like giving up.
4. Develop a prevention follow-up plan with your addiction treatment center’s clinical director. In Benjamin Franklin’s words, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Acknowledging that addiction is a disease, be proactive about preventing future relapses by establishing and adhering to a plan that you and your counselor/director agree to before exiting the treatment program. What would be an action plan if you slip up? Be prepared for all contingencies. Stay authentic and in tune with your strengths and shortcomings, and plan accordingly.

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