If you have an addiction, that is you’ve been clinically diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, then how do clinicians determine your treatment? What is the best way to heal from the symptoms you experience from withdrawal? And how do clinicians determine treatment in order to end the destructive cycle of addiction?
Of course, there are different methods of treatment depending on the addiction. Also, over time, methods of treatment have changed according to the development of technology, medicine, and our understanding of the brain.
However, in most cases, if not all, addictions are not cured; they’re treated. Doctors might be able to cure polio or tetanus, but an addiction and other forms of mental illness, such as depression, don’t necessarily go away once it’s treated. For example, the possibility of experiencing depression again remains. In fact, most clinicians, once a mental illness has been properly treated and the symptoms are no longer evident, will document that the diagnosis is no longer present by indicating “in remission”.
If you meet the clinical diagnosis for alcohol addiction, then the way to treat that addiction will be different than treatment for gambling addiction. However, both mental illnesses might include the following groups of treatment.
If you have an addiction, there’s a good chance that you are participating in drug addiction therapy with a psychologist or therapist. You might also be attending group therapy. There are about as many types of psychosocial treatment that you might experience, in either individual or group therapy, as there are countries in the world. However, certain types have proven to be effective with certain types of diagnoses, such as addiction. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works well with examining and changing the thoughts and behaviors that accompany addiction. Similar to CBT is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This form of therapy is particularly successful with those who have severe mental illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, eating disorders, and conduct disorders. DBT can be useful with many forms of addictions as well. Almost all clients, no matter their diagnosis, might engage in psycho-education from time to time, which involves learning about their diagnosis and how it is treated. Other forms of psychosocial treatment include Interpersonal Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and treatment that address the combined presence of a mental illness and substance addiction, which is often referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.
Psychotropic medications are not considered to be a cure for mental illness. They do provide relief to symptoms and promote recovery. However, medication alone will not heal mental illness. Nonetheless, medication is considered to be one of the first lines of treatment when a diagnosis has been made. Medication is also used during drug detox to curb the symptoms of withdrawal. Depending on the addiction, various forms of medication are used. For instance, Suboxone is a popular drug to treat methamphetamine addiction, and benzodiazepines have been very effective in treating alcohol withdrawal syndrome. For many years, cocaine and methamphetamine addicts have been prescribed benzodiazepine tranquilizers to help minimize the discomfort of drug detox. But tranquilizers are also addictive, and in many cases, addicts are simply ending one addiction to begin another.
In recent years, other methods such as meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and herbal supplements have shown to provide relief to symptoms. Many substance abuse treatment centers are now utilizing forms of wellness modalities to treat their residents.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness recognizes the above as the major groups of treatment within the mental health field. Your specific treatment will depend on your diagnosis, age, history, physical and emotional well being, and what has been successful in the past. You will be monitored as treatment progresses to make adjustments as necessary and promote sobriety and your overall mental health.
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