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Choosing the Correct Treatment for Drug Abuse and Alcoholism

Choosing the correct treatment approach is often a very confusing, difficult and an important endeavour. It is important to be well informed in order to choose the rehabilitation facility for you. Each drug/alcohol rehabilitation facility is unique in their approach to recovery. Take note of what is important to you, and make decisions based on your personal needs. Keep in mind that there are a multitude of treatment approaches to choose from: outpatient, inpatient, 12-step, group therapy, and the list goes on.

An individual can become thoroughly confused by asking a half-dozen recovering alcoholics or drug addicts how they ended their use of alcohol or drugs; the answers vary although each of them may seem convincing and emotional. They will cite such diverse approaches as hospitalisation, diet, exercise, counselling, sauna's, religion, hypnosis, amino acids and self-help groups. When it comes to successful treatment, only one thing is certain: practically any approach will work for some of the people, some of the time. To put it another way, successful treatment is like a designer suit - it's got to be tailor-made for each individual.

A great deal of variation exists in the degree of dependence among drug users. The teenager who smokes marijuana three times a week is not as dependent as the thirty year old who has smoked six joints a day for 15 years and has already relapsed after being in two rehabilitation centres. It's obvious that these individuals need different approaches to treatment. Similarly, among cocaine users are some who use it in binge fashion, one or two days a month, and others who use it several times each day. Again, different treatment approaches are required for each case.

For those who do not have a long history of drug addiction, an outpatient treatment programme might be the correct decision. This form of treatment may be a viable solution for those who have a brief drug addiction history. These individuals might only need the guidance and counselling available through this method of treatment. On the other hand, those who have experienced an extended period of drug addiction, choosing the correct treatment programme typically means that they should enter into an fully residential programme. The structure and 24-hour support available through this type of treatment is highly effective for those recovering from long term drug addiction.

Most drug treatment professionals don't recommend any one "best" treatment approach, recognising the many variations among abusers. In general, the levels of treatment range from simple and behavioural to complex and medical. The person dependent upon drugs or alcohol may have used the chosen substance for so long that he or she has literally forgotten how to cope with life stresses; how to have a worthwhile, drug-free lifestyle; or how to solve the social or psychological problems that prompted the substance abuse in the first place. In these instances, a very comprehensive approach must be taken if the individual is to expect any degree of successful recovery.

Once abstinence is achieved, the "clean" or “sober” individual can take several steps to enhance recovery and avoid relapse. Among the general recommendations are belonging to a group as a support system, having a religious involvement, practicing good health habits; including proper diet, sleep, and exercise, as well as goal planning and self enhancement projects.

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