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What are the Different Types of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment?

Jeri Sullivan
Jeri Sullivan

Alcohol and drug addiction affects many people from all walks of life. In order to effectively eliminate the addiction, treatment is typically required. The different types of alcohol and drug addiction treatment include medications and behavior modification. Medications are used to ease cravings while behavior modification provides addicts with a way of emotionally coping with their addiction.

If the alcoholism or drug abuse is severe, medications are used as the first step in a patient’s recovery. When an addicted person quits consuming drugs or alcohol, the body goes into a state of shock known as withdrawal. During this time, the body is cleansing itself of toxins in a process called detoxification, or detox. Medications help reduce the cravings and pain the person feels until the body is fully cleansed.

Group counseling is one approach to helping with addiction.
Group counseling is one approach to helping with addiction.

The medication required depends on the alcohol or drug addiction the person has. Opioids, such as methadone or naltrexone, are used for patients suffering from heroin and morphine and work by suppressing the withdrawal symptoms and allowing the patient to fully detoxify. Naltrexone may also be used to help patients suffering from alcohol addiction. Other medications used for alcohol addiction include acamprosate and disulfiram, and work by blocking the brain receptors that provide the heady feeling many feel from drinking alcohol. These medications also reduce the side effects of detox such as insomnia and anxiety.

Heroin addicts might be treated with methadone.
Heroin addicts might be treated with methadone.

Behavior modification takes many forms, from simple counseling to rehabilitation residential facilities. Counseling often involves first admitting there is a problem since many people who have an alcohol and drug addiction do not want to admit it. Admitting a problem and learning to cope is known as cognitive behavioral therapy. An example of this form of behavior modification in action is the group counseling at Alcoholics Anonymous.

An addiction specialist can prepare a specific strategy to treat addiction.
An addiction specialist can prepare a specific strategy to treat addiction.

For more one-on-one counseling, patients who have an alcohol and drug addiction may seek the help of a professional counselor. In these types of sessions, the counselor will work individually with the patient to understand the underlying cause of the addiction and offer suggestions on how to prevent relapses. Once the root cause is determined, changing the circumstances that led to the addiction is paramount.

People addicted to prescription drugs may need counseling to determine the root cause of the problem.
People addicted to prescription drugs may need counseling to determine the root cause of the problem.

In extreme cases of alcohol and drug addiction, the patient may need to live at a residential facility. These facilities, known as rehabilitation or rehab, limit outside exposure in a method called immersion. By fully isolating the patient from people or situations that helped feed their addiction, the patient is more able to cope with the initial withdrawal and detoxification and can later learn coping methods for staying clean and sober.

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      By: Monkey Business
      Group counseling is one approach to helping with addiction.
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      An addiction specialist can prepare a specific strategy to treat addiction.
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