Ask 10 different people what substance abuse or addiction is and you are likely to get 10 different answers. Some insist it is a weakness of those who won’t take responsibility for their behavior. They choose to abuse. Other answers will range from heredity to the ‘disease’ model which views addiction as progressive and irreversible.
Most experts view addiction from a bio-psycho-social model which incorporates variables from one’s biology, psychology, environment, cognitive and social patterns. A common definition is the compulsive and continued use of a substance or participation in a behavior, exhibiting little if any control over the behavior in light of negative consequences. Key characteristics that move abuse into the category of addiction are the presence of tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance occurs when increasing amounts of the substance or behavior are required to achieve the same ‘high’. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the substance or behavior is stopped. Addiction is usually thought of as involving alcohol, drugs, smoking or caffeine but people can also be addicted to gambling, eating, sex, even exercise.
Recovery can be a long-term process and may require multiple ‘episodes’ of treatment. Yet, it is possible for people to manage their lives in a healthy way and resume a high level of functioning.
SYMPTOMS OF ADDICTION
- Impaired control of behavior or substance, compulsive use
- Preoccupation with behavior or substance, narrowing of other interests
- Continued use of behavior or substance despite adverse or negative consequences
- Distorted thinking, most notably denial
- Tolerance and withdrawal
The most common treatments include outpatient therapy, medications and 12-step groups. No single treatment is appropriate for all individuals and effective treatment addresses the multiple needs of the individual, not just the addiction. Our Certified Addiction Counselors customize treatment methods and styles to meet individual needs, specializing in and offering 8 evidence-based practices which have been proven to be some of the most effective available, including:
ENHANCED OUTPATIENT (EOP) Based on the Matrix treatment model, which was originally developed for cocaine and methamphetamine abusers. Typically, a participant engages in 2-5 hours of treatment per week, some of it individual work but mostly in a group.
INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT (IOP) Regularly 10-12 hours of treatment per week, allowing individuals to participate in daily affairs (i.e. work, home), receiving treatment before or after their day.
MATRIX MODEL Combines several different therapeutic approaches targeted towards the individual’s struggle with alcohol or drug addiction.
STRATEGIES FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND CHANGE (SSIC) Designed for individuals with past criminal history together with substance abuse issues. Built on a cognitive behavioral approach, it is a 3-phase treatment program nearly spanning a year.
THINKING FOR A CHANGE An integrated, cognitive behavior change program for criminal offenders that includes cognitive restructuring with social and problem-solving skill development.
DRIVING WITH CARE A scientific program designed to prevent future involvement in driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Recovery from any addiction is a difficult, ongoing process. Support from family and friends is important, and often group therapy is a part of treatment. Sometimes the addicted person finds that certain people or situations are triggers for their addiction, resulting in the need to distance themselves from them. Don’t give up!! Relapse is considered a normal part of the recovery process and many, many people do eventually succeed in staying clean and/or sober permanently.