There are a variety of ways of managing an addiction and bringing it to an end. These can include:
Attend a residential treatment center – If your addiction is severe, you can live in a setting in which there are high levels of support. For instance, a treatment center will have professionals around you to tend to your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. These are supportive drug-free environments that keep you away from the substance you’ve been addicted to.
Work with a therapist – Some therapists are trained in certain therapeutic modalities that address addiction. For instance, motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy are two common therapies that can help someone work through the ambivalence of addiction and finally make choices to end it.
Spend time in therapeutic communities – One of the most common forms of a therapeutic community is Alcoholics Anonymous, which is affiliated with 12-step programs. These are drug free settings in which there are other recovering addicts struggling with the same concern – how to stay sober. The community itself serves as a means for transformation.
Work with a doctor – Lastly, another option is to work with a physician. A doctor can substitute street drugs with medication or he can prescribe medication that reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
In some cases, working with a doctor is not always the best option for people who need a more thorough treatment plan. With a more severe addiction, it might only work best to have a combination of the listed options. Ending an addiction might require a community of men and women like you, a residential treatment center in order to have the right amount of professional around you, a sober living home to live in a drug-free environment, as well as working with a doctor.
However, for others, working with a physician might be the only option they need. Although it can be incredibly risky, there might be reasons why you might choose this method of getting sober. For instance, after you consult with your doctor, you might both determine that the treatment plan the doctor devises for you will be enough. Your doctor might indicate that you don’t need the extra levels of support to bring your addiction to an end.
Typically, working with a doctor means seeing him on a regular basis to ensure that you are improving. The doctor will prescribe medication that do one of two things:
- Substitute the drugs you’re addicted to with prescribed medication. In the case of heroin, for example, a doctor can prescribe methadone or another form of opiate that feeds the addiction in a controlled way. Over time, the amount being prescribed can be reduced in order to wean off the drug and end the addiction.
- Use medication that reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. If you’re addicted to a substance in which there is no substitute, it might be better to simply go through a detox process. The doctor can prescribe medication that can ease the physical and emotional challenges of the withdrawal process.
Depending on the type of doctor you’re working with, a physician can also prescribe medication that alleviates the psychological tension that might come with withdrawal of a substance. For instance, one of the most common anti-anxiety drugs used in drug treatment is benzodiazepines. They have been very effective in treating alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The risk with benzodiazepines, however, is that they are highly addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms. And for this reason, researchers are exploring other forms of treatment for the alcohol withdrawal process. The benefit to benzodiazepines is that if a recovering addict can take them as prescribed, the medication greatly facilitates their alcohol detox process. However, if an addiction does develop, the withdrawal process from benzodiazepines can be severe. Other types of medication used to aid the psychological withdrawal experience include anti-seizure and mood stabilizing drugs.
It’s important to know that you can be actively involved in the conversation with your doctor about what drug you’re using, the symptoms you’re experiencing and whether or not it’s working in your life.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, you might begin with a conversation with your doctor about options to heal. However, be sure to discuss the levels of support you might need to safely and effectively bring your addiction to an end.
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