Recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction demands the expertise of psychiatrists, therapists and counselors. They provide the tools necessary for addicts to successfully achieve sober living.
A variety of personalized, comprehensive treatment programs are available to help substance abusers understand why they use.
Medications and Supportive Care
For patients who have difficulty eating during the first days of withdrawal, an IV may be provided until nausea and vomiting have passed. Tylenol or ibuprofen can help relieve flu-like symptoms, along with multiple detoxification medications prescribed by the staff doctor or psychiatrist. Alcohol and drug detox medications suppress the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, help restore equilibrium to brain chemistry and ease cravings for addictive substances.
Physicians and psychiatrists overseeing a patient’s detoxification will order tests to ensure the body is completely absent of alcohol or drugs. Tests may include but are not limited to;
- Blood alcohol level (BAC)
- Liver functioning
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Magnesium blood tests (low levels of magnesium may also indicate cirrhosis, pancreatitis, excessive insulin and conditions conducive to the onset of delirium tremens)
12 Step Programs
After someone has completed detox and counseling, they may chose to enter a 12 Step Program. Created by the founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12 Steps offer guidelines for overcoming alcoholism, such as the 12 Traditions and the 12 Steps. Today, recovering addicts can turn to Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous and other 12 Step organizations designed to address a specific addiction.
Outpatient treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction allows the patient to live at home while receiving counseling, group therapy and medications at a recovery center during the day. Outpatient treat is recommended for people just leaving inpatient treatment and for those who are binge-drinkers, heavy social drinkers or non-chronic alcoholics.
Sponsorship refers to an experienced ex-addict who has maintained their sobriety for several years and can offer guidance to someone just entering recovery. Typically associated with 12 Step Programs, sponsorship can be of tremendous help to substance abusers who do not have sober friends or family members on which to rely for support.
Sometimes called “sober living homes”, halfway houses are places where recovering substance abusers can live and interact with other recovering addicts. For people completing inpatient treatment who do not have a stable place to live, transitioning to a halfway house can help them maintain their sobriety while they grow stronger physically and psychologically in a safe environment.
Halfway homes differ from inpatient treatment programs in several ways. Most halfway houses expect their residents to make an effort to find employment. In addition, residents must adhere to curfew times, perform chores around the home and never bring alcohol or drugs into the home.