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Addiction Therapy


What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a condition where a person loses mental and physical control over his or her relationship with a particular substance or activity. It is not only a problem in Massachusetts, but an epidemic across the nation. Examples of addictions a person may struggle with include illegal drugs (such as cocaine or heroin), prescription drugs (such as painkillers or benzodiazepines), and/or alcohol, gambling or sex.

Few people who suffer from addiction ever set out to become addicted to a substance. However, addiction changes a person’s chemical brain structure. When a person uses a substance, it creates a pleasurable feeling in the person’s brain and therefore body. When the substance is gone, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms. This “crash” can cause a person to experience strong cravings and desires to return to the previous state of euphoria or pleasure at using the substance.

An estimated 24 million Americans are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. If you suffer from addiction, you are not alone. However, you can benefit from professional addiction treatment therapy as the process toward long-term sobriety often requires outside intervention from caring and trained professionals at Massachusetts rehabilitation facilities.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

When a person seeks addiction treatment, he or she may choose to do so on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

An inpatient treatment program involves staying at a rehabilitation facility. This can be from anywhere from a few days to several months, depending upon a person’s individual addiction experience. This therapy type is more intensive and provides around-the-clock support for those who may not have a stable home environment, going through the detoxification process or who struggle with multiple addictions and/or mental illness.

Outpatient treatment therapy does not involve staying at a particular treatment facility. Instead, a person will attend regular meetings, counseling sessions or other therapy approaches in support of becoming sober.

The choice between outpatient and inpatient therapy is truly an individual one. Some people have a strong at-home support system and can function successfully with an outpatient treatment program alone. Others may need more intensive detox therapy or support and will benefit from inpatient treatment. As a general rule, the more “complicated” the addiction (such as a long-term addiction, addiction to multiple substances or a co-occurring mental illness), the better inpatient treatment is to help a person.

What Does Addiction Therapy Consist Of?

Addiction therapy works best when it is tailored to an individual’s needs. This means a rehabilitation center will not take a one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment. Examples of some of the therapies addiction therapy may incorporate include:

  • Individual therapy or counseling with a mental health professional
  • Group therapy with other individuals in an inpatient or outpatient setting
  • Family therapy with significant others and/or family members
  • Relapse prevention programs to help a person continue to learn how to continue sober living upon return home
  • Aftercare services and resources, such as sober living community placement, job training and locating support groups after a person completes inpatient or outpatient treatment

Other Effective Treatment Approaches

An increasing number of Massachusetts’ residents are choosing to incorporate alternative treatment programs as part of their recovery approaches. While these programs do not take the place of traditional treatment, they can serve as a supplement to addiction treatment. Examples of alternative treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise and physical fitness programs
  • Gardening
  • Meditation and mindfulness practices
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Pet therapy
  • Yoga

These behaviors can give a person who has struggled with addiction a positive way to use his or her body following addiction.

What Happens After Addiction Therapy?

Addiction therapy focuses on the here and now while a person is physically detoxing from a particular substance. After this occurs, a person’s treatment often shifts to how he or she can maintain long-term sobriety. From participation in group therapies to learning behavioral strategies that help a person resist urges to abuse drugs and alcohol, there are many ways in which an addict can maintain a lifetime of sobriety.