Drug addiction is a complex disease of the brain that provokes compulsive behaviors and intensified, irrepressible cravings in an individual. Stemming from consistent substance abuse, addiction alters brain structure and disrupts its function over time, ultimately imprinting adverse changes in the brain that last long after drug use has ceased. Addiction is, therefore, deemed a chronic disorder that can lead to relapse without proper treatment. But it can also be treated.
Addiction has many dimensions, and truly pushes the mental, emotional, and physical boundaries of an individual. Because of the complexity of this disorder, treatment itself must be multidimensional. Sobriety is not be achieved by simply stopping drug use. Rather, patients most often require extensive, consistent care in order to sustain abstinence. Recovery is a long-term process, and an effective treatment program takes time. While there are many different treatment programs available today, recent studies by the National Institutes of Health show that individuals facing addiction require at least 3 months of treatment in order to significantly reduce or stop drug use altogether. The most successful outcomes of recovery, however, occur with even longer durations of drug treatment. If someone you love has made an unsuccessful attempt at recovery, or has relapsed, it may be time to reconsider his treatment approach.
It is important to remember that every individual is unique, each addiction is separate from another’s, and one’s readiness to seek sobriety may be at a different level than the person sitting beside him. No single treatment program will be successful for everyone. Outpatient treatment programs, for example, often appeal to patients who desire to maintain their regular schedules, being able to attend 12-step meetings while still preserving full commitment to family, work, and/or education. Because outpatient programs do not constantly monitor an individual, this sort of treatment is most successful for someone who already has a strong social support system, a full-time job, and a safe environment that isolates him from any outside, negative influences that could potentially lead to relapse. Unlike those in residential treatment programs, outpatients are not provided with an immediate sense of security. At the end of each treatment session, they must return to their own environments, and voluntarily abstain from drug or alcohol use. So while they are cost-effective and often appear to be an easier mode of treatment, outpatient programs do not always offer the structure and discipline so desperately needed in a successful recovery process.
In a recent study of inpatient versus outpatient detoxification for opiate treatment, inpatient detoxification for opiate addiction was found much superior to outpatient detoxification (51.4% versus 36.4%) in terms of completing treatment.
Inpatient, or residential, rehabilitation enacts intensive, structured programs towards recovery, complete with 24-hour care and assistance. Rather than seeking immediate success, they primarily focus on the long-term goals of a patient facing addiction. While detoxification is important, it is not the only step towards recovery. Inpatient programs recognize that patients must fully engage themselves in their treatment, and cut to the core of their addiction. Residential treatment programs not only diminish drug use, but further teach individuals how to resist it and replace it with more rewarding activities. In hopes of “resocializing” patients into a sober setting once again, inpatient rehab programs thrive as a community, a patchwork network of both residents and staff who all come together as active components in the treatment process.
Because every addiction is different, effective treatment programs must adhere to an individual’s specific situation—considering their drug of choice, their mental state, medical, social, and psychological backgrounds, and even their overall readiness to sober up. In this respect, residential programs are most valuable. Long-term treatment allows patients to establish connections with various addiction situations, while also lending way for professionals to get to know each patient one-on-one. Treatment is individualized. Patients are not simply attending a weekly meeting in a group setting. They are living, sober, under watchful care.
In accordance with “resocialization,” Turnbridge’s inpatient drug rehab program in Connecticut aims to facilitate “emergence,” helping patients grow and flourish into a drug-free community following treatment. In achieving this goal, we’ve established three phases of inpatient treatment that are each structured to motivate individuals towards a healthy, meaningful life beyond addiction.
The first phase of Turnbridge’s residential treatment is highly devoted to routine. We establish an intensified, regulated schedule of activities exhibiting all the skill sets of healthy, sober living, incorporating a regimented schedule for sleep, diet, and recreation. During Phase II of our treatment program, residents progressively return to normal, daily tasks. They are able to actively utilize their acquired skills in a setting outside of the residency. At this stage, they also are to develop their own schedules, attending meetings and classes on their own, while still accommodating active, recreational activities. Turnbridge’s final phase of inpatient treatment serves as a bridge for residents and their meaningful purpose in life. At this point, it is all about the patients and their own transformation. They are still on monitored care, but are driven by a newfound confidence to live sober and satisfied. This is their new beginning. This is their true turning point.