It’s estimated that the majority of teens and adults in the United States – about 60 percent – have used some addictive substance in the last month. This may have been alcohol, tobacco, or an illicit drug. Substance use comes in all forms and, as statistics make clear, is extremely common today. However, many of us still wonder whether (or when) it is problematic. When does drug or alcohol use become concerning? When should a person consider a substance abuse program?
Every person is unique, but there are common signs it is time to consider a treatment program. These often have to do with the frequency and duration of substance abuse, as well as the severity of health, legal, social, and mental problems a person is facing. There is a simple answer, however. If you are at all concerned about your loved one’s substance abuse, or even your own, you should consider professional help. It is never too early to seek help or guidance for a substance abuse problem, but it can be too late.
Of course, the idea of substance abuse treatment is intimidating, nonetheless. Many individuals do not know what to expect going into a program, and how they will adjust while there. Residential substance abuse programs are highly effective in helping people overcome substance use disorders, but they do require you to step (and live) outside of your comfort zone.
Before we delve into what substance abuse treatment programs entail, let’s first discuss what they are not. Substance abuse programs are not designed to get you sober and leave you out to dry. Rather, they are meant to prepare you with the skills needed to live a drug-free life. However, these programs are not always a one-time deal. Depending on the severity of addiction, multiple bouts in treatment may be needed, though this varies person to person. Also, in most cases, treatment programs are not set in hospitalized environments; rather, clients live in a comfortable residences with other peers in recovery. Finally, substance abuse programs are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different needs in their recovery from addiction, and should find a treatment center that meets their individual requirements.
With that said, however, substance abuse programs often have common goals. These include helping clients to:
- Reduce or stop substance abuse. At the end of the day, substance abuse treatment aims to help clients live fully without drugs or alcohol.
- Maximize the multiple aspects of functioning in life. This can involve overcoming and managing mental health disorders, improving performance at school, or even resolving relationships that were broken by the substance abuse.
- Prevent or reduce the severity and occurrence of relapse. Substance addiction is a relapsing disease; however, treatment is designed to help lessen this possibility. Clients learn about their triggers and how to recognize cues that may lead to relapse.
What to Expect in a Substance Abuse Program:
When you find a rehab or treatment program that aligns with your loved one’s needs, the rest will fall into place. Upon arriving to the treatment facility, you can expect to a comprehensive evaluation of your loved one’s situation, state of health, and demands in treatment. From there, the clinical staff will work to create an individualized treatment plan, consisting of multiple therapies and evidence-based treatment methods. Of course, this is just the start. The right treatment program will be adaptable to the changing needs of your loved one, as he or she progresses through treatment.
Additionally, in the right substance abuse program, you can expect to find:
- A safe, substance-free setting. This is where your loved one will live and receive treatment. It should be safe, secure, and free of outside pressure or temptations. This is a place of healing.
- A community of others in recovery. Many residential treatment programs, like Turnbridge, are focused on community. A supportive recovery community, full of peers of the same age and gender, allow those struggling to build meaningful and sober friendships as they work through the recovery process. This may involve support groups, group outings, group therapy, and more. Some treatment programs, like Turnbridge, are gender-specific, meaning separate programs for young men and women. This helps to build stronger sisterhoods and brotherhoods in recovery, while giving each gender the space they need to heal.
- Evidence-based therapies. A great treatment program will utilize a combination of evidence-based therapies, tailored to each client’s individual needs. These may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, group therapy, 12-Step Facilitation, family counseling, and more.
- Recreational and holistic activities. While substance abuse treatment has many clinical and therapeutic components, there is some fun involved. Residents are given the ability to pursue engaging and healthy activities, from music sessions to yoga classes, ski trips to team sports, and meditation work to martial arts. This allows them to fully engage in their recovery, find healthy ways to channel their energy and interests, and make friends in the process.
What to Expect After Substance Abuse Treatment:
As noted above, the goal of any treatment program is to help prepare your loved one for a substance-free life. He or she should walk away with the skills needed to live their life fully, without the crutch of drugs or alcohol. After a substance abuse program, you can expect your loved one to have:
- A seamless transition into a place of sober living. The treatment center can help set your loved one up with the connections needed to support their early recovery, whether that is clinicians, counselors, and/or a sober living home.
- The ability to eat and live healthily. In treatment, your loved one will develop a healthy routine of exercise, getting outdoors, as well as shopping for, cooking, and eating healthy meals.
- Mental wellness. A primary focus of substance abuse programs is mental health, as drug abuse and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety often go in hand. Upon leaving, your loved one will have a new perspective, as well as an ability to cope with any negative symptoms that arise in relation to mental health.
- The skills needed to cope with relapse triggers. Your loved one will also walk away with a better ability to recognize and cope with the things, people, places, and even emotions that trigger his or her drug abuse.
- Healthy boundaries with toxic people, places, and things. In addition to being able to cope with relapse triggers, your loved one should also have a better understanding of how to set boundaries with the people or things that bring them down, whether that’s an ex-partner, a difficult family situation, a stressful job, or other bad influences.
- Stronger relationships with loved ones. Addiction affects the whole family, and can create broken relationships. After receiving treatment, many individuals are able to re-build bridges with their loved ones.
- Career and/or academic opportunities. Feeling healthy, both mentally and physically, can create more opportunities in life. It can also translate to better job or academic performance.
After completing a substance use program, it is important to recognize that the work is not done. There are still steps your loved one must take after graduating, in order to maintain their abstinence and continue towards a successful recovery. Substance addiction is a chronic disease, much like diabetes, and requires ongoing management and care. After a formal program, then, your loved one should:
- Attend regular sessions with a therapist or counselor.
- Participate in weekly 12-step meetings or support groups.
- See a doctor specializing in substance addiction and mental health.
- Continue with holistic therapies, such as meditation and yoga.
- Continue to carry out a healthy lifestyle, of nutritious eating and exercise.
- Follow the rules of their sober living home, such as regular drug tests or maintaining a job.
To learn how to prepare for life after treatment, click here.
Substance abuse and addiction afflict many teens, young adults, and adults today. However, it is important for you to know that recovery is possible, especially when these problems are caught early. Early intervention can be critical for a successful recovery, and can make an incredible difference for youth especially. If you would like to learn about the substance abuse treatment programs at Turnbridge, please do not hesitate to contact us at 877-581-1793 today. We are here for you.