Part two of this four-part series focused on the importance of working with the beliefs, thought patterns and attitudes of alcoholics in recovery. Part three looks at the role that contributing factors and illnesses can play in addiction. It goes on to explore the importance of treatment style, length of treatment and importance of keeping clients engaged.
A recurring theme in this research published by Addiction Today is the importance of tailoring an alcohol rehab program to the specific traits and needs of a client. Long-term recovery is much more likely to be successful in programs that begin with the assumption that every client is different. Furthermore, no program will reach its potential without truly engaging the client.
These are the next five facts about drug and alcohol rehab:
11. Factors Contributing to Addiction Must Be Addressed
Physical dependence is a major part of any drug or alcohol addiction, but there is almost always more to the story. Part of the addiction counselor’s task is to identify other factors in the client’s life that are contributing to the drinking problem. The following is a list of the most common problems that may contribute to an addiction.
- Medical conditions
- Psychological problems
- Social issues
- Problems at work
Problems in any of these areas could potentially complicate or exacerbate a drinking problem. It is important to identify these problem areas as early as possible in the treatment process so that they can be properly dealt with. In some cases, issues like this can be addressed during alcohol rehab. Others may need to be dealt with after the client has been discharged.
12. Psychiatric Disorders Must Be Addressed
As mentioned in the previous item, psychological problems can contribute to a drinking problem and make treatment more challenging. This particular issue deserves its own slot on the list, since it presents particular complications.
Counselors at alcohol rehab clinics have to remain vigilant when it comes to psychological disorders. Many alcoholics suffer from more than mere physical dependence brought on by substance abuse. If one or more psychiatric conditions play into the drinking problem, then rehabilitation will only be effective if it treats the mental health problem as well. In some cases, this may require specialized treatment from outside the clinic. For this reason, alcohol rehabilitation clinics that integrate psychological and substance abuse services are particularly successful.
13. Supportive Approaches Trump Aggression
This item reflects a gradual paradigm shift that has taken place at rehab centers across the world in recent years. In times past, most professionals believed that an aggressive or even confrontational style of treatment was most effective. Over time, this mode of thought has been replaced by a more conscientious approach to rehab, though some clinics still adhere to old-school standards.
For the most part, evidence suggests that a less aggressive treatment style achieves better long-term results. Counselors attempt to develop motivation on behalf of their clients. When motivation is internalized, then real change becomes more probable.
However, it should be mentioned that certain client behaviors warrant more aggressive techniques. Many times, addicts and alcoholics resort to manipulative behavior in order to keep the focus off their problem. In certain cases, defense mechanisms and inappropriate behavior like this can only be corrected through direct, confrontational means.
14. Clients Must Be Engaged and Completion Rates Maximized
Clients who are highly engaged in their treatment tend to enjoy longer-term sobriety. There are several ways to ensure that a client is fully engaged in their treatment. Most involve establishing relationships between clients, other enrollees and their counselors. Here are few proven variables that contribute to an atmosphere of engagement:
- The client’s confidence in the treatment
- Treatment plans that are clearly and explicitly outlined
- Provision of transport for those who have trouble making it to rehab or meetings
- Strong relationships between counselors and clients
- Strong secondary services and support
It is also important to note that partial treatment does not correlate to partial results. A client who completes 50 percent of a rehabilitation treatment plan is not likely to see half the results of someone who completes the entire regimen. Instead, the results they see will probably be much lower. A higher level of engagement encourages higher completion rates, which in turn leads to real, long-term results.
15. Length of Treatment Matters
At this stage in rehab research, it has been well established that longer treatment terms correlate to better recovery results. A general milestone is 90 days. Treatment periods shorter than this are less likely to achieve long-term results.
But this does not mean that alcohol rehab is not worth trying for those with less than three months to spare. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that brief interventions have their place in treatment. Furthermore, remaining in treatment for 90 days does not necessarily mean staying sequestered away in rehab the entire time. After an initial period of intensive treatment, clients may be able to effectively wean themselves off of treatment by enrolling in aftercare services that gradually reduce in intensity.