Every addiction case is different. It has been repeated over and over again, so it is no secret. It also happens to be true because addiction as a disease is mostly in the addict’s head. We all have our personalities, things that make us unique. The way we react to certain stimuli, anger, fear, excitement or affection. Addiction piggy-backs on the most important and personality defining organ we each have – the brain. No two minds are the same, even identical twins have broadly varying opinions on an equally broad list of things.
This complicates addiction treatment because as radically different as people can be, so can their addiction and its manifestation. Further still, there are many different approaches to addicts recovery based on the severity of their addiction.
There are those who have a vice. They use a drug, but use it responsibly and without the need to “top up”. They perhaps look at it as a treat or something to do on special occasions. They may succumb to its use only on weekends, knowing all too well, that if used mid-week would disturb their actual life and cause problems in work and personal life. Simple AA meetings and group therapy are all that is required to remind the addict, that their choice of recreational drug is a slippery slope that leads only to misery and despair. So far their responsible use has staved off this rapid decline, but for how long?
Not all addiction issues are the same. There are those who can not be classified as fully addicted to alcohol, for example. The person in question does not have alcohol dependency and does not feel the need to consume alcohol on a daily basis. Instead, he has no control those rare times he does get a drink. A non-stop three-day binge ensues every time the patient has a drink and then it could be months until next episode. It would be rather useless to check such a patient in an inpatient rehabilitation center. There is no alcohol dependency to combat, so detoxification course is unnecessary as well. Furthermore, there are no cravings or ingrained need to consume, so a safe haven from such thoughts and stimuli is also rarely necessary for such a patient. An intensive outpatient rehabilitation course or is usually the best approach for people like this. A safe place to talk about things that go through the person’s head when he has had a few, to find out the root and stem of the cause that drives him to drink uncontrollably and binge for days on end. The defining factor here is that the patient is fully aware of his episodes and decides to ignore the warnings. They know they will have a fight with their spouse or be unable to perform their parental or work duties and responsibilities and yet they binge anyway. This is a very dangerous behavior and needs to be interfered with as soon as possible and kept on a short leash. The intensive outpatient program is more hands-on and requires a significant will to successfully become clean and usually require a minimum of three or four meetings a week.
The last rung on this ladder of addiction is the one rehabilitation centers are made for. The truly addicted and dependant. It follows in the same steps as the case mentioned earlier, yet consumption and use has become a problem in personal life. It is causing rifts in relationships, problems at work and neglected responsibilities. The need to use is constant and more often than not is satisfied, albeit for a very short time, on a daily basis. The addict in this stage is stuck in a vicious cycle where his addiction and drug or alcohol abuse is creating problems and these problems are driving the addict to use even more just to escape them for a little while longer. Burying their heads in the sand they keep using until there are no more relationships to mend or no more life to piece back together, essentially turning the user into a lifeless zombie with no reason to live. A lethal overdose is not far away. This kind of situation is no time to play coy and hold back. A full two-month minimum inpatient rehabilitation course is a must. First, their physiological dependence is tackled through a rigorous detoxification program and then come the counseling and re-learning a long list of life-skills that will help the addict remain on their path to full recovery. Inpatient rehab ensures that the patient is isolated from negative influence and the factors that drove him to use in the first place. The course itself may be only a few months, but the battle will take a lifetime of self-restraint and control, achieved by a wide range of practices and techniques, yoga and mindfulness program to name a few.
Whatever your stage of addiction, time is of the essence. Every hit has a greater and greater chance to bring you over the edge of no return, not on your own anyway. Do not hesitate to seek help because the only thing worse than ignoring an ever-approaching addiction is to try and fight it on your own, losing the battle and giving up on possible recovery for good.