There are many varieties of drug abuse counseling, but there is perhaps no greater contrast between two varieties of drug abuse treatment than between the varieties of drug abuse therapy known as individual counseling and group counseling. The reasons that compel each and every individual to go out and seek drug abuse treatment are as varied as there are people in the world, and so every person will have their own needs and requirements that will make them suitable for one form of counseling over another. Individualized counseling refers to a form of substance abuse treatment that involves the addict sitting one on one with a counselor who will provide the addict with a program based on the 12 step program that is tailored to the needs of the individual. Because the sessions are one on one the counselor will be able to go more in depth with the user and their problems than they would otherwise in a group session. The settings can focus not only on the drug addiction itself but underlying factors and habits that contribute to the emergence of drug abuse in the individual. This level of detail is not quite as possible in a group setting because there is a finite amount of time allotted for sessions, and the focus of the counselor has to be diluted over a great many people.
However, addicts will derive a great amount of benefit from having a peer group that is steeped in similar experiences and struggles. This kind of social reinforcement is something that cannot be found in individualized counseling. The benefits of community cannot be understated as one of the most insidious aspects of substance abuse is the fact that it isolates the individual from their wider environment and pushes them further onto the road to perdition. A holistic approach to treatment will ideally involve a combination of both approaches as together they will compliment one another.
Drug and alcohol addiction is very prevalent in the world of today, but just what is drug and alcohol addiction and what causes it?
Drug addiction describes an inability to cease taking a substance despite the substance having direct or indirect negative consequences on the life and well being of the user. The user will develop a tolerance to the drug that will require them to take ever increasing quantities of the substance to maintain the same high as their body becomes acclimatized to it, but they will be unable to ever satisfy this urge. The inception of what is to become a pervasive pattern of repeated abuse of a substance typically takes place during an individual’s formative years as adolescence is the period in which they are entering a new phase of life and being exposed to new influences that will determine the path they take later in life. While most high schoolers will have taken an illicit substance at one point in their life, the vast majority will not go on to become addicts. However, the majority of those who do become problematic drug users will have first begun engaging in substance abuse during this crucial period of adolescence. The introductory substances, the substances that induct them into this world of substance abuse, are typically cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.
Typically there are a number of variables that will influence whether or not an individual will go on to develop a substance abuse disorder. The most obvious is having been exposed to illicit substances in the first place. It goes without saying, one cannot develop an addiction without first having been exposed to drugs in the first place. These substance that introduce an individual into this world are known as “gateway drugs”. Humans are not solitary animals, they are group orientated and they take cues from those around them, and so this is one of the most powerful variables that will go on to cause drug addiction. If those around you are engaged in drug abuse and treat the use of substances with flippancy, this atmosphere of casual drug abuse will inspire further abuse and normalize it. This is especially true if those with this flippant attitude to drugs are close relatives.
There are several varieties of drug addiction treatment for those seeking relief from their struggles with substance abuse. These varieties will depend on a number of factors including the specific kind of addiction, their personal history, and the severity of the problems. Across the breadth of drug addiction treatments that are available there is a common feature that virtually of them provide: detoxification. Most treatments begin with detoxification because the true treatment cannot begin while the user is suffering from withdrawal and has the substance of abuse in their system. An individual suffering from addiction and seeking treatment needs to focus on their treatment and overcoming past habits and learning new ones, not dealing with withdrawal.
Thus some form of detoxification is necessary before treatment commences. Simply put, detoxification describes the process by which drugs are purged from the body. This is not simply to remove withdrawal cravings from the user, detoxification is necessary because withdrawal can actually become life threatening in extreme cases due to the dependency that the body builds. After detoxification treatment is completed the full treatment program may begin.
There are three main types of drug addiction treatment that a user will seek out in the majority of cases: long term residential treatment, an individualized counseling. Each form of treatment corresponds to differing circumstances and have their own benefits as well as trade offs.
Long Term Residential Treatment occurs in a residential setting. The main benefit that the recovering drug addict will experience from this kind of treatment is that they are removed from their original, problematic environment and instead place in a clean environment where there are around around-the-clock staff and other motivated patients seeking to better their lot in life and overcome the vice of drug addiction. Every part of the day will be structured and allocated according to an itinerary devised by the support staff of trained professionals. Long term residential treatment programs will typically take place over the span of 30 to 90 days depending on the severity of the addiction. On the other hand short term residential treatment programs will take place over three to six weeks. They can be described as short but rather intensive. Typically these programs are based on a customized 12 step program. Outpatient treatment programs do not involve the patient residing inside a facility, so they are preferable for those with jobs that they must attend to. The down side to these programs is that they are less intensive than their longer term counterparts and they do no not remove the addict from the environment that originally incited them to begin abusing substances in the first place.
The Encarta dictionary defines drug abuse as ‘the harmful and illegal non-medicinal use of drugs or alcohol’. Drug abuse usually begins in an effort to relieve some sort of pain or discomfort; this could be emotion, mental, or physical. Many drugs do this, but only temporarily and generally when the drug wears off the pains and discomforts remain, often times worsened. Since they worked once more drugs are used in an effort to obtain further relief, and since tolerance builds up in most cases more and more of the drug or alcohol is needed. More and more of the person’s life centers around obtaining and using drugs. The drugs and alcohol have long ceased to cure any problems and have themselves now become the problem. At this point, drug abuse involves abuse of finances, relationships, health, career, etc. When one handles the reasons for the initial drug abuse the need for drugs fades away.
Abuse and Addiction? Where is the line between the two and what is the difference? In terms of drug use, ‘abuse’ is the harmful or illegal use of non-medicinal use of drugs or alcohol. If we define addiction as a mental or physical dependence or drugs or alcohol we can see that the lines are often blurred. Many people feel Drug Rehab is only for those with an addiction. A comprehensive drug rehab will also address those with an abuse problem and in fact many people who feel they only have an abuse problem are in fact in the deadly grasp of addiction without realizing it. Drug abuse is always part of the addiction cycle. A quality rehab program is able to evaluate the underlying causes of substance abuse problems and help the abuser put workable solutions into place before their entire life crumbles around them. An effective rehab successfully helps the individual help themselves – no matter the stage of abuse or addiction.