Are There Effective Treatments for Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease that requires treatment. To learn the coping skills required to handle the stress and outlying factors that lead to addiction, most addicts need long-term care to stop using and get back on their feet again. For first responders, this means changing what their day-to-day life looks like to help them cope with what they see and deal with in the field.

Let’s examine some of the treatments for drug addiction and why long-term care is the best path for a drug-free recovery.

What is Effective Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Abuse?

Effective treatment looks different for everyone. Although there are many types of treatment programs available, you may relapse and continue to spiral into substance abuse unless you find what works for you.

Working with a treatment center like First Responders First will help ensure you have a customized plan specific to your needs no matter what substance use disorders you suffer from.

Some of the guiding principles of treatment for drug addiction include:

  • Understanding that addiction is a disease. It affects behavior and brain activity.
  • No treatment is one-size fits all.
  • Treatment needs to be specialized and available to first responders and everyone suffering from drug use.
  • Battling addiction requires that you battle the issues leading to it, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Staying in treatment as long as you need is critical to long-term recovery from illicit drug use.

What Treatments Exist for Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction treatment comes in many forms. Counseling, behavioral therapies, medications, and detoxification are some common ways to get help.

The first step of addiction recovery is coming to terms with the problem. This leads to finding the right treatment for you to overcome addiction and its underlying causes.  Outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment, detox, and ongoing therapy are some of the keys to staying on the road to recovery.

When a person decides to get clean or sober, they may find themselves in therapy, attending an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting, or just talking with friends or family about it.

From there, working with a mental health professional can help them understand the co-occurring mental health issues that make addiction worse. By treating the underlying mental health issues alongside addiction, the addict will learn the coping skills needed to overcome cravings and potential relapse.

What Type of Behavioral Therapies Are Effective for Drug Addiction?

Behavioral therapies seek to change the way you react and interact with the world around you. By changing behaviors leading to addiction, you are more likely to overcome what life throws at you on the job, at home, and elsewhere.

Some common types of behavioral therapies used in addiction treatment include:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): CBT combines cognitive and behavioral therapies that focus on changing thoughts to influence actions. For an addict, this helps them change the thought patterns that lead to using, so they choose a healthier outlet than drugs.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR helps relieve psychological stress. While reliving traumatic memories, a therapist will direct your eye movement to divert your attention and make dealing with those memories easier. For addicts, processing the traumas that lead them to use is often crucial to coping with triggers leading them to drug or alcohol use.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT confronts negative emotions and the actions that occur from them. This helps addicts learn more positive ways to deal with those negative emotions before using. DBT can be done in individual sessions or group therapies.
  • Animal-assisted therapy (AAT): Animal therapy pairs addicts with animals to help encourage positive behavioral changes. The emotional bond between humans and animals builds trust and reinforces the addict’s attention to positive behaviors. AAT is done with dogs, horses, and other animals.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): MET helps those with self-destructive behaviors face them head-on when other forms of therapy fail. This type of therapy seeks to make the addict more engaged in what they’re doing by breaking down defensive behaviors and help them move forward with other treatment options.
  • Medication Therapy: Prescription drugs can help some addicts overcome co-occurring conditions like anxiety and depression. Medication can sometimes help deal with withdrawal symptoms, too. Leveraging medication guides the brain to function normally and potentially decrease cravings.

This is not an exhaustive list of behavioral therapies, just a sample of what’s available.

Depending on your treatment plan, your therapist or counselor will help map out what will work best for your individual needs. The goal is to find what treatment is most likely to help you overcome drug addiction.

Can Behavioral Therapies Be Effective in Treating Drug Addiction?

Behavioral therapy is used to modify how a drug addict thinks, feels, and physically responds to using. These types of therapies help build healthy coping mechanisms, life skills, and communication tactics. Coupled with other types of therapy, such as medication and family therapy, an addict can face all the factors in their life that have led them to addiction.

By treating a person’s mental health and addiction, they will learn skills to overcome triggers that lead to drug abuse. Since addiction rewrites the brain, learning how to recognize and avoid those triggers helps the addict cope long-term when faced with stressful situations or thoughts.

Why First Responders Need Customized Treatment for Drug Addiction

As you can see, drug addiction treatment isn’t an easy path. Every person’s recovery plan is different, and finding the right program makes treatment effective for an addict.

First responders are facing the pains of addiction and the stresses their job brings into their lives. When in treatment, they are forced to face their demons and acknowledge that their job impacts every facet of their life. In many cases, the job contributes to mental disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. And this leads many first responders to turn to substances to cope with their job’s high-risk nature.

First Responders First understands the struggle first responders go through, especially when coping with drugs and alcohol. If you’re struggling to find a way to help yourself, let us help you find a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today.