There are many roads to recovery. You may think that you need to choose the perfect program and if you don’t, treatment will be unsuccessful. But there are several programs that can lead to success – if a person is willing to accept help from others and invest energy in working on recovery. Formal treatment takes many forms, and no one type of treatment is best for everyone. A physician or other health care professional can also help guide a person to the most appropriate treatment. Some common examples of these roads to recovery include:
- Mutual Aid Support Groups – Groups of people who come together to support each other in dealing with the hardships of addiction. Can offer support from everything to drug and alcohol addiction (Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous) to gambling and addiction to sex.
- Adjunct Recovery Programs – Additional recovery service programs that can be used to supplement those who are already receiving medical treatment or who are receiving help from mutual aid support groups. Examples within New York State include the Yoga of 12-Step Recovery Program (which combines the spiritual basis of both yoga and the 12-Step Program into an integrated approach to successful recovery) and ROCovery Fitness, Inc. (which encourages sober living and healthy recovery through fitness and connecting peers).
- Certified Recovery Peer Advocates (CRPA’s) – Individuals who have “lived experiences,” meaning that they are currently in recovery from addiction themselves, are allies of the recovery community, or have friends/family who are living with addiction. These professionals help bridge the gap between recovery services and the road to recovery itself. Be sure to check whether any potential CRPA is certified with the state by checking the New York Certification Board website.
- Peer Engagement Specialists – Trained specialists whose job is to integrate themselves within environments where individuals and families commonly deal with addiction (such as emergency departments or clinics) and act as a resource to help individuals enter and navigate recovery successfully.
Types of Treatment
Every person dealing with addiction has different needs dependent on the level or severity of their addiction; there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment towards recovery. Qualified professionals can effectively diagnose the stage of an individual’s addiction (through a level of care determination tool or any other American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria) and assign an appropriate level of treatment based on their diagnosis. It’s important to note that whatever course of treatment is recommended will always be patient-specific and tailored to their specific needs, such as:
- Outpatient Treatment – Recovery clinics or facilities that are typically open 5-6 days a week, morning through evening, and offer varied recovery services (individual/group counseling sessions, support for loved ones, medications to deter cravings/block the effects of drugs, appointments with a physician/nurse practitioner/nurse for medication management, and random drug testing). The length of outpatient treatment generally spans anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on the severity of addiction and needs of the individual. It can also be provided by private counselors or psychiatrists.
- Inpatient Detoxification – Detoxification is the medical process designed to keep an individual safe and comfortable while they experience the physical and mental stages of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, is often a component of many recovery treatments. Most inpatient detox treatments last 3-5 days, involve daily monitoring by nurses/physicians (withdrawal can be potentially life-threatening, so medical supervision is recommended), include medications to deal with the discomfort associated with withdrawal, address and treat other medical issues that appear throughout the detox as needed, and promise information to help the individual begin to understand addiction.
- Inpatient Rehabilitation – A more streamlined and inclusive treatment offered separately by recovery facilities/clinics. These treatment programs usually last between 10-30 days, offer comprehensive counseling services (in individual and/or group formats), provide education about addiction and the specific phase of treatment an individual is in (in the form of group sessions, readings, and film), and usually offer family programs to keep loved ones informed and supported throughout the rehab process.
- Residential Treatment – A form of treatment best suited for individuals who need a more structured and longer term of treatment. This length of treatment varies based on the individual and their needs. Residential Treatment has three phases:
- Stabilization: The phase in which the individual is monitored more intensively. This usually involves both medication and having a doctor on hand to diagnose and treat any health issues that occur as a result of withdrawal. This phase is meant to get the individual to a more stable mental and physical state, so they can have more success with the recovery process.
- Rehabilitation: This phase involves treatment in a structured environment, meant to repair the damage to an individual’s work, school, and family relationships, along with the individual’s physical and mental well-being, that occurred as a result of their addiction.
- Reintegration: The final phase, meant to successfully transition the individual back into their community/family settings, while employing the coping and recovery skills that they were taught during the rehabilitative process.
Medication Assisted Treatment
Medication can play a large role in any of the previously listed forms of treatment, as well as supporting post-treatment recovery. Depending on the individual and their needs, they can be prescribed three specific forms of medication. Each medication is designed to have a specific effect on the individual, such as blocking the opioid receptors/preventing the “high” or simulating the effects of opioids as a means of gradually weaning an individual off the drug. The most commonly prescribed medications for dealing with opioid addiction include Methadone (common brand names are Dolophine® or Methadose®), Buprenorphine (Suboxone® or Subutex®), and Naltrexone (Vivitrol®).