If you know or think you have an addiction, seeking help is critical. Going into battle alone is a recipe for failure, but there is not one single treatment solution that works best for every person or every addiction.
I have an addiction. Now what?
In the past three articles we have explored the different type of addictions and you have identified, Yeah, that's me, now what? Well, the good news is there are as many different types of treatment options as there are first line defense options. We are going to present some of the options we believe are tried and true.
For any addiction possible, whether it be sex, drugs (illegal or prescription), alcohol, eating, shopping, etc... there is a 12-step group available. To find one a helpful resource is www.12stepgroups.com (live link below) or you can Google the type of group you are searching. The general rule of thumb is to start with 90 meetings in 90 days. It will not be easy, you may not feel comfortable, but keep going. In the first 90 days start working Step One by admitting you are powerless over your addiction, obtain a sponsor who is a more experienced person to guide you through the recovery process, and over time become active in the meetings.
To find a licensed therapist, word of mouth referral is the best. Ask someone you know who is going or been to therapy. Another option is to ask a pastor, direct line supervisor, police social worker, or chaplain. If that option is not available, call the 800 number on the back of your insurance card or go to your insurance carrier's website to find someone who is accepting new clients. Call the office and make an appointment. Before you arrive begin preparing your mind and your emotions to be exposed. Let the therapist be in control by interviewing you. This is not a time to practice skills learned in the Reid School of Interrogation. The process is ambiguous and one that is not easily defined. Trust the process, be honest, and implement the therapist's feedback. You will only get out of the process what you are willing to put in. If you put in nothing, you will get nothing in return. The therapist is not there to control you, they are there to guide you and if you have concerns regarding your progress, before you stop going, talk to the therapist to work through the conflict. This is part of your treatment process.
This is the study of drug induced changes in mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior. Many addicts turn to their addiction to self medicate due to experiencing feelings of emptiness, loneliness, anger, guilt, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, fears, phobias, insomnia, fatigue, and racing thoughts. In simpler words a clinical depression, anxiety disorder, or bipolar. When seeking treatment for an addiction it is often best to be evaluated by a psychiatrist who is medical doctor who specializes in how the brain functions. By asking you questions about your symptomology, observation, and sometimes ordering medical labs/tests, they can determine if medication would benefit the treatment of your addiction. They will be able to diagnosis if there is a medical benefit and what type of medication will benefit you. It is reported that with counseling and medication management, treatment success often reaches 90%.
Hospital, Residential, & Halfway Houses
When an addiction or mood disorder is severely hindering daily functioning, has medical symptoms of withdrawal attached, aggressive behaviors manifest, or thoughts of death occur, more structured treatment is the best step. If you think this may be you, call your primary care physician or if that is not immediate enough, go to an emergency room to be assessed. Hospitals may offer inpatient, partial and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). The purpose of inpatient is to stabilize the mood, maintain safety, and at times provide medical detox. At partial a patient attends intensive therapy during the day, but unlike inpatient, returns home at night. In IOP, it is for several hours multiple times per week, often in the evening, which often allows the person to work while being in treatment. Traditional residential treatment is an in house program lasting for 30 days. Halfway houses are post inpatient or residential to learn sober skills in a transitional setting before returning to their life triggers that feed the addiction.