What Is Addiction Treatment Like?

Addiction treatment is what we focus on here at MHA. We offer treatment for a long list of addictions, covering everything from alcohol and illicit drugs to certain behavioural addictions. Our treatment philosophy is based on the understanding that no two addicts are the same. People are different and, as a result, require different kinds of treatments.

The vast majority of patients who come to us are battling alcohol or well-known drugs like cocaine or heroin. Still, our treatments are much broader. In addition to alcohol and illicit drugs, we also offer treatment for the following addictions:

  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • New psychoactive substances (legal highs)
  • Behavioural addictions – gambling, sex, internet, etc.
  • Eating and other select mental disorders.

The common thread in all of these conditions is the presence of uncontrollable compulsions. Where the alcoholic might feel compelled to drink excessive volumes of alcohol despite knowing the damage it is causing, a gambling addict faces uncontrollable compulsions to gamble. It is compulsive behaviour despite the obvious harm that is the earmark of addiction.

We Evaluate Each Client

The first step in any treatment programme is to evaluate the client on an individual basis. Based on what we now know about addictive behaviour, it is not enough to simply funnel every alcoholic into one rehab programme and every cocaine user into another. The old one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment does not work.

Our evaluation process is designed to accomplish several things.

First, we want to know what the client is currently struggling with and how long that struggle has been ongoing. Second, we need to know if there are any other addictive behaviours or compulsions the client is experiencing. Third, learning the clients history – as related to the current addiction – is important. Lastly, we need to know what the client’s home life and living situation are. We take all of this information into account before determining how to best treat the client.

Evaluations are followed by customised treatment plans developed by trained professionals. Plans are implemented as soon as clients are ready to go.

Detox Is the First Step

When dealing with substance addictions such as alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction, the first step is detox. The need for detox is simple: the body has to be allowed to cleanse itself from the toxins within before normal physical and mental function can be restored.

The person suffering from a behavioural addiction or eating disorder does not need detox in the strictest sense.

However, a similar step is required. Take the internet addict as an example. He may not need ten days in detox under the supervision of a registered nurse, but he does need to be kept away from the internet. He must be separated from that behaviour that only serves to fuel his addiction.

Rehabilitative Therapy Is Next

Following detox or behavioural separation, addicts transition into a rehabilitative therapy programme that serves two purposes: helping patients understand the deep-rooted psychological and emotional issues they suffer from and helping them develop avoidance and coping strategies to prevent future relapse. The thing to understand about rehabilitative therapy is that it can take many forms.

Trained therapists have access to more than a dozen different options for each client. Not every clinic offers every option and, in fact, some specialise in one or two therapies. This is one of the reasons we recommend clients call and speak with us before trying to arrange addiction treatment. We know what’s out there, so we can help clients figure out what is best in their circumstances.

As for the different kinds of therapies, here are just a few examples:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Also known as CBT, this is one of the most effective counselling therapies used in addiction treatment today. It is a goal-oriented treatment that can be applied to substance addictions, behavioural addictions, and even eating disorders.
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – DBT is similar to CBT except that it adds the element of meditation. This therapy is exceptionally helpful for eating disorders.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic therapy explores the relationship between a person’s past and present. It is designed to look at things from childhood or early adulthood that may have triggered addictive behaviour.
  • Group Therapy – The point of group therapy is to take advantage of strength in numbers. This is a talking therapy involving multiple clients who discuss their problems and offer one another support and accountability.
  • Music and Art Therapy – Both music and art can help clients struggling with addictive behaviour express their thoughts and emotions. Music and art also give those in recovery an outlet that may be helpful in avoiding future relapse.
  • Nutrition Therapy – Nutrition is an important part of long-term recovery. Therefore, therapists are known to use nutrition as a recovery therapy that leads to developing a healthier lifestyle.
  • Exercise Therapy – Like good nutrition, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Clients are sometimes encouraged to develop regimented exercise programmes as a substitute for addictive behaviour.

The therapies listed here are just a small sampling of what is available to therapists and counsellors involved in addiction treatment. Because the underlying behaviours of both substance and behavioural addictions or so similar, the full compendium of treatment options is available to therapists regardless of the specific addictions they are working with.

Most private clinics provide aftercare services following formal rehab. Aftercare is a collection of ongoing services, like counselling and support group participation, that are utilised to prevent relapse.

Here at MHA, we take addiction seriously. We are here to assist you or a family member suffering from any kind of substance addiction, behavioural addiction, or eating disorder.