I’m afraid to enter treatment because I don’t want to go through withdrawal. What should I do?
There’s no reason to be afraid of treatment. Detox and withdrawal can be challenging but our facilities that provide on-site detox are staffed with licensed medical teams that will closely monitor you for signs and symptoms of withdrawal. By progressing through the detox progress, withdrawal symptoms tremendously diminish.
What is the detox environment at American Addiction Centers like?
For the sake of clients going through detox at AAC facilities, we’ve located our detox rooms away from the main client activity areas. This promotes a quiet environment that helps clients – especially during peak days of their withdrawal. However, theses detox rooms are close to staff offices for frequent monitoring and easy access to staff. Because American Addiction Centers specializes in dual diagnosis—simultaneously treating substance abuse and behavioral health issues—our licensed psychiatrists are available during the detox process to address high levels of stress or anxiety.
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According to author and neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz writing for TIME, many parents who have sent their teenage children to rehab were in the dark about the quality of the services. As Szalavitz points out, parents will want to learn if rehab centers of interest provide research-based approaches to treatment of their clients. Many rehab programs will begin with a one-on-one assessment (approximately one hour) between a qualified addiction counselor and the teen.
At the conclusion of the assessment session, the addiction counselor will advise parents as to whether the rehab center can offer the needed treatment and make advisements about the type of programming on offer, such as inpatient or outpatient care. If the teenager is admitted, a team of addiction treatment professionals will typically work together to create a tailored plan. In the case of a dual diagnosis, the addiction treatment team will include a psychiatrist and provisions for the treatment of the other mental health disorder.
Rehab programming that accommodates a dual diagnosis typically offers the traditional methods for treatment of each disorder, alongside one another. For example, a teenager who abuses heroin and has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder will typically be tracked to receive the medications and therapy associated with treatment for each disorder. Primary benefits of a rehab program that accommodates a dual diagnosis are that the treatment is centralized for convenience, and there is an open and transparent dialogue between addiction specialists and psychiatric care providers (note that psychiatrists working with drug rehab centers may also have addiction specializations).
The potential treatment complexity that a dual diagnosis presents can be frustrated by services that are not already integrated. As any American with two health conditions and separate medical providers knows, one medical office does not always seamlessly communicate with the other office. There is a minimized risk of providers having incomplete information when treatment for a client with a dual diagnosis is brought under one roof.
A parent with a teenage child with a dual diagnosis will likely want to understand both the approaches taken to treat the child’s particular drug abuse issues as well as the methods used to treat the co-occurring mental health disorder. Regarding substance abuse treatment, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, there are two main pillars supporting the architecture of rehab programs: pharmacological interventions (i.e., targeted medications) and therapy.
, sometimes referred to as medication-assisted treatment
(MAT), are typically limited to the context of recovery from addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opiates/opioids. A benefit of targeted medications is that they can help to ensure safety in the withdrawal process in the short-term and be used as a long-term method to maintain abstinence. Parents of teens who require recovery for opiate/opioid abuse (this category includes heroin and prescription pain relievers) will be able to discuss the available medications with the treating rehab center. Depending on the specific needs of the teenager in recovery, medications include methadone, buprenorphine (the generic in the trademark drugs Suboxone and Subutex), and naltrexone. Use of these medications is not always advised in every case of recovery from opiate/opioid or alcohol abuse, and the best practice is to speak directly with a counselor on staff at the rehab center.
Therapy, the other mainstay of recovery treatment, is an umbrella term for the various psychological and/or behavioral approaches that may be employed. Therapy in rehab centers typically occurs in both one-on-one sessions and separate counselor-led group sessions. In some instances, research has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific one-on-one therapy approach vis-à-vis specific drugs of abuse or a specific age group, such as adolescents in recovery.
All of these approaches complement one another and may be used in conjunction. Therapy is responsive to client needs. As client needs change over the course of treatment in a rehab program, different therapies may be applied during different phases. For instance, MET has been shown to be effective in the early stages of recovery to motivate clients to commit to recovery and remain in a program. Recovery centers will explain their policies as well as the local laws governing the rights of parents to keep their minor children in the recovery facility.
Based on the principles of Motivational Interviewing, MET can help adolescent clients to overcome their inner obstacles to engaging treatment services. After an initial assessment to identify the adolescent clients’ level of motivation, follow-up sessions involve the therapist explaining the need for treatment and working to bring the adolescent on board by soliciting self-motivational statements. MET is generally not a standalone treatment and is most often used in conjunction with another therapy approach, such as CBT.
As NIDA explains, CBT can be used either in an individual session or a therapist-led group session (in either inpatient or outpatient programs). CBT was not specifically developed for adolescents in recovery, but it has been adapted to use in this group. In session, therapists and adolescent clients explore both the positives (such as a feeling of supreme confidence) and the many negatives of drug abuse (such as its impact on health, social standing, and relationships).
As CBT is a largely pragmatic approach, the clients’ insights into their drug use triggers and patterns provide them with real-world guidance. Clients learn how to recognize the impulse to use drugs and transform it into a healthy decision, such as going for a walk or leaving a party where drugs are present. Skills taught include self-control tactics, anger management, emotional regulation, pragmatic problem-solving skills, and strategies to refuse drugs if they are offered.
According to NIDA, the goal of 12-Step facilitation therapy is to introduce adolescent clients to group recovery meetings – such as Narcotics Anonymous or teen-specific groups, like Teen Addiction Anonymous – with the hope that they will engage these groups after the intensive phase of inpatient or outpatient rehab ends. According to research, the benefits of 12-Step programs extend to adolescents. Studies also show that 12-Step facilitation therapy in adolescents can help to improve attendance rates in outpatient therapy. There are philosophical and pragmatic tenets involved in 12-Step philosophy, but a main hallmark is that participants take responsibility for their substance abuse and recovery process while at the same time receiving support from others in recovery.