You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Reaching Out for Help
Addiction is a chronic disease, just like diabetes or hypertension, and it should be treated like a disease. In treatment, a person learns to maintain a sober lifestyle. They also learn to identify the people, places and situations that get in the way of their recovery. They are given tools to help them deal with destructive behaviors. You can live a sober, healthy and productive life, or help someone do the same.
Residential treatment is often recommended for someone who has been abusing alcohol and/or drugs with almost daily use for several years. The person lives within a facility for several weeks to one year. Residential treatment programs offer strict structure with daily individual and group therapy. When someone finishes this treatment, they’ll also be encouraged to enter an outpatient program to continue care as they transition back into their community.
Outpatient treatment varies in intensity and offers more flexibility than residential treatment. It is recommended for those with a more moderate substance abuse disorder. During traditional outpatient treatment, the patient visits a facility anywhere from 1-8 hours a week and participates in both individual and group therapy. Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP) requires a person to visit a treatment center over 8 hours a week. Partial Hospitalization is the most intensive form of outpatient treatment, with patients spending most of their time at the facility and returning home at night.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Some individuals suffer from a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder at the same time. Often, these two conditions are directly related to each other: for example, someone who suffers from anxiety attacks may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of their disorder. Facilities that offer dual diagnosis treatment work with the patient to address both of their conditions at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment is sometimes called treatment for co-occurring disorders. You can learn more dual diagnosis and how it is treated here.
As the body rids itself of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines, the effects can be distressing (although not life-threatening). For those addicted to alcohol or a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium, Xanax), sudden withdrawal can result in death if not medically supervised. Medically-assisted detoxification from these drugs can make a patient more comfortable during the first few weeks of treatment.
For those addicted to a class of drugs called opioids (e.g. heroin, fentanyl), medical professionals use medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone to slowly ease the patient off of the drug. The state of Tennessee licenses facilities specifically for the treatment of opioid addiction. You can also find a list of doctors certified to provide buprenorphine treatment here.
Halfway houses are licensed by the state of Tennessee to provide supportive transitional housing for individuals who are completing treatment programs. As opposed to sober living houses, halfway houses are required to be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are inspected on a yearly basis by the state.