Substance Use Disorder: Long-term Treatment

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Substance Use Disorder: Long-term Treatment

14 January, 2020Articles, News

Substance Use Disorder is very often difficult to cope with and manage. The likely scenario is that you have concerned family, friends or colleagues trying to convince the addict that they need help and the addict is unwilling to get help. They are convinced that the problem is not as serious as everyone believes or that they can manage the issue on their own.

Once the individual has committed to treatment and the drug treatment centre has been chosen, the question of the length of treatment needs to be addressed. Intensive 28 day programs have become popular due to convenience and the financial aspect as most medical aids do cover a portion of the 28 days, but this is not the standard.

There is no quick fix for Substance Use Disorder; recovery is a life long process. There are no guarantees when it comes to treatment, but research has shown that the longer a person stays in treatment, the greater the chances of success.

As intensive as a 28-day program can be, the process is usually rushed. A minimum of 90 days is recommended for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. This allows for a more comprehensive approach to be taken to give the individual the best chance for success.

Long-term Treatment Focus

  • Restoration of general health
  • Coping skills and strategies
  • Family and friend relationships
  • Develop healthy relationships in recovery
  • Address underlying issues related to addiction

When an individual commits to a long-term treatment program, a comprehensive and deliberate treatment plan is drawn up, this allows for the above-mentioned issues to be addressed. The aim of any treatment is that the addict goes from a place of using into recovery, with the coping strategies and motivation to maintain recovery and avoid relapse. A minimum of 90 days ensures that these issues can be addressed and gives the client the best opportunity at a successful life within recovery.

Once an individual has completed treatment, they are exposed to the harsh reality of life in recovery: temptations, triggers, relationships, work, family and the need to balance all of this and maintain their recovery. Aftercare becomes very important. This can be a halfway house, sober house or outpatient treatment.

These aftercare supports build on the process started in treatment and give the clients an opportunity to practice the coping strategies implemented in primary treatment. The longer the addict is able to stay in some form of treatment the greater the chances of success.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder requires time and a structured treatment plan. Treatment is not only about getting the addict off the drugs. Long-term treatment ensures that the issues related to the drinking/drug use are addressed.


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