When it comes to treating addiction, there is a still a wide range of thought regarding the best treatment methodologies. That being said, there is no question that addiction treatment is a long, ongoing process that takes anywhere from several months to several years to initially address and will ultimately be a lifelong journey for most people. In addition, there is growing consensus regarding the steps necessary to successfully address addiction.
For many people that journey will begin in a detox facility. While not everyone may need an initial detox period to begin the process of treating their addiction, for others it is absolutely critical. One thing to be sure of, however, is that treatment in a detox center is only the first step in a long journey on the road to recovery. Although everyone’s recovery journey might look a little different, for the most part the recommended steps in recovery are:
- Treatment in a detox center (if necessary)
- Inpatient treatment
- Sober living home or other transitional treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Ongoing therapy in a recovery or support group
Why is further treatment necessary after a detox program?
What many, if not most, people do not understand about addiction is that addiction is almost always a form of pain management. In some cases that pain may be physical but in many cases that pain is emotional or psychological. Some examples of this might be the psychological trauma that comes from growing up in an abusive environment or the lack of treatment following a highly traumatic incident which led to the development of undiagnosed PTSD.
Many addicts are even unknowingly self-medicating for a wide range of mental health issues. All addiction is driven by some underlying cause and an addict can’t just “quit” managing their pain until they actually identify, understand and begin to address that pain and the source of it. The process for treating addiction is somewhat similar to the process of treating allergies. Before the underlying cause of pain can be discovered or addressed, the substance used to treat the pain has to be removed but the removal of that substance also leaves the person in pain.
It is only when the substance used to treat the pain is removed, however, that substance abuse professionals can help a patient begin to trace the pain to its source. Another way of looking at it is you have to be able to feel the pain to find the source of the pain. Finding the cause or the source of the pain that led to addiction is still only an early step in recovery. The process of finding the source of pain can already be a long and lengthy one because in many cases there is no longer only a single source.
A patient may have started off using substances to numb one pain but over time, the addiction itself often leads to creating many more sources of pain. For instance, a woman might have never fully addressed the pain of suffering a miscarriage or even several miscarriages. She might then suffer a physical injury for which opiates are prescribed but discovers that the opiates also help numb the undressed pain from the miscarriages.
Addiction is the result of unaddressed pain.
When an individual fails to recognize undressed pain, it makes them susceptible to addiction. When someone is in pain they will do almost anything to maintain their access to whatever alleviates that pain. Over time, this can lead them to commit actions that may simply cause further psychological or emotional damage. For example, if that woman’s doctor subsequently cuts her off of the opioids she is using to manage her pain, she may turn to street drugs.
If she runs out of the financial means to purchase her pain relief, she may trade sex for it. This just creates another psychological “wound” or injury that needs to be medicated, which only creates and even stronger need for pain relief. In the recovery process, each one of these wounds or injuries need to be uncovered and addressed in order to bring relief. This is why detoxing from the substance used to treat this pain is only the first step in addiction recovery. Furthermore, while some recovery journeys need to start in a detox facility, some journeys can begin directly in an inpatient facility. If you are ready to start this journey, we can help. Give us a call today at 833-610-1174 and let us help you find the best treatment options and the right place to start your journey to health and wellness.