The goal for rehabilitation is for you regain control of your life and to live in the future without drugs and alcohol. Through rehabilitation you’ll undertake therapy to help you understand the mechanisms of addiction, what triggers addictive behaviours, and how to avoid triggers and overcome cravings in the future.
It also helps heal the hurts, mental health conditions, and life circumstances that contributed to your use of drugs and alcohol and to repair the harm addiction has caused to your body, mind, and relationships.
For most people recovery means sobriety: abstaining from all potentially harmful and addictive substances and behaviours. If your primary issue was with drugs, this can mean also abstaining from alcohol, cigarettes, and even caffeine. Many people who have struggled with addiction commit to sobriety for a lifetime.
Your particular path to rehabilitation and recovery will be determined by your particular addiction, or addictions. An initial addiction assessment can give you a deeper understand of yourself and your addictions and help you, alongside professionals, develop a plan for your rehabilitation. It’s often through the process of assessment that individuals realise the extent of their addiction.
As part of the assessment, you’ll need to disclose all the details your drug and alcohol use. This includes what substances you’ve been consuming, at what quantities, how regularly and for how long. If you believe your primary addiction is to alcohol but frequently take cocaine or engage in other compulsive or addictive behaviours like gambling while under the influence, you’ll also need to disclose these.
You may also be asked to detail how your addictions have disrupted your life: how they have impacted your relationships, career, and health; what compulsive, risky, or damaging behaviours they have led you to. Accounting for these harms can help professionals tailor a rehabilitation programme for you and can help you understand the toll your drug or alcohol use has had on you and others around you.
Rehabilitation from alcohol addiction begins with a detoxification, helping you stop drinking and manage withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be very unpleasant and even life-threatening, so it’s advised that those with long-term or significant dependence on alcohol undergo detoxification under medical supervision, in a hospital or inpatient rehabilitation centre.
Once you’ve overcome the initial physical withdrawal symptoms of alcohol dependence, you can tackle the psychological and emotion roots of alcoholism, learn strategies to cope with cravings and temptation, and rebuild your life.
Treatments for alcohol addiction include:
- 12 step programmes (Alcoholics Anonymous)
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): helping you identify and reframe thoughts and beliefs that may contribute to your alcohol dependence. For example, this might mean taking the thought, “I can’t have fun without alcohol” and replacing it with “Many people enjoy themselves without drinking and I can be one of them.” CBT can also help you identify triggers for your drinking, such as stress, social anxiety, and certain social situations, and help you avoid some triggers and cope with the ones you can’t avoid.
- medicines that can prevent relapse, either by reducing cravings, creating a negative effect when you consume alcohol, or block the effects of alcohol. These include acamprosate, disulfiram, naltrexone and nalmefene.
- couples and family therapy: helps repair family relationships strained by alcohol, equips family members for supporting the individual trying to abstain from alcohol, and treats the family members themselves for the stress of living with a loved one with alcohol dependence
You’ll likely undertake several of these, and a range of other therapies, in your rehabilitation process.
The course of a drug rehabilitation programme will depend on the individual and the substance being abused. But common components of drug rehab including a detoxification, psychotherapeutic treatments, and long-term aftercare.
- Talking therapies, including CBT
- Medicines: In the case of heroin and some opioid addictions, patients are placed on a substitute drug, such as methadone or buprenorphine.
- 12 step programmes (Narcotics Anonymous)
- couples and family therapy
- aftercare: ongoing therapies to help patients reintegrate into life and avoid relapse. This can include counselling, support groups, and skills training programmes.
Therapy: Therapy can help you tackle the roots of your addiction, unlearn harmful behaviours, identity and learn to avoid or manage triggers of addictive behaviour, and treat the mental health issues that may have contributed to, exacerbated, or been masked by your drug and alcohol use. At the beginning of a rehabilitation programme, you’ll meet with a mental health professional to develop an individualised treatment plan, incorporating therapy sessions. These can include:
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- 12 step approach
- motivational enhancement therapy
- stress inoculation
- motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
- dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
- group therapy
- family and couples therapy
- other counselling sessions specialised to your needs
NADH therapy is a groundbreaking treatment that has been shown to reduce fatigue and ageing and increase cognition. It has been used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and chronic fatigue. We are now offering this at our Surrey rehab centre. It has also shown promise in helping people with addiction go through detoxification and overcome their dependencies. NADH—or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide + Hydrogen—is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in the chemical processes that generate energy. Administered intravenously, it can help those struggling with addiction more quickly recover from the neurological effects of drug and alcohol dependency, including neurotransmitter depletion and neurotransmitter receptor damage. This means patients more quickly overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the substance, reducing the risk of relapse and promoting long-term recovery.
Rehabilitation doesn’t simply require swearing off harmful and addictive substances and overcoming withdrawal symptoms. The patient must be treated as a full human and not just as an addiction. This means taking care of their physical, emotional, and psychological health as they progress through the rehabilitation process.
The most comprehensive rehabilitation programmes incorporate holistic care, treating the body and mind. This can include:
- healthy diet and nutritional guidance: Many people struggling with addiction have long neglected their health and may be experiencing malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Rehabs should provide balanced, nutritious, regular meals, with fresh fruits and vegetables. Patients may also receive doses of vitamin B and thiamine. You may meet with a nutritionist, who can give you skills and knowledge about eating balanced meals that you can take into your sober life.
- exercise: Exercise can help your body and mind recover from the effects of drug and alcohol dependence and give you the strength and resilience to overcome addiction. Many rehabilitation facilities will include a gym. Exercise classes and meetings with a personal trainer can help you develop a personalised exercise routine. You may also find peace and perspective while you get your body moving and heart pumping on walks in nature, by swimming or practicing yoga.
- meditation and mindfulness: meditation is a practice of training your attention and awareness, to achieve a mentally clear and calm emotional state. Mindfulness is a technique used within and outside of meditation, focusing your attention on your on the present moment, occupying and observing it without judgment. Both meditation and mindfulness can help you see your life clearly, including the addictions and negative emotions that have distorted it, and help you let them go.
- art therapy: Express and communicate emotions, understand experiences that may have been distressing, focus your mind, and develop new skills by making art.
- life coaching and life skills: Your career, relationships, and self-management may have suffered during your addiction. Life coaching can give you the skills and confidence to rebuild your life and get the most happiness out of it possible.
- other alternative therapies: This can include yoga and acupuncture.