What to Expect During Long-Term Addiction Treatment

Researchers consider addiction to be a chronic disease. For a client who has been using drugs or alcohol for several years or who has a history of heavy use, long-term treatment is likely the best option. It can provide regular monitoring and help the client develop strategies for maintaining sobriety once they return home.

What is Long-Term Treatment?

This type of treatment program involves having the client going to stay at an inpatient residential treatment facility. Program lengths vary, and can last from a few months to more than a year in some instances.

Since addiction is a disease affecting the brain, simply getting an addict to stop using their drug of choice doesn’t equal recovery. Most people will need some type of long-term treatment or repeated attempts at drug or alcohol rehab to achieve sobriety on a sustained basis. The general steps involved during this type of treatment program are as follows:

1. Initial Evaluation and Assessment

This step is usually part of the treatment facility’s intake process. The treatment center’s psychiatrists or psychologists will determine the severity of the addiction. During this process, they will also diagnose any other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or schizophrenia.

2. Medically-Supervised Detoxification

Before any rehabilitation work can begin, a client must be completely free from the influence of chemicals. Most clients undergo medically-supervised detoxification before entering the long-term treatment facility. This option helps to keep clients comfortable as they become drug and alcohol-free. Medications may be prescribed to treat cravings or specific withdrawal symptoms, if necessary.

3. Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment

A residential drug or alcohol treatment program provides care on a 24/7 basis. The treatment program is highly structured and clients attend group therapy sessions, as well as individual therapy sessions. The center may also offer educational sessions teaching about the disease of addiction. Family therapy sessions may be available. S

4. Personal Growth and Support Services

It’s not enough to expect a client who goes to a rehab facility to stop using their drug of choice and then not replace that activity with something else. The treatment program will also include opportunities for clients to develop a regular exercise program, pursue hobbies and leisure activities, and connect with their spirituality. All of these elements form part of along-term treatment program.