Treatment Facilities & Programs

Substance Abuse Counseling

By Stacy Jackson, Addiction Treatment Specialist

For those with crystal methamphetamine addiction or other drug or alcohol addictions, there are a variety of drug treatment options available for achieving the goal of conquering the cycle of dependence and achieving lifetime sobriety. Finding a drug counseling center can be achieved through referral by a medical professional, court ordered treatment referrals, recommendations of a fellow or recovering addict, family interventions, or self directed research into counseling centers and treatment options.

For crystal meth addiction and other substances that cause severe withdrawal, inpatient drug treatment for a minimum of 7 days is generally recommended. Depending on the symptoms and difficulties encountered during that time, such as chemical imbalances or other illnesses, this portion of treatment may last longer. Those in danger of hurting themselves or others, or experiencing delirium tremens or psychotic behavior, need inpatient treatment to complete detoxification prior to beginning other treatment options. Many counseling centers offer the option for outpatient, inpatient and group home therapy.

Inpatient treatment can be expensive. Those with limited resources can apply for government subsidized health insurance. These insurance programs can refer you to the counseling centers that accept their insurance. Those with existing health insurance plans will find most policies cover at least some of the cost of treatment. The counseling center you choose will be able to determine the amount of coverage and assist in developing payment plans if needed so treatment is not delayed. Inpatient treatment generally consists of an initial and thorough medical evaluation followed by development of a personalized treatment plan. Treatments include the initial detoxification process with abstinence from the drug in question or replacement drug therapies for those addictions where a step-down treatment plan is required.

During the initial phase, there will be a focus on managing the symptoms of detoxification. Once this is completed, the plan progresses to individual and/or group therapy sessions to discuss the root causes of addiction, the difficulties involved in stopping use of addictive substances and behavior modification therapies to break the cycle. Psychotherapy with a trained medical professional is usually performed to further analyze the individual's situation and suggest treatment protocols. Depending on the counseling center, the inpatient portion of the program may not allow visitors, instead forcing the patient to focus entirely on their program and recovery. Group therapy with others in the counseling program will probably occur during the inpatient phase. Family counseling sessions will not take place until further into the program if that is how the treatment center plan is designed.

For those with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, outpatient therapy may be possible. Referrals to these programs can be done by medical professionals, family intervention, or by individual choice. Internet research offers many reviews of treatment centers and their protocols as well as costs involved. Payment for outpatient therapy is also available through government funded insurance plans and personal insurance programs or individually designed payment plans. Outpatient treatment usually includes an initial consultation with a medical professional to review required medications, perform urine tests or blood tests and complete a basic physical health evaluation. The next step in outpatient therapy is counseling. Depending on the addiction and the patient, individual psychotherapy sessions may be performed as well as group sessions with fellow addicts or family sessions to work through personal issues relating to addiction. The plan is individualized based on the addiction and the patient. Often concurrent removal of addictive substances is also recommended during outpatient therapy. For example, an alcoholic may be encouraged to quit smoking as well.

Cognitive behavior therapy is often used in both inpatient and outpatient therapy. Cognitive therapy generally produces results quicker than just psychotherapy techniques. Cognitive behavior therapy teaches the patient that controlling your thoughts can help control your behavior and teaches techniques for maintaining a calm demeanor during difficult situations. This therapy also helps patients set productive goals and ask insightful questions of themselves to come to a better understanding of how they deal with situations in their lives. As opposed to analysis, the patient is very involved and active in reaching their own realizations about his/her addiction during cognitive therapy. Patients are encouraged to continue developing their personal insights and learning outside of sessions by completing reading assignments pertinent to their issues and repetitively practicing the techniques they learn.

The Matrix Model drug therapy program, which began in the 1980s, has a good record of success in treating crystal meth addiction as well as other drug addictions. This program implements family involvement, which is an important component for many patients allowing them to address issues and hopefully resolve them, since a positive support network can be an important part of continued sobriety. Social interaction skills are also developed through group therapy to acclimate the patient back to acceptable behaviors in society. Positive reinforcement techniques and relapse prevention skills are taught through cognitive therapy. The traditional 12-step model is also incorporated into this program. Regular urine tests are performed to ensure compliance and accountability. The outpatient Matrix Model program generally requires intensive counseling with three sessions per week of group and/or individual therapy for approximately four months. Following this, treatment continues for up to 36 additional weeks. The type of therapy (group, family or individual) and the quantity of visits will be based on the individual's recovery plan.

Other options for addiction counseling include well known national programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous (Narcotics Anonymous has broken into smaller drug-specific groups for those with crystal methamphetamine addiction or other drug addictions.) These programs rely heavily on group meetings, coaching, mentoring, and a 12-step program that gradually takes the patient through proven steps to accepting responsibility for their addiction and determining why it happened as well as how to change. The first steps involve learning to stop trying to control the uncontrollable and accept their behaviors as well as their need for help. The next steps involve taking inventory of their lives and determining repeated patterns that need to be broken. Belief, acceptance, and trust in a higher power are key components in the program. This is followed by taking steps to change those destructive patterns and live a different life, including apologizing to those they have harmed and attempting to mend broken relationships. The final step involves using what they've learned to help others through addiction. New therapies are being developed to understand and treat addictions. Counseling centers worldwide offer options for every type and severity of addiction with options for anyone ready to commit to recovery from substance abuse.

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