Alternatives to Traditional Drug Addiction Rehab
Formal drug addiction treatment at a traditional rehab facility is still considered to be the best possible option for most individuals with substance use disorders. Formal treatment can be either in an inpatient or outpatient-based facility, and usually consists of a treatment plan including medication, therapy, and several other medical care options (depending on the facility).
However, some individuals are interested in alternatives to traditional drug addiction rehab. Whether it is because of the cost, the fact that the individual tried traditional treatment before without success, or another reason, alternatives to this type of treatment are sometimes necessary and even more beneficial to certain people. Depending on your treatment needs, one of the alternatives listed below may be more beneficial for you as well.
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Sober Living Houses
According to a study on sober living houses, “SLHs have been important resources for individuals completing residential treatment, attending outpatient programs, leaving incarceration or seeking alternatives to formal treatment” (NCBI). Someone may choose an SLH over traditional rehab because it allows them more freedom in their daily activities while also letting them stay in a place that will continue to facilitate their recovery.
Sober living houses are “alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs.” An resident will be asked to pay rent while living at the house, and they will also usually have a roommate or, in some cases, more than one. These facilities can be more expensive depending on the luxuries they provide and are often located in a city or someplace to which they are easy to commute. This is because residents are expected to have jobs.
Residents of a sober living house usually have to abide by a certain set of rules and are often asked to attend treatment in a 12-step program. This treatment attendance may be mandatory or suggested, depending on the house rules.
Support groups are a possible treatment option that is, in many cases, much more popular than traditional drug addiction rehab. While alcohol addiction treatment has advanced tremendously over the years, the NIAAA states that mutual-help groups are still more sought after than any other type of treatment for alcohol use disorders.
Support groups can be based on the 12-step treatment or another set of principles. Essentially, these groups work to allow addicted individuals to help one another, as opposed to treatment with professional therapists and counselors. This can create a sense of unity within the group, and many individuals feel comfortable with the way it works.
If a someone decides to attend a support or mutual-help group as opposed to formal addiction treatment, they will need to be fairly self-sufficient during this time. A person may choose to attend a support group instead of formal addiction treatment because they are
- Not so intensely addicted that they need to be in 24-hour care
- In need of a treatment option that they can work around their schedule
- Looking for a comfortable treatment option that will help them make friends within the group
- Looking for a treatment based on living with addiction every day in a way that helps them not to give into temptation
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Individualized Drug Counseling
Certain individuals may merely choose to attend therapy sessions in the office of a licensed drug counselor. This can be particularly beneficial to someone who needs the kind of one-on-one treatment that traditional drug addiction rehab can often provide but who does not want to attend treatment as often or stay in an inpatient facility.
According to the NIDA, “Through its emphasis on short-term behavioral goals, individualized counseling helps the patient develop coping strategies and tools to abstain from drug use and maintain abstinence.” Individualized drug counselors will often ask the patient to attend a 12-step program as well as their counseling sessions, but this can depend on the individual counselor-patient relationship.
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Treatment within the Criminal Justice System
Traditionally, this is not the type of alternative treatment that is chosen; the individual usually must attend it whether they want to or not. According to the NIDA, “Studies show that treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.” This type of treatment is used for those individuals “in a criminal justice setting” and it can be successful in “preventing an offender’s return to criminal behavior.”
The individual will often be expected to follow many rules, and usually they will be told to continue attending treatment once they are working on transitioning back into the community. This type of treatment might be mandated for certain individuals by a judge in order to ensure that someone who needs addiction treatment can get it, no matter where they are.
There are many holistic treatment options, including acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, art therapy, and nature walks, that individuals prefer in order to feel more at peace with themselves and work on their addictions in non-traditional ways. However, for the most part, they are not recommended to be alternatives to traditional drug addiction rehab. They can often be offered by certain rehab centers that are able to provide more options to patients.
Just because they are not officially considered to be an alternative to traditional treatment does not mean that some individuals do not try to use them as just that. Recovery all depends on what works for the patient, though most other alternative options provide similar treatment arcs to traditional drug addiction rehab in many ways. Therefore, recovering addicts should be wary of making holistic treatments their only treatment option.
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Are These Alternatives as Effective as Traditional Drug Addiction Rehab?
It can be difficult to know for sure if any of these alternatives are as effective as traditional drug rehab; for one thing, they are not all frequented as often as programs in traditional settings, and those which are (like support groups) are not easily measured for their effectiveness.
Understanding that what works for you may not be what works for everyone else is very important in recovery, and you should attend the treatment type that works best for you. One or some of these alternatives may be particularly beneficial when it comes to your addiction treatment.