Expert Talk: Choosing the Right Addiction Treatment
A complex illness, drug addiction has the typical traits of craving and compulsive drug seeking, followed by devastating consequences in most cases. Simply put, addiction is a brain disease and one requires inhibitory control over behaviour, learning and memory, combined with reward and motivation in order to choose the right addiction treatment. To delve deeper into addiction treatment programs and services, we had a word with Dr. Pulkit Sharma, Clinical Psychologist & Psychoanalytical Therapist at VIMHANS, New Delhi.
The main points of consideration while choosing the right addiction treatment are:
A treatment which is tailored to your needs. All of us are different and have different emotional and psychological needs. When a treatment responds to our needs we feel motivated to recover, otherwise we do not. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your personality type and match the treatment with it. Various forms of addiction treatment are available - individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, support groups, medication and life-skills training. Generally, a combined treatment yields faster and better results, so one should try and combine two or more treatment modalities.
A treatment that helps in providing motivation. People with addictions feel helpless, hopeless, or live in denial. Therefore, they do not feel strong enough to deal with issues underlying addiction. A treatment program, which explores individual stressors and enhances motivation, is extremely effective. Building motivation is the key component in various psychotherapies including motivational enhancement therapy (MET), psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy.
What questions does one need to ask when in an addiction treatment. Here are a few questions, which one must ask the psychologist:
- Does the treatment center have adequate and trained staff including a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker?
- Does the treatment center adopt sensitive and humane procedures?
- How long will the treatment last?
- Does the treatment impart better skills to deal with life stressors and emotional problems?
- Does the treatment focus on yourself and your personality rather than considering addiction as simply a bad habit?
How to choose the type of modality you wish to attend. With a majority of addictions it is important to take medication in the initial period to deal with physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. After the initial phase is over you can choose between psychotherapies and lifestyle treatments. If you are an introverted and private person, a one-to-one individual therapy is ideal. If you are an extroverted person, then group psychotherapy and support groups may help you better. Lifestyle treatments such as yoga, meditation and exercise can be used as an adjunct.
What does the addiction treatment facility offer? All addiction treatment facilities are different; therefore, you need to really explore and find out what is available. Many facilities make tall claims and present a glamorized picture therefore you need to be cautious. It is helpful to spend an entire day at the facility and look around, interact with staff and clients over there to get an idea. Tell the facility to hand over a written document, which specifies their infrastructure, staff and methods being used.
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