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Residential Treatment Centers for Addiction: Why Choose Them?

Substance use disorder (or addiction) is a common illness, with approximately 39 million people in America alone suffering from it. As such, there are many different types of treatment out there. However, time and time again, people struggling with addiction are advised to choose a residential treatment center or rehab.

This has been true for so long that many people don’t think to question it. Those who do question it sometimes find it hard to get any information in this regard. It’s treated as something we all understand, but there should be no shame in showing skepticism.

There are actually many reasons you should choose a residential treatment center (or inpatient treatment) for addiction. However, in order to understand the benefits of inpatient treatment, it is necessary to know about the alternatives and when they may be the better options.

Residential Treatment Center

What are the alternatives to inpatient treatment?

The alternatives to inpatient treatment vary from support groups to structured programs.

The least rigid form of treatment is public support groups. AA and NA meetings happen every day across the United States, but they are not the only options. For people who don’t resonate with the 12 Step Program, there are groups like SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, and LifeRing. When attending a meeting, there is no obligation for you to share or even to come back.

Some people start with their GP who refers them to a psychiatrist. In many cases, the psychiatrist will recommend a specific treatment, but for some people that does not involve intensive programs. Rather, it may include medication and therapy.

If you want to attend a structured program without staying in a residential center, many rehabs offer Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOT). This is similar to the treatment provided in a residential rehab, but you go home at the end of the day.

Do the alternatives work?

The above alternatives all work to some degree, but it depends on the person receiving treatment. Someone with a severe addiction is unlikely to recover simply by going to meetings, as they will need to detox and get close support along the way. However, someone who is not physically dependent on substances but has started using them to cope might be able to recover by going to meetings.

The same is true for people using medication and therapy to recover. If they require more intensive care, these interventions will not be enough.

What about intensive outpatient treatment (IOT)? This is the closest you will get to a residential treatment program without actually staying in a rehab. Are these programs effective?

Once again, the answer is that it depends. Since the person is going home every night, risk factors in the home are going to be a problem. For some people, this is not a deal-breaker, as their home environments feel safe and healthy. For others, however, the triggers at home are just too much to deal with while going through treatment.

Ultimately, while alternatives to inpatient treatment exist and are effective, choosing residential care is your best route to good health. Let’s take a look at what residential treatment entails and why it is seen as the gold standard in recovery care.

What happens at a residential treatment center?

When you go into a residential treatment center for inpatient care, you are enrolling in an intensive rehabilitation program. You will be staying on the premises, with all your needs taken care of, and disconnecting from the outside world while you are there.

There are a number of treatments you will receive at a residential treatment center:

Medical Detox:

If you are physically dependent on substances, the rehab will take you through a medical detox to safely break your dependence. You will be supervised by medical professionals to ensure that the withdrawals do not cause you any major danger.

Therapeutic Course:

Throughout your time in rehab, you will participate in a course of therapeutic treatment. The exact course will depend on the rehab. Some centers do the 12 Step Program, while others offer dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) or other treatment modules. You will be expected to attend group sessions in which you learn the principles and skills of this course, as well as to do your own personal work in between.

Individual Therapy:

Individual therapy is a crucial component of inpatient treatment. While you are in a residential treatment center, you will be assigned a therapist with whom you have private one-on-one sessions. These are crucial to help you explore your past experiences as well as any potential co-occurring mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

Group Therapy:

Group therapy is a common component in residential treatment. Since you are going through the process with other people, you are able to relate to each other and provide support. By interacting with others in group therapy, you practice the skills you are learning in the program and gain more insight into the different ways addiction presents.

Holistic Wellness:

Since you are living on the premises, it is important that you are able to exercise and do other activities that contribute to your overall wellness. As such, most modern treatment centers have areas to workout in, yoga classes, art therapy, nutrition classes, and more. During your time in rehab, you will likely have access to more amenities than you do in your day-to-day life back home.

Why you should choose inpatient treatment:

Addiction is a complex disease, which is why rehabs provide all of the above services. More than one approach is often necessary to help a person recover. Only in residential or inpatient treatment will you have access to all of the above therapies. You will also have the time and space to focus on your recovery away from social and work-based triggers.

Going to a residential treatment center is a tough decision, as you are committing weeks of your life to the process. However, it is a very rewarding process for most attendees, and is still the best treatment for addiction.

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