With so many treatment options available, and with no two cases being alike, one may struggle in deciding which option is best. The traditional approach to treating alcoholism and drug addiction has been through the use of 12 step programs.
12 Step programs focus on group discussions and peer support. They teach the individual to recognize the triggers that lead to abuse, to accept that they are not alone, and to develop a strong support group. While many patients have successfully recovered from addiction using these programs, there are those who find themselves frustrated by the lack of alternatives.
Why 12 step programs don’t always work
There are many reasons why 12 step programs don’t work, and each has its individual merits. For some, these programs may interfere with a work schedule. For others it may be due to being at odds with the religious component of the approach. In certain cases, the strict rigidity of traditional 12 step programs may simply not be conducive to the rehabilitation process.
Some individuals may feel uncomfortable detailing their experiences with strangers. In certain cases the 12 step programs have even shown to be counterproductive in that the support groups themselves could be the trigger for substance abuse.
Modern rehabilitation facilities tend to focus on a more holistic treatment approach. These centers typically keep abreast of medical advances, dual diagnoses, how chemicals interact with the brain, and keep up with the latest trends in the fields of psychology and psychiatry.
Having this information available makes a welcome change to those who may have attempted outdated and unscientific approaches. Research shows that recovery rates using an individually designed non 12 step program can make it easier to achieve sobriety. Instead of relying on willpower, the recovering addict is able to rely on medical intervention and a comprehensive support system with a scientific approach.
Evidence based treatment
A comprehensive appraisal of your case history is a fundamental component to any non 12 step treatment program. A healthcare professional will work with a patient to discover what has and what has not worked with regards to previous attempts to quit.
By undertaking such an analysis, the treatment center is able to eliminate unnecessary repetition, thus helping the individual to recognize that they are truly making progress for the first time.
A treatment action plan based on the results of a case history analysis can be formulated and will be specifically designed for the individual in question. Such a program may include the prescription of certain medications and/or the implementation of a behavioral approach.
It is important to note that although medications to treat opiate, alcohol and nicotine addictions have been developed, no such medications exist to treat marijuana, depressants or stimulants.
Medications combating cravings, relapse, mood swings, sleeplessness, irritability, etc. may be prescribed. Such medications may also help the addict to focus on treatment related counseling. There are currently three main medications available which have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol addiction. Medications for the treatment of both drug and alcohol abuse tend to be more effective when used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy teaches the individual how to cope with cravings and/or triggers which could potentially cause relapse. Triggers include seeing former associates or being unable to cope with certain situations.
Behavioral therapy is generally comprised of one or more of the following:
- Cognitive therapy
- Group therapy
- Motivational encouragement
- Confidential one on one interviews with a professional.
- Multi-systematic therapy
- Other therapies that have been proven to be effective in treating alcohol and substance abuse.
The traditional 12 step rehabilitation module tends to see recovery as an ongoing lifelong process. Individuals see themselves as being in a current state of recovery, whether they have reached sobriety or not.
Non 12 step programs tackle alcohol and substance abuse differently. The patient is encouraged to fully recover from addiction. Non 12 step programs are also a lot more scientific. The approach includes the latest techniques available and includes a more holistic treatment regime. Some individuals benefit from a combination of both non- 12 step and 12 step programs.
Research has shown that patients who have not responded positively to traditional methods of rehabilitation stand a far better chance of achieving lasting sobriety when incorporating a non 12 step approach.
If you have any concerns, approach a healthcare professional who will be able to advise you further and to answer any queries you may have. Don’t despair. The problem can be beaten.