What Is Residential Substance Abuse Treatment?
Addiction is as an all-consuming relationship with a substance or behaviour that is driven by a conscious or unconscious urge to feel something different which becomes self-perpetuating despite a range of harmful consequences. As the person consumes, he is consumed.
Life narrows slowly and cunningly to the substance and its quest. Nothing else then matters. Addiction conveys its own culture, values, practices and whole lifestyle. This is where residential treatment comes into play. But before explaining why this treatment option can be highly relevant for substance abuse, let’s define what residential treatment is.
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Residential or inpatient treatment centres are homes where patients come to seek treatment in a mid/long term perspective. They enter a live-in place where they are going to commit to treatment 24/7. Therapeutic and medical cares are mainly completed inside the centre, allowing the team to monitor closely the progress of the patient. This allows the programme to be fully individualised and flexible to the day-to-day situation of the patient.
Residential treatment centres offer bedrooms, meals, housekeeping service, common places to relax, 24/7 support and, according to their therapeutic programme, spa care, counselling sessions, nursing care, medical interviews, conferences, etc. This format allows the patient to practice self-care and improving his health and mental state on an intense daily basis. Usually visits and outings are allowed in a reasonable proportion and activities are mainly carried out in-house.
The first stage of residential treatment usually is to stabilise and improve physical health state when needed. In a second phase, deep psychological work is involved, and emphasis is put on identifying addictive patterns of thoughts and actions, developing life skills and integration in the aftercare life.
Why Is Residential Treatment so Pertinent When It Comes to Substance Abuse?
Residential treatment is a particular setting that drags the person out of her daily life and environment. As life has been narrowing for long around the substance/behaviour despite all the other things the person might have loved or enjoyed, inpatient facilities allow patient’s life to widen again and open up to all the beautiful shades of the world. It increases commitment to treatment and allows 24 hours a day monitoring of the progress to tailor the best possible care.
Change of environment
Addiction resembles a bacterium, trying to survive by any mean, everywhere. By having its own culture, addiction is its own microcosm the person needs to change in order to practice recovery. One has to get rid of the values spread by the addiction and take the values of recovery on instead. To do this, a drastic change of environment is required, and this is where residential treatment is the key element.
By entering an inpatient facility, the sufferer wrests himself from the whole environment of addiction. Cutting off with the toxic triggers of everyday life allows to test new ways of doing. The container that such a facility provides permits to experiment abstinence in a safe and monitored frame. Abstinence is not an end in itself, it is a mean throughout recovery. A patient with a 20-year history of addiction might discover himself as he had not done for long. He might realise that values of addiction he practiced for so long are not the values his true self cherishes and wants to apply as a new sober person. This containment can only be provided by a residential treatment option.
When outpatient treatment leaves the addict plenty of time to reach out with people highly involved with addiction, seek for substance, use again, face the triggers and so on, inpatient treatment gives a frame where the patient fully commits to treatment. Daily activities are all therapeutic and makes the patient work from different perspectives on his dependency and co-existing issues. By committing to a daily practice of recovery, the sufferer significantly improves his health and mental state and increases his chances to stick to treatment and recovery over the long term. Commitment, as well as the quality of the therapeutic relationship, is a key component defining the efficiency of treatment, beyond the specific treatment approach itself.
Recovery is not exactly a long, quiet river. There hopefully are moments of stillness and calm, but some periods might be more difficult to handle and to go through, particularly at the beginning of the process around withdrawal. This is when benevolent and containing care and frame are especially needed. Residential treatment offers this support that outpatient option does not. Being able to get direct help at this early stage of recovery avoids a lot of early (re)lapses. It also helps reinforcing every single step forward and every improvement.
Not Convinced Yet?
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