How Do You Know if You Need Residential Treatment for Addiction?
There are many options on the spectrum of care for addiction treatment. For example, on one end, you could attend local 12-Step meetings. They are free, open to everyone, and provide structure and support to people trying to stay sober. However, that level of care isn’t always adequate. Many people, for example, are unable to detox safely or they may have co-occurring mental health issues. Those people might need a higher level of care, perhaps working with a therapist who specializes in addiction. A higher level of care might be entering an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
The highest level of care is a residential treatment program, which may last anywhere from 30 days to six months or more. Since a residential treatment program is a fairly substantial investment of time and money, it’s a big decision whether to go for it. The following considerations can help you decide if a residential treatment program is right for you or your loved one.
You Anticipate a Difficult Detox
Residential treatment programs typically include medical detox. You don’t necessarily have to do medical detox and treatment in the same place, but it does streamline the process. There is more continuity and less opportunity to back out. Also, if you need medical detox, you are probably using drugs and alcohol at a level that could be considered a serious addiction.
While it’s not always possible to predict how detox will go, there are some factors that indicate medical detox is the wiser strategy. The biggest indicator is if you’ve had trouble detoxing before. Perhaps you experienced severe symptoms, such as DTs, or perhaps you only managed to make it a few days before giving up and returning to substance use. Detoxing in a facility helps keep you safe, increases the likelihood that you will complete detox, and helps ensure you will proceed directly to treatment after detox.
You Have a History of Relapse
Another solid indication that it’s time for a residential treatment program is if you have a history of relapse. Perhaps you have tried other options, such as 12-Step meetings, therapy, or IOP and nothing seems to stick. There are many reasons people relapse and it’s not certain that a residential treatment program is the only solution, but it also doesn’t make sense to keep trying the same thing if it hasn’t been working.
A residential treatment program offers far more protection, structure, and support than even an IOP. You live in a place where drugs and alcohol are kept out, you are largely insulated from the everyday stresses of life, and you have a structured daily routine that helps you focus on recovery and wellness. This kind of program can help you break the unhealthy habits that keep you sliding back into substance use and replace them with healthier habits that not only make it easier to stay sober but make you happier and healthier overall.
You Have Co-Occurring Conditions
Co-occurring conditions are extremely common among people with substance use disorders. For example, mental health issues like depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and schizophrenia significantly increase your risk of addiction. For some conditions, like mild or moderate depression or some anxiety disorders, therapy or outpatient treatment might be enough to get the co-occurring condition under control. However, some conditions are much harder to treat and some of those contribute most to addiction risk. For example, about 56% of people with bipolar disorder develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and as many as 75% of people with a borderline personality disorder will develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives.
These conditions often require more intensive forms of treatment than a weekly visit with the therapist. Borderline personality disorder, suicidal depression, eating disorders, and other serious mental health issues are often treated with dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), an intensive form of treatment that is more easily done in a residential setting. Other conditions may require medication and observation early on and a residential setting is better for that too.
Also, people recovering from substance use disorders sometimes have medical issues that complicate treatment. Long-term drug and alcohol use can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, risk of stroke, liver disease, malnutrition, and other issues. Detox can put a lot of stress on the body, so it’s often a good idea to have easy access to medical treatment. Inpatient treatment can also go a long way to correcting any problems caused by lifestyle issues, such as malnutrition or sleep deprivation.
Your Environment Contributes to Your Substance Use
As noted above, there may be many factors contributing to your pattern of relapse. Dysfunctional family dynamics, job stress, peer pressure, exposure to triggers, and so on can make it very hard to make a good start in recovery. A residential treatment program is a chance to make a clean break. You are shielded from those negative influences while you learn new recovery skills and establish positive lifestyle habits. Insofar as you need friends and family to support your recovery, they can participate in the treatment process too. Getting the family involved is ideal because everyone can learn to communicate better, maintain healthy boundaries, and better understand how to support your recovery.
There Are Few Treatment Options in Your Area
Generally speaking, you want to have the appropriate level of care to suit your needs, but sometimes you just have to make the best choice available. For example, some people need residential treatment but for economic or family reasons, they have to go with outpatient treatment instead. Similarly, many areas of the country--and many of the areas that have the most need of treatment--have few if any treatment options. There are more and more options becoming available but if you live in an area where there are few options and you need a fairly high level of treatment, your best strategy might just be to find a residential program rather than trying to manage a long commute or setting for too low a level of care.
Entering a residential treatment program for addiction is a big decision. It probably won’t be the first thing you consider when you first notice you’re drinking a bit too much or relying too heavily on pills. More likely, you will have tried some other routes to recovery and had a hard time sticking with it for whatever reason. Maybe you’ve never even made it past withdrawal. Maybe there’s something in your environment that’s making it harder for you, such as a loved one who can’t seem to say no. Maybe you have a serious co-occurring condition that requires intensive, integrated treatment. Whatever the reason, residential treatment is the most intensive option.
At Foundry, we know that entering residential treatment is not a decision anyone takes lightly and we’ll use every means at our disposal to help you start your recovery right and make a smooth transition home after treatment. We treat difficult conditions using proven therapeutic methods, including DBT, and we emphasize overall wellness to support long-term recovery as well as physical and mental health. To learn more about our holistic addiction treatment program, contact us at (844) 955-1066.