Addiction affects the addiction sufferer on many levels. It’s very difficult for someone to survive the physical effects of a drug or alcohol addiction without it eventually affecting their mental capacity or emotions. It leaves a lot for the individual to overcome when they finally make the decision to get help for their addiction issue. When it comes time for treatment, a decision has to be made about the extent of treatment. Of course, the addiction’s physical effects will get plenty of focus. It’s also possible there will be mental or emotional issues that need to be addressed. It’s the addiction sufferer’s therapist who is going to have to decide on the course of treatment. If the client’s addiction and mental issues have become intermingled, it might be necessary for the addiction treatment facility’s staff to prescribe what is known in the treatment community as “dual diagnosis therapy.” We will discuss that in more depth below. After identifying circumstances that require addiction treatment professionals to deal with addiction at multiple levels, we can safely answer the titled question below.
Is Addiction Treatment Based on Physical Symptoms or Mental Ones?
The quick answer to the titled question is both. There is both a physical and mental component to each drug or alcohol addiction. On the physical side of the ledger, it’s necessary to focus on the client’s physical dependence on their drug of choice, as well as addressing the client’s impending withdrawal symptoms that are likely to appear after the client has gone through a short period of abstinence. On the mental side of the ledger, therapists will need to concern themselves with the client’s welfare on two levels.
First, they will need to focus on the root causes of the addiction. In all likelihood, there’s going to be some type of personal problem with a mental component that’s driving the addiction. Second, they may have to give additional focus to the existence of a co-occurring disorder as we discussed above. Let’s take a look at how client’s are given treatment for both physical and mental issues.
Addressing the Client’s Physical Issues
Upon entering rehab, the client’s physical condition is going to demand immediate attention. The body’s physical dependence on drugs or alcohol is going to get tested within hours of the client’s last dose of drugs or drink of alcohol. A decision about the client going into a detox program has to be made in short order. If the client does enter a detox program, the will be allowed to go through withdrawal under the care of medical professionals. As things progress, the focus will be on getting good food into the client and putting them on an exercise program to help them manage the damage that’s been to their bodies. If the withdrawal symptoms become painful and uncomfortable, a doctor will be standing by to prescribe relief medications. After dealing with the physical component of treatment, the client heads off to therapy.
Addressing the Client’s Mental Issues
The whole point of therapy is to teach the client about their addiction, namely, what it is that’s causing the client to self-medicate themselves in order to deal with day-to-day life. As long as the client is willing, to be honest about their personal circumstances, there’s a good chance the root causes of their addiction will come to light. Once that happens, the client’s therapist will have the opportunity to select the right therapeutic options to address the client’s mental issues. To reiterate, basic therapy is the starting point. If there’s an embedded connection between the addiction and a mental disorder, dual diagnosis therapy becomes the treatment methodology of choice. Dual diagnosis therapy is a treatment methodology that allows treatment staffers to treat co-occurring conditions at the same time.
It is almost always necessary to employ this particular treatment methodology with co-occurring conditions in order to prevent an untreated condition from interfering with any progress made treating the other condition. Failure to identify such situations and treat them accordingly is a surefire recipe for chronic relapses. Your curiosity about addiction treatment is a good indication you are ready to seek help. We can assure you we are in a position to help you. While we’ll figure out which treatment methodologies to employ, we need you to call us at 302-842-2390 so we can begin the process.