The Stages of Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a complex disease associated with a variety of causes, effects and complications. And due to the complex nature of this illness, treatment can involve a number of methods and approaches. For example, in addition to addressing the physical effects of substance abuse and addiction, a successful recovery requires psychological treatment, as well.

Detox in Fresno CA
Detox in Fresno CA

Keep reading to learn more about the stages of addiction treatment, including information on methods, effectiveness and more.



Detoxification, or detox, is a process that rids the body of addictive substances. Typically the first stage of inpatient care, detox is often associated with the onset of withdrawal symptoms, especially among patients suffering from alcoholism or addiction to heroin or prescription drugs. Though uncomfortable, withdrawal symptoms are usually benign; however, in some cases, detox can result in more serious effects like dehydration, spikes in blood pressure, seizure, delirium and an increased risk of stroke.

Because of the dangerous complications associated with detoxification, undergoing this process in a safe environment is crucial to health and well-being. During a supervised, inpatient detox, trained professionals can assess the patient’s needs, and provide treatment, accordingly.

Also, during detoxification, some patients may need additional medical treatment. Long-term addiction can result in various effects on physical health, some of which may require medical attention. For example, since drug and alcohol abuse can impact the function of the heart, kidneys, liver and digestive system, medication and other therapies are often needed to address these issues.


Psychological Treatment

The causes and effects of substance abuse and addiction are deeply rooted in the thoughts, behaviors and experiences of users; therefore, effective treatment almost always involves intensive psychological care. Designed to help patients explore their issues with addictive substances, addiction counseling can provide advantages like the following:

  • Counseling can help patients build coping skills, which will promote healthy problem-solving abilities, without the crutch of addictive substances.
  • Therapy can help patients learn to identify and avoid addiction triggers, which are people, places or events that induce cravings for addictive substances.
  • Counseling can help uncover underlying mental illnesses, which can contribute to substance abuse and addiction. For example, individuals with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder often use drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating symptoms; when these underlying illnesses are properly treated, patients no longer have the desire to self-medicate.
  • Talk therapy can help patients address the source of their problems with drugs or alcohol. Many factors can influence a person’s decision to use addictive substances. Whether it’s peer pressure, low self-esteem or some sort of trauma, counseling can help patients work through the causes of the addiction, and promote lifelong health and sobriety.


In addition to one-on-one counseling, addiction treatment can involve other types of talk therapy, as well. For example, many rehabilitation facilities offer the following types of addiction counseling:

  • Group therapy. When it comes to promoting a healthy recovery, group therapy can provide the accountability and peer support necessary to achieving and maintaining sobriety.
  • Family counseling. Addiction can have a significant impact on familial bonds and relationships. Family therapy can help repair some of this damage, as well as enhance communication skills and promote a deeper understanding of substance abuse and addiction.
  • Followup counseling. While inpatient care can help patients lay the groundwork for a healthy, sober future, many individuals need continued care and support. With aftercare or followup counseling, the odds of recovery are significantly improved, as this treatment method reinforces the healthy habits learned in inpatient care, and provides continued support to recovering addicts.

Addiction is a serious illness, which, if left untreated, can have a severe impact on physical health, psychological well-being and overall quality of life. Thankfully, with the treatment methods listed here, recovery is possible. If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of substance abuse or addiction, don’t wait in seeking the treatment necessary to a healthier, happier life.



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