7 Benefits of Residential Treatment for Addiction Recovery
With some 40.3 million Americans estimated to have a drug or alcohol use disorder, substance abuse treatment and addiction recovery are increasingly necessary. Yet, in 2020, just 4 million people sought out help, and nearly 50% of those only through self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Despite that low treatment rate, behavioral addiction treatment is the most effective form of treatment. And, for anyone with a moderate to severe addiction residential care shows more promising results and better short-term outcomes for quitting and withdrawing from drugs and alcohol.
While many addiction treatment programs shifted to virtual and telehealth services due to the Covid19 pandemic, there are still many reasons why you’d want to attend residential treatment instead. That’s why some 70% of treatment centers still provide residential care. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, treatment options vary. But, it’s always a good idea to get a recommendation from a counselor when deciding.
1. Detox Services
Detox involves the medical monitoring and management of withdrawal. You cannot have full detox services in a non-clinical environment. While, in some cases, you can go to a detox clinic for only the detox period, most services are part of residential care facilities. This allows the medical staff in question to monitor your health when you quit drugs and alcohol and also over the immediate 30-90 days after – where you’re most susceptible to delirium tremens, PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and other long-term side-effects.
Detox services mean you get the benefit of medical experts managing your physical and mental health during withdrawal. This can include medication to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms. It can also include emotional and psychological support to deal with the anxiety and cravings that come up during withdrawal.
2. Ongoing Guidance
In outpatient care, most people get one touchpoint with a therapist and doctor per day – sometimes per week. Those touchpoints can help you to get over addiction by offering you the support you need. But, in residential care, you’re living around the nurses, counselors, and therapists taking care of you. They are constantly observing your behavior, your progress, your lack of it, and where you’re struggling. That additional access to care can make a big difference to anyone who’s struggling in treatment.
It can also mean you get updates to programs or to treatment faster in response to setbacks, to behavioral issues, etc. And, most importantly, it allows your medical caretakers to see how you’re doing all the time, which makes it harder to put on a false front of doing well just when you go into treatment. That can be important, especially for women, who often resort to simply lying about their wellbeing to their doctors.
And, that ongoing guidance means you have access to professional care when things get bad. If you’re having a bad night, cravings hit, or depression strikes, you can get support. That’s not something you can normally do outside of maybe having the option to call via phone in outpatient care. While it’s not necessary for everyone, it can be immensely helpful to many.
3. Letting Go of Stress
Stress is one of the major contributors to both addiction and relapse. Therefore, most people with an addiction can be expected to have major sources of stress in their life. Whether that’s family, work, trauma, or otherwise doesn’t matter. Attending outpatient treatment often means continuing to deal with that stress while getting help. And, that can create immense barriers to finding motivation, energy, and mental space to respond to treatment. For many people, coping mechanisms cannot be learned from a point of high stress.
That’s why many residential treatment centers take the approach of removing patients from their home environment completely. This reduces exposure to drugs and alcohol. It also reduces exposure to responsibilities, interpersonal relationship difficulties, commute, and work that might trigger that person. It allows you to build a base of coping mechanisms from the lowest stress environment possible. While no residential treatment center will be completely stress free, you will step outside of the stress caused at home, which can make a huge difference in treatment.
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4. Access to Peers
In outpatient groups, you get some access to peers. In most cases, you’ll have most of your meetings with a group class. In inpatient care, you’ll spend at least some time living with your peers. That means sharing a room, sharing community areas, playing games, doing sports, and otherwise actively engaging in treatment and care together. That can give you more insight into addiction, into the motivations of getting clean and sober, and can give you more social accountability to get and stay clean.
Re-socializing is often and important part of addiction recovery. Substance use disorders push people into isolation. Many people push those around them away, avoid people they care about, and build up walls around themselves to avoid feeling guilt, shame, or accountability. Reversing that pattern often means investing in others and starting with people who are unlikely to judge you – your peers – is extremely helpful.
5. Access to Complimentary Learning
In outpatient care, you normally get a few hours of treatment per day. This is often taken up by group and one-on-one treatment with occasional music or art groups. In residential treatment, you have to fill the full day. That means moving back and forth between behavioral health treatment, group therapy, and complimentary treatment like stress management, art and music, exercise therapy, and more. These aren’t necessary as part of treatment, but they can help you to build the skills to better cope with life, responsibilities, stress, and cravings when you leave treatment. Residential treatment has the time to offer that.
For anyone concerned about their career, professional reputation, or personal reputation, going to outpatient treatment is often a bad idea. While there is some merit to being open and honest with your community and working to build a better version of yourself that way – that’s not always an option, especially for working professionals. Residential treatment is often remote or out of state, allowing you to attend treatment in complete anonymity.
7. Personalized Care
One of the largest benefits of residential treatment is that you get constant access to medical and psychological professionals. That close contact allows your caretakers to assess your wellbeing over the course of the program to deliver truly personalized care. And, depending on the facility, that might include changing up treatment, it might include offering motivational therapy, it might mean switching you on or off of medication assisted treatment. However, you will get updates to the treatment based on how you’re responding.
In addition, it also often means ongoing access to aftercare and sober living or even job placement, based on your condition when you leave the treatment facility. Your caretakers will get to know you and will be able to offer the insight and custom treatment you need to get the most out of your time in addiction recovery.
While residential treatment isn’t the right call for everyone, it can be a good choice for many. With reduced stress, options to get additional classes, and more points of contact with staff, and more personalization for programs, there are a lot of benefits.
Either way, getting into treatment is still the most important first step. Hopefully, you or your loved one can make a choice that works well for your needs.