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Addiction Therapy in Alaska
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Addiction Therapy in Alaska

Substance abuse addictions are unfortunately common in the present day, with people becoming addicted to a wide range of legal and illegal substances, in addition to behaviors such as gambling and shopping. Addiction is a complex condition that develops over time due to changes that occur in brain chemistry, and addiction therapy in Alaska is often necessary to help addicts overcome these changes in behavior and in the brain. Many forms of addiction therapy are available in Alaska, including detoxification, counseling, psychotherapy, medications, and a range of alternative therapies.

Inpatient and Outpatient Addiction Therapy

When a serious addiction develops to substances such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, or prescription opioid painkillers, it is almost impossible to break free of the addiction without help. Withdrawal symptoms appear when the addict stops taking the substance, and these can range from extremely uncomfortable or distressing, to life-threatening. If the addiction is severe, inpatient therapy is advisable. In some cases, inpatient treatment is not possible or desirable, and many rehabs offer the same therapy options on an intensive outpatient basis.

The first treatment is medically assisted detoxification, and many different options exist in Alaska, including in smaller cities such as Hoonah and Fort Wainwright. During the detox period the patient is gradually weaned off of their addictive substance, while medicines are prescribed to reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and curb the intense cravings.

Addiction therapy in Alaska continues after detox with a mix of therapies tailored to each individual’s needs. A dual diagnosis may be made if any mental illness or mental health disorder is present alongside addiction. If a dual diagnosis is made, therapy begins for these conditions at the same time. Treatments often include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and group, family, and individual counseling. Alternative treatment programs, such as meditation, restorative yoga, art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy, and recovery support are available at many rehab centers in Alaska.

Individual, Group, and Family Therapy

Individual, group, and family therapy play important roles in addiction therapy in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Individual therapy is face-to-face counseling with a trained psychotherapist who can help the patient to understand how and why they became addicted, and tease out all the underlying problems associated with the addiction. Many addicts have been victims of child abuse, for example, or suffer from some other form of post-traumatic stress. Depression and anxiety are common, and mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia may be involved. Individual counseling can uncover the root causes of the addiction, which helps in developing a plan to remain free of addiction in the future.

Most rehabs in Alaska run group therapy sessions, in which a number of recovering addicts meet with a psychotherapist to share their experiences. Group therapy provides participants with support and encouragement, and empowers them as they learn to help each other. This is important because low self-esteem and feelings of helplessness are common among people who develop addictions.

Another important form of addiction treatment is family therapy. Addiction can have disastrous effects on everyone close to the addicted person, and family members can unwittingly enable the addiction to continue. Family therapy helps members to understand the family dynamics and interactions, and teaches them about the processes leading to addiction. It also teaches the family to recognize the steps that lead to relapse.

Relapse Prevention Programs

After the rehab treatment has been completed, the recovering addict usually continues drug addiction therapy with membership of recovery support and relapse prevention groups, such as SMART Recovery or a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The skills learned during inpatient or outpatient treatment and in support groups can help the recovering addict to avoid relapse, remain free of addiction, and live a full and balanced life. If you or your loved one is battling an addiction, reach out to an addiction specialist today for more information about addiction therapy in Alaska.