Rehab Vs. Self-Help: Deciding When to Seek Professional Treatment

Addiction can be a huge problem affecting all areas of the victim’s life. In most cases, addiction victims may not notice the changes until they’re deep into the rabbit hole. Deciding to get help is an incredibly aware decision to make, however, you’d need to decide between self-help programs and formal rehabilitation treatments.

Both self-help and formal rehabilitation programs have proven resourceful, however, the success rate differs. You can check out Pacific Ridge homepage to learn more about how formal rehabilitation services have greatly impacted addiction victims and helped them remain sober.

To help you decide between formal rehabilitation and self-help, you need to understand what each means and how they key into your addiction treatment needs.

What Is Rehab Treatment for Addiction?

Rehab addiction treatment, also known as formal addiction treatment, is one that is delivered and coordinated by trained professionals. This type of treatment happens in rehabilitation centers or clinics, counseling centers, and related facilities.

Most formal addiction treatment centers are heavily regulated, which means they offer evidence-based treatment approaches and programs. The treatments are also based on tried and tested principles and approaches based on treatment data and process results.

Exploring rehab or formal addiction treatment allows patients to experience treatments like;

  • Addiction therapy
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehab programs
  • Counseling services
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Monitored or medically assisted detox program
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Individual and group therapy

Fundamentals of Rehab Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment via formal therapies are focused on ensuring that patients get the help needed to live a clean and sober life. The treatment is often designed in phases or stages, ensuring that patients have the prerequisite to help them stay away from the abused substance.

While formal addiction treatment centers may differ by name, therapies, or processes, the fundamentals of their treatment service is based on the guidelines defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The guideline includes;

Physical Wellbeing: Addiction treatment starts by focusing on the physical wellbeing of the victim. All physical damages are treated while addressing withdrawal symptoms.

Mental Health: The victim’s mental health is also a great asset, especially as there are often co-occurring disorders. Programs will address mental illnesses and substance abuse simultaneously.

Social Skills: Addiction treatment focuses on equipping patients with the right social skills to keep them healthy and away from abused substances. This can further improve recovery and reduce relapse.

Triggers: Addiction victims are helped to understand their triggers and work on them. By doing this, they can easily beat the temptation that led to addiction.

What is Self-Help Treatment for Addiction?

Unlike formal or rehabilitation treatment, self-help programs are self-guided and rely on the commitment of addiction victims. Interestingly, many addiction victims started off their treatment this way.

Self-help programs are not entirely structured in that addiction victims may join a fellowship of people with similar problems, for example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Such programs do not rely on scientific treatment plans or regulated structures, instead, they rely on social and peer influences to help members remain sober.

It is important to note that self-help programs can be seen as a subset of what is offered in the formal setting. This is because the formal treatments incorporate counseling which can be individual or in groups, as part of the treatment plan.

Some of the common examples of self-help addiction treatment options available include;

  • 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Secular recovery groups like Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) meetings
  • Addiction recovery resources like books, DVDs, and tapes.

Rehab vs. Self-Help Addiction Recovery Treatment: What Research Says

Choosing between self-help and rehabilitation treatment for addiction is usually not a big debate, especially as many people have already started their self-help journey. However, knowing what the other side offers or does differently can help you make a better recovery decision.

According to the limited research available on self-help vs. formal addiction treatment, data shows that about 26% of people attending programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) will remain a member for at least a year. An organization providing such self-help services also revealed that almost 33% of its members have stayed sober past the 10 years mark. However, there have been other studies disputing the success rate and reducing it to as low as 5%. The discrepancies in the data is often due to the anonymous nature of such self-help treatments.

On the other hand, formal treatments show better results with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) being rated as the best formal addiction treatment.

Patients who have combined both self-help and formal addiction treatments are also twice as likely to stay sober than others in self-help treatments.

With the data available, addiction victims stand a better chance of getting the desired results either by combining self-help treatments with formal rehab treatments or by choosing rehabilitation treatments.