There are many lines of thinking when it comes to the precise number of stages in the treatment and recovery processes. Some institutions consider the stages to be identical for both treatment and recovery, while others distinguish between the two. One evidence-based approach divides treatment into four distinct stages, each with its own guiding principles and risk factors. These stages are:
- Adjustments to Treatment
- Early Treatment
- Middle-Stage Treatment
- Late-Stage Treatment
One of the keys to successfully avoiding relapse is viewing addiction as a chronic illness that requires ongoing care. Long-term support, leadership, and vigilance has proven key to securing the best outcomes for those who suffer from substance use disorder.
The Four Stages of Treating Substance Use Disorder
Adjustments to Treatment
Different people have their own reasons for developing an addiction and their own requirements to get better. Before moving forward with treatment, it’s important to set realistic goals and create a unique plan tailored to the individual. Furthermore, care providers must understand that improvement is often a non-linear path and that many people will suffer a partial relapse before achieving long-term recovery.
The early stage represents the transitionary phase from not being in treatment to beginning treatment. In general, people typically don’t enter this stage of treatment of their own volition. Rather, friends, family, or the legal system will mandate that they enter treatment. Mandated rehab is a contentious topic, and it also means that early-stage treatment must set about convincing people that getting clean has value.
After middle-stage treatment, the client is no longer involved in an inpatient care program. While they no longer have traces of the drug in their system, they’ll still be struggling with the immediate after-effects of drug abuse. For instance, those who abuse stimulants will suffer from reduced blood flow to the brain for weeks or months, which will impair decision-making abilities and make it harder to stay clean. In this period, it’s important that the patient makes frequent use of group therapy such as DBT therapy and that they work to repair the social damage of addiction. Building an enduring, rewarding support network is key in making it to late-stage treatment.
During late-stage treatment, the patient has learned how to identify and prevent the behaviors that cause a relapse. While this doesn’t mean that relapse never happens, it does mean that any relapse which does occur will offer new information. If a person reaches the late stage of recovery, then relapse is often indicative of trauma, mental health issues, or other problems. By treating these conditions, patients can return to and thrive in late-stage treatment.
Call Alter Behavioral Health
Drug addiction can seem like an insurmountable challenge at times, both to the afflicted and their loved ones. No one wants to be an addict, but it can seem impossible to break free from substance use disorder. This is where Alter Behavioral Health enters the equation.
We combine evidence-based treatment, community resources, and compassionate service to help treat the whole person. In doing so, we assist people in freeing themselves from drug addiction and undermine the appeal of drug abuse as escapism and a coping mechanism. If you need help beating drug addiction, Alter Behavioral Health can help.