The Pros and Cons of Addiction Treatment Services

Wanda Rice

The Pros and Cons of Addiction Treatment Services

There are many establishments that offer addiction treatment services to people with addictions of all types. From opioid addiction treatment to alcohol addiction treatment, and everything in between, there are many options to choose from when it comes to escaping the harsh chains of addiction.

Of course, everybody would assume that the services available for people that suffer from addiction would always be a good thing, the truth is that although there are many services available that actually want to help people and the communities around them, there are big investment companies that are only out for the money.

What Are Addiction Treatment Services?

Addiction treatment services come in many forms and variations. Depending on the severity of the situation and the substance the person is addicted to there could be a plethora of treatment options available. 

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Detox
  • Counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Introduction to 12-step programs

The end goal of every treatment center should be to get the patient off of the drugs and keep them off drugs for good. In most cases, it takes a healthy dose of all of the components mentioned above to give an addicted person half of a chance of becoming free from their chains.

Many times when a person comes into an addiction treatment facility they are in bad shape. Drugs take a huge toll on the body, and some of them are “physically addicting” to the point that the user can not simply stop using them without getting sick.

People that suffer from alcohol addiction face the terrifying possibility of delirium tremens (DTs) when they suddenly stop drinking. Each type of addiction requires a  specialized approach in order to ensure a safe, and effective transformation from the daily use of drugs to no drugs at all.

Treatment services that focus on addiction are simply services that aid a person in the daunting task of getting free from the addiction of whatever drugs they are hooked on.

Abstinence Treatment vs. Harm Reduction

It is difficult to see the line where profitability and actual help cross. This is where “harm reduction” becomes a blurred topic. 

What is harm reduction?

Addiction is not such a simple issue that one way will best suit everybody. Since every person is different and each has their own perspective of what is “bad” and what is “not so bad” the depths of their addiction may be much deeper than others.

For example, there are people that get drunk one time and wake up the next day with a headache after a night of puking and decide they will never drink again…and they don’t. There is also that other person that every time they drink they get into a fight, go to jail, or wake up the next day with black eyes and bruises but can’t wait to get right back drunk again.

A step further is a person that simply will not, or can not stop using heroin. They will crawl to the ends of hell and back just to stay high. Jail sentence after jail sentence, probation, prison, parole, overdoses, health problems, and so on…they still refuse to stop using the drug.

When people refuse to stop using their drug of choice, in most cases, they result to crimes in order to keep their habit going. Stealing cars, robbing houses, armed robbery, mugging, prostituting themselves, and so on.

The theory of harm reduction is to identify the type of person that refuses to stop using and make a plan to continually provide them with drugs in order to prevent them from causing harm to themselves and the community.

Methadone clinics are places that offer people an alternative to street drugs by providing them with a daily dose of methadone. 

Some plans are designed to slowly taper the dose of the methadone down to such a low level that the person will not feel the effects of an opioid withdrawal. Some plans will allow the person to continue to get their dose every day for an unspecified amount of time.

What is abstinence treatment?

As we explained above, the intent of addiction treatment is to get the person that is suffering from addiction off of the drugs and keep them off of them for good. Abstinence means to totally abstain from all mind-altering drugs. The goal is to be completely drug-free. (Except for prescriptions)

Although both harm reduction and treatment are both different ways of dealing with addiction, one way keeps the person addicted, while the other strives to get the person off and away from drugs.

In some cases, harm reduction is the best solution for the situation. When people are so committed to their addiction the most humane thing you could do for them and the community that surrounds them is to keep them from committing crimes.

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The Pros of Addiction Treatment Services

There are many good things that can come from treating a person that is suffering from addiction. Sometimes people that are struggling with addiction need a little help to push them in the right direction and allow them some space between the drugs and themselves.

The mindset of a person that is under the influence of drugs and one that is not is completely different. Sometimes when the person gets a clear head, off of the drugs, they can gain the strength they need to crawl out of the darkness.

However, in most cases, a person that is struggling with addiction will need all of the help and support they can get in order to refrain from going back and doing the same kinds of things as they were before.

Addiction services can:

  • Help a person stop using drugs
  • Give the person a clear perspective
  • Offer support to deal with underlying issues
  • Show the person a new way to look at life
  • Offer ongoing resources, help, and support

There are numerous people throughout the world that have struggled with addiction and ended up getting off of the drugs and then on to become extremely successful. Actors, musicians, doctors, lawyers, and so on.

The Cons of Addiction Treatment Services

We mentioned harm reduction earlier in the article. As we stated then, in some cases it might be the best solution to keep a person safe. However, there is a point in the process of deciphering which people actually need it, and which ones would benefit more from being completely off of drugs.

What happens with many of these companies that are out to make a profit on people who struggle with addiction is that instead of offering to help get the person completely off of drugs, they will get them into a yearly contract that keeps them on the drug.

If you look deeper into this kind of situation you will find that the people that get daily methadone treatments have insurance that covers the costs. Methadone clinics, and the like, do not give the drugs away for free. They charge the insurance companies and make a whole bunch of money.

While the big profit company sits back and rakes in the cash, they are actually exploiting a bunch of people that might not need to be maintained on drugs. Of course, the companies make it look like the patients are making the choice to do so, but in many cases, it is only because it is the only choice that has been offered to them.

Other issues with getting addiction treatment are:

  • People will only quit using drugs when they are ready
  • The services try to force people to quit 
  • Some services are not equipped to handle extreme cases
  • Not all addiction treatment facilities are good

The only time an addiction treatment center is successful is if the patient allows them to be. What happens is that a person goes through the process and the family has all of these high hopes about how awesome everything is going to be when it’s over only to be let down by the cold reality that the person is not ready yet and they begin using substances again.

In reality, the only true cons of an establishment that offers legitimate assistance with addiction disorder is that it is solely up to the person that is seeking help whether or not the entire experience is going to be successful.

Problems With Untreated Addiction

As hard as it is for people to understand, there are people that suffer from addiction that simply can not stop. The reason for the destructive behavior might be an underlying mental illness that has not been established or diagnosed. There is no way to truly know the cause of the behavior unless the person suffering from it is aware of it.

In any event, a person that is in the throes of an out-of-control addiction can be extremely destructive to themselves and everybody around them. It can be very sad to watch, and even worse to actually experience it.

Whether the person chooses to do crimes to stay high, or peacefully sits alone and drinks themself into oblivion day after day there is a substantial amount of suffering that goes on that will not stop until the addiction is addressed. 

One of the best things that can happen to a person struggling with addiction is to get into a treatment facility that is there to help them get off of the substance and learn how to live without it. Great things happen for people that are able to break free of the ugly cycle of addiction. Horrible things happen to ones that don’t break free. Addiction is a serious problem and anybody that suffers from it deserves a chance to get free.

Helpful Resources:

Illinois Addiction Treatment
Residential Treatment in Houston
Houston Alcohol Detox Program
Addiction Treatment in Maryland Heights

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