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Getting Professional Help: Addiction Is Treatable but You Can’t Do It Alone

Photo: Courtesy of Maranatha Pizarras

“The disease [of addiction] is chronic and entirely treatable,” says Marvin Ventrell, executive director of National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), a treatment center trade association.

For nearly 40 years, NAATP has been an addiction resource for addicts and their families. They say the “way out” of addiction is through education, quality addiction services and strong law and public policy advocacy.

Ventrell calls treatment an ongoing “continuum of care.”

“You can’t treat chronic disease on an episodic basis,” he says. “There’s no ‘done.’”

Getting help

Treating addiction is more than kicking a habit. It’s biological, psychological and social. Addicts need to stop both the body’s craving for and the mind’s obsession with the substance; plus, they need peer support.

The NAATP website has an extensive list of treatment center providers. “Treatment is not one size fits all,” says Ventrell.

Addicts can seek treatment close to home or away. Programs include day treatment and intensive outpatient, as well as residential programs.

While getting clean is different for everyone, rehab generally includes detox, treatment, medication, group and individual therapy and educational sessions, as well as step down care and integrating back into life.

Look for a well-established treatment center that’s licensed and accredited. While centers are not required to be accredited, it’s a good thing. Centers should be transparent and willing to show information about its location and staffing.

Ventrell says opiate addicts do well in long-term residential treatment centers and typically receive Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which can include drugs like Suboxone. MAT can remove the drug craving but block the high.

Staying Sober

“You have to continue to put recovery at the forefront of your life,” says Ventrell, explaining over 25 million Americans are in recovery in the U.S. right now.

“You can’t do it alone,” he says. “You can’t stay well on your own.”

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