Sometimes you have to go inward to find a way out
Effective inpatient drug rehab facilities value comradery and friendship. Recovering addicts needn’t be alone. Modern inpatient recovery isn’t solely about treatment. It’s about community.
Integrated inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs have become popular—and for good reason. They work. Group therapy is recommended to those who’re able to share common experiences, but anyone seeking sustainable recovery can benefit.
Inpatient drug and alcohol rehab is much more than individual discovery. In many ways, an individual suffering from drug addiction needs to reintegrate with society. Both the early stages of recovery and long-term sobriety benefit from community-centric inpatient drug rehab facilities.
From start to finish, a patient engaging a recovery program deserves the understanding of others. A surprising number of studies prove the effectiveness of communication and group companionship during recovery. Let’s discover more.
Does Group Therapy Work in Drug Rehab?
Today’s inpatient drug rehab facilities are supported by years of science. Substance abuse rehabilitation programs emerged from social psychology developments—as well as psychiatry—in the 1940s. By 1948, leading behaviorists like B.F. Skinner discussed the effectiveness of self-control development by using positive and negative reinforcement, rather than punishment.
His work resulted in later research on group processes—which was used to create the “baseline” of group therapy. Group therapy, in general, became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Alcoholics Anonymous, a mutual aid group, began in Ohio in the 1930s. Today, AA is one of the most influential alcohol addiction treatment groups in existence.
While both AA and NA are preferred by some, new advancements have resulted in alternatives to the typical 12-Step Process of recovery. Modern community-centric addiction recovery models are quite successful, keeping the “core” of traditional programs while promoting a higher degree of communication.
Community Support in a Non-12-Step Environment
The 12-Step Process refers to a treatment philosophy used by many inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers. Some treatment centers even operate under the same group therapy models B.F. Skinner discussed back in the 1940s. While we’ll be focusing on non-12-Step community rehab, it’s still important to understand the roots of community-based rehabilitation in general.
In the past, 12-Step methods—and similar methods—focused on promoting personal growth. This personal growth arises from adhering to group rules, engaging daily activities and supporting the community.
The 12 steps, themselves, can be different depending on the program. At their core, however, the 12 Step process focuses on admitting powerlessness, making a decision to overcome addiction and constantly working to better oneself.
The 12-Step process was a landmark recovery method. This said, modern programs have come a long way. By working on the core intent of the 12-Step Process, recovery experts have come up with highly effective treatment alternatives.
Surprisingly, 12-Step Groups and group therapy are very different. Group-centric addiction recovery programs are much broader. Each recovery session is also led by a therapist. Members are encouraged to share feedback and advice, more often than in 12-Step Programs. As a general goal: Group addiction recovery therapy serves to break addiction’s barriers, confront problems and work through denial.
This communal aspect is incredibly valuable, as it surpasses regular 12-Step boundaries. While 12-Step groups may not allow for advice-giving, communal addiction recovery programs let suffering individuals not only share their experiences but discuss them.
The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Group Addiction Recovery
An inpatient drug rehab center which offers group addiction recovery therapy puts the patient first. Seeking addiction treatment is frightening. In most cases, ongoing support is critical to assure long-lasting wellness and health. Once the physical side of addiction is addressed, the mental side of it needs to be treated.
Acceptance and Comradery
Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment is comprehensive, but it doesn’t necessarily breed acceptance and comradery—which are very important factors in addiction recovery. A report supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism concluded that addicted individuals living in collaborative housing have a higher rate of addiction recovery than those not living in a community-based treatment center.
For both addicted patients and their loved ones, inpatient alcohol treatment—as well as drug treatment—works much better in a group setting. This is because group settings are places of acceptance. They breed comradery, showing the addicted individual they’re not alone. Instead, they help recovering addicts feel accepted.
Some support groups even teach addicted individuals self-empowerment exercises. These exercises use face-to-face meetings to teach scientifically supported mental and physical tools to patients. With addiction recovery as a common goal, these patients can then engage the other aspects of an inpatient drug rehab center.
While emotional support may be similar to acceptance and comradery, it’s notably different. Inpatient alcohol treatment centers, particularly, thrive on emotional support. Similarly, an inpatient drug rehab center utilizes emotional support to help recovering addicts understand their value to the world.
Inpatient drug treatment centers, like inpatient alcohol treatment centers, offer intangible resources. This emotional support can help recovering addicts seek advice—which is an important step to recovery. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health supports this: Peer support greatly benefits addicted individuals—not at every level, but at the vital communication level.
Alongside research, technology has helped inpatient alcohol treatment centers, as well as drug treatment centers, have an “always on” environment. Some recovering individuals may want to experience the emotional and mental benefits of an addiction support group—but they may be unable to attend meetings. Or, they may be in a remote area with no support group access.
In these cases, online support can help. Community-centric treatment can still be an option, even if inpatient alcohol rehab, or drug rehab, isn’t. Between online chat groups, message boards, phone support groups and video messaging, many opportunities exist.
Providers like Daily Strength have even created lists of online-only support groups. These groups, while not inpatient-based, can still be effective. This said, we still recommend contacting alcohol inpatient treatment centers if you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction. Similarly, we suggest contacting an inpatient drug addiction center if you or a loved one struggles with other addictive substances.
Co-Evolving Around Recovery
Researchers have spent decades testing the psychological and emotional systems at play within group recovery environments. These systems, present in most inpatient alcohol treatment centers, are becoming more prevalent in other substance abuse treatment centers.
As the research shows, residents with recovery-related behaviors, attitudes, and social relationships can co-evolve. The effectiveness of collaborative housing doesn’t necessarily depend on the individual’s substance addiction type, either. Many alcohol inpatient treatment centers are sharing this information with drug-primary centers, helping providers care for suffering individuals.
A close integration of community support and substance use treatment, many believe, is the key to relapse prevention and long-term recovery alike.
An Overview of Group Addiction Recovery
Group therapy addiction treatment, whether as part of an inpatient alcohol rehab program or otherwise, is unique in several ways. While inpatient alcohol rehab treatment will differ from other substance treatment, most community-centric programs are similar at their core.
- Group addiction therapy lets patients share experiences.
- It can consist of as few as three to four members.
- It can even consist of over 12 members.
- Group therapy sessions are typically held once, or twice, per week.
- Each session typically lasts around two hours.
- Group addiction therapy is more effective in inpatient settings.
Much like the traditional 12-Step Program, group addiction therapy will differ on a center-to-center basis. For example, while some alcohol inpatient treatment centers may focus on family in group settings, other alcohol inpatient treatment centers may focus on job-related topics.
What Is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is defined by specific counseling forms used to relieve, treat and prevent psychological disorders—including substance abuse. Substance-abuse-related group therapy normally requires regular sessions. During these sessions, multiple patients are treated for the same issue. Group therapy can take place in several settings, including:
- A mental health clinic
- A community center
- A hospital
- A private practice setting
Of course, most group therapy sessions take place at the addiction treatment center itself. Group therapy, first and foremost, helps recovering addicts process their situation. It also helps them share information and experiences with one another. By learning how to avoid destructive behaviors, recovering addicts can prevent relapse.
Which Addictions Can Benefit from Group Therapy?
Group therapy can target a number of addictions, including:
- Alcohol addiction
- Prescription pain medication addiction
- Opiate addiction
- Stimulant addiction
- Depressant addiction
- Antidepressant addiction
- Recreational drug addiction
Each group therapy session is custom-tailored to the patient’s needs—as well as their community’s needs. By placing similar individuals in the same environment, an addiction recovery counselor can better engage every person. They can also better influence group participation.
Other Aspects of Community-Based Recovery
Community-centric addiction recovery programs don’t end with group therapy. Many programs help recovering individuals manage their addiction with skill development workshops. Some may organize community meet-ups, outings and days for recreation.
Once a community’s members become acclimated to a group, an online group may be used to enhance the overall experience. From detoxification to aftercare, however, a community’s addiction treatment resources take a highly social approach.
Because recovery never ends with an inpatient program, many addiction treatment centers help recovering addicts network once they’ve left. To prevent relapse, an addicted individual must constantly strive to better themselves. They must also seek healthy, sober relationships. In some cases, connecting with previous program community members can help.
Community-based recovery is highly experiential. It often includes aspects of adventure therapy, exercise, group activities and more. It can be difficult for a recovering addict to readjust to everyday society. It can also be difficult for them to prevent relapse once they’ve left a highly productive environment.
Community doesn’t necessarily end when a patient leaves the center. It continues well beyond initial detox and treatment—giving recovering individuals the support system they need to continue a life of health and sobriety.
Is Community-Based Treatment More Effective than Individual Treatment?
In the United States, one in 10 people over age 12 are classified with either a substance dependence or addiction. Because addiction thrives in isolation, community models of treatment can indeed be more effective.
Community treatment models integrate many resources—from medical to behavioral—to combat anonymity and emphasize the importance of support networks. Humans are fundamentally social, and addiction erodes this social nature. In the past, anonymity may have inadvertently promoted the stigma of addiction.
Community-based treatment goes beyond “therapeutic punishment,” or the idea that the disease of addiction is something the individual is morally responsible for. Addiction is incredibly complicated. Often, detoxification isn’t enough. Patients must be taught other skills. They must be trained, educated and socialized. Once they leave an inpatient program, they need to find a job. They’ll need to create a resume, network and thrive within their environment.
A lot of treatment programs lack this real-world integration, which can result in patients never fully recovering. Fortunately, new solutions have been spawned from past efforts. Between online groups, group therapy and addiction recovery networks, patients have more options than ever before.
Addiction recovery needn’t be engaged alone. By re-integrating with life, patients can become re-interested with it. Once they’ve become acclimated to a healthy community, they can be held accountable for their actions. Encouragement, positivity, and communication go a long way—and they’re being used to combat many of the age-old problems of addiction.