How does an addiction clinic work?

There are different ways of approaching the addiction disorder, proposing different forms of action depending on the characteristics of the individual or the phase of intervention.

It is essential to perform a good intervention on drug addict patients, since this condition can lead to other more serious disorders both physical and psychological. There are 4 main phases of intervention in patients with a certain type of addiction: detoxification, which consists of stopping drug use or adopting addictive behavior; habituation, reduction of bad habits; rehabilitation, training in new or existing skills and social reintegration.

In this article We will talk about the different ways to treat drug addict patients and how clinics work to treat these disorders..

    What is the treatment for addiction?

    The addiction treatment clinic is a center where people with substance abuse problems go to detox and maintain abstinence, i.e. non-consumption. The patient can stay in the center, day and night, in the center for a limited period of time, in order to allow him to have no more contact with any substance and to remain non-consumed or can be treated without admission.

    Likewise, the patient will be able to receive personalized attention and by professionals from different fields, since a multidisciplinary work is carried out, to ensure the well-being of the subject. Thus, the intervention received by the individual is very complete, focusing not only on the level of physical and psychological health, but also valuing other variables that can facilitate the social reintegration of the subject, such as the level of training and preparation for the work environment. .


      Dependency is understood as a chronic disorder that tends to persist if no intervention is done. In other words, addiction alone does not go away and we must take action and apply treatment if we want to end it. The serious consequences of substance use make the treatment of disease even more important if we are to prevent more serious disorders.

      These disorders can be both physical and psychological. The first group would be the case of heart disease, lung disease or cancer, as well as an increased risk of contagion by blood-borne diseases, by sharing needles, such as HIV or HIV. Hepatitis C ; in terms of psychological disorders, it has been observed a greater relationship between mood disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, or psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

      It should be borne in mind that there are currently other types of addictions in addition to drug addiction, such as addiction to gambling, new technologies, shopping, the addictions that we now call behavioral today.

        Operation of clinics to treat addictions

        There will be different ways of intervening in drug addicts, through more or less intensive treatment, whether or not requiring admission of the patient. We will select the best way to intervene based on the characteristics of the individual, or their preferences.

        Whichever method is chosen, the treatment aimed at overcoming addiction is divided mainly into four phases.

        1. Detox

        The first step in treating addictions is to stop using the drug, this process is called detoxification. The action must be complete, that is, the subject must completely stop using the substance or stop engaging in addictive behavior, for example, stop gambling. In this phase, it will be important to carry out intense follow-up and support for the patient, through the intervention of a specialized doctor. in the treatment of addiction.

        It is also common to complete the treatment with a pharmacological intervention that allows to reduce and better support: the withdrawal syndrome, with the administration of benzodiazepines, which are a type of anxiolytic or anticonvulsant; Craving, which refers to the feeling of needing the drug, can be treated with naltrexone, used primarily in opiate addiction, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which is a type of antidepressant.

          2. Deterioration

          Once the phase of abandonment of addictive behaviors has passed, it is necessary to intervene in the patient to eliminate bad habits, bad habits that led him to consume. Changing routines associated with drug use or addictive behaviors to establish better, healthier lifestyles away from environments that make it easier for the subject to satisfy the addiction.

            3. Rehabilitation

            Reduction of bad habits and bad behaviors, it is important to train with the disciplinary skills that he already had but lost and new ones that allow him to achieve better integration. It is also possible to work on ways to cope with states that the subject may very likely be experiencing, such as anxiety about drinking, lack of impulse control, social skills, communication, l assertiveness and problem solving.

            Individual and collective sessions can be organized, in groups, to facilitate the relationship with other subjects.

            4. Reintegration

            The ultimate goal of any substance abuse treatment is ensure that the subject is reintegrated into society and can live functionally. In this way, we will analyze and value the environment of the subject, his friends, his relatives… To be able to intervene and improve any type of alteration or misconduct observed.

            After the detoxification treatment, the patient must remain linked to the clinic, from where he will be monitored and supported whenever he needs it. At this stage, it is also important to address any fears and worries that may arise in the subject to the new life that arises without the drug or addictive behavior.

              Modalities of intervention

              As we have seen, there are different areas to be treated, so it is necessary to apply different types of intervention. We will see how they can be more or less intensive, whether or not other subjects intervene, focus specifically on addiction, or introduce other conditions as well.

              1. Outpatient procedure

              Outpatient treatment allows intervention without the need to admit the patient to a center; in this way, it is less intensive, but it also allows therapy to be applied and patient control to be maintained.

              It is a good option for subjects who are in the early stages of addiction, subjects with strong willpower and self-control, or for people who have left the rehab center and need additional follow-up. We see how it can work as a pre or post entry step.

              2. Intake intervention

              As already mentioned, this is the most intensive mode of intervention, which consists in completely separating the subject from his environment and thus reducing any risk of consumption. A standardized and multidisciplinary treatment will be carried out in order to detoxify the patient.

              In this case, the whole life of the subject is altered, since he must leave it for a while to live day and night in the center, but with much more complete attention, being able to be supported at all times and surrounded by a safe. environment, with all the necessary equipment and professionals at your disposal.

              3. Individual intervention

              The intervention carried out individually with the patient will be fundamental and very important, because it is the subject himself who must take responsibility for coping with the situation and stopping the addiction.

              Different areas will be worked on using different techniques such as: behavioral, drug-related behavior modification and achievement pleasurable activities without resorting to an addictive substance or behavior; cognitive disorders, which will address maladaptive and irrational drug-related beliefs, as well as possible fears; and pharmacological, we have already seen that the use of drugs is useful especially during the early stages.

              4. Group Intervention

              Group intervention, with other subjects who are or have experienced similar situations, It is a good treatment option to perform in a complementary way to individual therapy. In this way, the patient will be able to feel supported, to see that he is not the only one to have this problem and will be able to share his feelings, as well as advice that will have been useful to him.

              Group therapy also makes it possible to work on social skills, communication, see how the subject reacts to other individuals, thus facilitating the transition to social reintegration.

              5. Family and couple intervention

              One factor to consider when performing the intervention on subjects with some type of addiction is the social, family and friendly environment. In this way, it will be important to work on the problems that may exist in the different social relationships of the patient, to reduce the risk of a possible relapse.

              We will also try to involve rehabilitation in the immediate environment so that they can cooperate and assist in the recovery of the individual. It is important to inform them of the different phases and steps to follow, especially the people who live with the patient. Similarly, when the subject breaks with the environment linked to addiction, it is also necessary to move away from subjects who are bad influences, subjects who continue to have addictive behaviors.

              6. Double entry

              It is common to see that drug addict patients also present with other types of mental disorders, being the most common personality disorders, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders. In these circumstances, we must intervene both assignments. One of the most effective therapies has been integrated, which combines both treatments in a unified program.

              Bibliographic references

              • Becoña, E. and Cortés, M. (2010) Handbook of addictions for psychologists specializing in clinical psychology in training. Socidroalcohol.
              • National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018) Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).
              • Srivastava, A., Hardy, K., Kahan, M. & Clarke, S. (2021) Facilitating rapid access to drug treatment: a randomized controlled trial. Addiction science and clinical practice.

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