Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in treatment programs?

Everyone entering treatment receives a clinical assessment. A complete assessment is needed to help treatment professionals offer the type of treatment that best suits each patient. The counselor may invite you, as a family member, to answer questions and express your own concerns as well. Be honest - this is not the time to cover up your loved one’s behavior. The counselor needs to get a full picture of the problem to plan and help implement the most effective treatment. Based on the assessment, the counselor may refer your family member to a physician to decide whether he or she needs medical supervision to stop alcohol or drug use safely.

Although treatment programs differ, the basic ingredients are similar. Most programs include many or all elements presented below:

  • Assessment – helps in the development of an effective treatment plan
  • Medical Care – may be provided on-site, or doctors and nurses may go to the program site. The patient may also be referred elsewhere for medical care
  • Treatment Plan – a written guide that includes the person’s goals, treatment activities, ways to tell whether a goal has been met and a time frame for meeting goals
  • Group and Individual Counseling – Individual counseling focuses on motivating the person to stop using drugs or alcohol, then on helping the person stay drug- and alcohol-free. Group counseling is different in each program, but group members usually support and try to help one another cope with life without drugs or alcohol
  • Individual Assignments – may include reading assignments, listening to audiotapes, completing written assignments or trying new behaviors
  • Education about Substance Use Disorders – symptoms and effects of alcohol and drug use on their brains and bodies
  • Life-Skills Training – can include employment skills, leisure activities, social and communication skills, anger and stress management, goal setting, and money and time management
  • Testing for Alcohol or Drug Use – urine samples for drug testing and/or a Breathalyzer to test for alcohol use
  • Relapse Prevention Training – training teaches people how to identify their relapse triggers, cope with cravings and develop plans for handling stressful situations, and what to do if they relapse

Many programs use medications to help in the treatment process. Although no medications cure dependence on drugs or alcohol, some do help people stay abstinent and can be lifesaving.

Follow-up Care (Also Called Continuing Care)
Follow-up care is very important to successful treatment. Once a person is back in his or her community, in school or at work, he or she will experience temptations and cravings for alcohol or drugs. In follow-up care, your family member will meet periodically with a counselor or group to determine how he or she is coping and learn ways to deal with the challenges of recovery.

Just talking about your problems sometimes leads to new solutions. If you or someone you know needs information, guidance or help, call our Respond program at 1-800-366-1132. Respond offers confidential, caring assessments and referrals for individuals dealing with problems related to mental health issues and substance abuse. If you or a loved one are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 immediately.