Addiction is a disease that affects more than physical health. It hijacks one’s brain to fundamentally alter one’s perceptions and worldview. These personal, varied effects of addiction demand a similarly varied approach to recovery. However, knowing what treatment modalities to utilize for each individual and how to gauge their success can be challenging to manage, especially as many different people continue developing their own, highly-individualized approach to their sobriety.
Addiction’s Personal Roots
While many symptoms of addiction can be easy to identify — such as missing work, inability to manage time or finances, or adopting tendencies toward self-isolation — there are also several other effects of addiction unique to each individual. One’s environment, social and familial relationships, and personal and professional goals are all hallmarks of a person’s individuality. Acknowledging the unique ways addiction manifests within these aspects is just as important as tackling its more overt consequences.
However, it also means that each person needs a unique approach to their future. Not all strategies will be applicable or effective for each individual. Being aware of the different modalities available can keep each dynamic unique and equally progressive toward one’s sober goals while in a center for drug and alcohol treatment.
Establishing Communication Strategies
Communication is essential to define, refine, and individualize one’s therapeutic approach to addiction recovery. However, it is also a significant barrier, especially to those just beginning their journey. Establishing effective communication strategies as early as possible is instrumental in finding the most effective treatment modalities for each individual.
Utilizing talk therapy is the most common treatment modality. However, mirroring word choice and language styling can create newfound connections and ease understanding. Being attentive to a patient’s linguistic choices, such as “soda” and “pop,” for example, can add a degree of verbal comfort to ensure one feels heard and understood. For those just beginning their sober journey, being met with an entirely new lexicon that feels more illiterate or uncomfortable can significantly stunt one’s communication ability, even affecting one’s desire to pursue the sober path.
However, there are also instances in which talking may not be the best form of communication, either due to discomfort or difficulty in articulating inherently complex concepts, such as one’s swirling emotional state or aspects of identity. Being open and able to create other forms of communication is essential. Exploring more written forms of communication and allowing patients time to edit their language on a page through journaling or other artistic endeavors are equally valid forms of communication.
Promoting effective communication for a patient’s feelings is essential to determine the effectiveness of particular therapeutic modalities. Continuing to personalize these communication strategies informs the use or alteration of other treatments. This is also necessary to inform what other strategies may be pertinent to each individual.
Utilizing effective communication strategies during talk therapy can help patients continue to inform topics for discussion. It can also help identify which treatment modalities are needed, such as the need for trauma-based practices, such as EMDR or somatic experiencing, that may be uniquely pertinent on an individual basis.
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How to Identify Effective Treatments
Not all treatments will be equally applicable and effective. However, there are tells that can help determine when a treatment approach is beneficial or when it may be appropriate to explore other options. These include:
#1. Sharing Beyond the Question
Especially in early recovery, silence can dictate much of the atmosphere. Even if one is asking a simple question, being met with simple, straightforward answers is common as an individual’s discomfort and stress become palpable if a patient just wants the inquiry to stop.
However, as an individual begins to share more information beyond the presented question, it is a sign that they are taking to a particular individual approach or are comfortable in a specific communication strategy. The willing sharing of a personal story, joke, or anything else that expands beyond the once simple, sparsely-worded responses can all indicate progress.
#2. Setting Personal Goals
Goal setting is a complex skill that requires individuals to identify where they are currently in their recovery and where they would like to be. Setting these goals for oneself is a testament that a particular treatment modality is introducing the concept of a sober lifestyle and a sense of possibility backed by a rewarding, tangible future that is indicative of further growth in one’s sobriety.
#3. Introducing Strategies Individually
It can be tempting to introduce multiple treatment plans simultaneously to see what sticks. However, this can also complicate the ability to measure the success of any individual strategy, muddling the efficacy of any one approach. Instead, introducing a single approach and paying attention to one’s body language, the development of emotional resilience, or seeing if the approach has helped create any new, personal perspectives or ideas once compromised by addiction can be more effective.
#4. Embracing a Spiritual Component
Spirituality is a significant part of the recovery process. It isn’t based on religion but rather a belief in oneself and others, all working to dictate new goals and mantras. Meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices are all essential spiritual components.
An individual’s levels of duress, anger, frequency of crises, or other hurdles in their continued sobriety can inform if a particular approach isn’t just effective for addiction but is working as a wholly transformational approach to one’s new lifestyle. Embracing spirituality and exploring how each individual defines it can inform effective treatment practices regularly while also being an essential way to gauge one’s overall success and dedication toward a prolonged sober future.
Finding the right strategies for each patient is a significant difficulty for those tasked with guiding others through such difficult times in their lives. Being aware of the signs of successful treatment and acknowledging when such indications aren’t present is a core part of one’s approach to addiction recovery. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the personalized nature of addiction recovery and champion the belief of embracing a patient’s own identity and goals to create their best future with a centered sense of self and spirituality. Our trained professionals approach each patient with a personalized slate using evidence-based and holistic therapeutic modalities to create the most pleasant atmosphere for sobriety and continued recovery outside of treatment. For more information on how you can help individualize addiction treatment for your patients, or to refer a patient to our Hawaii substance abuse treatment center, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.
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