How is addiction treated?

What is an addiction?

Addiction is neither a weakness of character, nor a lack of will. It’s also not a consequence of one’s choice of entertainment. Addiction it is a serious illness. The good news is that there are successful treatment concepts for this disease.

Which method of treatment of addiction is correct?

Addictions are individual, and that is why there is no single right approach to curing them. In Switzerland, when treating addictions, the mental state and social conditions of the patient are always carefully assessed. This allows the doctors to provide the most effective treatment in each individual case.

What is included in outpatient addiction treatment?

The first place you can turn to in case of dependence are self-help groups or outpatient addiction clinics. Such counseling centers help at every stage of addiction – be it the desire to get rid of it, the sense of guilt or an emergency. Outpatient treatment makes sense especially in the case of a psychological addiction, which is not related to the use of psychotropic substances. However it  is always beneficial to seek counseling so that you can be referred to the right specialist and/or the correct clinic.

What is included in inpatient addiction treatment?

For all addiction types with physical withdrawal symptoms, inpatient dependence therapy begins with so-called detoxification, or detox for short. Typical withdrawal symptoms after drinking alcohol, taking drugs or medications can include agonizing anxiety, severe pain, circulatory fluctuations, hallucinations and convulsions. These symptoms can be mild, but sometimes serious and even life-threatening.
Inpatient treatment is necessary, since detox is often associated with severe withdrawal symptoms. In the hospital, these symptoms can be alleviated medically. In addition, nursing and regular check-ups ensure that there will be no complications.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

A proven “weapon” against addictions is cognitive behavioral therapy. In short, this form of therapy focuses on group discussions where the dependence is described, discussed, and where patients can understand its essence. Based on this understanding, new behavior patterns are developed. Both elements – understanding and practice – are supported by suggestions and rules in dependence clinics. For example, to ensure that clients are accustomed to a normal daily rhythm, patient days usually have a fixed schedule from the morning to night.

The participation in working groups supported by the therapist is mandatory. This rethinking of the everyday structure is especially important among consumers of illegal drugs. Professional therapy, sports, art courses and/or mindfulness exercises help patients to learn to feel their body again.

How is addiction linked to other mental problems?

Many addiction disorders are associated with mental illnesses, such as depression, borderline personality disorder or psychosis. That’s why an additional focus of inpatient dependence therapy is the treatment of these diseases. Statistics show that almost every second addict (46 percent) suffers from anxiety disorders or mood disorders, such as depression.

Is addiction always treated successfully?

There is no 100% guarantee for any treatment. However, the chances of recovering from addictions are high. The patients who are recovered can be rehabilitated in 70% of cases with the help of the optimal treatment that was undertaken in the early stages of the addiction development, given that relapses are detected and compensated at an early stage.

However, the benefits of purely physical detoxification without accompanying psychotherapeutic measures are questionable. About 90% of patients experience relapse within one year, so it is important to accompany physical treatment with mental support.