There are many organisations that provide help in treating addictions.

Your GP is a good first point of contact. They’ll be able to provide you with help and advice and recommend specialist addiction services, both nationally and locally.

Treatment for addiction focuses on the individual and their needs. Talking therapies and medication are recommended treatments.

It’s important to involve family and friends in supporting you to overcome your addiction, unless you feel this would be detrimental to your efforts.

Advice and information is provided by non-specialists such as GP surgeries and accident and emergency departments. This should include:

  • information about drugs and alcohol, and their effects.
  • advice on reducing and giving up drugs and alcohol.
  • information on reducing the potential harm from drug misuse, such as injecting more safely and preventing overdose.
  • how to get help for drug problems.
  • how to get help for other problems, such as housing and sexual health.
  • information for carers, partners and families of drug users.

Self Help groups (often referred to as Mutual Aid) at its most simple level, mutual aid can be described as people with similar experiences helping each other to manage or overcome issues. What it infers is a system where people come together with their peers to build a network of support.

There are many models of mutual aid, with varying approaches and set ups for different cohorts of people. The most widespread are the ’12-step’ fellowships (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Families Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous etc), but there are also SMART Recovery Groups, Intuitive Recovery and Secular Organisations for Sobriety, to name but a few. These supportive networks span the country, at times and in places where a large number of people can access support.

Some people’s journey to recovery takes them straight to mutual aid; for others, their journey goes via the ‘formal’ structured treatment system or doctors, nurses and counsellors. Either way, mutual aid groups provide an immense opportunity to offer the kind of supportive environment needed to help individuals recover and to support them in the long term – as well as giving them the opportunity to support others.

 Community prescribing is specialised drug treatment in the context of a care plan. It is provided as part of primary care, by a GP with an interest in drug misuse or a doctor in a specialist drug treatment service. Where clients receive the treatment may depend on the seriousness of their problems, how long they have been in treatment or how stable they are. Community prescribing can include:

  • stabilising a client on substitute drugs.
  • prescribing substitute drugs, such as methadone and buprenorphine, for a sustained period (maintenance prescribing).
  • prescribing for withdrawal (community detoxification).
  • prescribing to prevent relapse.
  • stabilisation and withdrawal from sedatives, such as Valium and Temazepam.
  • prescribing for assisted withdrawal from alcohol, where appropriate.
  • treatment for stimulant users, which may include prescribing to help relieve symptoms.
  • non-medical prescribing (by nurses or pharmacists)

Counselling is not to be confused with basic advice and informal support. It should be carried out by a trained and competent professional and be included in a client’s care plan. Counselling needs to be formal, structured – with clearly defined treatment plans and goals – and regularly reviewed. Psychological therapies can include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), coping skills, relapse prevention therapy, motivational interventions and family therapies).

Structured day programmes usually run a set series of activities for a fixed time period (for example 12 weeks). Clients attend these services according to a set attendance level (usually 3-5 days a week), as set out in their care plans. There is a timetable of activities which will either be the same for everyone, or be set individually for clients according to their needs. Programmes often include group work, counselling, education and life skills, and creative activities.

Detox is known medically as “assisted withdrawal” and involves a stay as an inpatient. Most people receiving detox are given medication to help clear their bodies of drugs. The inpatient treatment can also include stabilisation on substitute medication, emergency medical care for drug users in crisis, and in some cases treatment for stimulant users. As well as the inpatient treatment itself, other services may be available, such as preparation for entering inpatient treatment, counselling, help with alcohol problems, harm reduction and treatment for blood-borne viruses. Inpatient treatment is provided in:

  • general hospital wards (usually psychiatric wards)
  • specialist drug inpatient units (a whole ward or unit specifically for drug treatment)
  • residential rehab units with attached detox units to help people come off drugs before entering the main rehab programme.

Clients are normally admitted into inpatient treatment through community drug services. It is important that people leaving inpatient treatment receive proper support to maintain the positive changes they have made and prevent relapse.

Residential rehabilitation (rehab) usually involves clients staying in a facility for weeks or months and a complete break from their current circumstances. Rehabs normally have a mixture of group work, counselling and other practical and vocational activities. There are several types of facilities:

  • traditional rehab units, with programmes to suit the needs of different service users. Different units have different approaches, for example therapeutic communities and the 12-Step programmes used by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Most of these take clients from all over the country.
  • crisis intervention units (usually in urban areas) that help people in drug-related crisis. These are generally shorter stay units.
  • residential treatment programmes for specific client groups, for example pregnant women, people with liver problems and clients with mental illness. These may require joint initiatives between specialist.
  • drug services and other specialist inpatient units.
  • “second stage” or “move-on” supported accommodation, where some clients go to after rehab.
  • other supported accommodation, with the rehabilitation interventions (therapeutic drug-related and non-drug-related interventions) provided at a different nearby site(s).

As with inpatient treatment, clients will generally access rehab through community services. People entering rehab will usually have gone through detox before entering. This detox could be somewhere else, for example in a hospital, or in the community or at the rehab itself, if it has an attached detox unit.

Aftercare is support that is planned for when clients leave structured treatment. The aim is to maintain the positive developments clients have made in their treatment, and help them return to normal life. Examples include help with housing, education, employment, general health care and relapse prevention.

We understand here at Beacon Counselling Trust that recovering from addiction is a very personal journey. We do our upmost to offer a wide choice of therapies, best suited to the clients needs, where there is an evidence base of success. From our research we have found that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnotherapy to be highly effective and can offer these services in addition to our Counselling services.

EFT has been known to eliminate both the craving and addiction in one session, but this is the exception not the rule, more commonly the underlying emotions will need to be identified and addressed. Whilst we strongly reccomend that addiction issues should be addressed with the support of a professional, the client can be taught the basics of EFT and has the advantage that it can be used any time that the client feels vulnerable with regard to their addiction. EFT has shown to be an affective support at all stages of recovery.

Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy used to create unconscious change in the patient in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviours or feelings. It has been shown to be successful with addictions and their drivers. As with EFT it can be used successfully in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities.