People may reach out for help when struggling with alcohol dependency or drug addiction. The best way to break free from any form of drug or alcohol abuse is through inpatient treatment, followed by continued recovery in a 12-step or other recovery program.

Addiction Treatment Services offers guidance and hope for those seeking freedom from substance abuse. Here’s how to evaluate if a 12-step program is right for you or your loved one.

Understanding the 12-Step Program

Drug and alcohol use changes the way the brain functions. It permeates every aspect of life in ways a person often may not realize. Twelve-step groups teach members how drugs and alcohol have affected the way their minds make decisions and how to analyze the reasons they turned to substances when faced with problems.

The program focuses on accepting that addiction is a chronic disease the individual can’t control. Thus, the participant must surrender control to a higher power, seek support from other individuals in recovery and attend regular meetings.

Alcohol Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and many other support programs use the 12 Steps of Recovery, which help more than 5 million people every year. These programs address a wide range of addictions and psychological disorders.

12-Step Advantages

US Addiction Treatment Centers 12-Step Programs Statistic - ATS

Everyone is unique, so there’s no one option that’s appropriate for every recovering addict. Choosing the right program is critical to recovery, so weigh all the alternatives to decide which one best meets your needs.

Here are some of the advantages of 12-step programs:

  • They are widely available. Seventy-four percent of U.S. treatment centers use some form of a 12-step program, according to an estimate by American Addiction Centers.
  • Their availability makes them convenient. You’ll likely find what you need close to home.
  • Aftercare aligns with treatment. After you leave your treatment facility, you’ll probably be able to find a support group in your hometown.
  • They’re sometimes less expensive than other treatment options. Most major insurance plans cover treatment at 12-step-based rehabilitation centers. Since they use volunteers to lead sessions and support those going through treatment, the program doesn’t cost much to implement, and the savings are passed on to the patients.
  • They are widely accepted. Most people know about the basics of these programs. It’s the only recovery support program many people recognize.

12-Step Disadvantages

While 12-step programs are convenient and affordable, they aren’t perfect. Here are some disadvantages:

  • Such programs don’t support dual diagnosis. Many people who face addiction also struggle with other mental health disorders: Depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder may be what led to the addiction in the first place. If programs don’t treat the underlying condition, the patient may relapse.
  • Volunteers, not professionals, run these programs. You’ll find people who know your addiction firsthand because they’ve struggled with it themselves. However, most don’t have any professional training or expertise with psychology or mental health issues.
  • Twelve-step programs aren’t personalized to individual needs. Oftentimes, one-on-one therapy with a professional is necessary for long-term recovery.

An Alternative: Non-12-Step Programs

Many very effective treatment programs use models that don’t follow the 12-step model. While 12-step programs promote the idea that the individual is powerless to control addiction and in need of help from a higher power, alternative treatment programs teach self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Some choices include SMART Recovery and Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Here are some of the positive aspects of alternative rehab programs:

  • Many use evidence-based psychology. Most offer certain therapies tht treat underlying mental health issues. This makes them effective for people with dual diagnoses.
  • They offer more access to mental health professionals. More therapists and counselors mean more personalized treatment.
  • They offer a variety of choices. Women for Sobriety deals with issues unique to women. SMART Recovery helps members modify their responses to environmental and emotional stresses. Some programs offer amino acid injections to reduce substance cravings. Most treatment seekers can find a program tailored to their needs.

The Disadvantages of Non-12-Step Programs

There are significantly fewer alternative programs, so they’re more difficult to find. As there are fewer programs, patients may not be able to find facilities or aftercare options close to home. Because these types of programs are not as well known, they’re less likely to be covered by insurance.

How to Choose the Right Option

With so many differences between the two models of addiction treatment, it can be difficult to decide which is the best fit is for yourself or a loved one. That’s where Addiction Treatment Services comes in. We help people seeking treatment sort through all the details.

We help families navigate through the addiction treatment process, from intervention and understanding insurance costs all the way through aftercare and ongoing treatment. If you’re seeking treatment, Addiction Treatment Service’s experience can help you find the road to success.

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