Why Is Structure Important for Addiction Treatment and Recovery?

structure in treatment and recovery

Recovering from substance abuse and addiction requires focus, discipline, and commitment. This applies to the people receiving treatment services as well as those who care about their recovery and the professionals who treat them. Addiction recovery is an investment for everyone, and structure helps facilitate it.

Addiction takes a lot away from people, including their ability to follow order that keeps them organized and functioning in the world. A structured recovery program provides the stability people need to see how and where they need help and then guide them in regaining control of their lives. It can help keep people in recovery on track, moving them toward their sobriety goals. 

Addiction treatment and recovery require a lot of time, money, and resources. A great deal is on the line, so a program with clearly outlined stages of recovery and treatment approaches can help someone see what they will need to do and make them feel like they can do it. No matter what the treatment setting is or what stage of recovery someone is in, a structured rehab program will ensure patients undergo a rehabilitation process that puts their needs first at all times.

NIDA’s Treatment Principles Give Programs Structure

structure in treatment

If you are considering entering a rehabilitation program to address your substance use, it will help to know if your potential program offers treatment that follows the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s Principles of Effective Treatment. NIDA’s 13 principles not only form an effective treatment program, but they give programs a road map that lets them know how they can offer professional care and support that brings favorable results for those serious about leaving addiction behind.

Among these principles are:

  • Ensuring the patient’s treatment plan is tailored to their needs and regularly reviewed so that it addresses the patient’s current needs at all times.
  • Offering treatment that addresses any mental health disorders
  • Providing counseling and behavioral therapies to help the patient address the non-physical parts of substance dependence
  • Ensuring the patient can enter treatment quickly.
  • Ensuring that their drug use is monitored closely during treatment

Following these treatment principles and others can help people in recovery determine which program suits their needs. Facilities will also offer programs that treat everyone as the unique individual that they are, ensuring they don’t offer cookie-cutter treatment programs, which would not fit everyone. 

Structure Brings Accountability and Credibility to a Program

Before starting any rehab program, it is important to do your research and find out what the facility offers. The facility should be accredited with licensed rehab professionals who adhere to professional standards and evidence-based practices to help people overcoming substance abuse and addiction. You should know what their credentials are and how they factor into your treatment program.

A treatment facility should be able to clearly explain its overall admissions process as well as how it provides treatment on the continuum of addiction care. Structure provides clarity for the patient and helps them understand what the recovery process entails. It also makes it easier to understand the financial costs involved in a treatment program, including what’s covered and how your money is being used to pay for the services you receive.

Structure Helps People in Recovery Start Over

One of the benefits of receiving professional help with recovering from addiction is how it can help someone learn or relearn what it’s like to have a daily routine that keeps them grounded, involved, and engaged in their lives. For many people, abusing substances took them away from actively living their lives. Instead of taking care of themselves in important ways, they instead focused on taking the next alcoholic drink or seeking the next drug high. Time is needed to repair these old ways of existing.

A structured recovery program aims to help its patients reconnect to themselves and learn how to manage their lives before they return to the outside world to live on their own.

Structure in recovery can provide guidance for:

  • Developing a daily routine. Establishing a routine for everyday living must happen early in recovery, so participating in a program that offers scheduled days can help people learn discipline and consistency. It teaches people how to plan their day, make decisions for themselves, and keep their minds on their goals. It also keeps them away from the possibility of picking up drugs and alcohol again. Schedules should make the most of the day with some time to relax, too.
  • Practicing self-care. Relearning how to care for oneself in basic ways is important when leaving behind a life of substance abuse. A structured recovery program encourages putting time aside for personal care and grooming. A renewed focus on the self is a benefit of rehab programs. Feeling good about yourself can go a long way on the road to recovery.
  • Getting the right amount of rest. A residential treatment program most likely will have a set bedtime to ensure recovering patients give their bodies the downtime it needs to restore itself. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are hard to pass up. Patients can go to their therapy sessions and other activities feeling refreshed and alert. They also can give their bodies rest that helps them fight off sickness. Mayo Clinic advises that adults get at least seven hours of sleep or more. Many structured rehab programs establish routines by setting a time to wake up and a time to go to bed. Having these start and end times give the day some structure and gets people in recovery used to a routine.
  • Making healthy eating occurs every day. Rehab programs that provide structure build in time for the right number of meals and snacks a day, something people in active addiction probably did not think about. Regular use of addictive substances means the person did not get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they needed. A structured treatment program will emphasize health and wellness in all areas of life, and that includes nutrition and diet. Patients who live on-site in a residential program should get meals that promote a diet that helps the body heal from within. Fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins can help the body fight off disease and infection. 
  • Managing one’s emotions and feelings. Therapy and counseling can help people in rehab understand themselves and others better. They will learn how to recognize triggers and other factors that need to be managed so that they can stay in control of themselves and their feelings. This is important because not controlling these areas can lead to relapse. A structured recovery program that offers a healing, distraction-free environment can aid in people learning skills that can encourage them to manage their stress and address their anger in healthy ways.
  • Improving communication with others. Individual and group therapy sessions that occur in rehab will encourage effective communication. Rehab can also give patients the tools and strategies they need to ensure they are using communication that helps them connect or reconnect with the people around them as well as their families and friends. Addiction often strains relationships or leaves them in pieces. It can take time to reestablish those ties. Meaningful communication can help them express their thoughts and feelings. It can also help them understand other people’s perspectives and feelings, as well. Structured rehab programs make time for therapy sessions that build patients up in areas they need help with.
  • Making new friends and forming new ties. Now that people in recovery are starting over,  they may also be starting over by having to meet new people and getting to know them. This can be challenging if you’ve gotten used to self-isolating or perhaps don’t trust as easily as you did before. Structured rehab programs offer support groups, such as 12 step groups and many others, to encourage people in recovery to form healthy, beneficial friendships that can help them as they create a new life in sobriety. Meeting like-minded people who understand the struggles of addiction and recovery is a benefit of joining a rehab program that understands what life is like for people who are starting over.

Addiction Programs Can Offer Help in Other Areas

Depending on how your program is structured, you may be able to find post-treatment assistance with aftercare services. Aftercare ensures that people who are new to recovery aren’t left on their own during this critical time. People need time to adjust to rejoining society after being in a treatment program.

This involves transitional housing after your rehab program ends, such as a sober living home. You also may be able to get help with finding full- or part-time employment so that you can take care of your bills. Some programs also offer help with life skills, such as teaching how to manage your personal finances or cook or grocery shop. These are all things you will need to know when you are caring for yourself after treatment. 

If you require services that your program doesn’t generally offer, you can always ask for help with finding resources that will help you as you pursue your recovery.

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