Psychotherapy and rehabilitation

Naltrex Zone Special Hospital's treatment of addiction disorders is based on the latest scientific achievements in the field of addictions. The final goal of our approach is to completely reintegrate the patient into a natural and functional life. This is why psychotherapy and rehabilitation are the essence of treating people who suffer from all kinds of addictions.

The beginning of a psychotherapeutic treatment is a cornerstone of the success of the whole treatment. In all patients, it refers to the use of a therapy model known as "Relapse Prevention".

Encouragements to go on with taking drugs and alcohol are around the person, but also inside himself/herself. Every man's brain is dependent on what frees him/her from even the lowest stress in the easiest possible way. The personality, therefore, is a kind of a thrall to this fact. As long as the brain does not experience the effects of drugs and alcohol, this dependence is physiological (normal) and it is maintained by incentives such as food, socialising, sex, sport, and great personal satisfactions (hobbies). Once it gets familiar with incentives stronger than normal (i.e. drugs and alcohol), no brain will forget this. All the time during an active addiction (addictive disorder), the brain, like a computer, lists these options first, as the best mechanism for relief. When the drug use is stopped, the brain gets hungry for what it most needs to provide a more than sufficient amount of the anti-stress hormone dopamine. This is when it starts "playing" with the whole body and personality by creating symptoms of an abstinence crisis, which is felt intolerable. Essentially, almost nothing happens in the body apart from fast oscillations of blood pressure and an accelerated transfer of ions on the membranes of the nerve cells. Still, this is convincing enough to provoke a feeling of very strong discomfort. Completely breaking the habit of tolerating even the least possible amount of emotional stress or physical stress (pain), is the core of all the discomfort of the withdrawal syndrome. Anyone who has never experienced this will logically pose the question: "But how is it possible that you cannot beat this with your will, or endure it?” However, uncontrollable hunger for dopamine is stronger than any logic. Consequently, the person suffering from an addictive disorder has lost any possibility of resetting the above-mentioned computer called brain and of thus providing again his/her "small satisfactions" with dopamine.

Abstinence truly heals. It slowly pushes the strongest dopamine incentives towards the last places, while it restores to the first places other satisfactions as normal incentives. Every idea of a possibility of deleting forever the memory of the strongest incentives ("engrams") is a misapprehension. At the beginning of the treatment, it is a relief for both the patients and their families to hear that something like this is still possible and to believe in it. However, it is precisely in this domain that the base for a successful treatment is made. By trying to offer success to the patients, we will tell them the truth although it does not sound as the consolation they expect. Relapse prevention, as an introductory method of the treatment and abstinence insurance, is a set of techniques that make it possible to recognise all kinds of outside and inside temptation which could "convince" the brain that it is strong enough to resist them. The feeling of strength and control in relation to drugs and alcohol is real at the level of fortifying will as a psychical function, but it is very false at the level of the way in which the brain feels through its senses the presence of drugs and alcohol. How our own brain is going to deceive us is the subject of working on recidivism prevention.

After the end of working on relapse prevention, the patient is ready to deal with subtler mechanisms of the functioning of their own personality through methods of group and individual psychotherapy. In the period of an active use of addictive substances, the person stopped maturing and growing up. This process has been halted, but can be restarted and additionally strengthened. After experiencing a professionally and properly led psychotherapy, many patients claim that they would probably have never been concerned with themselves in a similar way had it not been for their addiction problem. This, of course, is not the promotion of addiction, but it is a fact. Similarly, with another kind of problem, the personality does not mature if it is in a way addicted to certain people, situations, and bad activities.

In parallel with relapse prevention and further psychotherapy, an ideal treatment is also completed with a family psychotherapy. Our team includes educated family therapists, who help all the members of the patient's family to understand the reasons for the emergence and maintenance of the problems, and to acquire the skills necessary for overcoming them together.

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