Addiction treatment for atheists

Evidence based addiction treatment works for atheists. What can an atheist expect when seeking addiction treatment? We review here.

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Religion and spirituality often play a big part in many addiction treatment programs. While not all treatment programs are affiliated with a religious group, many programs incorporate religion or spirituality into addiction treatment itself. Because of this, atheists often feel uncomfortable to join substance abuse rehab along with other populations, which decreases the chances of a successful recovery.

So what are some addiction treatment alternatives that work for atheists?  We review here and invite your questions about evidence based addiction treatment at the end.

Atheists and addiction treatment

Generally, atheists have two choices when they need addiction treatment – search for non-religious addiction treatment programs, or choose a treatment program and ignore the religious aspects. Either way, addicted atheists will have a hard time, and only have a few options.  Some options for atheists seeking addiction treatment include:

Traditional addiction treatment programs – Typically, traditional addiction treatment programs will incorporate some spiritual aspects into recovery. For instance, a vast majority of addiction programs incorporate Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) into recovery, which requires some spirituality and prayer. Addicted atheists in AA, however, do not necessarily need to believe in a god. They are encouraged to come up with their own version of a Higher Power. Although these types of rehab programs are typically easiest to find, they may not be the best option for atheists.

Psychological outpatient treatment – As a general rule, there is little room for religion and spirituality in hard science. This is one of the reasons why psychological outpatient addiction treatment may be a good choice for some atheists.

Secular addiction treatment  –  Secular addiction treatment is a type of treatment that uses a logical and fact-based approaches to recovery rather than spiritual or religious support. Different type of secular addiction treatment may include inpatient, outpatient, and group therapy. These types of treatment programs are generally perfect for atheists, but they may not be available in all areas.

Atheist drug addiction treatment

Like other types of drug addiction treatment, atheist drug addiction treatment must incorporate some very important steps to ensure a successful recovery. These steps typically include screenings and assessments, detoxification, treatment, and aftercare.

  • Screenings and assessments

Any successful addiction treatment program starts with a screening and assessment, and atheist drug addiction treatment is no different. Addicts are first screened to determine if they may be suffering from a substance abuse disorder. An assessment is then done to determine the extent of a person’s addiction and decide the best type of treatment. During this time, atheists should make their desires for a non-religious type of treatment known.

  • Detoxification

Many addicted individuals should consider going through the detox process in a dedicated detox facility. This greatly reduces the chances of a relapse in an effort to relieve withdrawal symptoms. In a detox facility, medical professional can also make addicts more comfortable and help relieve uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

  • Treatment

The best type of treatment during atheist drug addiction treatment should be secular in nature, meaning without any type of religious or spiritual aspects. This can include individual behavior therapy with a licensed mental health professional and non-religious group therapy.

  • Aftercare

Aftercare is imperative to addiction treatment success. Once a person completes a treatment program, going back into a world filled with temptation is difficult, to say the least. Addiction aftercare often includes weekly outpatient therapy sessions, and may even include vocational training or a stay in a transitional living facility, or halfway house. This gives recovering addicts the chance to slowly enter back into society and reduces the shock of this transition.

Atheist addiction treatment barriers

The most common reason why atheists don’t seek addiction treatment is denial – they don’t believe that they need it. However, even atheists who know that they need and want to seek addiction treatment still have a number of obstacles that they need to overcome in order to enter addiction treatment. Fortunately, many of these atheist addiction treatment barriers can be overcome with a little perseverance and the right attitude. In fact, these atheist addiction treatment barriers must be overcome if a person is to get into treatment and lead a sober drug-free life.

  1. Family responsibilities
  2. Fear of stigma involving addiction treatment
  3. Financial barriers
  4. Inability to find a non-religious treatment program
  5. Lack of insurance

Addicted atheists

Finding suitable treatment for addicted atheists can be difficult at times, but it is possible. In fact, thousands of atheists do it every year.

The first place to start when trying to find treatment for addicted atheists is a medical professional or facility. This includes family doctors, mental health professionals, nurses, clinics, and hospitals. Not only can they diagnose and assess a person with an addiction, but they can also refer them to a suitable treatment program.

Addicted atheists may also find the substance abuse treatment facility locator on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website extremely helpful. This locator can be used to find local addiction treatment facilities that offer a variety of services, including payment assistance and detox.

Atheist addiction questions

If you or a loved one is abusing drugs and an atheist, addiction questions and concerns can be left in the comments section below. Your questions will be answered quickly, as we believe that all of our readers should get the help and answers that they need as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: NIH: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
Clinical Perspectives: 12-Step Participation as a Pathway to Recovery: The Maryhaven Experience and Implications for Treatment and Research
NCBI: A focus-group study on spirituality and substance-abuse treatment
Silkworth: A Humanist Alternative to A.A.’s Twelve Steps
SAMHSA: Find Facilities Near You
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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