Driving under the influence is a frequently committed crime in the United States. In fact, DUI arrests make up about one third of all substance-related arrests.
While a DUI may be linked to other concerns, such as a substance abuse disorder, it’s possible to quickly intervene through enrollment in a treatment program, and thereby prevent repeating the offense.
Is treatment needed for a DUI offense?
Those with their first DUI offense may avoid repeat offenses by considering the benefits of professional treatment for substance use. Just because you’re open to considering treatment doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be put into inpatient rehab right away. Especially for those with a first time DUI, treatment may look different than for someone with more than one DUI on their record.
This is where the treatment assessment comes into play. The assessment takes many things into consideration, including:
- The person’s personal background, including their history of substance use and criminal history;
- The circumstances of the offense;
- The frequency and intensity of alcohol and/or drug abuse;
- Coexisting mental health conditions;
- Other personal information, like physical health, employment and current living situation.
An assessment determines if any of these factors means a higher risk for repeating offenses.
Based on the assessment, court-mandated treatment for DUI offenders will vary regarding levels of care, frequency and length. Some offenders may require a brief course of treatment lasting one or two sessions. Other DUI offenders may require multi-faceted programs lasting a few weeks to several months. Some offenders may need long-term inpatient rehab with aftercare.
The benefits of substance use treatment
When you receive a DUI, a lot of emotions are likely present, anywhere from denial to disappointment in the situation. Shame and guilt may also be present, but instead of viewing the situation as something entirely shameful, it can be helpful to view it as a learning lesson.
Treatment can help improve one’s outlook on this situation, helping individuals move forward with their lives and adopt healthy habits in place of old, dangerous ones. Treatment and/or counseling also offers many other benefits, including:
- Identifying and/or preventing a developing substance use disorder;
- Helping lessen the severity of one’s court sentence (proactive DUI treatment shows you are taking the matter seriously);
- Providing alternative, healthy coping mechanisms to substances;
- Educating about the dangers of substance use.
Treatment also is a key preventative measure when it comes to relapse, which means that, when taken seriously, treatment for a first DUI offense may be the only treatment needed for some individuals.
What kind of DUI treatment is right for me?
Every instance involving a DUI is different, as each person and their background is different. This means that treatment for each client will also be different in order to meet the needs of each client. However, it’s likely that treatment centers, including Rehab After Work, will use at least some of the following treatment modalities:
- Mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings;
- Medication assisted treatment (MAT);
- Dual diagnosis treatment when substance abuse and mental illness coexist;
- Individualized counseling sessions with a therapist;
- Group meetings with a therapist;
- Inpatient residential substance abuse treatment;
- Partial hospitalization program;
- Outpatient substance abuse treatment;
- Intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment;
- Aftercare programs;
- Sober living homes.
Based on the results of the completed assessment, each client will be assigned the program treatment program in line with their needs and recovery goals.
Treatment: solution or penalty?
Driving under the influence poses a grave risk to the public, and there is widespread support for strict DUI enforcement and punishment. State legislators and law enforcement agencies attempt to strike a balance between support for meaningful consequences as deterrents and rehabilitation as drivers.
However, while fines, license suspensions and imprisonment do temporarily allow the individual to feel the consequences of their actions, the root of the problem isn’t addressed in these tactics. The best way for a first time DUI offender to truly receive help and prevent the problem from reoccurring is through holistic treatment.
Treatment shouldn’t be viewed as a punishment, but rather an opportunity to discover any underlying issues or mental health conditions that can lead to more serious alcohol or drug abuse. As a result, treatment helps to heal people and create safer communities.
If you have been ordered to seek treatment by a court, or have voluntarily chosen treatment to avoid a prison sentence, consider Rehab After Work, a premiere drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Pennsylvania. If you are a PA local looking for DUI treatment, contact our admissions department today at 610-644-6464.