Drug Abuse: Symptoms to Look for in a Loved One »
One out of every seven Americans will face a substance addiction. Here are some resources to help you help a loved one, and notice…
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One out of every seven Americans will face a substance addiction. Here are some resources to help you help a loved one, and notice…
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Drug abuse and addiction is a public health issue with serious consequences. From prescription drugs to cocaine, inhalants and marijuana, illicit substances have affected nearly every community and person in some way. But what exactly is drug abuse and how do people seek treatment for this disease?
Making the decision to seek help for drug addiction is a huge step toward improving your health and overall wellness, as well as that of your family and community. But where do you start? There are many options.
Attend a Rehabilitation Program: There are a plethora of rehab options available to people who abuse drugs. You should be able to find one that fits your budget and lifestyle. For a very intensive treatment, try an inpatient rehab program at a facility that is well-versed in addressing long-term addiction. These organizations provide a place for you to stay while you go through withdrawals, as well as medical assistance if it is needed. Drug rehab facilities offer therapeutic programs such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help users address the problems that may drive them to drug use. You'll also be surrounded by others in similar positions who are looking to stop using and seek support, which can be very helpful and inspiring.
1. Intake Process: Every person beginning an inpatient rehab program will go through an intake process. This involves a physical exam from a doctor and a mental exam from a therapist or psychiatrist. These professionals note any mental conditions, like bipolar disorder and depression, as well as physical issues, such as chronic fatigue or multiple sclerosis, which may be affected by drug use. New patients are usually searched to ensure they do not bring any drugs to the facility on their person or in their belongings. Once a patient has undergone the intake process, they will likely not be allowed to have visitors or even talk with friends and family over the phone for a few days. This promotes focus on recovery without distractions. Each facility is different, but after a few days or weeks, patients are typically allowed to make phone calls and receive visitors.
2. Detox: The first week of inpatient drug rehabilitation is often spent detoxing. Most facilities do not host many classes or require users to attend functions at this time, as it is instead spent dealing with the emotional and physical consequences of coming down from drug use. Long-time users may experience intense symptoms such as temporary blackouts, memory loss, depression, irritability, unpredictable mood swings, headache, insomnia, anxiety, nausea and more. Most patients just entering rehab find their first few days are some of the most difficult as they must completely adjust their habits and mindset, all while going through complex bodily symptoms. Physicians supervise this time of withdrawal to address any symptoms that require medical attention. After you have completed the detox phase and there is no more trace of drugs in your body, you will likely begin attending group and individual therapy sessions.
3. Therapy: While in drug rehabilitation, you don't simply stay away from the substance that you've become addicted to. Instead, you will spend your time learning about what triggers your abuse, and how to address urges and make amends. You will also likely attend group therapy sessions where you and other addicts can share your experiences and learn from one another under the supervision of a therapist or psychiatrist. Being in the presence of others who are learning how to restructure their lives after drug abuse can be very helpful. Knowing you're not alone is a huge step, plus you may be able to turn to those in similar situations for advice.
4. Reintegration: Eventually you will need to leave the safety and routine of your inpatient rehabilitation program and return to regular society. This comes with a lot of risks, as you may interact with situations and individuals that triggered your drug use. Before you leave a drug treatment program, you will learn skills to cope in the real world that don't involve turning to drugs. You might learn to walk away from certain individuals or not go to particular places where you formerly used to go. You may also return to the inpatient program facility for outpatient counseling. This helps many drug users to reintegrate into society and still maintain some source of assistance by going to daily or weekly therapy sessions.
Consider an Outpatient Program
Outpatient programs offer similar assistance to inpatient options such as therapy sessions and counseling, but the patient sleeps in his or her own home and is not confined to the rehabilitation center. Some patients prefer this option because it resembles some form of normality and allows them to potentially work and partake in family activities. It is important to note, though, that a person may require more serious, constant treatment than these outpatient programs can offer. If you are considering seeking treatment for drug addiction, discuss these possibilities with your doctor. He or she will help you decide what program is right for you.
Painkillers and Therapy
Some drug users who have been abusing pain medications like Oxycontin or morphine require pain relief but must find it in other ways than potentially addictive drugs. To address this issue, some people receive methadone, a synthetic narcotic. Individuals in inpatient or outpatient programs may use methadone, as can people who are not seeking any formal treatment but are trying to stop abusing painkillers. Your doctor may prescribe a methadone treatment plan if you have chronic pain issues and are recovering from addiction. Methadone can be given intravenously, via a tablet or as a dispersible. Use of this medication is carefully monitored as it can cause respiratory issues when you first begin or anytime you up your dosage. If you are concerned that you may be abusing prescription painkillers, talk to your physician about Methadone and other options like Suboxone or Narcan.
Working With a Sponsor
Similar to alcoholism treatment, some former drug users require assistance from sponsors. These individuals are often previous addicts themselves or have experiences as therapists or psychiatrists. They meet with patients regularly and are often available at a moment's notice to talk when an individual is feeling vulnerable and triggered. Sponsors can offer help when you need them the most and provide a firm sense of accountability.
To go through treatment successfully, it's important to find the right facility for you. To do so, first talk with your doctor. A physician can determine how severe your addiction is, which will help you decide if you want to try inpatient or outpatient treatment. He or she can also consider any withstanding health issues such as psychiatric conditions that should also be factored into your decision.
Next, check out facilities and programs that offer treatment for the substances that you abuse. Attending a program that is specific to your drug of choice will make your treatment much more likely to be impactful and successful. Look into potential facilities and learn about their drug policies. Some provide certain users with medications like Valium and Xanax to counteract symptoms of distress associated with alcohol or drug withdrawals. You may not want to attend such programs if you fear that you may instead become addicted to these substances or if you have ever had issues with abusing these medications in the past.
You should also note what potential programs to turn to during drug cravings. Some offer excellent nutrition and wellness plans that use healthy eating and exercise to reduce the physical and psychological want or need for a substance. Learning this coping skill is imperative to transitioning back into society, as you will be better prepared to face cravings once you are no longer in drug abuse treatment.
Some treatment programs promote quick sobriety through seemingly impossible means, such as herbal supplements or religious affiliation. When choosing a treatment facility, be wary of questionable claims like, "Shake your drug addiction in one week!" If the advertising sounds too good to be true, the program could potentially be a scam. Instead, look for organizations that include approval and certification from real doctors and health care providers. If a well-known drug abuse therapist or hospital recommends a clinic, for example, it is much more likely that you will have a successful treatment experience there.
Finances are another major part in your treatment program choice. Some facilities accept health insurance like United Healthcare, BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Humana and Medicaid. To learn what options are financially feasible for you, call your insurance provider and ask about any programs with which they are connected. Many carriers support in-state assessment, detox and outpatient treatment. Some also partially cover residential or inpatient treatment.
Because drug addiction is considered a disease, major health insurance providers must treat it like any other chronic condition that requires medical treatment. Make a call to the member services phone line at your insurance company and they can explain both in-network and out-of-network coverage for addiction and drug abuse treatment. Be sure to inquire about co-pays and deductibles so you don't receive a surprise bill months after you start a program. If you don't have insurance, you may be able to find outpatient programs like Narcotics Anonymous that offer counseling and meetings for patients at no cost.
Drug Abuse Facts
Every illegal use of a drug, from prescription medications to a hit of methamphetamine, creates an addiction risk for the user. One single dose of a club drug, for example, can cause long-term cognitive damage because it changes the chemical makeup of the brain. It is not always the substance that leads to a label of drug abuse. Instead, it is the nature in which the substance is used. For example, you may break a bone and require surgery. You will likely be prescribed some painkillers to promote healing in your body and make you more comfortable. If, however, you find that the medication creates feelings of euphoria so you pretend you need the drug longer than you do in order to get more pills, that is considered drug abuse. It doesn't matter that you have a prescription and the substance is technically legal.
Helping Your Family Cope
You are not the only one affected by your drug abuse. You family and friends may also appreciate going to therapy to learn how to cope with your addiction. Many people attend support meetings or join groups to mingle with others who are close to drug addicts to provide emotional assistance. When you go through treatment, those close to you must also learn to change their mindsets and behaviors to address these changes to the new you. Many patients have to stop associating with some former friends in order to stay away from illicit substances and avoid situations that may trigger drug abuse. Starting a hobby is a good way to meet new people outside of these social circles once you've received treatment.