Overcoming a drug addiction is always going to be tough and it requires both commitment and motivation to succeed. Those affected by addiction must want to get better as no programme in the world will help a person who does not want to quit.
How drug treatment works is a remarkably straightforward process that combines a comprehensive recovery programme with a real desire to get well again. If you are an addict and have both, you will have a high chance of permanent recovery. Before you learn more about how drug treatment works though, you must be ready to admit to having a problem and then be willing to accept help to get better.
Do You Have a Drug Problem?
It is never easy to admit that drug use has spiralled out of control. Maybe you started taking a specific drug and told yourself that you would use it just one time. Perhaps you liked how it made you feel and you decided to use it again.
Or maybe you began using drugs to change the way that you feel. You might have been struggling with emotional issues or painful memories from an experience from your past and sought solace in a specific drug to numb the memories. If so, know you would not have been the first person to do this.
While not everyone who uses drugs will develop a problem, many do. After all, mood-altering chemicals can make you feel good – especially in the early days. They work by stimulating those areas of the brain that are responsible for feelings of pleasure. These chemicals can also activate the brain’s reward centre, which then causes you to feel the need to use the drug repeatedly.
If you are now using more drugs to achieve a certain level of satisfaction than you were when you first started taking them, it is likely that this is because of an increased tolerance. Most people do not realise that as their brain adjusts to the drug, it then becomes less effective. This can happen with both illegal drugs and prescription medication.
In terms of a drug taken for recreational purposes, you are likely to find that you are not getting the same level of pleasure that you once did. Or if you have been taking prescription medication to treat a painful condition, for example, it might be the case that you do not get as much pain relief as you did before.
Increased tolerance to a drug often causes users to increase their dose. Increasing the dose though often leads to physical or psychological addiction – or both. Nevertheless, most individuals do not realise that they have a problem until trying to quit the substance they have been taking. It is at this stage that they become aware that quitting is not as easy as they thought it would be.
If this sounds familiar to you, it is likely that you may have allowed your use of a particular drug to get out of control. Moreover, at this stage, you probably need professional help to get better. The good news is that with a comprehensive programme of recovery, you can get your life under control again. So, to find out more about how drug treatment works, please read on.
What Does Drug Treatment Involve?
To understand how drug treatment works, it is important to know more about what it involves. For a start, you will probably require a drug detox. Detox is generally accepted as the first part of the recovery process as you will need to break the cycle of drug abuse before moving on to the next stage of treatment – rehabilitation.
Detox is a natural process employed by the body when you stop taking the substance to which you were addicted. You should be aware however that suddenly stopping a drug that you have been abusing for a while can be dangerous. Your brain and body will need time to adjust to the removal of the substance, and this can lead to a range of withdrawal symptoms as the healing process begins.
It is generally accepted that the best place to detox is within a supervised facility where medical staff with experience of the detox process are on hand to monitor you and ensure your comfort and safety.
Depending on the drug that you have been taking, you might be advised to quit ‘cold turkey’ or you may be told to gradually reduce your dose over a period of a few weeks (or months in some cases). Some drugs can cause severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly. It is for this reason that you should never attempt a drug detox at home without first discussing it with a medical professional.
Most detox programmes run for no more than two weeks. How long your detox lasts will depend on a variety of factors including the drug you were abusing, how long you were abusing it for, and how you withdraw from the drug.
It is not possible to know what symptoms you might experience or how severe these might be until the detox begins. Nonetheless, in a supervised facility, your detox can be effectively managed, and the worst symptoms can usually be prevented with medication or nutritional supplements if appropriate.
However uncomfortable your detox may be, you should remember that the symptoms you are experiencing will pass and that you will feel better. Symptoms are typically the result of the brain and body healing themselves. It may take some time but when you stop abusing drugs, your health and overall well-being will improve drastically.
The Next Stage of the Recovery Process
Once your mind and body are clear of drugs, you can start on the rest of your treatment. Rehabilitation programmes are inpatient or outpatient based and they aim to address the psychological and underlying emotional issues associated with the addiction. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication, behavioural therapy, and holistic treatments.
You should know that the treatments used to help you overcome your addiction will usually be based on your specific requirements and circumstances. Rehab providers do not use the same treatment plan for every patient as this approach does not work. It is widely accepted that bespoke treatment planning is the best way for addicts to overcome their illness.
Counsellors and therapists will usually create a profile of your needs as well as your likes and dislikes and will then create a plan that they expect to work effectively for you based on this profiling. This plan will combine a range of treatments aimed at helping you learn more about your illness and why you were affected.
You will learn about your triggers and cues and will develop methods that will help you to avoid them going forward. Rehabilitation aims to help you learn how to live a healthier and more productive life without relying on mood-altering chemicals. You are likely to be taught essential life skills that will help you to become a productive member of your community, and you will be taught the benefits of good nutrition and exercise – something that you might have been neglecting while addicted.
What Type of Rehab is Best?
As mentioned above, rehab programmes tend to be based on the residential or day care model, and so you may be wondering which is best. The answer is that the best treatment programme is the one that will work best for you and that meets all your needs.
In general, inpatient programmes are beneficial for those with severe addictions and for those who would struggle to stay clean and sober if trying to get better in the real world. Inpatient programmes usually take place in private clinics where there are no distractions. The environment is quiet and tranquil and free from temptations. This allows patients to immerse themselves in a recovery programme without worrying about daily life issues. These programmes tend to last for between four and twelve weeks in general.
Outpatient programmes run for much longer as they are far less intensive. Patients do not stay in the clinic and they will only have a few treatment hours each week, instead of the many each day in a residential clinic. Outpatient programmes are suitable for those with less severe addictions and for those with plenty of support at home. They require a real desire to succeed.
Choosing a specific programme is about finding one that will suit you, your needs, and your preferences. For example, you might like the idea of an outpatient programme so that you can stay with your family, but your addiction may be so severe that you would struggle to cope with recovery at home.
On the other hand, you might have commitments at home or at work that might make it difficult for you to be away from home for weeks at a time. With so many options for treatment, it can be overwhelming to find the right programme. Fortunately, there are plenty of places you can go for support. You can speak to your doctor about the options available at your local treatment service, or you can look online for information. You could also talk to us here at Banbury Lodge for information and advice about our programmes.
What Happens After Rehab
Recovery is a long-term process, so know that to stay on track you will need to maintain your sobriety going forward. Aftercare is therefore particularly important when rehab ends. In the early days of recovery, you will be learning how to live without drugs, and this can take some adjustment. It is important that you have plenty of support to help you through this period.
Your treatment provider will probably provide aftercare support, which may mean that you can access regular counselling as well as phone contact if you need it. There are also plenty of support groups within your local community that will help you to maintain your sobriety long-term.
If you would like more information on how drug treatment works, please contact us. Our advisors are waiting to take your call and will answer any queries that you might have.