What You Need To Know About the Drug Addiction Treatment Process
Drug addiction is a problem that has ruined countless lives the world over. For decades now, illicit drugs have caused accidents, injuries, illnesses, disabilities, and deaths that could have been otherwise prevented. Drug addiction itself is a disease and a chronic and complex one at that.
The good news is drug addiction is treatable, even when it has been wreaking havoc for years.
The journey to sobriety is not easy
When a drug addict is ready to face drug treatment, the most important thing that he or she should realize is that the entire drug addiction process is not quick and easy. There is no magic bullet to rid one’s system of drug addiction, nor is there a rehab program or facility that can handily fix everything that is wrong with someone whose body has been ravaged by drug use.
Drug addiction treatment is a long-term and continuous process
We all would want drug addiction treatment to be as simple as entering a building an addict and coming out of it sober a few weeks later. Reality, however, is so much more complicated than that. An addict who undergoes drug treatment has to go through a lengthy process that, in some cases, may take a lifetime.
As it stands today, drug addiction treatment may vary depending on the program or facility that administers it. While the approaches and methods may differ, treating a drug addict typically involves three main steps:
Detoxification is the process of removing from a drug addict’s body the harmful toxins that come with using drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and other dangerous drugs. Detox is the physiological aspect of drug addiction treatment, and administering it requires medical assistance or supervision either in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
It’s important to note that some patients, particularly those addicted to heroin and opiates, who are undergoing detoxification may need to be given maintenance medication to help them deal with the withdrawal symptoms that often come with the abrupt discontinuation of or decrease in intake of the drug to which they are addicted.
In theory, detoxification, by itself, can already help a patient quit drugs, but the results would likely be short-term. Also, without the proper follow-up care and therapy that rehabilitation brings, they will likely suffer a relapse and turn to drugs once again.
It has become standard procedure for addiction treatment professionals to follow detoxification with rehabilitation. The rehabilitation stage of drug addiction treatment primarily revolves around intensive therapy and counseling sessions that aim to get to the root of the problem. Drug addiction, after all, isn’t just physical; it also has a psychological and social component that often trigger one’s urges to use drugs. During this stage, the rehab counselors will help patients get to the core reasons behind their drug addictions. Once identified, those issues will be addressed intensively so patients can effectively move on with their lives without relapsing.
As with detoxification, counseling can be done in an inpatient setting or an outpatient one. For patients who have severe or longstanding drug addictions and lack a home environment that’s safe and supportive, inpatient treatment is a better choice. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, is more suitable for patients with the strong support of friends and family and a steely determination to take the lessons of the daily recovery sessions to heart.
It is a widespread misconception that once a patient completes a rehabilitation program, he or she has fully recovered. The truth is, recovery from drug addiction is actually a continuous and lifelong process. Far too many patients who have finished entire rehab programs have gone back to using drugs because they never went through follow-up programs that will assist them with their return to normal life. Without the guidance of such programs, temptations to relapse have become so difficult to resist.
That is why most addiction treatment programs have patients meeting with their counselors so they can discuss plans for aftercare, which may involve staying at the rehab center on weekends or living in a sober living home where they can live with fellow recovering addicts who will participate in group therapy sessions with them.
Speaking of group therapy, patients fresh out of drug rehab can also join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Crystal Meth Anonymous. In such specific 12-step support groups, recovering addicts can interact with others in the group and share their experiences, which often prove to be helpful in the recovery process.
If you or someone you love has a serious drug problem, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Hopefully, the information shared above can give you an idea what to expect if and when you finally decide to undergo the drug addiction treatment process.
About the Author
Rachel Porter is the content specialist at America’s Rehab Campuses, an addiction treatment center located in Tucson, AZ. She has a full understanding of how drugs can destroy lives and has dedicated her time to helping others with drug addictions by spreading awareness about it.