When an individual is looking to recover from drug abuse and addiction problems, they aren’t hoping for some temporary solution that will allow them to disconnect from these problems for a short period of time. They are looking for a permanent solution that will allow them to repair their health and take back control of their life. In order to do this, they will have to address and resolve all of the causes for and effects of their drug use, which can be quite daunting to consider. It means they will have to face and handle difficult emotions they sought to hide through their drug use, and learn to be honest with self and others about their drug use problems. However, attempting to make these changes while drug substances still have a firm grip over their physical condition can be challenging at best, and impossible at worst. It is not unlike trying to repair a fire-damaged house while it is still on fire, it simply cannot work. This is why the first step in recovering from drug abuse and addiction problems is participating in a physical detoxification program.
How Drugs Affect the Individual
When an individual first turns to drug use they are attempting to resolve some problem in their life for which they have no other solution. The problem is that drug substances are no more able to handle an individual’s physical, mental or emotional problems than a bandaid can heal a broken arm. These chemical substances are only good at one thing: interfering with the normal functions of the human body in order to suppress undesirable sensations and stimulate desirable sensations. However, if the individual experiences some relief from their problems through drug use they may decide that drugs are helpful to them in some way, and this is often the only impetus they need to continue using these drug substances.
Over time, the individual may find that they have grown to tolerate drug substances, and they no longer experience the same desirable effects they once did. This drives them to increase their drug intake, and sometimes even switch to more potent drug substances. Their body can grow to tolerate this new level of drug use as well, and the individual is forced to once again increase their drug intake. If this cycle continues on and on the individual may soon find that they are taking dangerously high doses of drug substances on a regular basis, without achieving very much of a satisfying drug high.
Eventually, the human body grows to depend upon the drug substances that are regularly interfering with its normal functioning. To the individual this means that they are shoved into the passenger seat of their own life, no longer having any control over whether they use drug substances, how often, and in what quantities. They are driven to compulsively continue their drug use despite the many damaging effects it is having on their health and their life, and even if they desire to stop they often find that they simply cannot do so on their own.
One thing that few drug abusers and addicts consider is how their drug use is affecting others around them. They often believe that they alone are affected by their drug use, and therefore their drug use patterns and habits are no one’s business but their own. In actual fact, the extensive damaging effects of drug use can affect the individual’s family members, friends, co-workers, community and even society at large. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that drug abuse and addiction problems cost our nation roughly $600 billion each year in lost work productivity, crime and healthcare. It follows, then, that an individual who is receiving help for their drug problems is improving not only their own quality of life, but indeed the lives of others around them.
Determining if Help is Needed
Not everyone who tries drug substances once becomes addicted, and in fact not everyone who consumes drug substances even somewhat regularly needs professional help to put an end to their drug use. In some cases, individuals participate in drug use on such a minimal basis that they retain complete control over their drug use patterns and habits and can actually quit if they decide to. However, it is also true that some individuals who are suffering from extensive drug abuse and addiction problems are so blinded by their drug use that they cannot see the full extent of damaging effects drug use has had on their life. These individuals may honestly believe that their drug use is still within their control and that it is not affecting their ability to function normally in their life and is therefore not necessary to handle. These individuals need help in order to see that they have a problem and they need help in resolving it. They can be given this help by recognizing whether they are displaying the signs and symptoms of drug abuse or addiction, including:
- Inability to control or limit one’s drug use
- Experiencing strong cravings or urges to use drug substances
- Hiding one’s drug use habits – isolating self from others
- Sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and getting restful sleep
- Sudden and dramatic weight loss or weight gain
- Deterioration of personal hygiene and appearance
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred speech
- Changes in social activities
- Changes in friends
- Problems at work, school and home due to dropped responsibilities or poor performance
- Legal problems related to drug use
If an individual is suffering from several, many or all of these signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction, they need to start on the road to recovery, which begins with participation in a rehabilitation treatment program.
How Detoxification Treatment Works
According to a study run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for every dollar that is spent on addiction treatment programs there is a reduction of anywhere from four to seven dollars in drug-related crimes. Addiction treatment programs begin with detoxification treatment to help the individual safely and comfortably withdraw from drug use and eliminate residual drug toxins from their body, thereby establishing the physical foundation necessary for a healthy, happy future. That said, simply enrolling in any detoxification program will not automatically guarantee one’s successful recovery.
Different detoxification facilities and programs aid individuals in recovering from the physical effects of drug use in different ways. Some facilities promote the use of substitute medications and while this may work to meet some individuals’ needs, the fact is that these medications are also drug substances that also come with their own risks of side effects, including abuse, dependence and addiction problems. Some individuals benefit greatly from detoxification programs that include therapeutic services, like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga classes. Whatever an individual’s own drug use problems and recovery needs, there is a detoxification program out there that is designed to help them.
How to Choose a Detoxification Facility and Program
While selecting a facility and program that delivers services one finds necessary and appealing, it is also important to consider the qualifications of the facility itself, as well as the qualifications of their staff. Following are some important points to consider when researching detoxification treatment:
- What is the quality of the program offered? Successful detoxification treatment is far more than simply abstaining from drug use for some time. A high quality detoxification program can help empower the individual to take control of their recovery and their physical health.
- What education, training and experience do the staff have? Regardless of how high in quality a detoxification program may be, the inexperience of poorly trained staff can make it difficult or even impossible to successfully recover.
- Where is the program located? Some individuals have a very supportive family and will do better if they are able to remain in close contact with their family members.
- Other individuals feel that a complete change of environment will be more conducive to their full and lasting recovery.
- What is the success rate of the program? Any detoxification treatment program can be made to sound highly appealing, but what is even more important is the program’s actual success rate. A highly successful program is more likely to lead to the lasting success the individual truly desires.
- What types of services are offered? As previously mentioned, some individuals are more comfortable with their recovery process if they are able to participate in certain treatment services that help smooth the way to sobriety. If there are certain services that the individual desires as part of their treatment program, it is very important to verify that the facility one is considering provides these services.
Moving Forward Into a Drug-Free Future
The process of recovering from drug abuse and addiction can often be long and hard, filled with obstacles, challenges and difficulties that make the individual question whether they can actually make it through. However, with the solid foundation built through successful detoxification treatment, the individual may find that they have enough self-confidence and hope for the future that they can persist through recovery and into a new, better life.
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