When an individual is suffering from drug abuse or addiction problems, they will often behave in a manner that suggests they care about nothing except obtaining, using and recovering from drug substances. It is definitely true that an overpowering compulsion to continue using drug substances dictates most of the individual’s thoughts, decisions and actions in life, but this may not actually be all they care about. In fact, most drug abusers or addicts wish for nothing more than a way to be entirely free from all further drug use. The problem is that they do not know how to achieve sobriety, and sometimes don’t even think sobriety is possible.
Why Drug Addicts Can’t “Just Quit”
When an individual first turns to drug use, they have complete control over their decisions and actions. They decide to use drug substances because they are under the impression that these substances will be able to help them in some way, either by suppressing undesirable sensations or stimulating desirable sensations or both. When drug use gives them some relief in their life it can work to further cement this idea, and drive the individual to continue using these substances indefinitely.
Casual drug use turns into more serious drug abuse when the individual starts using drugs more frequently or develops certain rituals connected to their drug use. Drug abuse also often occurs concurrently with drug tolerance – the condition wherein the individual no longer experiences the same desirable effects through their drug use like they once did. This forces them to increase their drug intake, and some individuals choose to switch to even more potent drug substances.
Drug abuse becomes drug dependence and addiction when the individual feels that these substances are actually necessary to their normal functions in life and they compulsively continue their drug use despite the many damaging effects drugs are having on their life. At this point, drugs have interrupted the normal functions of the human brain for long enough to become part of normal brain functions, and their absence is penalized with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including intense cravings. This is why a drug addict can’t “just quit” – they don’t know how to reset their body’s “normal” so it no longer includes drug use.
What Rehabilitation Treatment Is
Rehabilitation treatment is a process through which a substance abusing or addicted individual can restore their ability to live a healthy, happy and productive life. They do this by handling all of the causes and effects of their drug use, usually through participating in the following treatment steps:
- Detoxification treatment. This is a very important first step on the road to full recovery, allowing the individual to address and resolve the immediate physical effects of drug use and establish the strong foundation upon which they can build a healthier future.
- Counseling. It can often be very difficult for a recovering drug abuser or addict to face the emotional causes and effects of their drug use, especially since these emotional difficulties may be the very reason the individual turned to or remained in drug use in the first place. Counseling services can help the individual work through these difficult emotions and begin to rebuild the self-confidence and self-respect necessary to take back control of their life.
- Drug education. One of the many reasons why drug abuse and addiction can seem so confusing and frustrating to the individual is because they don’t actually understand what is going on and why they are losing control over their life. Drug education can not only help them understand what occurred to them in the past, but it can also give them even more reasons to abstain from drug use in the future.
- Life skills courses. It is safe to say that any individual who considers drug use a workable solution for their life problems doesn’t possess the skills and abilities they need in order to navigate the sometimes difficult waters of life. Life skills courses can give the individual the confidence they need to pursue their goals in life, without worrying that the slightest obstacle will force them to relapse into drug use.
- Aftercare services. The transition from the safe, supportive and drug-free environment of rehabilitation treatment to the noisy, chaotic and drug-laden environment of the real world can be shocking and overwhelming to an individual who is newly placed on the path to recovery. Aftercare services can provide them with the additional support and encouragement they need to persist with their sobriety no matter what difficulties and challenges may arise.
Different rehabilitation treatment facilities and programs may have a variety of services they can provide to assist individuals in working through these main treatment steps.
Selecting a Rehabilitation Treatment Facility and Program
Finding an appropriate drug rehab and program is a lot more than just selecting one that is convenient and affordable. Even the various amenities of a specific facility and program should be secondary to ensuring that this facility and program will enable the individual to take back control of their life. It is far more important to first verify the following:
- The accreditation and licensing of the facility and program. No matter how pleasant a program sounds, the fact is that it should be accredited and licensed by the state it’s in.
- The training and experience of facility staff. No matter how fantastic a rehabilitation treatment program is, the individual will not be able to successfully recover if they are being “helped” by untrained and inexperienced facility staff. Trained and experienced staff are more supportive and can help boost the individual’s confidence.
- The program’s success rates. You should always verify the program’s success rates, preferably through a third-party, to ensure that the program is most likely to lead to the desired recovery results.
- The aftercare services provided to help ensure lasting success. Some of the most successful rehabilitation treatment programs are those that include some form of aftercare services to help individuals maintain their hard-won sobriety.
Types of Rehabilitation Treatment
There are different types of rehabilitation treatment designed to treat different types of drug abuse and addiction problems. Some of the most well-known are:
- Residential treatment. This is often considered the most successful form of rehabilitation treatment because the individual is removed from their normal life environments and placed in a safe, supportive and drug-free environment for the duration of their treatment program. Residential treatment programs can last anywhere from thirty days to nine months in length, sometimes longer.
- Partial hospitalization. Individuals who have a stable living environment but who require some degree of intensive treatment may benefit from partial hospitalization, where they participate in treatment three to five days a week for four to six hours a day.
- Intensive outpatient treatment. This type of treatment program is also well-suited for individuals who have a stable, supportive living environment, but who need to participate in regular rehabilitation treatment services. Most intensive outpatient treatment programs involve participating in treatment at least three days a week for two to four hours a day, and a focus on relapse prevention strategies.
- Brief intervention. When an individual is at risk for drug abuse and addiction problems but has not yet succumbed fully to these problems, a brief intervention may be the appropriate treatment. Brief interventions consist of spending some time with a healthcare professional to discuss the harmful effects of drug use and figure out ways the individual can cut back or cut out their drug use.
It may take time and patience to find the right rehabilitation treatment program for one’s specific needs. That said, an individual who takes the time to carefully select the right facility and program for their own specific needs will be highly rewarded when they successfully reach full recovery.
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