UNDERSTANDING DRUG ADDICTION AND REHABILITATIONPeople who are addicted to drugs may not realize their dependence or might refuse to acknowledge it. However, there is a very simple way to identify what addiction is. This is a state where the person compulsively seeks these substances repeatedly, whether it is alcohol or other substances like drugs. This individual continues to crave and use them even though they bring some physical, social, and even mental issues because of the abuse.
The addict also feels dependent on the drug, both physically and psychologically. Once he or she stops taking it or reduces the intake, there will be symptoms of withdrawal.
Addiction may be viewed by some as a disease but it would not be completely right to label it that way. In fact, it may be better to see it as a disability or even a mental or physical issue. The reason why it cannot be called a disease is because there is no quick cure, like medication, that can easily make it better.
HOW ONE FALLS INTO ADDICTIONThere may seem to be a very thin line separating occasional drug use and addiction. But it is this regular use that makes the person’s body tolerant to these substances and requires more amounts to reach the same “high”. As the dosages go up, the system will start to feel dependent on these chemicals instead of the natural ones that the human body creates. Over time, the pattern continues and both body and mind become stuck in this cycle.
If he or she tries to stop or reduce their intake, their system will start to develop cravings for the drugs. Symptoms of withdrawal like depression, anxiety or exhaustion will appear if they are not able to get the substances back into their body.
What is scary about drug addiction is that one can fall into it fairly quickly, if they are using drugs like ecstasy or crack cocaine. Normally, alcohol and marijuana take much longer before one becomes dependent.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ADDICTIONThe person you may know changes when he or she becomes addicted to drugs. It is not because their personality per se becomes different, but it is because the cravings influence their words and actions greatly. They lose control especially if the body is going through withdrawal from these chemicals. They will be consumed only by thoughts of getting high again.
This can also affect the person’s values and integrity. If you think this individual would never steal or commit a crime, the intense need for the drugs might push him or her to do things they would normally never do. When treating an addict, it is important to try to restore their dignity and integrity again.
HOW TO OVERCOME ADDICTIONDespite the lack of an easy solution, it does not mean that an addict cannot overcome his or her dependence on drugs. Through a physical process of detoxification from these substances as well as a program to address mental and personal issues can be key to be rid of the reliance on these drugs. Hopefully then can the individual be equipped with the emotional strength to handle difficult moments and make the best decisions in life.
Overcoming addiction is much easier said than done. Many drug users do not stay in this cycle because of choice, but because they are trapped. There can be three factors that push them deep in this problem. First, guilt can lead someone to use substances that help him or her feel better. Depression might also be a huge factor in drug dependency. Lastly, the physical cravings will make detoxification and quitting very difficult especially for someone who has been reliant on these chemical substances for a very long time.
Getting help is important because someone might want to become sober again but lack the strength or the means to overcome these factors. After all, no one wants a life where he or she is dependent on these substances in order to survive every day.
There may be some who feel that taking drugs is the only way to feel good or normal, and may manipulate the people around them in order to continue their addiction. It is, therefore, important to make sure the addict is serious and has the willpower to go through the process of detoxification.
HOW TO CONTROL CRAVINGS
The body’s dependence on these substances makes it very difficult and risky to just quit cold turkey. They are so used to these chemicals that they would need some medication, like opiates, during their treatment program. These will avoid feelings of euphoria but at the same time, might end up setting a new trap for the client.
There are other approaches that do not rely on these medications. For example, exercise, supplements, and even sauna treatments help remove the traces of drugs in one’s system. Some clients report reduced cravings after these treatments.
WHAT IF STOPPING IS IMPOSSIBLE?There are long-time drug users who have gone through many different drug addiction programs but continue to relapse. They might feel that it is impossible to stop using these substances. There are programs called harm reduction that work on making drug use safer instead. They may employ methadone maintenance treatment programs, campaigns for the use of clean needles and even opening areas where it is safe to “shoot” or take in drugs. They contribute to reducing public health risks and even crime.
Even though it seems to be not enough, it will still be a better step than just letting the addict alone. Although there should always be an option to attend drug recovery programs if the person is willing and capable, those who have experienced repeated failures in quitting could still benefit from a little help.
IS DRUG REHABILITATION REALLY WORTH IT?Some family members might not accept the reality of loved ones having drug abuse problems or are reluctant to enroll them in these programs. They may simply decide to support them despite the substance use and help them with their lives. By covering up their mistakes and paying their debts or rent, they may not be doing what is best for their relative and for them as well. Drug addicts may end up lying, stealing and embezzling money from friends and family in order to keep their habit.
Sending them to a good recovery program, though it may seem expensive at first, might not just end up less costly in the end, but they can also support their family member better at overcoming their addiction.
There are many programs that are very successful, however, family members have to be critical in identifying the right one in order to ensure success. There may be factors that determine the fit of the program to the client, and a self-paced and individualized one may be best. This way, their care is tailor fit to their needs and considers their own timing. This can greatly increase the success of rehabilitation and lessen the risk of relapse after they are released and return home.
A program that solves the root cause of the addiction is critical. Whether it is depression, guilt or cravings, these issues should be addressed so as to avoid the risk of falling back into drug dependency in the future. More than just learning how to deal with these three, gaining life skills will arm the client with the emotional and mental capability to make the right decisions for his or her life.
WHAT IF THE ADDICT REFUSES TO GO FOR DRUG REHABILITATION?There is the greatest chance of success, of course, when the client is willing and determined to end their substance abuse. However, should family members decide to enroll their loved one despite him or her refusing to go through treatment, there can still be a way to make it successful.
There may be counselors who work with the addict and the family to coach them away from resisting care. There are also interventionists who work onsite with the client to assist in the decision. These steps are critical to connecting with the individual, to identify his or her feelings and goals.
The goal is to identify reasons for their refusal and help address issues like fear. Moreover, they hope to reignite their desire to live a sober and drug-free life again. Again, this is an innate feeling that may be buried by other emotions and working with counselors or trained staff can help sort out these other thoughts and hindrances and encourage the person to work towards a life free from substance abuse.
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