The issue of drug addiction is one that many individuals do not really understand fully. There is a huge amount of stigma attached to this illness, and those affected are often judged and discriminated against. It is important to note here that it is not just illegal drugs that cause addiction. Most people are unaware that prescription medication can also cause problems for those who take them; problems that can lead to addiction in some cases. The issue of who needs drug treatment, then, is not as straightforward as most believe.
It is hard for many people to comprehend the fact that medication prescribed by a doctor could possibly lead to a devastating addiction, but that is exactly what can happen. Warnings are given about the potential for addiction with prescription medication, particularly when these pills are abused, but most people do not comprehend what actually constitutes abuse.
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Prescription medication is prescribed for those who require strong painkillers or sedatives for a variety of conditions. In many cases, strong painkillers will be given to those who are in a lot of pain, or individuals who find their symptoms are not being eased by over-the-counter medication.
In many instances, these pills will be prescribed for short-term use for those recovering from surgery. It is important, however, that prescription drugs are only used as advised by the medical professional who prescribed them.
What often happens though is that certain individuals do not see the harm in increasing their dose or giving their pills to someone else. They believe that if another person is suffering a high level of pain, it is okay to give them their medication; this is classed as prescription drug abuse.
It is also abuse to take more medication than advised by a doctor. With prescription drugs, a tolerance to the effects can quickly occur. This means that users may start to feel as though their pills are no longer working, which could result in a temptation to up the dose.
Nevertheless, with prescription medication, dependence and addiction can even occur in those who take their pills exactly as described – if they take the drugs over an extended period.
Who Is Drug Treatment For?
So you see, drug treatment is not just for those who have developed a physical dependence on illegal substances such as cocaine or heroin. There are many individuals who find themselves in the grip of addiction having never touched an illegal substance in their lives. The one thing they have in common with those who do abuse illegal substances is their need for drug treatment.
The effects of addiction are the same, regardless of the substance being abused. This is an illness that alters the structure of the brain and the way it functions. When chemical substances cloud the mind, it can be difficult for the affected individual to make good choices. He or she is unable to think logically and is consumed by the need for the substance to which they have come to rely.
Drug treatment is for anyone who continues to use mood-altering substances despite knowing that doing so will have negative implications for themselves and others. It is helpful when it comes to beating addiction and is necessary for most people who want to put their days of substance abuse behind them for good.
Do You Need Drug Treatment?
If you are dependent on prescription medication, the mere suggestion that you need drug treatment could seem ridiculous to you. It is often easier for those who rely on illegal substances to admit the seriousness of their situation, but not always.
Addiction is something that most do not want to admit to. The stigma that continues to surround this illness often prevents those in need of treatment from reaching out for help. They are afraid that others will look down on them or view them as ‘bad’ for having succumbed to a specific substance. They have been brought up to think of drug addicts as being of poor moral character and as such do not want to be associated with this illness.
Even when knowing deep down that they are in trouble, these individuals find it easier to deny the problem. It is this attitude that could ultimately be their downfall. Failure to get help for a drug addiction will mean life spiralling out of control and maybe resulting in irreparable damage to mental and physical health.
Do you have a drug problem that requires treatment? Have your loved ones been expressing worry and concern about your substance use? If so, it would be a good idea to heed what they have to say. They are unlikely to be worried for no reason.
Think about your substance use and how it might have changed in recent times. For example, are you now taking more of this substance than you did in the beginning? This is very common. When a tolerance occurs, the body will stop producing as many feel-good chemicals as it did before. This means that the affected person will not get as much pleasure from the substance he or she once did.
Have you found that you are not getting the same satisfaction or relief that you once did from your drugs? Have you found that you need to take more to achieve the effects you desire?
You should also think about how you feel whenever you are not taking your drug of choice. Do you feel irritable or anxious? Do thoughts of taking this substance take up most of your day? Are you neglecting various aspects of your life because you want to take drugs without anyone noticing or because you are under the influence of drugs and cannot participate in various activities? If so, you need drug treatment.
What Is Drug Treatment Like?
In all areas of the UK, drug treatment is provided by various organisations. This includes the NHS, private clinics, charities, and even local support groups. Most people who are struggling with drug addiction will need professional help. It is true that some manage to overcome their illness by themselves, but this is extremely rare. Those who do quit drugs without professional intervention will often revert to drug use again in the future. The reason for this is that they have done nothing to deal with the emotional and psychological causes of the illness. These issues are still there under the surface and will almost always result in a return to substance abuse at some point in the future.
Drug addiction usually comprises two elements – a physical and a psychological dependence. To overcome addiction, it is necessary to treat both sides of the illness. The first process is to deal with the physical, which takes place through a detoxification.
A detox programme is one where the user is separated from the substance. When the effects of the drug start to wear off, the body will crave the substance that it has come to expect. When the drugs are not forthcoming, the body will go into overdrive as it tries to undo some of the damage that has occurred and get back to some semblance of normality.
The body must expel the remaining chemicals and toxins, and during this process, it is normal for the individual to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms will for the most part be mild to moderate, but there are some individuals who will be affected by more severe symptoms.
It is impossible to know who will experience the most severe symptoms before the process begins, but in a dedicated facility, the worst symptoms can usually be headed off. It is possible for staff here to provide medication and supplements to ease pain and suffering and to make the patient more comfortable if it is deemed appropriate. For that reason, most drug addicts would benefit from detoxing in a supervised facility.
What about Rehab?
After the detox has been completed, the patient will be clean and ready to tackle the next part of the recovery process, which is rehabilitation. It is common for recovering addicts to want to skip this process. They may believe they do not require rehab now that they are clean, but this is never the case. Addressing one issue without the other is akin to setting yourself up for a fall.
Those who detox without rehab are much more likely to relapse than those who complete the full programme. A return to drug abuse and addiction could be catastrophic for many, especially those who would never get a second opportunity to overcome this destructive illness.
Rehabilitation programmes tend to be either inpatient or outpatient based. Private clinics generally provide inpatient programmes. They offer excellent accommodation in a distraction-free environment that benefits the individual who wants to concentrate on their recovery without worrying about other issues.
Inpatient programmes usually run for between six and eight weeks and, as such, the programme is very intensive. For those with more complex cases, a programme could last for up to twelve weeks. Longer programmes are frequently necessary for those who have more than one addiction as well as those dealing with mental health problems in addition to their addiction.
Outpatient programmes are far less intense than their inpatient counterparts. These are typically provided by local support groups, charities, and the NHS, and this type of programme varies in length. The length of the programme will depend on the provider as well as the number of treatment hours the patient has each week.
With an outpatient programme, the patient attends regular counselling and therapy sessions but will not stay in the clinic. Instead, he or she will return home after treatment and must learn to overcome the illness while also dealing with the stresses of everyday life.
Choosing between the two programmes can be overwhelming for addicts and their families. To ensure you choose the best option for you and your situation, there are many things that you will need to consider. For example, those with a severe dependence on drugs may find it difficult to stay clean in the real world until they have had a certain amount of psychotherapeutic help. They would do better to be in a distraction-free environment where they have no access to any mood-altering substances.
Nonetheless, there are some who would not do well in a residential clinic and being away from their family for an extended period. It is a matter of weighing up the individual’s circumstances with treatment needs and then looking for the best option.
Here at Oasis Recovery, we offer helpful advice and information to addicts and their families about who needs drug treatment, overcoming addiction, and the various treatment options available. It is a good idea to get advice from a professional with experience and knowledge of the recovery process before making any decisions regarding treatment. We would be happy to answer any queries you may have regarding detoxification and rehabilitation for you or a loved one.
Many of our staff members have completed their own recovery journeys and are now working hard to help others do the same. They are living proof that addiction can be overcome, and they can offer you first-hand advice and knowledge of how you can do the same.
For more information, please call us today.