What is Drug/Alcohol Rehab?
Drugs and alcohol do wreak havoc in anyone’s life who misuses and abuses them. In combination, they can be deadly. For many people who have used drugs and alcohol, entering rehab is not the first time they may have tried to stop using. The addiction cycle is simple, it is a revolving cycle of using, quitting, and relapsing. Additionally, when a person uses and quits and then starts again, the brain has grown accustomed to the process, and the stopping becomes harder. Without a quality treatment program based on best practices, the chances of remaining clean and sober are reduced.
The purpose of rehabilitation is multifaceted:
- Ensure that the individual can safely sustain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
- Address underlying causes for drug use.
- Provide tools and education for the addict to understand what has happened to his/her/their body during addiction.
- To provide a variety of protocols and therapies to help the individual identify personal life issues such as trauma and methods to handle the problems.
- Learn how to cope with feelings and the ambiguities of life.
- Provide a supportive environment so that the individual does not feel alone in the recovery process or the path that took him down the rabbit hole of addiction.
- Learn new forms of enjoyment that do not include taking drugs or alcohol.
- Learn to take responsibility for his/her/their actions.
- Relapse prevention.
These are the basic concepts behind rehabilitation, though there are others including medication management for mental health disorders, mental health education about disorders, life skills, exercise, nutrition (many addicts have neglected eating healthy foods and drugs and alcohol may have created serious health conditions.)
According to the Yale Journal of Bio Medicine, there are five rules of recovery,
- Change your life (recovery involves creating a new life where it is easier to not use
- Be completely honest
- Learn to ask for help
- Practice self-care
- Do not bend these rules
To avoid relapse and stay free of the grasp of drugs and alcohol requires commitment and tools learned in rehab to stop the addiction cycle. If a person leaves rehab before the full treatment time is completed, he runs a greater risk of relapsing quickly. The tools provided in treatment cannot be underestimated. Relapse occurs when the process of change is underway. It may be confusing, scary, and uncomfortable. These feelings lead an addict to old ways of thinking, which leads him back to using again. The longer one stays in treatment, develops new habits, and reframes his thinking or perspective, the better the chances of staying clean and sober. While people do relapse, it is not considered a failure. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the more frequently new behaviors are utilized and strengthened, the more resilient the addict will be to relapsing.
Other significant developments in handling stress and avoiding relapse taught in treatment include
- Self-efficacy (execute behaviors to achieve a goal)
- Reasonable goal setting and expectations
- Willingness to change old patterns of behavior and perspectives
- Commitment to recovery
When a drug addict or alcoholic stops using for some time, the body begins to return to normal. The brain starts to heal, depending upon the number of drugs and alcohol used and the length of use. But when a person has been abstinent for a time and suddenly uses again, generally, that person will consume drugs or alcohol at the old levels , which in turn leads to an overdose. The body is unable to handle the amount of drugs or alcohol in the body.
“People in recovery are vulnerable to cues formerly associated with drug-taking experiences; for example, seeing friends they took drugs with, or places where they used drugs. Some of these cues gain in strength over time – a phenomenon known as “incubation of craving”. Scientists are seeking to develop interventions that could minimize this process, preventing relapse.”
There are many ways to deal with cravings to reduce their strength and override the feeling of the need to use. These types of cravings will happen. But, with a solid foundation in the process of recovery, an addict/alcoholic can learn to sidestep the cues and not fall victim to the sensations of cravings. Once the craving begins, whether set off weeks, months, or years after treatment, the addict’s brain will rationalize excuses to use again. The lessons being taught in recovery offer the addict choices to deal with the emotional sense of craving. These are part of relapse prevention techniques taught in treatment and aftercare.
As an aside, a person may go through treatment and relapse. Relapse is not considered a failure; addiction is powerful, and it takes a wholehearted commitment to avoid using substances again. That means utilizing the tools taught during treatment, relying on a support group that understands recovery, being honest and asking for help. Relapse hardly ever “just happens.” Relapse begins before a person puts the drug or alcohol into their body.
Withdrawal from Drugs and Alcohol
There are several factors that impact withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.
- Type of drug used
- Duration of use
- Physical health
- Psychological factors
- Method of withdrawal
Symptoms of withdrawal may range from mild to severe and sometimes to death. Some
drugs affect the central nervous system, and all substances impact brain function. Sometimes difficult symptoms begin days after a person has stopped using. These symptoms need to be managed by a physician knowledgeable in addiction and withdrawal. “According to the National epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions…about 20% of adults in the emergency room may suffer from alcohol use disorder…”
Often doctors are faced with a patient who has combined alcohol and drugs. (Sometimes, for example, those who abuse cocaine will take downers to enable him to sleep.) Often, these addicts will also be suffering from a mental health disorder. Doctors must sift through the symptoms and understand the patient’s history to determine whether drugs have brought on the mental health disorder or whether it is an underlying condition that needs to be addressed; mental health disorders are further complicated by substance abuse.
Treatment followed to its conclusion works
To receive quality care for SUD and other disorders, treatment in a licensed facility with medical staff and clinicians trained in addiction and mental health disorders is advised. Regular assessments of the client’s progress need to happen. Additionally, an array of therapeutic approaches should be available providing client a path to address his own issues, speak openly about the issues, and diminish the power that these secrets have on him. In the process of treatment, addicts and alcoholics learn they are not alone in their fears, their shame, their insecurities and traumas. This allows the client to expand his perspective on his life and others, which, because of drugs and alcohol, has become narrow.
It is crucial to keep in mind that financial achievement does not act as a safeguard against the risk of addiction. Substance abuse and addictive behaviors can affect individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their socioeconomic status or accomplishments. This issue underscores the need for comprehensive and accessible support systems that cater to a diverse range of individuals, including those who might be struggling despite their financial success.
Moreover, the recognition of addiction’s indiscriminate nature has led to an increased focus on addressing mental health concerns across various demographics. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the significance of men’s mental health and the unique challenges they may face in seeking treatment. This awareness has prompted the establishment of specialized treatment facilities known as “men’s mental health treatment centers.” These centers are designed to provide a supportive and understanding environment specifically tailored to the needs and experiences of men. By acknowledging the specific mental health concerns that men might encounter and offering targeted treatment approaches, these centers aim to break down the stigma surrounding men seeking help for their mental well-being.
The behaviors of an addict are similar regardless of the person’s economic status or social standing. Treatment approaches for addiction, from this perspective, seek to help clients address behaviors that led to addiction and learn to manage life differently.
If you are tired of chasing a high, tired of squandering your finances on drugs or alcohol, tired of ruining your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, call to speak to one of our trained staff. We can answer all your questions, including your fears about treatment.