Every year, millions of people suffer from addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. In fact, within the past decade, more people than ever have been battling opioid addiction. What is now known as the “Opioid Epidemic,” this recent and rapid increase in opioid-related overdose deaths has reached new heights in the United States.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an estimated 115 people die as a result of opioid overdose per day, and these numbers show no sign of slowing.
With such a severe problem on our hands, many people are left wondering what to do. Addiction, or a substance use disorder (SUD)/ alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic and progressive disorder.
This means that this condition is ongoing and will only worsen with time, never getting better on its own. While there is currently no cure available to addicts and alcoholics for their substance abuse disorders, there are viable treatment options.
One such effective treatment option is drug rehab. Most people have heard the term drug rehab or simply “rehab” before, but may not know what it actually is or what it entails. Learn more about drug rehabilitation programs and how they work so you or your loved one can get the help needed to overcome the addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
SEEKING ADDICTION HELP FOR YOURSELF OR A LOVED ONE? GET IN TOUCH WITH A TREATMENT SPECIALIST. WE ARE AVAILABLE 24-7.
SEEKING ADDICTION HELP FOR YOURSELF OR A LOVED ONE? GET IN TOUCH WITH A TREATMENT SPECIALIST. WE ARE AVAILABLE 24-7.
What Is Drug Rehabilitation?
Drug rehab can be used interchangeably with addiction treatment. This refers to the process by which addicts and alcoholics undergo different clinical and medical techniques designed to help them overcome their addiction to drugs and alcohol and learn how to live a healthier life. Drug rehab will often employ various addiction therapy techniques and utilize medications (in some cases) and other means by which to rehabilitate, or heal, addicts and alcoholics.
Addiction is recognized as a disease by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). It manifests in both physical and psychological manners. The physical part of the disease of addiction is the act of using drugs and alcohol in an obsessive and compulsive way.
The psychological aspect of addiction refers to the negative feelings or underlying driving forces that provoke the addict or alcoholic to engage in these self-destructive behaviors.
There are certain criteria that the DSM-V has set forth to successfully diagnose a substance use disorder in people. The criteria cover physical and emotional symptoms that people battling addiction often encounter.
The criteria used by the DSM-V are as follows:
- Taking the drug in larger amounts and for longer than intended
- Wanting to cut down or quit but finding yourself unable to do so
- Spending copious amounts of time attempting to obtain the substance
- Experiencing cravings for the drug
- Finding yourself incapable of performing obligations at work, school, or home due to drug use
- Continuing to use the substance despite consistent social or interpersonal issues caused by or exacerbated by drug use
- Cessation of important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to drug use
- The habitual use of the substance in physically dangerous situations
- Still using the drug after recognizing continual physical and psychological difficulties stemming from drug use
- Building a physical tolerance to the drug
- Undergoing withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped
A drug rehabilitation program aims to help address both aspects of the disease to help the addict or alcoholic find relief from their symptoms. Without addressing both areas, the individual will likely be unsuccessful and resort to returning to old behaviors and subsequently relapse.
Drug rehab centers have their own individual methods and approaches toward treating their patients. Despite having the same underlying goal, which is ultimately recovery for their clients, the way in which the medical and clinical professionals address the disorder can be different.
Choosing the correct drug rehabilitation program is crucial to your success in recovery. There are a large variety of options to consider, so learning more about drug rehab is important before heading off to treatment.
Some clients may be battling co-occurring/comorbid disorders. This is defined as a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis patients have both a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder or depression. These clients require special therapy approaches to be successful in treatment, so locating a drug rehab center which specializes in dual diagnosis treatment is important.
Depending on how severe your substance use disorder diagnosis is, you may opt to participate in an inpatient/residential treatment program. This involves living at the facility throughout treatment. If your substance use disorder is less severe, than perhaps an outpatient program may be right for you. This involves finding alternative housing and commuting to therapy sessions.
With so many different options for treatment available, it can be challenging when attempting to isolate the perfect one for yourself or your loved one. Do not be discouraged! Finding the right treatment facility involves a lot of research and understanding of the drug rehab process in general.
Read on to learn just how drug rehabilitation programs work and how they can make a difference in your or your loved one’s life.
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Drug Rehabilitation Process
Despite the various differences between drug rehab centers, the overall drug rehab process is generally uniform across all different facilities. The method in which drug rehabilitation programs are conducted is in a “stepped” format known as providing the full continuum of care.
The full continuum of care is the best method of approach to drug rehab due to the way it provides substantial medical and clinical intervention and support in the beginning stages of treatment and gradually lessens over time as clients require less hands-on techniques by the medical and clinical staff. This allows the client to naturally progress through the program and slowly take on more freedom and responsibilities when they’re stable enough in their recovery to handle it. Without this approach, clients may be subject to relapse due to having inadequate clinical and medical support when they need it most.
The beginning stages of drug rehab feature 24-7 surveillance and care. During the first few days and weeks of recovery, clients will need to be medically stabilized. After prolonged drug use and abuse, people may experience a wide variety of health complications after attempting to stop taking their drug of choice. This is known as withdrawals and can present various uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. As clients become medically and emotionally stabilized, they will begin to amass more freedom and require less medical supervision. This will promote clients learning responsibility for their recovery and how to navigate challenges without resorting to relapse.
The following is a breakdown of each level of care you or your loved one can expect to encounter throughout the duration of drug rehab:
The first level of the full continuum of care is known as medical detox. Detox is the process by which, under 24-7 medical and clinical surveillance, clients are guided through the withdrawal process and medically stabilized. Since using drugs and alcohol over a long period of time can cause you to develop a physical dependence on the substance, getting off of drugs and alcohol is not always easy.
The manifestation of withdrawal symptoms can lead individuals to continue using even when they don’t want to or return to using to alleviate symptoms. Certain drugs, such as benzodiazepines, can cause withdrawal symptoms that can even be life-threatening. This is what makes medical detox so important in the drug rehab process.
Upon arriving at detox, you’ll be given a full medical assessment by the medical team made up of doctors, nurses, and medical support staff. They will take a look at the severity of your addiction as well as your overall physical health.
After your assessment is completed, they will create and implement a personalized detox plan designed to detox you as quickly, comfortably, and safely as possible by meeting all of your individual needs. This detox plan will likely include certain detox medications designed to combat any detox side effects you may encounter.
Since another large aspect of addiction is the emotional/psychological aspect, this is particularly applicable in detox. Detoxing can cause emotional turmoil for patients, as certain withdrawal symptoms are emotionally based. The clinical team of therapists, case managers, and support staff are there to help guide you through this difficult time as well. While the primary focus of detox is usually the physical aspect, since medical stabilization is needed before the rest of drug rehab can commence, there will be some therapy sessions and groups held while you’re in detox as well.
The next stage in drug rehab is known as inpatient or residential treatment. This is the part of treatment most people envision when picturing drug rehab. At this level, you’ll live onsite at the facility but will require less medical care. You will be completely medically stabilized, meaning that the primary focus of treatment can be placed on the therapeutic aspect of drug rehab.
Each rehab center is different, so the curriculum of addiction therapy and amenities offered may be different. However, the underlying goal is to do the majority of the therapeutic work while living in a safe, sequestered environment away from outside distractions and stressors that could take the focus off of treatment.
At inpatient or residential, you’ll learn different life skills, coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention techniques designed to help you live your life successfully in recovery following drug rehab. Inpatient/residential provides round-the-clock clinical care and still provides access to medical care as well. However, clients will be undergoing full-time therapy and cannot leave the premises without permission and a chaperone from the facility. This helps protect clients from potentially relapsing and keeps everyone on track in treatment.
After inpatient comes outpatient programs. These programs can be broken down into two distinct levels: intensive outpatient (IOP) and routine outpatient (OP). While having many similarities, there are key differences that make each level of care distinct in their own way and important to the full continuum of care associated with drug rehab.
IOP offers far less clinical and medical intervention than the proceeding levels. Clients will no longer live at the facility, but instead must find alternative housing and commute to therapy sessions. Many clients choose to live at a halfway house due to the structured living and recovery-oriented environment offers at these sober living homes. But, some clients also choose to return home following inpatient. It’s important to remember that at this point in treatment, much of the responsibility for maintaining recovery will be on you. You will have free time, which can result in relapse if not used properly.
IOP will usually occur several times a week for multiple hours at a time. Clients will no longer participate in full-time therapy, but rather part-time. While in sessions, however, there will still be a high level of clinical intervention with intensive therapy methods employed by therapists to help clients continue in their drug rehabilitation program. Clients are also subjected to random drug testing, to help ensure they stay on track.
Following IOP, OP will begin. Much like IOP, clients must find other living arrangements and medical and clinical intervention is more hands-off. However, the number of hours spent in sessions is decreased further; to only one hour per week. This is the lowest level of clinical and medical care.
At this point, clients should be fairly stable medically and in their recovery. This is to ease the final transition from drug rehab back into society at large as a recovering person. By having the minimal clinical support, it offers clients lasting assistance as they make this important and sometimes challenging transition.
Aftercare is still an important portion of treatment. Despite drug rehab seemingly finished, it’s always important to remember that recovery is a lifelong process. It does not end when treatment does. Recovery requires constant attention and work to maintain your sobriety long term. This is why participating in aftercare programs is both suggested and helpful.
Apart from outpatient programs, there are a number of different ways in which to participate in aftercare. By attending 12-step programs or joining an alumni group associated with your drug rehab center, you can help solidify your place in recovery and the surrounding recovery community. By having access to such a large network of support, you can continue growing in your recovery for years to come.
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Are you or a loved one currently struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol? Let us at the Palm Beach Institute help you take back control over your life and find long-term recovery today!
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