Addiction to drugs and alcohol can be traumatizing. If you are struggling with addiction or a loved one you know very well how dependence on a substance can be terrifying. It affects all aspects of life and if one is not helped, it can lead to death. The sleepless nights, insomnia, severe headaches, and vomiting are some of the devastating health impacts of substance use disorder. Moreover, when you think of quitting, you get scared and think that it might be worse.
Many addicts deny that they have a problem with the substance and it might be difficult to assist them, to them, life is meant to be lived that way and there is no a better version.
Drugs use impacts on anybody despite age, sex, and economic class. Whatever the cause of drug abuse; experimentation, peer pressure, to combat stress, etc. one gets used to the drug and before they realize they have already adopted a pattern of drug addiction. When you can’t live without consuming the substance, quitting can be difficult. Drug addiction is also referred to as substance use disorder, it affects the brain and behavior of a person.
Signs of Drug Addiction
Drugs have different symptoms of addiction, but there are common alerts that your loved one might be having a substance use disorder and they need your help. Also, if you notice you are dealing with the following signs, talk to a close friend or relative about your behavior. They are common signs of drug abuse.
• Neglecting personal responsibilities at the workplace, school, family, or in the community.
• Consuming drugs even in odd and uncomfortable circumstances like when driving.
• Having problems with the law- you always get into legal troubles like being arrested for driving while drunk or theft to finance your drug abuse habit.
• Issues in your relationships such as quarrels and fights with your spouse, relatives, colleagues, or losing friends due to your drug use.
• Tolerance – you have built a tolerance towards drug use. As the body fits into drugs, you will require more and more drugs to experience the desired feeling, which you used to experience even with small amounts.
• Withdrawal symptoms – common withdrawal signs include restlessness, sweats, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, seizures, and chills. A drug addict will notice the withdrawal symptoms immediately they stop taking the substance.
• Lack control over the substance use – You often find yourself purchasing or consuming more than you had planned, though you had promised to stop. You want to quit but you don’t have the power.
• Prioritizing the substance over any other thing in your life. You spend almost every minute thinking about the substance, figuring out how you will get them, and you can do anything just to keep the drug addiction on.
• Interests- you no longer enjoy the activities you used to such as your hobbies or sports because your time is dedicated to drug use.
• Carelessness – you no longer care about your health. One continues to take the drugs despite detrimental effects such as paranoia, diseases, mood swings, and financial problems.
If you discover that you or a loved one has a substance use disorder speak up. Talk to a person you can trust; somebody who will listen keenly without judging and offer the help you need. The earlier, the better. Remember the longer the period of addiction, the more challenging it will be to quit. Don’t watch and wait until they have hit the bottom. Stage an intervention and convince them how their drug addiction behavior is affecting them and those close to them. tell them how beneficial it will be if they seek treatment in rehab. Don’t try to punish them or threaten them for their behavior. Remember that above everything else it was their choice, thus don’t blame yourself.
In a rehabilitation or rehab, one is assisted to recover from substance addiction, injuries, or even mental illnesses. When one is addicted, their behavior changes which impact all elements of one’s life such as work, family, and community. Facilities and medics at rehab assist in preparing the addicted people to re-enter the community. With the help, one can regain their normal lifestyle in a comfy and healthy manner.
There are two programs that a rehab facility can choose from;
1. Inpatient Program
This program offers many benefits to the addict ranging from 24/7 support to freedom from external triggers. Quitting a substance, you have relied on can be difficult, and achieving sobriety can be more difficult. During detoxification, (elimination of drugs from the body) getting sober without clinical supervision, is not harmful to your body but can result in a relapse afterward.
Inpatient rehab is a residential treatment facility where the addict stays for a period depending on the program offered. In most cases, it is 30 days, but it can be longer, 60, 90 days or even more depending on various factors such as the patient’s need and preference. The length depends on the drug, period of addiction, the severity of addiction, the existence of other co-occurring mental problems, and if one has ever sought for treatment in a rehab before.
Benefits of Inpatient Rehab
If you or your close one is dealing with drug addiction, inpatient rehab has the best attention to an addict. At the facility, you are provided with 24-hour support and care. It is the best program to help you in preventing a relapse. One is always in a safe surrounding which is comfortable for recovery. There is freedom from external triggers or negative influences that may drag you back on the journey of recovery. Medical experts are ever present to make sure your health is safe during detox and in the entire treatment process.
2. Outpatient Drug Rehab
In an outpatient program, you can schedule treatment sessions within the day or week. With this program, you can continue with your responsibilities such as job and family or school. You are only required to check in with the physician for treatment and advice at the scheduled time. The outpatient program is beneficial to persons who are slightly addicted and are committed to recovering from the addiction.
There are three types of outpatient programs based on drug addicted to, the severity of addiction, stage of recovery, and personal preference. In a day program, the addict attends rehab for 5-7 days weekly for some hours to get treatment and counseling. One participates in therapies such as biofeedback. After you may decide to go home to your family or a sober home.
In the Intensive Outpatient Program, there are set milestones to check your progress. It is the right program for individuals who are serious about recovery but must take care of the family or other responsibilities. For continuing care, there are groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous that help in maintaining sobriety.
Advantages of Outpatient Program
For people who have mild addictions and are disciplined about recovery, this can be an effectual treatment choice. The programs are readily available and flexible as compared to the inpatient program. They are affordable since some things are taken care of such accommodation since you will reside at home. Outpatient programs are greatly flexible, you find time within your schedule. Additionally, the family is involved throughout the process, hence they motivate you to be sober.
Getting Sober in Rehab
Drug addiction is detrimental to your health, and by accepting to join a rehab for treatment, there is hope. There are various medications that are prescribed to help you to gain sobriety and maintain. The staff assists you in recovering, getting clean and sober. Getting treatment starts with the acceptance that you have a problem, and you require assistance.
Depending on the drug addicted to, medications can be administered to help in regaining sobriety and ease withdrawal symptoms. Also, they help in preventing a relapse. Ideally, most medications mimic the impacts of the drugs. Whether in outpatient or inpatient program, your doctor can prescribe medications to relieve cravings.
At the first stage of recovery, the body gets rid of drugs by the detoxification process. The period can last for days or weeks depending on the substance addicted to. Dealing with withdrawal symptoms is the most difficult part of detox. One can experience anxiety, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, depression, sweating, muscle pains, and many other awkward feelings. With such kind of feelings, one may be tempted to consume the drug, thus the following are some prescriptions given;
An addicted person relies on the substance to give them pleasure, hence after they stop using it, the brain is not capable of secreting happiness-inducing chemicals. During detoxification, depression is common, which can be a challenge when it comes to being sober. Antidepressants such as Prozac are given to ease the emotions until when the brain is capable of secreting happiness-inducing chemicals by itself.
Benzos are given to relieve an addict from anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom for many drugs like cocaine and heroin. Benzodiazepines have a sedative power that assists in soothing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Though they are effectual, they can be addictive and due to that physicians are very cautious when recommending benzos.
Tips for Maintaining Sobriety in Rehab
Deciding to quit drugs is perhaps the most important decision an addicted person could ever make. Getting sober is not a one step thing, but a gradual process that can even take years. Many addicts struggle with relapses when in rehab, so don’t give up when you are faced with such. The following are some things you can practice.
a) Commit to quitting
Achieving sobriety is challenging, it requires time and effort. Addicted people in rehab should be fully dedicated to the treatment plan. There are multiple reasons why should commit yourself to sobriety. Building relations, you have lost due to drug addiction such as family, work, and perhaps communal relations. Other people may want to stop behaviors behind the consumption of the substances. They feel that it is lowering their dignity.
Whichever the reason that has made you quit the drug, you should be committed for you to be sober. Since sobriety is an ongoing process, you should determine your motivation to keep you going. Writing down your reasons for getting sober and all the things you have lost due to drug addiction can help you in staying committed to recovery.
Sadly, in the past, most people believed that for you to recover you had to “hit the bottom” first. Recently, people have discovered it is a myth. An addict can determine encouraging factors and start the journey of sobriety. You don’t have to lose everything before you recover from drug addiction.
b) Define your objectives for recovery
Setting clear aims for the recovery process will assist you in keeping your motivation. You can do this by identifying your underlying personal values. Ask yourself what the important things in life are and set objectives relating to them. If the addiction is severe, it will be best if you set short-term objectives. Focus on things which you can achieve in days or months. The objectives should be intertwined with your behavior. Something that your friends and family can see you doing not vague objectives like “feel happy.”
During the initial stage of recovery, the goals should be set regarding your drug addiction. Have a timeline for your goals, for you to accomplish them. Time keeps you on target. Short-term objectives related to behavior can be;
• Coming up with a specific problem and developing a strategy for working on it.
• Controlling feelings through identifying, noting and expressing them in the right way.
• Sharing the shame and regrets of your addiction behavior to be able and learn how to associate emotions and actions in a positive healthy way.
• Learning ways of controlling anger, anxiety, and depression.
c) Planning for cravings and preventing temptation
The urge to consume drugs after you have stopped in the first months of recovery is normal and common in many addicted people. You should learn to accept this and find ways of dealing with it when it occurs. There are multiple ways of avoiding temptations. Talking to a friend or a close family member about cravings can help in maintaining sobriety.
Workouts are effective too. Join a gymnastic or find a group of people to exercise with. It helps to keep your mind focus on exercise and not drugs. Other addicted people listen to their favorite music or watch movies to keep them busy. Reminding yourself of the reasons why you want to get sober and maintain it can be of help too. Putting recovery plan on a paper makes it easy since you can always refer and remember what you are supposed to do whenever cravings show up.
Ideally, for an addict to maintain sobriety they must avoid any situation that can lead to temptation. If you have signed the outpatient rehab program, ensure that you don’t have any drug in the house. The common saying, “Stay away from people, places, and things, “it is more than true. Identify all triggers to your drug addiction and keep off them. Avoid situations and people who have played a role in your addiction. You can ask your friends not to use the drugs when you are with them.
Setting limits is a key role in sobriety journey. Share them honestly with your family and friends. Avoid bashes where the drug will be used or any other drugs and alcohol. Having such steps and following them can help you in staying sober. In the rehab, professionals teach addicted people the tricks they can employ to avoid relapse.
d) Discover yourself
Discover and find a new meaning in your life. Of course, treatment of drug addiction in rehab is essential but plan to live a life free of drugs. Resolve to take good care of yourself in the long run by resolving to lead a healthy lifestyle. Check on your diet. Eat balanced and nutritious meals to give the body all the nutrients it requires. It is time for it to heal. Get enough rest to help you relax and acquire all the strength you need for the sobriety journey.
Most people neglect their health when they get into drugs and alcohol. Taking care of health problems that have been ignored due to drug addiction is an important step to help you gain sobriety. While in rehab, discover new hobbies that will satisfy you. They might help you in boosting your self-esteem and reduce cravings.
Quitting something you have depended on for years can be traumatizing and can lead to depression or stress. Find means of reducing stress level to aid you in dealing with the current situation. Engaging in activities you enjoy such as swimming, dancing, bird hunting, and many other can help you in managing stress and depression. Workouts trigger the body to secrete endorphins that minimize stress.
e) Get help
Find the right support to help during the recovery process. It helps you in achieving sobriety. You can turn to close friends and relatives who are willing to help you without judging and reminding you of your past mistakes. Support groups in the rehab, are beneficial. Addicted people share their experiences and encourage each other in the journey of recovery.
12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, offer platforms of discussing addiction. They are sometimes formed based on gender or specific drugs, hence it can be comfortable to open and share with each other. People talk about struggles they are facing regarding drug addiction and their worries with no fear that it will get into public ears.
Some recovering or completely recovered people from drug addiction join in the support groups to motivate the beginners and give them tips for maintaining sobriety. They share their experiences, which motivates addicted people to continue with the recovery process. For religious people, going to church may help you in getting sober. Reading and following the teachings of the church on abstinence from drugs can work for some addicted individuals.
Churches often conduct 12-step programs or other support groups like faith-based rehab to help addicted people. Combining the knowledge of drug addiction experts and church teachings can be an effective way of becoming sober. Additionally, the family is a unit that can be powerful in the recovery process. Seek support from close family members and friends.
In some support groups, family members can attend. Family and friends help people in dealing with life challenges, not only drug addiction. Their affection and support are immeasurable and of help. They motivate you and can be a reason why you must be sober. Also, by attending the meeting, relatives comprehend better what you are going through and get to know what they can do to help.
If you don’t have a supportive family don’t worry. It common for addicts to lack family support while undergoing recovery. Get close to your trusted and genuine friends. Build a support system from them. It very important to have people you can rely on. The recovery process is tricky and giving up is easy.
Outpatient programs also offer support to any addicted person who needs care. You don’t have to stay at the rehab, but you can get the assistance personally or in a group through a therapy. It doesn’t matter where you get support from, the only important thing is to get some people around you that will help you in your recovery journey and boost the chances of successful treatment plan.