What Makes a Drug Rehab Program Effective

effective

According to SAMHSA statistics, there has been more than a 20% increase in heroin and other opiate related admissions in substance abuse treatment facilities. Of those, 17% of admissions were related to marijuana. The age group of 25 to 29 years showed the highest proportion of patients at 14.8%. While success rates are usually not revealed, there are certain points which can make a drug rehabilitation program effective.

Treatment Varies from Person to Person

Different patients have different characteristics. This means that a single treatment cannot be used for everyone. Also, people are inherently different and work with different motivators. Some are more religious in their approach while others go forward with sheer willpower. The treatment should take into account ethnicity, gender, race and culture as these factors are important in a drug rehab program. Statistics show that of the total admissions, 60% were whites, 21% were African-Americans, and 14% were Hispanic/Latino. The success of a drug rehab program depends on its effectiveness to locate the different treatments. It is important that setting and environment are taken into account. The success of the treatment might depend on it.

Treatment Should Address All the Problems

It is true that the person has been admitted into the facility for addiction problems related to a particular drug, narcotic, or alcohol. However, their complete well-being depends on a wholesome treatment. Thus, the treatment should not just target their addiction but their mental, physical, personal, and psychological health as well. Any associated problems related to the abuse need to be taken care of.

Treatment Needs to Continue for an Adequate Time

The adequate rehab time depends a lot of what drug abuse problems the person was dealing with and the degree of their addiction. A minimum duration of 3 months is required to have any positive effect on the person. However, the rehab process is long and requires a lot of patience. The person needs many treatment episodes to be fully treated. Many times, the patient relapses and the treatment needs to be started again. If an individual leaves rehab sooner than needed, then the chances of relapse are increased. This is why a good rehab program needs to have motivation techniques to keep the patient in the facility.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Needed to be Effective

Like treatments, different therapies work for different patients. An effective rehab program needs to use the right combination of therapies on the patient. The idea is not just to end the addiction but by therapy, the patient’s resistance to drugs can be improved. They also focus on positive motivation for abstinence, replacing drug use with other fulfilling activities and improving relationships with others. Individual and group therapy is also common. Some people need family counseling as well.

Drug rehab is difficult and many patients relapse during their treatment. An effective drug rehab program keeps them motivated to a realistic level. The program needs to teach people that it is okay if they slip-up, but they have to try harder the next time. These points ensure that the program is a success and patients give up the drug use.

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Why Drug Addicts Fail Drug Rehab

addicts

The number of patients seeking help from a drug rehabilitation facility is on the rise. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that over a million people sought treatment for substance abuse in 2011 – that is an increase of 7.8 percent over a five year period. A certain number of those individuals will go back to using eventually. Why is the drug rehab process effective for some, but a failure for others?

Denial

Denial is a large part of the problem. Addicts don’t always see drug use as a concern. They enter rehab to satisfy their family or as part of a court mandated program. Recovery takes work, and a person unwilling to recognize their addiction will not put that effort into beating it. Once they leave the facility, they end up slipping deeper into the addictive cycle.

Cost

Not all people can afford the level of rehab they need. This means they settle for an outpatient program when residential care is the most promising option, or they stay in a treatment facility for a shorter time than necessary to get healthy. Insurance companies and employers are beginning to see the benefits of offering longer, more substantial treatment right from the start. One extensive treatment cycle costs less than repeated attempts and the long-term health problems associated with drug abuse.

Poor Attitude

A bad attitude is a deal breaker in a drug rehabilitation program. Some addicts know they have an illness but refuse to believe it is that big of a problem. Others let negative thoughts interfere with their ability to change. These clients end up fighting with other residents and the staff. That negativity spreads to everyone in sessions, as well.

Lack of Responsibility

Part of the rehabilitation process is owning up to the addiction and taking responsibility for the harm it causes both, the addict and family members. Inner reflection is an obstacle in most situations. This lack of responsibility translates to their recovery program. They show up late for meetings or chronically miss counseling sessions, for example.

Relapse

Drug addiction is both, a physical and psychological problem. For this reason, relapse rates are high – between 50 to 90 percent depending on the type of addiction and the length of treatment. For instance, a heroin addict requires comprehensive treatment because the physical side effects of withdrawal are so intense, and alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder.

Even in a high-security facility, a motivated addict can find a way to use. The strong physical craving takes over, and they look for ways to get access to any drug that will get them high. Relapsing during treatment is common. If that happens, the current treatment cycle will not work. They must start over again, probably at a different facility. In many treatment centers, using is grounds for dismissal.

Influence of Family and Friends

A strong support system with everyone on the same page is an asset to someone tackling addiction. If the family is divided, some members will take the side with an addict in denial and add to the problem. It is difficult to move towards acceptance, and twice as hard if someone on the outside is influencing this person. That is why many facilities limit the client’s access to outside contact during the initial stages of a recovery program.

Substance abuse is a chronic illness, and one trip to rehab is not always enough. The numbers are improving, however. More people are seeing the wisdom in getting professional help for their problem – that awareness will eventually lead to more effective programs and better results during treatment.

 

The Most Commonly Abused Pain Killers

painkillers

Prescription pain killer abuse is higher than that of any other drug or illegal substance except marijuana, according to a 2012 Monitoring the Future study performed by the University of Michigan1. These drugs can be dangerous, may cause severe side effects, and can even lead to overdose and death. Just because a drug is prescribed by a physician does not make it necessarily safe to use, especially if the medication is not being used in the manner prescribed and to the person it was prescribed to.

Prescription pain medications are typically prescribed to those with legitimate medical concerns who are experiencing moderate to severe pain. Although many people can be prescribed the same medication, the doctor bases the prescription and dosage on factors specific to the individual. Side effects also vary by individuals, and the physician often takes these variations into effect when prescribing pain medications. Also, just because the doctor has prescribed certain medications at certain doses in the past does not mean that the same medication or dose will be used in the future.

Prescription drug abuse is identified by several factors. These factors that are used when determining prescription drug abuse include:

  • Taking a prescription that was not prescribed directly
  • Taking higher doses of medication than prescribed by a physician
  • Taking a medication for reasons other than those specifically for which the drug was prescribed
  • Taking a prescribed medication simply for its effects on the mind or body

Prescription drugs can be abused in many ways, such as in the form they are prescribed in or they may be crushed or dissolved to be ingested, smoked, snorted, or injected. The purpose of the abuse is to get a high from the pain killer, and not typically to reduce pain.

The most commonly abuse prescription painkillers are those that are opiate or opioid painkillers, traditionally referred to as narcotic pain relievers. They are either derived from the opium poppy seed or synthetically manufactured to resembled drugs made from this seed. Drugs in this class have the highest potential for abuse due to the effects on the brain. Euphoria is typically felt initially, followed by depressant effects to the central nervous system. These drugs take the place of neurotransmitters in the brain that are natural feel good chemicals that are produced by the body. As narcotic pain use increases, the body stops producing these chemicals. This results in an increase in pain killer use not only to feel good, but just to keep from feeling bad or from going through painful withdrawal symptoms.

Narcotic pain killers depress the central nervous system in order to decrease the feeling of pain in the body. Side effects of narcotic prescription drugs include drowsiness, confusion, loss of coordination, and decreased respiration. This last side effect is what makes prescription pain killer abuse so dangerous. As a tolerance to the drug increases, so does the amount of drug taken. Side effects increase with the amount of drug taken. The more drug that is taken, the more respiration is affected which can lead to decreased rate of breathing. If too much is taken resulting in an overdose, breathing may stop. According to statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse1, narcotic pain relievers cause more deaths than all illegal drugs combined.

Vicodin

Vicodin is the most commonly abused prescription pain killer1. This combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen is also the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, according to 2010 statistics provided by the Coalition against Drug Abuse2. Symptoms of abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of focus
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting

Overdose with Vicodin can be fatal, mostly due to its inclusion of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Symptoms of overdose are extensive, and a few of these symptoms inlcude:

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
  • Sweating, cold and clammy skin
  • Muscle weakness or overall weakness
  • Drowsiness, confusion, fainting
  • Changes in breathing, blue lips
  • Coma or death

Codeine

Codeine is prescribe for mild to moderate pain. This drug is also used in certain cough preparations as well as for diarrhea in some cases. Using codeine may slow reaction time as occurs with most narcotic prescription pain killers. Overdose with codeine carries the same symptoms as with other narcotics.

Morphine

Morphine is derived from the opium poppy plant and is generally reserved for those with severe pain. Taking large amounts of morphine can cause breathing problems, coma, and death. Those who take morphine have a risk of serious side effects. These may include:

  • Decreased breathing and heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors
  • Severe weakness
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

There are other side effects that may be experienced while taking morphine. The most common are flushing followed by a feeling of nausea and weakness. There are many other drugs that can interact with morphine increasing the risk of side effects and overdose.

Methadone

Methadone is typically prescribed as a withdrawal agent to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with heroin pr narcotic pain killer withdrawal. However, methadone is also a pain killer that can be used for moderate to severe pain. Methadone can be obtained from special clinics that are trying to help people get off of more dangerous drugs. This medication can still be abused.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone can be prescribed in combination with acetaminophen, such as Percocet, or without acetaminophen, such as Oxycontin. It is used for moderate to severe pain. Prescription pain killers containing oxycodone are typically considered stronger than those containing hydrocodone, so are not as widely prescribed.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is generally reserved for use for those with severe, ongoing pain that does not respond to other pain treatments, and is stronger than morphine. It is typically prescribed to cancer patients for problems with break through pain. This drug has many interactions, such as other medications and foods that can increase the risk of serious side effects and overdose. When mixed with heroin or cocaine, its effects are amplified, but so is the risk of death.

Mepiridine

Mepiridine is the active ingredient in products such as Demerol, and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. There is a high risk of allergic reaction with this drug which can lead to death. Even in regular doses, mepiridine can cause extreme psychiatric disturbance, even in those with no previous history of mental illness. Overdose is similar to that with other narcotic pain relievers.

Hydromorphone

Hydromorphone is also a commonly abused drug, often known as Dilaudid. This medication is prescribed for moderate to severe pain and is often given in the hospital to relieve pain including that after surgery. Hydromorphone has the same risks for overdose as other narcotic pain relievers.

Sources:

  1. NIH; Drug Facts:Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
  2. Coalition Against Drug Abuse; VVicodin Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

 

How To Find The Best Drug Treatment For Teens

best

Everyone needs to be able to find a quality youth rehab center. There are good rehab centers for teens and bad rehab centers. It is important to look at the services offered at each center in order to determine whether it is going to provide the necessary results for the specific addiction. This will require a little bit of research, as well as a phone call or visit to the locations being considered.

Look at the Services

Before you choose a drug rehab, take a look at the services offered. For example, if you are looking at an addiction rehabilitation center for a loved one that does not want to go, it is important to find a center that offers intervention. Not all centers offer it, and if it is something that you need, will want to ensure it is available to you.

Focus on some of the other services that you may need as well. This includes:

  • detox
  • group counseling
  • family counseling
  • life training

Many rehab centers are significantly lacking in services, especially when it comes to treating teens. These are the bad centers that you want to avoid. There is no reason to choose a bad rehab center because there are so many centers that focus on teens around the country for you to choose from. What is important is that you make sure that the teen who is entering rehab has all of their needs attended to from the moment they are admitted to the moment they check out.

Find Out The Specialties

Not everyone suffers from the same kind of addiction. There are such addictions as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and various other emotional addictions. If the center does not specialize in a particular addiction, it is not going to be as effective for the teen. While it may provide some assistance, group counseling will ultimately be ineffective because the person will not be able to bond with others over the same kind of addiction.

There are enough specialties out there and enough centers out there to find one that is specific for the addiction you or someone else is suffering from. There are plenty of rehab centers that will accept you regardless of what your addiction is – and this may be the worst place for you because there will be no form of customized care.

Compare Statistics

Before you enroll in a rehab center, you also want to review the statistics. This is one of the most effective ways to tell the difference between a good rehab center and a bad one. Statistics don’t lie. Take a look at how many people have had to return to a rehab center after leaving the rehab center you are looking at. Find out how many people enter every single month and how many people are recurring patients.

Also, take a look at how many people are attending group counseling, one-on-one counseling, and family counseling. This will provide you with a good indication as to how many people are taking advantage of the counseling sessions versus just going in and taking the classes and being away from the item that they are addicted to – alcohol, drugs, sex, or something else.

Most centers should provide statistics immediately upon asking, if not before. If a rehab center is hesitant to provide statistics, it is likely because they are not proud of their numbers or they have not been in business long enough to establish numbers.

Addiction can be overcome, but it is greatly dependent upon the rehab center. It should only take one visit to a rehab center to set a person on the right path and if it doesn’t, a bad rehab center was chosen.

 

5 Signs That A Drug Rehab Program Is Not Going To Work For You

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Do You Need a Different Road to Recovery?

Recovering from drug and alcohol abuse is a long and complicated process. Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available. Some people prefer the comfort of a support group. Others would rather follow the advice of a trusted family physician. The most common form of recovery, however, is a rehabilitation facility. These centers provide a wide range of services, and generally have a high success rate. Of course, this approach to recovery is not ideal for everyone. Here are five warning signs that a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility will not work for you.

  • Serious Medical ConditionsDrug rehabilitation centers have strict rules concerning the use of prescription drugs. Even if they are not part of your dependency issues, prescription drugs are considered a gateway to a relapse. Depending on your condition, the facility may modify your medical treatment to support your recovery. A life-threatening illness, coupled with the pains and frustrations of withdrawal, can discourage any progress in one of these centers.
  • Limited or No Health InsuranceA quality drug rehab facility can be extremely expensive. Some health insurance plans cover the treatment and others do not. For those with any insurance, out-of-pocket expenses can cost thousands of dollars. Most facilities include several steps and services to their treatment program. If you are having financial troubles, this may not be a viable option for healing.
  • Pre-existing Mental ConditionInstead of talking to a medical professional, many people turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate mental illnesses. They see this as a way to avoid the stigmas associated with mental illness. This only creates more problems. Drugs and untreated mental illness can cause severe physical, emotional, and mental damage. While the issue of dependency still needs to be addressed, these patients require a very different level of care.
  • Sudden Tragedy or LossDrug rehabilitation programs entail a great deal of cooperation. It takes the work of all parties involved to make considerable progress. The path to recovery is only effective if the patient is receptive to the treatment. If you have recently suffered a great loss, the overwhelming grief can disrupt the treatment process. This is unfortunate because people often use drugs and alcohol to alleviate their sadness.
  • Single Parent HomeIt is never okay for children to suffer with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. However, many of the traditional rehabilitation programs require patients to separate themselves from their normal lives. If a single parent makes the decision to enter one of these facilities, their children will become temporary wards of the state. For some people this is the best possible option, but for other families it could be absolutely devastating.

These are not excuses to avoid receiving treatment for drug abuse. If you are suffering from a dependency issue, you owe it to yourself to seek help. Nevertheless, the traditional programs are not always the answer. Drug rehabilitation is a long and difficult road. As long as it is recommended by trusted professionals, people should find the treatment that is best suited for their individual situation.

 

Is Drug Addiction Hereditary?

Research has Been Done

Despite several decades of research related to the assorted causes of drug addiction, experts continue to disagree on whether the basis for this issue lies in the realm of nature or nurture. Longitudinal studies prove that addiction tends to run in families, but it this actually due to genetics, or simply a result of bad habits being passed from one generation to the next? A clear answer to this persisting question remains elusive, but recent research may help to clue us in on this continued chicken or egg theory.

Twin And Adoption Studies11

In the past, a combination of twin and adoption studies have often been used to delve further into the relationship between genetics and alcoholism. These types of studies are now being expanded to include other type of drug addictions. Because identical twins possess the exact same genes, it is assumed that, given an entirely hereditary basis for drug addiction, either both or neither members of a set of identical twins would fall prey to addiction.

Thus far, the results of existing twin studies have shown that, when one member of a set of twins winds up with a drug addiction, the other is far more likely to also contract this problem. However, there is not a one hundred percent correlation, which suggests that, while genetics are influential, the cause of addiction cannot be entirely hereditary.

Genome Wide Association Studies

The National Institute on Drug Abuse points to recent genome wide association studies, or GWAS, as evidence that genetics play a major role in the development of addiction. These studies are designed to identify extremely subtle differences in DNA structure that may account for a greater risk of addiction in certain individuals. Most recently, a 2012 GWAS funded by identified a gene already associated with several psychiatric traits to be strongly correlated with a positive response to amphetamines in certain individuals. Further studies are expected to identify still more genes associated with drug addiction and may in the future help geneticists to identify at-risk individuals and target them with a variety of preventative measures.

Child Abuse And Trauma

Statistics related to child abuse and drug addiction suggest that there is more to addiction than simply genetics. If drug addiction was solely a hereditary problem, rates of substance abuse would not be significantly higher in children that had experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse. As it stands, regardless of family history, children experiencing such forms of abuse are far more likely to also experience addiction later in life than those fortunate enough to avoid abuse in childhood.

Environment As A Response To Genetics

Experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse maintain that the cliche should not be “nature versus nurture,” but instead, “nature and nurture.” These researchers feel that genetics may be responsible in determining how an individual responses to certain environmental factors that are capable of serving as addiction triggers. This may be why two different people can be placed in the same environment, but only one will leave with an addiction. And it also may explain why members of a set of identical twins may have experience different outcomes related to addiction depending on where and with whom they are raised.

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer when it comes to the causes of drug addiction. The origin of this problem is likely some combination of nature and nurture, given the fact that it is entirely possible for someone with a strong family history of addiction to avoid the issues altogether — just as it is also possible for an individual to be the first member in his or her family to succumb to drug abuse. Because both genetics and environment play into the development of drug addiction, the best solution is to identify individuals that may be at risk for addiction and then ensure that their environments are as devoid of addiction triggers as possible. Although this approach may not ensure that drug abuse will be wiped out, it very well could reduce occurrence rates in the future.

What to do if your drug rehab program isn’t working for you

Effective Drug Rehab

It is extremely important to be sure you work with a rehab program which is effective and works for you. Relapse is common and is a 16genuine concern when looking into rehabilitation. This means that for your addiction, you need to make sure you make the best decision possible when it comes to rehab.

There are many approaches to rehab. Different approaches work for different people.  For example, there are 12 Step programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, out-patient facilities, in-patient facilities, group therapy, art therapy, and more. One of these approaches may work for you or a combination of approaches might work better.

If you are working in a program that isn’t effective or addressing all of your needs, don’t give up.  You have options:

  • Option 1:  Research other rehab methods.

One of the reasons people give up on rehab is they don’t know there are other types of rehab programs out there. In addition to the relatively common 12 Step programs, you can find indigenous (Native American) programs, faith-based programs, one-on-one therapy options, and more.  There are 30-day programs, 90-day programs, medical detox programs, and holistic centers that utilize a number of different methodologies.

The rehab method you have picked is not the end-all of drug rehab. Your best bet is to see if there is a program which allows you to consider a combination of rehab methods – like the holistic program offered at Best Drug Rehab.

  • Option 2: Discuss your situation with your advisor or counselor.

If your counseling or support group isn’t working for you, discuss the problem privately with your advisor, counselor, or mentor.  They may be able to advise you, refer you to a different program, or help you with what you are running into.

  • Option 3: Talk to friends and family about your options.

There are situations where an addict, who is not getting the help they need to solve their addictive behavior, may not feel comfortable talking to those in his or her support group.  Perhaps they fear the consequences of revealing that they are failing where others are succeeding.  Maybe they feel they will be judged.

Chances are, none of these people will judge you. However, it is best to talk to someone you know will not judge you. Often, the best people to reach out to are your friends and family.  Even if you feel they will be disappointed that things are not going exactly as planned, they are likely to be very receptive to your situation.

Discuss what is happening openly and honestly with a person you trust.  Find out from them what they advise.  Perhaps they will help you research different rehab methods to try.  Perhaps they know someone who has run into a similar situation that they can connect you with.  In any case, they will probably help you if you ask for it.

  • Option 4: Try other rehab methods.

There is nothing wrong with trying different methods of rehab.  Make sure you fully understand the principles behind the method you are trying and that you dedicate yourself to using this method to get better.

With your own decision to get better and all the varied methods of rehabilitation available, you can succeed in getting and staying clean.

Drug Abuse and the Effects on the Motor Skills

Drug Abuse Has Many Effectslarge 6

Drug abuse has multiple negative effects on the body, from teeth and skin disorders to memory impairment to weakened immune system to heart failure. While many of these conditions develop over time, the acute effects of drug use prove just as dangerous, if not more so, than the chronic conditions of abuse. Every time an individual uses a substance, it has an immediate effect on many processes of the body, but has an especially significant impact on the brain, which effects motor skills.

Motor Skill Impairment

Everyone has undoubtedly seen the portrayal of a drunk or high character on a TV show or in a movie. Often, the actor demonstrates this impaired state by stumbling, slumping, running into people, and slurring speech. This portrayal is largely accurate.

The use of substances disrupts neurotransmission in the brain, making it harder for your body and your brain to communicate. That’s why people who have had too much to drink have difficulty standing, walking, and completing other activity that requires the brain and body to coordinate, from signing their name to the bar tab to having sex.

Dangers of Impairment

The likelihood of falling down stairs, walking into traffic, and having other careless accidents unsurprisingly increases when an individual is impaired by a substance. Another major category in which the impact of drugs or alcohol on the motor skills plays a significant role is in impaired driving. While part of driving impairment is caused by a reduction in cognitive function, causing drivers to process information that they see on the road more slowly and ineffectively and making it more difficult for drivers to make good decisions while driving, the impact on the motor skills also comes into play in accidents and arrests from impaired driving.

It is the decrease in motor skill function that causes drivers under the influence to swerve in the lane, to turn the wheel too little or too much when changing lanes or making a turn, and that causes braking that is either too slow or too fast for the circumstance.

Long-Term Consequences

Unlike the slow-building effects of drug abuse on the heart and kidneys over time, the effects of alcohol on the brain are immediately detectable. People can see the impact on a user’s motor skills come on, and see them recede once the substance that caused the effects has left the user’s system. This noticeable change in a user’s physical functioning may make many believe that the effects of drugs or alcohol on the brain are short-term.

Studies suggest, however, that prolonged exposure to a substance has an effect on the brain long after an abuser has stopped using. After three months, the brain of a cocaine abuser still has significantly lower functioning than a normal brain, and scientists believe that, in many cases, full brain function never returns after prolonged drug use.

Infants

The most severe impact of substances on motor skills may not be on the user, but, in the case of pregnant drug abusers, on the baby. Exposure to drugs in the woman have shown a direct correlation to slow motor development in infants. Low muscle tone in infants exposed to substances in the womb make motor functioning more difficult, and reflexes are slower than those of their non-exposed counterparts for the first year.

This impairment of motor functioning does appear to dissipate within the second year of life, allowing children born to drug-addicted parents to catch up to their peers physically, though behavioral problems remain.

Drug abuse has many debilitating effects on the body that, over time, can lead to a number of chronic health conditions, or even death. Some of the most dangerous immediate effects of abuse, though, involve the instant impairment of the brain and the motor skills. A decrease in the ability of the body to function results in accidents that could be otherwise be avoided.

Though the effects may be less visible when an abuser isn’t intoxicated, the damaging effects of alcohol on the brain remains long after a user ceases to use. Since the body’s functioning is dependent on the brain for data, any long-term damage to the brain is long-term damage to the entire body.

The top 5 most popular drug detoxification methods to consider

There a many different drug detoxification methods available to a person who is looking at getting off of drugs. Which one you pick has a lot to do with the type of top-5-detoxification-methodsdependence or addiction, physical condition, personal preference, and other factors. Here are five popular detoxification methods, along with their pros and cons:

Out-Patient Detox Methods

“Cold Turkey”

This method is not really “out-patient” since people attempt it on their own. While going “cold turkey” seems to be promoted as something that “tough” people do, there are more cons than pros to this method.

Pros: If you survive, you’re off the drug.

Cons: Going cold turkey is uncomfortable and can be extremely dangerous. While movies like Trainspotting show people going through the pain and discomfort of withdrawal, they end up okay in the end. In reality, different drugs have different withdrawal symptoms that can make an unsupervised cold turkey detox deadly. Some of these withdrawal symptoms are: fever, delirium tremens, psychosis, seizure, coma, and death.

Methadone Clinics

It may seem easier to use another drug to replace the drug to which you are addicted. This is why methadone clinics have a popular program. After a person has begun a methadone program, they are likely to become addicted to methadone.

Pros: Methadone clinics may help a person get off the drug to which they are currently addicted. It is relatively easy and is usually an out-patient program. Methadone is a controlled substance, whereas heroin is an illegal street drug.

Cons: The drug used in these clinics is highly addictive. Withdrawal from methadone is more dangerous than withdrawal from most other opiates. This means that when you have gotten “clean,” you are addicted to methadone instead of the drug to which you had been addicted (usually heroin or other opiates).

In-Patient Detox Methods

Holistic Detoxification

Holistic Detox is an in-patient detox program which focuses on helping the mind as well as the body. These types of programs generally utilize vitamins, nutrition, and some sort of spiritual or mental guide like yoga, acupuncture, and/or therapy.

Pros: When one has graduated from a holistic detoxification program, they are truly drug-free. Additionally, this is an in-patient type program. This means that, while a person may have to give up some freedoms for a little while, they will be cared for, their progress will be monitored, and trained staff will help them through the detoxification process.

Cons: If no medicine is used in detoxification, the process can be uncomfortable. However, this is many times better than going “cold turkey.” Holistic detox is administered by specialists who utilize nutritional supplements and other methods to manage withdrawal, combined with therapy for the psychological symptoms. This is a more “natural” detoxification process.

Medical Detoxification

In a medical detox, the addict is helped through the withdrawal process with medication and is under the care of trained medical staff.

Pros: Specific medical detox programs focus on getting the addict drug free and utilize less potent medications to help the addict off the drugs that are controlling their life. After they are off the dangerous drugs to which they are addicted, they can be helped off of the medications they are taking – making the withdrawal process safe and relatively comfortable.

Cons: It is necessary to have a discussion with a detox center specialist about the exact medications that will be utilized to help an addict off drugs. This also applies to alcohol, which is associated with severe physical dependence. If they utilize other addictive substances like methadone, research the effects and withdrawal symptoms of those drugs. The idea is to get the addict completely free of drugs – not to hook them on a new one.

Combined Detox Programs

Some detox centers focus on the characteristics of specific drugs and addictions. For certain drugs, they may take a more holistic approach. Others require additional medication for safe withdrawal. The physical state of the addict, which drugs they have been using, and how long they’ve been using are all considered, as well as how the addict is most comfortable approaching it.

Pros: Certain drugs are known for the intensity of physical dependence brought about through continued use. Opioid painkillers (Vicodin, OxyContin), opiates (heroin, morphine), benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Xanax), as well as alcohol are known for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, including pneumonia, seizures, and cardiovascular complications. Such cases require controlled doses of medication to gradually reduce the symptoms of addiction and withdrawal. Cocaine, on the other hand, is not generally known for such a severe physical dependence; it is more notorious in terms of heavy psychological addiction. A person can get off cocaine using a purely holistic process – depending on the person and their preferences.

Cons: Some centers will prescribe antidepressants or even benzodiazepines to manage withdrawal symptoms. This is not recommended since many of these drugs bring about addiction themselves. Be sure to ask an addiction specialist which kinds of drugs they use in detox. When a combined holistic and medical detox system is used, the ideal result would be a person who is no longer dependent upon any psychoactive chemical whatsoever.

When a professionally supervised detox is accomplished, the next step of rehab is to get to the root of the personal, familial, environmental, mental, and spiritual elements connected with a person’s drug or alcohol habit. When this is done thoroughly, it can mean a new beginning for a former addict or alcoholic.

Fighting drug addiction in the United States

The War Wagesthum1

When we hear of the “War on Drugs,” we are likely to think of heavily armed DEA agents raiding a sophisticated secret meth lab, or a battalion of Los Federales (Mexican Federal Police) in armored attack vehicles and face masks (to protect their identities) battling an equally well-equipped drug cartel, or a Coast Guard patrol narrowly intercepting a shipment of Asian heroin. And while all that may be true, the subject of harrowing human drama, and the basis for countless unrealistic cop shows – the fact remains that these episodes are only one part of the fight against drugs. In truth, the efforts to stop the supply of drugs – although noble and for the most part well-intentioned – will not ultimately succeed unless one slows or halts the demand.

Witness the rise of prescription drug abuse in the United States, now responsible for the number of drug-related deaths surpassing traffic fatalities. Or the manner in which opioid painkiller abuse and heroin addiction now fuel each other – with prescription pill addicts switching to heroin and vice-versa. No, no matter how many shot guns, Kevlar vests, prosecutions, investigations of corruption, and prison sentences, the only way to fight drug abuse for the long haul is to pull it up by its roots through a definitive curbing of demand. To the cynic, it’s way too late. But in a wholly practical sense, fighting drug abuse consists of several major steps:

The Two Phases of Drug Rehabilitation

A large number of drugs create physical dependence and addiction. Examples are: opiates like morphine and heroin; synthetic opioid painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin; and psychotropic drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, and Halcion. Another drug that creates severe physical dependence is alcohol. Any of these drugs – and many others – are associated with withdrawal symptom. This means that when an individual who is dependent or addicted tries to abruptly quit, he or she can experience not only uncontrollable cravings, but nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, hallucinations, erratic or hostile behavior, and seizure – to name just a few. They can also go into a coma or die. That is why medical detoxification is vital.

Medical detox indicates a series of procedures geared towards bringing a person out of addiction through proper doses of medically-prescribed drugs with the utmost concern for the patient’s comfort and safety. An out-patient methadone clinic does not accomplish comprehensive medical detox since the heroin addict is simply given a cup of methadone to drink each day, and is generally considered to be only slightly better off than using heroin – the advantages being that they do not inject methadone and the dosage is controlled, compared to heroin which is obtained on the street. Despite this, methadone is considered more addictive than heroin. In-patient medical detox, on the other hand, is much more thorough in providing a safe journey for a recovering addict or alcoholic.

The next phase of rehabilitation is to address the root causes of addiction, which are not just physical. Many psychological and even spiritual factors were at work that lead to and prolong a person’s addiction. A statement that “we can make you drug-free in 30 days” is a dubious claim. Factually, no one can really say how long it will take for someone to go through rehab and get the proper result. Ideally, a rehab facility would be result-oriented and open-ended. Quite a few centers employ the Twelve Step program affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In this system, usually in a group setting or with a sponsor, the addict or alcoholic admits to his or her powerlessness as regards their addiction, while acknowledging a higher power as being their only recourse. They also take steps to make amends to the people they have wronged.

Another approach that is gaining momentum could be described as the holistic system. Holistic rehabilitation maintains that drug addiction is highly individual in nature and that the best way to deal with the many factors at work in an addict’s life is to offer multiple methodologies under one roof. An example of this would be offering not just The Twelve Step program, but many faith-based programs based on a large number of denominations. Other programs that could be available in a holistic center: Life-skills and vocational training, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, fitness training, martial arts, Eastern or alternative medicine, and more.  A holistic center could have a core series of steps as well as a wide array of optional programs.

Drug Education and Alternatives to Drug Usethum2

A primary way to fight drug abuse in society is to educate youth. The “Just Say No” campaign is one method but is highly limited as it does not necessarily state WHY a child would say “no.” The most effective drug education is a detailed curriculum that describes all the various illicit and prescription drugs, what they consist of, how they’re made, their street and slang names, and what they do to the body and mind. Youth must also be taught that the dealers, pushers, and their peers will lie to them (intentionally or unintentionally) in an attempt to get them to try drugs and get hooked. They must learn what the lies are and learn the truth. It is true that some segment will use drugs. But many more will not; when they are enlightened, they are far more likely to make the educated, sensible decision.

Along with drug education should be orientation as to the alternatives to drug use. Sports, the arts, music, careers, activities which do not destroy the mind or body – these things must be shown to youth. Ultimately, they will be the ones determining the course of their lives. They must be given opportunities and guidance, and the role of teachers and parents should not be underestimated.

The Fight Continues

The fight against drugs is not one single thing. It is a combination of efforts. Often, it comes down to the work of individuals and small groups of people who have seen too much ruin and have had enough. Concerned citizens can help with drug education for youth and in the rehab field. Law enforcement is usually more than happy to work with civic groups because it can only make their jobs easier. While police and governments work to cut supply, our effort to cut demand is ultimately accomplished through effective education and rehabilitation.