Drug addiction is a complex and devastating condition. When the user is truly in the throes of addiction, it is nearly impossible to overcome the cravings. Not only that, withdrawal symptoms begin after a short period of time, and these effects can be excruciating. Withdrawal symptoms act like illness, causing nausea, vomiting, runny nose, fever, chills, and aches and pains.
Addiction affects not only the user, but his friends and family, as well. An addict has a synthetic personality and may find himself acting sullen, argumentative, hostile and even violent with his loved ones. Friendships are broken and family relationships are torn in the wake of addiction.
Because drug abuse and addiction is so convoluted, treatment is not always easy. Effective treatment must address many areas, not just withdrawal and detoxification. And it happens too often that addiction goes untreated. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.2 million Americans aged twelve or older needed drug or alcohol treatment in 2007. That is 9.4 percent of the U.S. population.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction, there are a number of key principles involved in any effective drug rehabilitation program to help addicts stop using, avoid relapse and recover their lives. A few things to remember:
- Detoxification is only the first step of addiction treatment.
- Drug use during treatment must be continually monitored, as relapses during treatment do occur.
- Continuing with treatment for an adequate period of time is very important.
- It is important to address the reasons for addiction and empower the addict with tools he can use to prevent relapse. This may involve the people he spends time with, decisions he has made about his life, or choices regarding his line of work.
- The longer one is in treatment the more successful he will be at getting and remaining sober. Aftercare is also a must, following rehab.
The Use of a Drug-Free Approach
Although many treatment programs involve medication to assist in withdrawal, it is becoming more and more apparent that these methods of treatment are unsuccessful. More often than not, they lead to addiction swapping or relapse.
It is possible and is in fact much more successful to aid withdrawal with nutrition, rest and exercise. As drugs leave the body, they are very taxing on all the organs and burn up the body’s vitamin and mineral supply. This can cause painful withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, nausea, headaches and tremors. With a precise regimen of vitamins and minerals, plenty of sleep, and exercise to expel the toxins, a recovering addict can find himself through the worst part of withdrawal much more quickly than otherwise.
Using a drug free approach also removes the possibility of addiction to replacement drugs and side effects caused by these drugs. It allows the body to rebuild after experiencing nutritional deficiencies from drugs and generally give them more strength and a positive outlook on life.
Drug Rehabilitation for Different Drugs
As each drug varies in its effects, so does rehabilitation vary depending on the drug and the length of time that the addiction has been going on.
Heroin – Heroin withdrawal symptoms include nervousness, restlessness, pain in the muscles or bones, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea or cold flashes. These symptoms may last for a few days, but feelings of depression and emotional anguish may persist for weeks or months.
Prescription Drugs – Withdrawal from prescription addiction, especially strong painkillers like Oxycontin, may last a few days or weeks. Symptoms vary and may include abnormal skin sensations, fever, diarrhea, headaches, mood swings, rapid heartbeat, aches and pains, hallucinations and insomnia. Sometimes symptoms return at the end of the process, making detox long and arduous.
Alcohol – Alcohol detox can take from 24 hours to weeks, depending on how long alcohol abuse has gone on and how strong the addiction. Withdrawal symptoms include shakiness, sweating, nervousness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, sleeping problems and strong cravings.
Stimulant Drugs – Detox from stimulant drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and even prescriptions like Ritalin and Adderall can be uncomfortable. But, they are usually not life threatening. Often users will feel tired, eat more and need to rest the body. They may have headaches or feel moody or depressed. These feelings can pass within a few days.
In each case, specific supplements can be used to ease withdrawal symptoms and make the process easier. After detox, the reasons for addiction must be addressed and handled in order for the recovering addict to truly break free from the chains of addiction.
Steps to Finding Drug Rehabilitation
One of the things that can be a challenge with drug rehabilitation is finding the right type of program for someone that is addicted. An individual can have ‘high hopes’ about recovery only to go back to drugs after treatment. This feeling can cause a sense of hopelessness in the person and even an idea that treatment might not work. The truth is that if a person finds the right type of treatment they can recover from substance abuse. So, what are the steps to finding the right program:
- Assess the needs of the individual. If they have a love of animals or horses an equestrian program may suit them. If they do best in the wilderness or a rural area, consider a program in this area.
- Make sure that the treatment program is 100% drug free. This means that they do not prescribe more drugs to get someone off drugs. They also do not use substitute drugs like Suboxone or Methadone.
- Ask for a list of references of clients and family members who have had success with the treatment. Ask if the program has a success rate and how they measure their results.
- Study the curriculum. Make sure you loved one will be able to use it.
- Ask about aftercare and what steps the center takes to help the clients to stay sober after rehab.
Don’t be afraid to go and check out the facility yourself and take a guided tour. Researching centers and finding the right program is a very important step to gaining sobriety.