Remember though, overcoming alcoholism is a process. Less than half of individuals relapse after achieving one year of sobriety. That number reduces to less than 15 percent who relapse after five years of sobriety. For the greatest chance of long-term sobriety after completing an inpatient or outpatient program, you should participate in local support groups and continue with counseling. Treating alcoholism is an investment in your future. It will not only make a huge difference in your life, but also the lives of those around you such as family members and friends.
Many patients get caught up in trying to define their relationship with drugs and alcohol. For example, drug abuse, has a far less threatening reputation than that of drug addiction. According to Medline Plus, an issue with drug abuse is defined as the regular abuse of any illicit substance including alcohol over the course of a year with negative consequences. These negative consequences can be financial, interpersonal, work-related, legal, health-related – anything that changes the patient’s experience of day-to-day life for the worse.2
Detox is the first step in helping your brain and body heal from substance abuse. The detox process begins with evaluations by medical doctors and nurses to determine which, if any, medical interventions are needed. Detox is primarily a time to flush the chemicals from your body, which can be an uncomfortable experience without the right medical care to help ease discomfort and/or drug cravings. Hazelden Betty Ford medical staff will work with you to evaluate your level of discomfort and provide you with medications, if needed, to address any discomfort or cravings.
With opiate abuse (heroin, morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin), withdrawal symptoms usually start within a matter of hours and last for several days. With stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, withdrawal may be more extensive, with cravings, depression, and anxiety lasting for several months. Withdrawal from prescription medications, such as sedatives in the benzodiazepine family (Valium, Xanax, Ativan) may require a drug taper lasting a number of weeks to clear the chemical safely from your system.
^ "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 (5th edition)2014 102 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 (5th edition) Washington, DC American Psychiatric Association 2013 xliv+947 pp. 9780890425541(hbck);9780890425558(pbck) £175 $199 (hbck); £45 $69 (pbck)". Reference Reviews. 28 (3): 36–37. 2014-03-11. doi:10.1108/rr-10-2013-0256. ISSN 0950-4125.
Addiction can be either behavioral or substance related. An intense feeling of emotional need or physical craving characterizes them both. Both types of addiction carry a number of other similarities, but behavioral addiction does not possess the same physical symptoms that accompany drug addiction. Experts disagree on the similarities and differences between the symptoms and consequences of the types of addictions.
More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Three Approaches to Treating Addiction by Dr. Bob Weathers
For the average person who does not suffer from alcohol addiction, a drink every now and again is both normal and non-problematic. For the alcohol addict though, a single drink every few days is not enough. The addict’s body has become dependent on alcohol for daily functioning, while the mind is convinced that it is not possible to get through the day without drinking.
The important thing to remember is that relapse doesn’t mean drug treatment failure. Don’t give up. Call your sponsor, talk to your therapist, go to a meeting, or schedule an appointment with your doctor. When you’re sober again and out of danger, look at what triggered the relapse, what went wrong, and what you could have done differently. You can choose to get back on the path to recovery and use the experience to strengthen your commitment.
Drugs affect the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and how they look. But substance use disorders are often accompanied by co-occuring mental health disorders like anxiety or depression. Some people may use drugs as a form of self-medication for these issues, while other people may develop a mental health disorder after taking substances. Either way, it’s important to look out for psychological and behavioral changes in friends or loved ones who might be struggling with addiction:
Some factors are relatively straightforward – for example, location (unless you feel that you would benefit psychologically from knowing that you are as far away as possible from your dealer/s and your drug-taking environment, it is usually best to look for a facility relatively close to you) and cost (it may be that some specifically luxury facilities are outside what is affordable for you).
Research the history of the Treatment Center or facility. What is their success rate? Can you find any medical recommendations for them online from members of the established rehab or medical community? How long has the Center been in operation? Is their leadership on solid ground? Are there any signs of financial corruption associated with the Center that is readily visible on the Internet? It is your responsibility to dig for this information. If you cannot find any information about a given Treatment Center online or at your local library, move on to the next Center on your list!
Over time, the patient often comes to believe that the drug betters them as a person and feels incapable of contemplating life without it. In short order, however, use of the drug will begin to cause problems for the user and to remove the good things in their life. All of the perceived “good” effects of using the drug will wear away, but the person will still continue to use, often becoming obsessed with the drug and doing anything they have to do to obtain the substance of choice.
For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel uncertain about whether you’re ready to make a change, or if you have what it takes to quit. If you’re addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how you’re going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. It’s okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:
Don’t wait until those consequences occur; if you suspect there is a drug problem present in your loved one, talk to them and/or seek professional help if you deem that it is needed. Never let the addict downplay the seriousness of their addiction or convince you that they can change without help. Drug addiction is a disease and recovering from it is rarely as simple as just putting down the drug and being done with it for good, no matter what promises the addict in your life may make to you or how earnestly they may make those promises.
Scholarships: Some organizations offer scholarships to help people with low incomes afford treatment. These scholarships are sometimes offered through private treatment facilities or through organizations concerned with helping those who are struggling with addiction. It is always advisable to inquire about scholarships or grants available for low-income individuals when seeking a treatment center. In some cases, SAMHSA also provides grants for treatment that can be provided through the state or treatment center. A Day in the Life of a Drug Addict *Emotional* (Part 2)