Drug addiction is one of the most dangerous forms of addiction there is and it affects countless lives across the UK. The most recent estimates (between 2016 and 2017) were some 313,971 people in the UK suffering from opiate addiction alone; but we believe that those numbers are likely considerably higher.
Additionally, drug abuse affects more than just the people who are suffering from drug addictions. In fact, the people around them, close friends, family members, and even co-workers can be negatively impacted by this kind of behaviour. [Source]
What does one do when either they or someone that they love is struggling with drug addiction?
One of the few ways to treat addiction is with drug rehabilitation; but what is it and how does it work?
What is drug rehab?
Drug rehab refers to a broad form of psychotherapeutic drug addiction treatment that is designed to help a person kick their habit, cleanse their system, and work on their recovery.
The treatment options available to addicts vary depending on a wide variety of factors, for example:
- The substance being abused (e.g., prescription stimulants)
- How long the individual has been using
- The severity of the addiction
- The willingness of the individuals addicted
- The quality of facilities and services available at the drug rehabilitation centre
Is rehabilitation the same as treatment?
Yes and no. The terms ‘drug rehabilitation’ and ‘drug treatment’ have been used interchangeably for many years, but there is a subtle difference between the two.
Drug ‘treatment’ is defined as “managing a disease by medicinal, surgical, or other measures”. As there are certain levels of drug abuse and addiction, the treatments will vary.
For example: there is a distinction between someone who abuses drugs and someone who suffers from drug addiction. To some experts, addiction is considered to be a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain; they believe that those who suffer from addiction will struggle for the rest of their lives – rehabilitation or otherwise. In this case, treatment is intended to manage the addiction, as opposed to try and identify the root cause and eliminate it entirely.
While many of these treatments have had some success, treatment alone is not enough to keep a person from relapsing. Drug rehabilitation on the other hand is intended to return addicts to a normal, healthy way of life – regardless of the severity of their addiction. This is done by leveraging a variety of methods, namely psychotherapeutic treatments intended to not only cleanse the system, but also identify what drove an individual to use in the first place.
What is the drug rehabilitation process?
The drug rehabilitation process varies from one facility to another, and from individual to individual. The best drug rehabilitation centres do not offer a “one-approach-cures-all” treatment, but instead tailor each individual programme accordingly. In any case, regardless of the type (e.g., inpatient / outpatient) or duration of the rehab treatments prescribed, the broader scope of the rehabilitation process more or less works the same way:
- Patient assessment and treatment initiation: Treating addiction starts off with an initial assessment. This is when addicted individuals sit down with medical professionals and rehabilitation experts to discuss their situation. They will look at the damaging effects of the drug addiction, address any feelings of denial or uncertainty, and gauge what level of individual therapy is required. For example:
– Is residential care required or will an outpatient programme be suitable?
– Will the patient benefit from individual or group therapy? (more likely a combination of both).
– Will a medically assisted detox be required?
– What condition is the patient in, both mentally and physically?
- Early abstinence: When an individual takes part in a rehabilitation programme, naturally they will be required to abstain from drug use. Depending on the severity of the addiction and the drug being abused, medically assisted detox may be required alongside to help the individual cope with the painful withdrawal symptoms to follow.
- Maintaining abstinence: Following the initial stages of detoxification, various psychotherapeutic treatments will begin, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, group discussions, and a variety of other recovery options. This is when the patient will begin to explore the nature of their drug addiction in greater depth. If one can get to the root cause of addiction and come to terms with any underlying mental health issues (e.g., post traumatic stress disorder), discovering ways to recover and move away from drug addiction becomes far more achievable.
- Aftercare: As you approach the end of your rehabilitation programme (whether it be 1-week or 90-days), your chosen rehab centre will begin putting together a comprehensive aftercare plan. Even after completing a rehab programme, it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be free and clear. In order to prevent future relapse and remain sober, regular support can be incredibly beneficial.
What are the stages of drug rehab?
There are 5-stages of change, which tie in closely with drug rehab. These are:
- Precontemplation: This stage is typically characterised by denial and justification. Not everyone is immediately ready to battle their addictions because many people take years before they are able to admit that they even have a problem. Substance misuse often involves living with it for many years before being ready for recovery.
- Contemplation: This next stage refers to an individual opening up to the idea of change. They often fantasise about a future where they are drug free, but still aren’t quite ready to make the change. “I’ll definitely give up soon, I’ve got this under control”.
- Preparation: Next, in the preparation stage, an individual will begin to feel a sense of urgency about kicking their addiction. Perhaps they lost touch with someone that they love and have realised that their behaviour needs to change.
- Action: This stage is characterised by some form of action, whether it be an extended period of abstinence or even simply speaking with friends and family about needing help. This is when the rehabilitation process can begin.
- Maintenance: Finally, it’s all about maintenance. This refers to the 5th and final stage where an individual has completed a rehab programme, experienced treatment success, and is continuing with their counselling in order to prevent relapse and remain sober.
How do you know if someone needs drug rehab?
It is generally pretty easy to spot when someone is in need of drug rehab, but if you aren’t quite sure, here are some tell-tale signs that an individual is in dire need of support:
- The individual exhibits a lack of control
- Expressing a desire to quit, but being unable
- Spending a lot of time trying to get a hold of the substance in question (often by any means)
- Severe and unwavering cravings
- Displaying a lack of responsibility for themselves and others
- Problems with relationships – having difficulty maintaining romantic and familial connections
- Loss of interest in their biggest passions, life in general, and working
- Dangerous use of the drug with very little thought toward the consequences
- Worsening situations
- A higher tolerance and need to consume more to achieve the desired high
- Noticeable withdrawal
What is a rehabilitation centre?
A rehabilitation centre is a building associated with a drug rehabilitation programme. This is often a residential building with individual rooms, medical facilities, and assisted living. Some people with more severe cases of addiction may require residential treatment at a rehabilitation centre for anywhere up to 90-days (and more in some cases).
Does drug rehab work for everyone?
Drug rehab doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. First of all, it largely depends on the quality of care being given. A poorly funded rehab facility will provide a lower quality level of care. A private rehab facility on the other hand can provide superior treatment with greater success rates.
In any case, the primary condition for success is the patient’s willingness to recover. You cannot help someone who isn’t ready to be helped.
Want to learn more about drug rehabilitation?
If you suspect that either you or someone that you love is in need of drug addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to seek further advice and support today. You are not alone!