Drug abuse and addiction are very complex problems that few individuals truly understand, even if they have suffered through them. Those who have never experienced the pull and grip of drug addiction may feel that drug addiction is a deliberate and conscious personal choice, which then means that an individual who truly desires to be free from drug use should be able to “just quit”. In actual fact, many individuals who are suffering from drug addiction truly wish to be free from drug use, they simply don’t know how to make it so.
The Causes and Phases of Drug Use and Addiction
Life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, successes and difficulties. This is perfectly normal, and different individuals find different ways to cope with the more trying times they encounter in their life. It is unfortunate that some individuals believe that drug use is a safe and workable solution for working through these trying times, and it’s safe to assume that if they truly understood what drugs are and do, they wouldn’t be as eager to turn to them for help.
Drugs are chemical substances that produce physiological changes in the user’s body. They do this by interfering with the normal functions of the body, in effect suppressing undesirable sensations and stimulating desirable sensations. This provides the individual with some measure of relief, and can lead them into believing that drugs are helpful. However, because these desired effects are temporary in nature, the individual usually decides that he will have to continue using drug substances in order to continue experiencing relief.
Casual drug use can turn into more dangerous drug abuse when the individual finds that they have grown tolerant of drug substances and no longer experience the same desired effects through the same amount of drug consumption. Since drugs are their only solution to life problems and they are no more willing or able to confront these life problems and solve them on their own, they solve the problem of tolerance by increasing the frequency of their drug use, and often also the quantity of their drug use.
Drug dependence occurs when the body adapts to the regular presence of drug substances, and then depends upon these substances in order to continue functioning in a normal manner. At this phase in the drug use process, the individual no longer has control over their drug use patterns, being driven by the need to use drugs in order to maintain a steady “normal” in their life. Drug dependence usually leads right into drug addiction, the condition wherein the individual compulsively continues their drug-seeking behavior despite the many damaging effects these substances are having on their health, relationships and life.
While it is usually true that most drug addicts are aware that they have a problem and that they need help, it is also not unusual for drug addicts to deny their drug problems and their need for help. This may occur because they feel guilty or embarrassed about their drug addiction problems and their inability to resolve these problems on their own, or it can occur because the individual genuinely believes that drugs are helping them function in life, but whatever the reason the individual is trapped in a highly dangerous condition for which they desperately need help.
In order to determine that drug abuse or addiction is occurring, it is important to recognize some of the key signs:
- Sudden and dramatic changes in weight
- Deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene
- Unusual smells on breath, body and clothing
- Highly argumentative behavior without apparent cause
- Untrustworthy behavior and failure to keep one’s promises
- Isolation from others, becoming secretive in one’s behavior and mannerisms
- Dishonesty regarding one’s activities and whereabouts
- Participating in petty crimes in order to support one’s drug habits, including stealing money and possessions from family members and friends
- Aggressive, angry denials of one’s drug use
When it has been confirmed that drug abuse or addiction are occurring, the solution is rehabilitation treatment.
How Rehabilitation Treatment Works
During the terrible journey from casual drug use down into drug dependence and addiction there normally comes a time when the individual himself becomes so desperate to disconnect from drug use that he is willing to consider any avenue of escape. Unfortunately, this desperation can also make the individual incredibly impatient, and they may desire some sort of fast, easy and miraculous recovery. While the proper rehabilitation treatment program can most definitely lead to full and lasting recovery from drug use, abuse and addiction, it is usually a long, hard journey that requires compassionate, trained and experienced treatment professionals as well as a great amount of discipline and commitment from the individual himself.
Through his rehabilitation treatment program an individual must:
- Withdraw from drug use as safely and comfortably as possible and eliminate all residual drug toxins from their body, thereby establishing better physical health. Since it is often the extreme physical discomfort caused by drug use as well as the intense physical cravings to continue drug use that keep an individual trapped in addiction or threaten them into relapse, handling this physical aspect of drug use is a very important first step in rehabilitation treatment.
- Learn all about drugs, how they affect the human body, how they can create damages in the individual’s own and in others’ lives, and how drug addiction can be successfully resolved. It may be that some of the impatience an individual experiences during rehabilitation treatment comes from a lack of understanding about what drugs really are, how they affect lives, and what has to be done in order to effectively and fully recover from their use. Once an individual recognizes that drug use creates physical, mental and emotional damages, they will be better able to understand how their treatment program works to resolve these problems.
- Participate in counseling to help uncover the root causes for one’s initial drug use and begin to rebuild the self-confidence and self-respect necessary to take responsibility for one’s past decisions and actions as well as for one’s future.
- Gain the life skills one needs in order to confidently confront and handle the various problems and challenges that arise in life, without turning to drug use. However thorough the rest of a rehabilitation treatment program is, it cannot effectively help the individual prevent against future drug use unless it helps them learn how to solve their problems rather than trying to escape from or suppress them.
- Participate in aftercare to smoothly transition from rehabilitation treatment back into one’s normal life environments and routines. Aftercare services can help the individual overcome any challenges they encounter as they work to transition back into life so that they don’t feel it is necessary to return to drug use.
The Outcome of Rehabilitation Treatment
Simply enrolling in any rehabilitation treatment program does not automatically guarantee an individual’s successful recovery from drug abuse and addiction. There are many different types of rehabilitation treatment facilities and programs, designed to help individuals with a variety of different addiction problems and personal needs. Inpatient rehabilitation treatment, where the individual resides at the facility for the duration of their treatment program, is often considered one of the most successful types of rehabilitation treatment available, while outpatient rehabilitation treatment may be far more valuable for individuals who are suffering from minor addiction problems and have a stable living environment to return to each evening.
Whatever type of treatment an individual desires and whatever facility and program they choose, the outcome of their treatment should always be a complete disconnection from drug use and a restoration of the ability to live a healthy and happy future.