Drug abuse and addiction are complex problems that can be very difficult to understand, even if one has suffered through them, and very difficult to resolve. And it all begins very innocently – a conscious effort to handle some problem through the use of drug substances. The individual takes drug substances and experiences relief, which drives him to believe that drugs are helping him. After some time he discovers that drugs no longer provide the same desirable sensations, and this drug tolerance may drive him to take larger quantities of drugs more often. Finally, his body develops a new normal that depends on continued and regular drug use, and the individual discovers that he no longer has any control over his drug use or indeed his life. He may openly deny his drug problems or his need for help due to embarrassment over his condition, but deep down most drug addicts truly desire to reach and maintain sobriety, they just believe it’s impossible to achieve.
One of the most frustrating things a drug addict can hear from their family members and friends is that they just need to quit their drug use. This well-intentioned advice can make the drug addict feel even more isolated in their drug problems because their biggest problem is that they can’t just quit and take back their life. What they need is professional rehabilitation treatment.
Due to a lack of understanding about drug substances, their effects on the human body and what is required to recover from drug addiction, some individuals are under the impression that rehabilitation treatment primarily consists of abstaining from drug use and talking about one’s feelings. Actually, effective rehabilitation treatment is far more thorough as it must aid the individual in fully addressing and resolving each and every physical, mental and emotional cause and effect of drug use. It does this through several distinct phases of treatment, including:
- Detoxification. There is no doubt that drug abuse and addiction problems adversely affect an individual’s physical health. In fact, residual drug toxins can remain in the body long after the drug’s effects wear off, and reactivate cravings at future times. It is often for this reason that an individual may work hard to achieve and maintain their sobriety, only to relapse into drug use some weeks, months or even years down the road. Furthermore, full recovery requires that the individual address the mental and emotional causes and effects of their drug use, and it can be very hard to do this while one is still suffering from the physical effects of these substances. Detoxification treatment can help the individual withdraw and detox from drug use as safely and comfortably as possible, establishing the strong physical health that is necessary for full recovery and a sober future.
- Counseling. There are two primary types of drug counseling, individual counseling and group counseling. Individual counseling can provide the individual with a safe, supportive and comfortable environment in which to explore the difficult emotions attached to their drug use, and perhaps uncover the root causes for their initial drug use. It can also help the individual work through some of the challenges and difficulties they are encountering during their rehabilitation treatment program, and build the self-confidence and self-respect necessary to a better future. Group counseling can allow the individual to experience giving and receiving support and encouragement to and from others who are working through many of the same problems they are.
- Drug education. Sometimes all it takes for an individual to make the right choice and abstain from drug use is the facts about what drugs are and how they affect the human body. This can also hold true for an individual who is working on recovering from past drug use and establishing a sober future – knowing what drugs really are and how they create their effects can markedly help the individual in remaining drug-free and finding alternate solutions to their life problems.
- Life skills. Obviously, an individual who turns to drug use as a solution to their life problems is lacking the skills and abilities they need in order to confidently take on the challenges of life. Life skills education can provide the individual with the valuable skills and abilities they need to cope with stress, communicate better with others, and handle the other things that may come up in life and try to derail their hard-won sobriety.
- Aftercare. Ideally, a rehabilitation treatment program is so thorough and effective that an individual can leave this program and move forward into a drug-free, happy and productive future. However, the fact is that the transition between rehabilitation treatment and the real world can be difficult and even shocking, because the individual may discover that many of the same challenging environments that drove them into drug use in the first place are still able to trigger the same undesirable feelings. Aftercare services can help bridge the gap and aid the individual in stabilizing their recovery.
These are the main phases to successful rehabilitation treatment, but actually they can be delivered in a variety of different ways through a variety of different programs. An individual has a right and a responsibility to research different rehabilitation treatment options, including additional amenities and services that may be provided by certain facilities, and decide on the one that will work best to meet their own individual needs.
Types of Rehabilitation
The basic goal of all rehabilitation treatment facilities is essentially the same: to restore the individual to the ability to live a healthy, productive and drug-free life. However, depending on the individual’s specific drug abuse and addiction problems, they may discover that a certain type of rehabilitation treatment works best to suit their needs. The main types of rehabilitation treatment are:
- Long-Term Residential Treatment. This is often viewed as one of the most successful forms of rehabilitation treatment, and for good reason. Not only is the individual completely removed from their normal life environments and routines, they are placed in a drug-free, safe and supportive environment where they receive twenty-four hour care and attention from professional, experienced addiction specialists. Long-term residential treatment programs can be anywhere from six to twelve months in length, sometimes longer. These facilities can be exceptionally suited to individuals who do not have stable living or working environments or who are suffering from extensive addiction problems.
- Short-Term Residential Treatment. Providing many of the same benefits as long-term residential treatment, this treatment option normally provides programs that are anywhere from three weeks to three months in length. Individuals who can definitely benefit from moving out of their normal life environments and routines but who are not suffering from very extensive, long-term or dangerous drug addiction problems can find that short-term residential treatment works well to meet their needs.
- Outpatient Treatment. Outpatient treatment programs are often an ideal fit for an individual who has already completed a residential treatment program and simply needs ongoing support, or for an individual who is suffering from more minor drug abuse and addiction problems but has stable living and working environments. Outpatient treatment programs usually require that an individual set and adhere to a very specific treatment schedule and can vary in intensity from facility to facility.
- Individual Counseling. While many rehabilitation treatment programs provide full counseling services and options to their clients, other treatment programs, like some outpatient programs, may not include any counseling services. These services can be provided by specialized counseling facilities, and can greatly aid the individual in truly making the most of their full recovery.
- Group Counseling. It is not unusual for an individual who is suffering from any level of drug abuse or addiction problems to feel isolated in their problems, embarrassed by their problems, and alone in their problems. Group counseling, like what occurs during Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, can help the individual gain strength and support from peers who are struggling with many of the same problems they are struggling with. These meetings can also help the individual begin to reach out more to others, helping them in their own struggles, which aids them in redeveloping a sense of community and teamwork – valuable skills that will serve them well in life.
Selecting One’s Rehabilitation Facility and Program
Determining what type of rehabilitation treatment an individual should participate in may be a relatively simple process, as long as the individual is completely honest with himself and with others. The plain truth is that most individuals who are suffering from drug abuse and addiction problems know instinctively whether an outpatient program will work for them, or whether a more formal residential treatment program is necessary. That said, simply selecting the right type of rehabilitation treatment is not enough. The individual must also select the specific facility and program that will work best to meet their own specific needs. For example, some rehabilitation facilities provide their patients with substitute medications during the detoxification phase of their program, but many individuals feel that they are not truly recovering from drug substances if they are simply switching to medical drug use. Furthermore, these medications can have some of the same side effects and risks of abuse and addiction as the very drugs the individual is seeking to withdraw and detox from. Other rehabilitation facilities aid their clients in withdrawing and detoxing from drugs through natural means, like good nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy and more.
The individual needs to find a path to recovery that truly inspires them to remain dedicated and committed to their recovery – no matter what obstacles may arise along the way. The time and effort spent in locating the right facility and program will be well worth it when the individual successfully achieves and maintains their sobriety long into the future.