The United States is now in the middle of the worst drug crisis in its history. Opioid addiction rates have reached record highs, and overdose kills more people every year than other causes of death like car accidents and gun violence.
In the past few years, drug overdose became the No. 1 cause of death for people under age 50. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap in the number of people with substance use disorders and people who get the help they need. According to a 2015 survey, as many as 23 million people in the U.S. have some form of substance use disorder, and only around 10 percent receive the treatment they need.
Addiction is a chronic disease that is difficult to overcome on your own. Plus, it has relapse rates that are similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, which are between 40 percent and 60 percent. However, addiction is treatable with evidence-based practices and qualified help. Drug rehab is a valuable tool for people seeking addiction recovery, but it’s important to seek the treatment options that are right for your specific needs.
There is no one-size-fits-all method of addiction treatment. Instead, treatment plans should be tailored to you and based on the specific needs you have upon entering treatment. As you progress, your treatment plan should be adapted as your new needs are uncovered. A personalized tailors treatment plan is the best way to achieve lasting recovery. But that’s not all that goes into drug rehab.
Learn more about drug rehab and how it can help you achieve a life free from active addiction.
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Drug rehab is a process by which someone with a substance use disorder goes through detoxification and addiction treatment to achieve long-lasting sobriety. At high levels of care, you may be monitored by board-certified medical professionals while at lower levels of care, you will go through therapies with clinicians and your primary therapist. The primary goal of rehab is to address a substance use problem, but effective treatment addresses more than just drug and alcohol addiction.
Addiction is a complex disease with a number of underlying issues and contributing factors. For instance, in many cases, co-occurring mental health issues can occur at the same time as a substance use disorder. The two problems often feed off each other, making it difficult to treat one without addressing the other. An addiction treatment center should be prepared to address medical, psychological, social, legal, and financial issues when a person enters treatment.
Drug rehab can involve evidence-based therapies and alternative therapies. Evidence-based treatment refers to the use of therapy options that have been backed up by scientific research and proven to be effective. It’s important to for your treatment program to be primarily grounded in evidence-based services. Alternative therapies, on the other hand, are not backed up by studies or proven to be significantly effective. However, some people report success with alternative therapies like yoga, art therapy, and music therapy. Still, these options should only be used as supplements to evidence-based services.
Treatment is completed in multiple levels of care. When you enter drug rehab, you will go through a process called the continuum of care in which you move through different levels of treatment based on your needs. In many cases, the first step in addiction treatment is medical detox, especially if you are seeking treatment for a substance use disorder involving depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Medical detox typically lasts for one week, but in severe cases, it can last as long as two weeks. Most chemically addictive drugs cause withdrawal symptoms that last for a few days to a week. In some cases, like with central nervous system depressants, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last longer. Severe cases may be addressed in detox while less severe cases can be monitored in an inpatient program after detox.
After medical detox, you may continue on to addiction treatment and multiple levels of care. If you have ongoing medical needs or urgent psychological, emotional, social, or housing needs, you may go into an inpatient program in a residential setting. If you are ready to live independently, you may enter an intensive outpatient program. Altogether, studies suggest that addiction treatment should last at least 90 days to be as efficient as possible.
Drugs and alcohol can affect the brain in ways that are unique to each person and each drug. For that reason, it’s important for medical staff and clinicians to tailor detox to your specific needs. However, there are some common treatment methods that are used in a variety of detox settings. Here are some of the most common aspects of medical detox:
When you first enter treatment, you will sit down with a health care professional and complete a medical evaluation. Clinicians will take your history of drug use and medical history into account when formulating a treatment plan, like visiting any doctor’s office. Depending on your specific needs, you may be monitored while doctors work to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, or you may need to be treated with medications, specifically to curb withdrawal.
If you have a serious medical need, you may be given medications to help wean you off the specific drug you are dependent on. Detox will also involve 24-hour medical monitoring every day, and medical professionals will make sure you are safe and comfortable. Many detox centers also have nutritionists on staff to provide meals that help you through the withdrawal process.
You will work with clinicians to help make sure you are getting the help you need in detox and through addiction treatment. Clinicians can assess your personal needs to connect you to the next level of care that’s right for your psychological and medical needs. Case managers may also assess any needs that may not be directly related to your substance use disorder like legal issues and financial problems. As you progress through treatment, those needs will be addressed as well.
In most cases, you will have one primary therapist who helps you through your addiction treatment. You may attend individual therapy sessions, group sessions, and family therapy throughout your addiction treatment. One of the most popular therapy types is behavioral therapy, which is a broad category that refers to a method of helping you learn to positively change your behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most recommended option in addiction treatment. It involves identifying triggers and learning positive coping skills to create a relapse prevention plan.
Key, K. (2017, November 01). Drug Overdoses are Leading Cause of Death for those under 50. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/counseling-keys/201711/drug-overdoses-are-leading-cause-death-those-under-50
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
National Institutes of Health. (2015, November 18). 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives. Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives