Addiction occurs when a person becomes so dependent on a substance that they cannot stop using it. A need develops to repeat the behavior over and over, and even though the person usually knows the consequences, they can’t do anything about it.
According to a 2012 survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), almost 24 million Americans aged 12 or older are currently using illegal drugs. The survey also found a connection linking drug and alcohol abuse. Some 67.9 percent of twelve- to 17-year olds who were heavy drinkers were also using illegal drugs.
Treatment is not an easy solution for drug or alcohol abuse because it affects so many areas of a person’s life. In order for a treatment program to be successful, it must not only stop the addiction, but teach someone how to manage living a life without drugs or constant drinking. Not every treatment will work for everyone. Programs need to meet the individualized needs of the person.
Alcoholism affects more than 14 million people in this country. As with any addiction, treatment is useless unless the person acknowledges the problem and wants to stop drinking. Alcohol acts like a depressant that influences behavior and the way the brain functions. For someone who has been dependent on alcohol for a long time, an unsupervised withdrawal can be dangerous to health and possibly fatal.
There are three stages to alcohol treatment. A person first needs to detox, or begin a process of withdrawal. Symptoms can be difficult and should be done in a treatment center. Withdrawal can produce hallucinations, panic, uncontrollable shaking and spasms. Medications help to treat sleep problems and anxiety as well as the symptoms of withdrawal.
During the recovery stage, other types of medications are used to help stop the temptation to take a drink. Counseling sessions teach the skills needed to remain sober, especially when the patient must go back to the same environment that triggered the desire to drink.
The sobriety stage is the longest and therefore most challenging. A person must be very motivated to remain sober and stay free of temptations. Counseling prepares the way for a transition to outside support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
In a drug rehab center, the person will be assessed and a treatment plan set up based on individual needs. A person can expect treatment to consist of behavioral therapy along with medication. Counseling, both in a group setting and individual, plays an important role. Treatment can be modified if the patient’s needs change.
Medication also plays an important role in the withdrawal and treatment for drug addiction. The uncontrollable craving for drugs make it difficult for anyone to stop on their own. Medication ordered as part of the healing process is initially given to help with withdrawal symptoms. Drugs in the opiates category, such as heroin, Oxycontin, morphine and codeine cause:
• Muscle aches
These initial symptoms lead to more severe reactions:
• Stomach cramps
Marijuana withdrawal can bring on both emotional and behavioral distress. The symptoms are more mild than with other drugs, but can last up to 45 days. They include anger, depression, headaches, lack of appetite and restlessness as well as cravings for more of the drug.
How to find a rehab center
Treatment centers provide either outpatient or inpatient care. The decision should be an individual one and based on a person’s situation and finances. The outpatient option offers a place to get counseling and medication while the patient lives at home. The inpatient option requires the patient to live at the treatment center and commit to a 30- to 90-day program. Four things should be factored into finding the right treatment center:
• A high rate of success with treatment
• Proper licensing and state accreditation
• Licensed and well-trained staff
• A high quality after care program
Costs. At an outpatient treatment center the fees can be broken down for the services rendered. The first appointment consisting of an exam, testing and an assessment, can cost approximately $100, but will depend on where in the country the center is located. Counseling sessions can run between $100 to $125. Total treatment averages just under $1,500. Inpatient rehab centers are more expensive as they provide 24-hour accommodations and treatment. Fees for this option can run $7,000 a month and up.
Alternatives to paid rehab centers
Payment Options. There are many individuals and families who cannot afford the standard up-front fees charged by drug and alcohol treatment centers. It would be beneficial, however, for a person to check with a local rehab center to see if any financial options include payment plans or sliding scale fees.
State Sponsored Programs. Some states have substance abuse agencies in place to oversee tax supported, free programs for detoxification and treatment. Contact the local or state Health Department to see what is available.
Community Based Programs. There are both religious and secular support and recovery groups in most towns that can provide guidance. Participation in such a group can help locate a treatment program or provide the support needed.
Getting help for a drug or alcohol problem may seem overwhelming. Taking one day at a time and exploring all the options can begin the road to recovery.
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