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The drug epidemic plagues the United States, affecting millions of Americans – and their families – who are personally touched by drug addiction. In fact, the consequences of drug addiction have affected the entire nation, with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reporting that costs around untreated drug addiction in America reached nearly $181 billion by 2002 alone. Drug rehab programs provide expertly managed care for those facing long-standing drug addictions, offering the physical – and psychological – help needed for addicts to finally embark on a lifetime of sobriety.
Drug Addiction Statistics and Facts
Unfortunately, less than 15 percent of those whose drug abuse occurs at levels necessitating rehabilitation ever receive residential drug addiction treatment. Here are a few straightforward facts about the widespread reach of drug addiction across the country.
- Across the country, 2009 alone saw more than 4.5 million emergency medical situations that were drug-involved, reports the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) – including an excess of 200,000 visits to ERs from heroin-related incidents, and nearly twice that amount for those involving cocaine and marijuana, respectively.
- Just under five percent of senior classmen at high schools nationwide have tried meth on at least a single occasion, and among highschoolers as a whole, an astounding three percent have used methamphetamines within the last 12 months.
- The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that more than 22,000 individuals across the country had abused hydrocodone for recreational use.
- More than one and a half million people regularly abuse cocaine, according to a New York Times poll. Surprisingly, nearly 2.5 percent of those surveyed stated they had engaged in cocaine abuse at some point during their lifetimes.
- More than 10.5 million Americans got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated with illegal drugs in the last 12 months, according to data from the 2009 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
Breaking Physical Addiction During Drug Detox
Due to the chemical nature of drug addiction, the first step towards recovery occurs during the detoxification process. The “high” that most drugs provide occur as users experience shifts in neurotransmitters – chemicals messengers naturally produced by the brain that are responsible for feelings of contentedness, euphoria, energy and focus. With enough repeated drug uses, the brain begins to compensate for the excessive activity of neurotransmitters, altering natural production of brain chemicals. This drug-triggered chemical imbalance leaves users relying on the presence of drugs in the system to feel “normal” – and once drugs have metabolized and exited the system, neurochemical imbalances are sharply felt.
Cravings set in to re-use the drug, and the body reacts with withdrawal symptoms, ranging from physical reactions (such as headaches, shaking, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pains) to psychological responses (including high anxiety, depression, paranoia, memory problems and cognitive delays). These physical and mental responses serve to negatively reinforce drug use – providing unpleasant experiences associated with abstinence.
Fortunately, professional drug detoxification can help recovering addicts move through withdrawal safely and comfortably. Drug detoxification can help ensure that addicts move through the withdrawal phase of recovery without falling into an episode of relapse. Medications can alleviate withdrawal symptoms, temper cravings and block chemical highs that serve to reinforce addiction. Combined with hydration and nutrition, medical care can help recovering addicts begin to heal the physical damage that their bodies may have incurred during years of drug addiction.
Benefits of Drug Rehabilitation
For the majority of individuals, drug addiction cannot be overcome until professional drug treatment is sought. Drug rehabilitation fosters recovery by offering the following benefits to those struggling with drug addiction:
- Personalized Treatment Plans: Drug rehab programs perform thorough diagnostic testing, psychological assessments and physical exams to ensure tailored drug treatment for patients. Core therapies are adjusted to work with individual learning styles, personal histories, drugs of choice and durations of chemical dependency to ensure successful recovery.
- Group and Family Therapy Sessions: Patients receive peer empathy, input and support through 12-step meetings and participation in process groups. Because family relationships often contribute to – and suffer from – a member’s substance abuse, family therapy sessions have also become a core component of most drug treatment programs.
- Practical Life Skills Training: Patients also learn practical life skills to enable them to live out sobriety in a drug-free, healthy, productive way. Recovering drug addicts learn communication techniques, anger and stress reduction skills, time management and organizational instruction in order to forge positive coping techniques and lifestyle foundations in sobriety. Additionally, patients learn nutritional guidelines, participate in daily fitness routines, and are assigned on-site responsibilities to help build healthy habits, schedules and bolster overall wellness.
- Individualized Therapy: The psychological portion of drug addiction is addressed through one-on-one therapy sessions, aimed at uncovering emotional reasons for substance abuse. Childhood traumas, low self-esteem, negative belief systems, and secondary mental health conditions are addressed and analyzed in the safe haven of personalized therapy, allowing addicts to understand and heal psychological factors that may have contributed to addiction.
- Transitional Planning: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40 to 60 percent of those facing drug addictions will relapse. Transitional planning allows patients to collaborate with addiction specialists in anticipating – and proactively finding solutions for – potential temptations for drug use after treatment. Environmental, social, career and interpersonal triggers are assessed, and patients are given referrals for therapists, physicians and 12-step groups to provide encouragement and support during ongoing recovery.
- Aftercare Services: Modern best practices in the drug rehabilitation treatment field include aftercare services, aimed at following up with addicts even after they graduate a recovery program. Check-in calls, alumni events, and telephone or online support networks allow alumni to continue their recovery even after relocation back home. Some drug rehab programs even offer sober companionship or “shadowing” services for an extra fee, allowing recovering drug addicts to receive one-on-one support and guidance as they reenter their lives in newfound sobriety.
Dual Diagnosis Capacity
Studies have repeatedly established the link between drug dependency and mental health. For many individuals, mental health conditions complicate drug addictions. In fact, among those with drug abuse problems and dependencies, half struggle with a secondary mental health condition such as anxiety disorders, major depression, hypomania or bipolar disorder. In some cases, drug abuse and addiction can even act as a segue to psychological problems, as some drugs can lead to the onset of learning disabilities, psychotic breaks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), major depression or even trigger the onset of schizophrenia in genetically predisposed individuals.
Similarly, mental health conditions often lend themselves to self-medication through drug use. Nearly one out of every three individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder also struggles with addiction. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that for those facing a secondary psychological condition in addition to drug dependency, simultaneous treatment garners the best results. Dual diagnosis drug rehabilitation centers are staffed by addiction experts trained to treat a wide variety of mental health conditions, often involving clinical counseling, group therapy and necessary psychiatric medications.
Types of Therapies Employed by Drug Rehab Centers
Therapy represents a second, vital step in the drug addiction recovery process. Once the body has detoxified from drug addiction, patients often experience the ability to think clearly for the first time in years. Forces of denial – often employed subconsciously by the psyche in order to protect against the perceived threat of sobriety – begin to fall away, allowing patients to come to terms with their addictions. The following psychotherapy techniques may be employed by clinical therapists in order to facilitate recovery and break the psychological components of addiction.
- Cognitive Therapy: Also known as “talk therapy,” cognitive therapy focuses on the acquisition of perception and insight through therapeutic exchange. Negative thought and behavior patterns can be modified, allowing patients to acknowledge – and change – mental processes that may have been influenced and distorted by drug use. Patients partner with therapists to alter patterns of behavior that may have been useful during traumatic or early periods of life but no longer serve them well in adulthood. Positive coping skills are forged during cognitive therapy sessions, replacing self-destructive thought cycles.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioral therapy combines the tenets of talk therapy with behavioral modification. By focusing on a single thought stimulus at a time, cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes change in behavioral responses over heavy analysis. Through a process known as “cognitive restructuring,” patients learn to create more positive habits, coping skills and mental processes. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be particularly useful in retraining mental reactions to stressors, negative thoughts and practical problems, transforming triggers for drug use into springboards for positive actions. Some therapists may also use exposure therapy to augment cognitive behavioral therapy, particularly to lower trigger reactivity in survivors of traumatic events.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a targeted therapy often used for drug addicts who have survived severe physical or psychological trauma. Like cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR tends to take on a single mental image or belief at a time. As patients focus on a negative trigger, bilateral stimulation is used to activate both sides of the brain – through the use of alternating tones, vibrations or visual stimuli such as light pulses. This bilateral stimulation allows patients to process memories of trauma that may have become “stuck,” causing them to chronically reexperience traumatic events as if they were occurring in the present. EMDR can be an especially powerful therapy for those with anxiety and dissociative disorders such as PTSD.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Targeting survivors of trauma or ritualistic abuse, dialectical behavioral therapy is often employed for those who have experienced high levels of dissociation in response to traumatic events. Particularly useful for those with dissociative identity disorder (DID) or borderline personality disorder (BPD), dialectical behavioral therapy combines core cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness psychology, with an emphasis on increasing stress tolerance, while fostering emotional stability and acceptance.
- Creative Therapies: In some cases, patients may benefit from the employment of creative therapies such as art therapy, music therapy or experiential therapy. Experiential therapy emphasizes the removal of obstacles and negative beliefs through new, positive experiences, allowing the mind to create positive associations between behaviors and outcomes. By fostering expression in nonverbal means, creative therapies can allow desires and dynamics to emerge, allowing for later analysis in a therapeutic setting.
Finding Effective Drug Rehab Programs
Every day, countless Americans struggling with drug addiction find hope and healing through professional drug rehab programs. At Rehabs.com, we understand the emotional, financial and logistical worries that can prevent addicted individuals from seeking the best private inpatient alcohol treatment they need. Our addiction counselors can help you find a program that meets your personal needs while working within your financial means. Whether you’re seeking treatment for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, take the first steps towards recovery today with a simple phone call. Our addiction intake specialists will patiently listen to your story and help you find the best exclusive addiction treatment center tailored to your needs.