Understanding Drug Addiction Recovery

Drug Addiction Recovery

Drug addiction recovery can save a person's life, livelihood, and family. In addition, it can also save society millions of dollars. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that drug abuse costs society $67 billion per year. A successful recovery can help reduce the personal and public cost of abuse.

Drug Addiction Recovery Starts with Treatment

Drug addiction recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. Whether it is self-realization of a problem or the result of an intervention by friends and family, admission begins the process of recovery. Once you have recognized your problem, it is important to find the treatment option that works for you.

Detoxification is frequently a precursor to other treatments. Detox is a medically supervised way to rid the body of the chemicals associated with the drugs. Drug withdrawal often involves unpleasant physical symptoms like shaking and vomiting. Detoxification can be done on an out-patient or in-patient basis. Out-patient is usually less expensive and less disruptive to a person's life. In-patient detoxification is used for people who have long histories of abuse or other disorders. Other factors to take into consideration when choosing a program is the drug that was abused, amount of time used, amount abused, age, and existing medical conditions. For some, rapid detox is also an option. Rapid detox is usually completed in less than 24 hours and claims to have fewer withdrawal symptoms.

In-patient treatment programs or residential treatment centers usually focus on stays of 30-90 days. This provides a structured environment in which drug abusers are taught accountability and responsibility in their lives. Activities and exercise are stressed, along with nutrition, education, and job training. Learning to reduce motivators for drug abuse is another goal of in-patient programs. These programs can also be modified to help those with other problems, like criminal records or mental disorders. Longer stays of up to a year usually occur at residential treatment centers, where persons are more in need of learning to socialize appropriately with the public and the outside world.

Out-patient programs are done on a day-to-day or weekly basis. Drug abusers usually go to individual therapy. Additionally, group support is recommended. Out-patient programs are more cost effective and can be successful for a highly motivated patient. Out-patient treatment can include online support groups, which are private and convenient. Online therapy is successful for helping recovering drug addicts stay clean after completing more traditional treatments.

A 12-step program, similar to the model used by Alcoholics Anonymous, can be used as a treatment option. A 12-step program provides tools for living, spiritual guidance, and support from others. Both secular and religious programs are available. Some drug related 12-step programs include:

In all forms of treatment, medications may be prescribed. Depending on the method of treatment that is right for you, your licensed doctor or therapist may feel the need to prescribe a medication to help keep you from returning to drug abuse.

Behavior and attitude changes are a constant in all treatment and drug addiction recovery programs. Different models, such as cognitive behavior therapy, may be used in treatment. Recovery is a long term process that may require several methods of treatment in multiple sessions. In fact, many recovering drug addicts find on-going therapy in the form of group sessions helps keep them clean and sober.

To find a treatment program near you, please search the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website, which is maintained by the United States Health and Human Resources Department.

Paying for Drug Recovery Treatment

Drug addiction recovery can be costly. Before paying for your treatment from your own pocket, check out the following resources for assistance:

  • Private insurance
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • State funded programs
  • Federally funded programs
  • Grants

Local county health officials can help you get in touch with the organizations that can help you in your recovery.

Recovery After Treatment

Recovery after treatment is important in maintaining a clean lifestyle. As previously mentioned, online support or group support is successful in helping recovering addicts stay clean. Charles N. Roper, PhD, LCDC has identified four types of recovery that an addict must accomplish before s/he is considered fully recovered.

  • He/she must physically abstain from using drugs.
  • Mental function must return to normal brain function and chemistry. Changing attitudes, beliefs, and beginning rational thought is a crucial step in recovery.
  • The addict must learn to deal with feelings in appropriate ways.
  • He/she must undergo a spiritual transformation. This is shown through change in values, beliefs, and personal characteristics.

Many treatment programs focus on the physical and mental recovery from drug addiction. While some treatment programs touch on recovery after treatment, it is usually not enough to create a lifelong change. This is why ongoing support is needed after being released from a traditional program. Recovering addicts need to learn how to allow themselves to feel and express emotions in appropriate ways, instead of returning to drug abuse. Subtle and complex spiritual changes generally occur over time.

Drug addiction recovery involves the realization of a problem, finding the right treatment, and continuing treatment after being released from the program.

Understanding Drug Addiction Recovery