Many people try recreational drugs at some point in their lives without ever becoming addicted. Others take prescription pain medications exactly as their doctors prescribed only to find themselves unable to control or stop their drug use. Also known as substance use disorder, drug addiction is a complex mental health issue that has many underlying causes.
When a person is addicted to drugs, they think about them incessantly. They make getting high or finding ways to get high their top priority. Even facing severe consequences as the result of drug use does not change their behaviors. People who are addicted to drugs will continue using them despite job loss, loss of stable housing, legal problems, and the loss of important relationships.
Many addictive substances change the way in which people perceive pain. For instance, opioids block the brain’s pain receptors so that even when the conditions for pain are present, none is felt. Addictive substances also have the potential to radically alter the brain’s chemistry in other ways. In fact, some do so permanently. After abusing drugs for too long, many people have a hard time feeling happy, motivated, or even in tune with the world around them on their own.
These and other changes within the brain and body set the stage for drug addiction. Although people are constantly at risk of becoming dependent upon drugs when abusing them, full-blown addiction is reached when a person cannot function without them. If you experience widespread physical and psychological distress signals. each time you limit your drug use or stop using outright, these are withdrawal symptoms. The development of withdrawal symptoms during abstinence is a sure sign of drug addiction.
How is drug addiction diagnosed?
While urine, hair, and blood tests can be used to identify drug use, they are not effective in diagnosing drug addiction. There are multiple factors that must be assessed including:
- The type of substance or substances being used
- The duration of substance abuse
- Behavioral characteristics
- Identification of withdrawal symptoms
Because addiction is recognized as a mental health disorder, many medical professionals rely on the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Most commonly, however, the presentation of withdrawal symptoms during abstinence is recognized as a clear indicator of addiction. People who stop using habit-forming drugs suddenly often develop problems such as:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Disorientation and confusion
Certain substances can also cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as auditory and visual hallucinations and seizures. This is especially true during self-supervised, unmonitored detox or when people go “cold turkey”. In an effort to promote the safety and health of people in recovery, anyone who experiences withdrawal symptoms when abstaining is advised to seek treatment. When relatively mild, initial withdrawal symptoms are not mitigated using needs-specific medical interventions, detox for many substances can be both dangerous and potentially fatal. This is true for alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other substance types.
Signs and symptoms to look for
If you believe that someone you care about is suffering from drug addiction, there are several key signs to look for. These include:
- Using prescription medications in any manner other than prescribed
- Continuing to use a substance despite serious adverse effects
- Lying, stealing, or constantly borrowing money to obtain substances
- Feeling sick when unable to get high
Drug addiction is defined by largely compulsive behavior. Addicts experience compulsive cravings for their substances of choice. They’re known to seek them out compulsively. Whenever substance use becomes the first priority in a person’s life, the likelihood of addiction is incredibly high.
Can drug addiction be treated?
Treating drug addiction and curing it means two very different things. Although substance use disorder (SUD) can certainly be treated, it cannot be cured. Even after inpatient or outpatient rehab has been completed, SUD remains a chronic, lifelong issue. Addiction must be diligently managed. People who are successful in long-term addiction recovery rely on things like:
- Regular attendance at sober meetings
- Participation in support groups
- Relapse prevention programs and relapse prevention planning
- Outpatient therapy sessions
- Family therapy program
Drug addiction has many possible underlying causes, and each of these must be addressed in addiction treatment. Some people abuse drugs due to low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth. Others abuse drugs to escape physical pain, the emotional pain of past or present traumas, or the discomfort of unresolved guilt or grief. Among drug-heavy drug users, there is also a high prevalence of co-occurring disorders. Drug abuse is a common way for people with undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders to treat their own emotional pain.
Effective Treatments for Drug Addiction
There are many effective treatments for drug addiction and no specific treatment type is guaranteed to work well for everyone.
Rehab programs offer new and healthier coping tools for dealing with stress, physical pain, and emotional pain for all participants. Agape Treatment Center offers outpatient programming including day/night treatment and IOP in Florida. Among some of the therapies and treatment types offered in rehab are:
- Medical Detox
- Inpatient Treatment
- Partial Care – Day/Night Addiction Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment
- Outpatient Program
- Aftercare Treatment
Forms of Therapy:
- Individual Psychotherapy
- Group Counseling
- Family Counseling
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Alternative Integrative Treatment
For highly addictive substances that dramatically alter brain chemistry, brain functioning, and ultimately a person’s self-control and decision-making abilities, targeted weaning programs are often applied. Certain withdrawal medications can be used instead of illicit or prescribed substances to limit the discomfort and challenges of withdrawal.
Other forms of medication support are often offered to limit the psychological effects of withdrawal including depression, overwhelming anxiety, insomnia, and other sleep troubles, and more. One of the most important things to know about addiction recovery is that even long after withdrawal is complete, people will still need to have the right tools and skills for remaining on course.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Drug Addiction
For people with co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment is always advised. Dual diagnosis treatment programs aim to simultaneously treat both drug abuse and mental health disorders like:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
This eliminates the need to self-treat in unhealthy ways and establishes a stable foundation for long-term addiction recovery.
How is addiction treated at agape?
At Agape Treatment Center, we consider the health of the whole person. Our addiction treatment programs are designed to promote overall mental, emotional, and physical wellness. During alcohol treatment, we closely monitor our clients and leverage the best and most needs-specific interventions for stabilizing their vital signs, minimizing their physical discomfort, and alleviating their psychological distress.
When our patients are ready, they can take part in group and individual counseling. We offer multiple types of behavioral therapy. We also provide a diverse range of stress management and general wellness services including:
- Yoga instruction
- Guided meditation classes
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Stress management workshops
We additionally offer long-term life planning assistance to help our clients avoid common relapse triggers such as financial stress, joblessness, homelessness, and overwhelming legal issues. At Agape Treatment Center, we work hard to help all of our clients establish a solid foundation for long-term sobriety.
Aftercare and relapse prevention
When someone goes through the work of drug and alcohol rehab, the last thing we want is for them to relapse. Unfortunately, between 40 and 60% of people that have been treated for substance abuse or addiction end up relapsing. These rates are definitely concerning.
The highest risk of relapse is within the first 30-90 days after leaving treatment. With aftercare and relapse prevention, the main goal is to keep those that get clean from relapsing. There are several ways that this type of treatment can help.
Who is a good fit for treatment?
Substance abuse treatment is a good fit for anyone that is experiencing a substance abuse problem and is in need of help. Whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment, Agape can help you find the perfect treatment plan to fit your needs.
With many different recovery options, patients can stop using and find recovery with the support of our experts. Some people need more intense rehab and will need to check in for inpatient treatments, while other individuals are able to manage things with outpatient programs. The goal is the same regardless of your substance abuse problems: long-term recovery. No matter what your needs are, we are just a phone call away.
Call and speak with our admissions coordinators
If substance abuse treatment is something that you believe you need, the first step in receiving that treatment is to reach out today. The treatment professionals at Agape will help you through the steps toward finding long-term recovery.