Although many people experience the symptoms of addiction for years without noticing problems, sooner or later, most will ask themselves, “Am I addicted?” For some, engaging in potentially addictive behaviors can be unproblematic, or even healthy. For others, it may use occasional or frequent problems, which range from trivial to life-threatening. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease affecting the brain’s reward, motivation, and related systems. People struggling with addiction are unable to control their actions or make rational decisions about their behavior, even in the face of negative consequences. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help to achieve sobriety.
When casual drinking begins to transform into a daily ritual, it may be time to seek help. A report by the National Center for Biotechnology estimates that one in six Americans has an alcohol addiction. Be it mild or severely crippling, any form of alcohol addiction is detrimental and can lead to a chemical dependency that cannot be broken without the aid of an alcohol addiction treatment center. These alcohol addiction treatment centers are vital for any recovery as they provide both the medical and the emotional support necessary to make progress and break the cycle.
Choosing an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
Of the centers that aid in alcohol addiction recovery, help for alcohol abuse comes in two fundamental levels of care. The first, outpatient, is often recommended for individuals that have a drinking problem but have not yet developed a full addiction. Examples of this include social drinkers that have difficulty knowing when to stop or those that have a strong emotional attachment to the substance.
Inpatient, on the other hand, is usually for the more severe cases. The users cannot go short periods of time sober without negative body reactions like the shakes and headaches, making it hard to function properly in day to day life. Because the detox from alcohol at this stage is physically harmful, it is necessary to do it under the constant supervision of medical professionals.
Apart from choosing the correct level of care, individuals need to figure out what they want out of their addiction treatment center. If they want to stay close to home, this will limit which alcohol addiction treatment centers they can go to. Other times, it’s important to escape the routine environment and travel far away to a center that has no triggers or enabling relationships. There are also alcohol addiction treatment centers that have gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, professional and other specializations based on personal preference.
Basic Alcohol Addiction Treatment
No matter which alcohol addiction treatment center is chosen, alcohol addiction treatment centers are completely confidential. While some patients expect to have a room to themselves, most centers require them to have a roommate. Having a roommate aids in the prevention of isolation during the length of their alcohol addiction treatment.
Occurring in periods of 30, 60 and 90 days, the duration of alcohol addiction rehabilitation treatments are determined based on the severity of the addiction. The longer periods, though reserved for the worst level of addiction, can be pursued by anyone who wants the added benefits. These longer stints increase the number of time patients are in a controlled environment free from temptation and provide them with more time to work through their behavioral issues that led to alcoholism in the first place.
Upon check-in, the patient usually undergoes a psychological and medical examination where all questions must be answered honestly about both their alcohol and drug use. This gives the alcohol addiction treatment center a means to construct a program specifically for the patient’s needs. Next comes the detox process. The patient may be given medication (benzodiazepines such as Librium, Valium or Serax) to lessen the side effects of withdrawal from alcohol, provided healthy meals and allowed a lot of rest to make the withdrawal period as smooth and harmless as possible.
Once detox is complete, group therapy usually begins. Group therapy is often cited as the best form of treatment for alcoholism and gives the patient the opportunity to talk openly about their issues with people who understand what they’re going through. Many alcohol addiction treatment centers also offer individual therapy sessions in addition to group therapy.
Alcohol addiction recovery does not end as soon as the program is over. To be successful, individuals have to have a plan for themselves. With over 18 million people suffering from the effects of alcohol addiction, outreach programs are always available once the patient is out of the treatment center. Attending local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is highly encouraged to help the individual find a sponsor, build a support system outside of the treatment facility and stay strong during times where having a drink is enticing.
The more the individual is committed to succeeding, the more likely the alcohol addiction treatment will work. Being prepared for a sober lifestyle is key. Many alcoholics lose alcoholic friends who do not want to get better. They may find themselves with a lot of free time and feel tempted to fall back into old habits. From support groups to family members to pick up a healthy hobby, with the right attitude, tools, and preparation, alcoholism can be defeated for good through alcohol addiction treatment centers and supportive communal environments.
Addiction to drugs can lead to loss of financial resources, loss of support networks, damage to the brain and other organs, and even death. Depending on the drug, addicts can build up a tolerance to their substance of choice, increasing their risk of an overdose.
Each has its own negative consequences. The fallout from untreated drug addiction can be devastating.
Dangers of Drug Addiction
Different drugs have different effects on the body. For example, nicotine primarily damages the lungs and respiratory system, while cocaine causes damage to the heart. While the exact physical effects of drug use vary from drug to drug, the secondary effects are common to all. Besides the drugs themselves, the delivery device that is used to take drugs plays a significant role in its risks. For example, a dirty needle can give the user Hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or collapsed veins. The expense of illicit drugs, paired with an addict’s prioritization of using the drug, means that addicts quickly exhaust their money and assets to fund their addiction. Addicts also have a tendency to push away their social connections. They might rebuff friends and family who attempt to intervene, or even manipulate them for money or other aid. Eventually, an addict will be left alone with their drug addiction and thus even more vulnerable.
A drug addiction, left untreated, can do more than just degrade the body of the addict. Addicts sometimes turn to crime like robbery or prostitution to fund their addiction, potentially putting themselves at risk for legal trouble or becoming victims of violent crime. This is also the point where an addict’s problems spill over into the lives of loved ones.
Addiction and Tolerance
Drug addiction can be quite dangerous due to the body’s tolerance mechanism. Tolerance is the way the human body builds up a resistance to substances it ingests. In practical terms, this means that a drug addict needs to continuously increase their doses in order to get the same effects of the drug. While the subjective effects have become weaker, the toxicity and danger of the substance have not. If the body’s tolerance to the drug increases each time the addict consumes the drug, then the risk of overdosing also increases. The human brain has a euphoric recall. When drugs are taken, the brain knows that there is a tolerance level and remembers the feeling that the drug has, causing the addict to want to “chase the first high”. In addition, the damage that the drug has done to the body over time also makes the addict more vulnerable to further organ damage and deterioration.
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
Drug addiction treatment centers help addicts manage and recover from their addiction. Rehabilitation involves separating the addict not only from their substance but also from other distractions from the outside world. Addiction often comes with one or more psychological disorders that might have appeared before or during the addiction. Treating those can make it easier for an addict to face their addiction. These drug addiction treatment centers give addicts the tools they need to manage their disease so they can live life without using drugs to function.
Addiction and tolerance to a drug sometimes mean that attempting to stop taking that drug will cause a backlash in the body called withdrawal. Withdrawal ranges from mild to potentially lethal depending on the drug, the addict and the dosage history. Some drug addiction treatment centers offer detoxification (or “detox”) treatment to monitor withdrawals and ensure the addict is as comfortable as possible.
Drug addiction treatment centers use different techniques and approaches to their treatments (these are also known as modalities). It is important to look at different options and decide which treatment center might suit the addict best.
Addiction becomes riskier and riskier as time goes on. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can reduce that risk by intervening before overdosing, legal troubles and other medical risks become impossible to control. Waiting can lead to further damage, which may be irreversible. Addiction is a chronic disease. Like diabetes, the disease requires long-term management and behavioral changes, but it is possible to regain a healthy and happy life.