Learn to identify drug use and develop an action plan for treatment.
True, effective drug addiction treatment requires an understanding of the nuances and complications of addiction. Addiction is a disease. Just as any disease can take varying forms and produce different symptoms in people, each addiction affects the thinking, feelings and action/behavior of the affected individual differently, and must be treated differently.
What does it mean for addiction to be a disease?
It means that addiction is a chronic condition that is compulsive in nature. Those suffering from drug addiction display drug seeking and use habits that cannot be controlled, despite destructive consequences. This compulsive behavior stems from changes to the brain that are a symptom of drug use. These changes compromise self-control and the ability to resist intense urges. However, just like other diseases, addiction can be treated and managed. Help is here, and full recovery is possible from the grips of addiction.
Who is prone to drug abuse?
There are a number of factors at play that can influence the susceptibility of a person toward drug abuse. A person featuring a volatile mix of high-risk factors in any one of these categories will naturally be at higher risk of drug abuse. These include:
- Biological factors such as gender, ethnicity, mental disorders
- Developmental factors such as age at time of first drug use or current stage of brain development
- Environmental factors such as economic status, quality of life, family life, social circle, peer pressure, stress, physical and sexual abuse
Different Types of Drug Abuse
Aside from the different composition of risk factors influencing a person’s drug abuse habits, another obvious reason for the massive case-by-case variety in drug abuse is the myriad drug types being abused. There is a wide range of commonly abused drugs, each of which features internal variety from different strains and concentrations. Below are some of the frequently abused drugs, along with their associated risks and signs of abuse.
Stimulants such as amphetamine, bath salts, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal meth, and flakka increase the euphoric response of neurological reward and pleasure receptors, which in turn perpetuates their addictive nature. Nicotine, caffeine, and OTC stimulants are likewise considered stimulants. Typical symptoms of stimulant abuse include increased energy, restlessness, excess confidence, alertness, and aggression. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, agitation, and disrupted sleep patterns.
Sedative/hypnotics such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium create feelings of relaxation and decrease anxiety/stress. In turn, a person often becomes depend on the substance to address anxiety/stress and does not utilize other healthy coping skills that can address the identified issues. In time the person develops a tolerance and is in need to take more of the identified substance which is a contributing factor to addiction.
Narcotics, painkillers, include opiates and opioids (e.g. heroin, morphine, and opium). Narcotics provide a decrease in pain. They attach to receptors within the body which reduce pain and produce rewarding feelings of euphoria and well-being. Continued use desensitizes the body’s natural opioid system, which makes patients dependent upon increasingly higher dosages of narcotics to reduce pain and create feelings of well-being. This means that narcotics (opiates/opioids) have a particularly high risk of addiction and overdose, as well as other notable health problems.
Psychedelic drugs (also referred to as hallucinogens) alter the abuser’s perception of reality. Commonly abused psychedelic drugs include DMT, ecstasy, LSD, ‘magic mushrooms’, PCP, and ketamine.
Psychedelics alter abusers’ perception of reality by acting on the brain’s neural circuits that rely on serotonin, which is a neural transmitter. Those with mental issues are at higher risk of abuse because psychedelics can trigger hidden or less obvious mental issues. Those for whom escapism is attractive — often due to problems in home or social life — are also at higher risk of psychedelic abuse. Psychedelics vary in effectiveness. Because they are researched less, statistics or effects of abuse are not well understood.
Other Drugs (Synthetic)
Popular synthetic drugs include PCP, spice, club drug, designer drugs, and inhalants. These types of drugs can have different effects depending upon the chemical makeup of each one. Feelings of euphoria might be experienced while taking drugs of this class, as well as agitation, anxiety, heart palpitations, sweating, restlessness, and inability to speak. Synthetic drugs are found to be most frequently abused by adolescents.
Identifying A Drug Abuse Problem and Need for Treatment
The shame and guilt of drug addiction often prevents people with addictions from opening up about their problem or independently pursuing treatment. For this reason, drug addictions are often identified and addressed by friends and family. Family and friends can motivate the individual to seek the drug addiction treatment that they need.
While every case of addiction is unique, there are common signs and symptoms found in most instances. These include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Reclusive behavior from family and/or friends
- A drop in quality in work or school performance
- Financial problems that lead to the user borrowing or stealing money
- Troubles with law enforcement, getting arrested
- Irrational, angry, violent behavior
- Frequent or unexplained absences
- Unprotected sex with multiple partners
How is Drug Addiction Treated?
- Detoxification: The process of systematically and safely withdrawing patients with addictions from their drugs of choice; it is designed to treat the physical effects of quitting and to remove residual toxins from drug chemicals. The process will vary depending upon the type of drug abused and the resulting toxins left behind.
- Therapy: At Futures, we understand therapy to be the foundation of an effective drug addiction treatment plan. Therapy allows patients to work through problematic issues and enables check-ins as the patient moves forward toward identified goals.
- Inpatient Treatment: For some clients, continuing to live at home poses a serious risk of further abuse or relapse. Inpatient care offers clients a safe space for recovery and the comprehensive care and 24-hour attention they need from medical professionals.
- Outpatient Treatment: This type of care allows clients to live at home and attend to their responsibilities while offering them assistance and support. The client receives many of the same services as inpatient treatment, but can freely return to home when these programs are not in session.
- Medication: Medications can be used for the management of withdrawal symptoms, the prevention of relapse, and the treatment of co-occurring conditions. They are commonly used to treat opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addictions.
- Evaluation and Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders: The destructiveness of addiction is compounded and exaggerated by the presence of co-occurring disorders. Recognizing, addressing, and treating the mental disorders that often accompany addiction is critical, and is an essential part of Futures’ treatment program.
- Therapy and Other Programs:
- Individual Therapy: Counseling sessions with a therapist with whom a client can privately discuss their drug abuse and associated issues, as well as set plans and personal goals.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy which addresses and treats both the psychological and behavioral components of an individual that may be associated with drug abuse.
- Emotional Regulation: A component of DBT which helps enable patients to manage extreme emotional reactions and mood swings.
- Family Program: The involvement of families considerably improves the success and effectiveness of rehab programs. Futures offers educational family workshops to provide information, therapy sessions, visitation, and involvement of family members in treatment.
- Wellness Program: Physical training, fitness therapy, and nutrition therapy have positive, cathartic effects on those seeking to overcome addiction. Physical wellness is an important part of treatment because it not only strengthens the body from any damage done during substance abuse, but also replaces poor habits with healthy ones, establishing a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Meal Planning and Support: A meal plan is created for clients based upon medical records, dietary history, and a physical examination. This is a part of nutrition therapy and is especially important for those struggling with eating issues.
- Relapse Prevention:
- A Detailed Relapse Prevention: Relapse prevention equips patients with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to personally recognize the threats of relapse and prevent future relapses from occurring
- Aftercare: After treatment has concluded, entering back into daily life and facing challenges while maintaining sobriety and preventing relapses can be difficult and overwhelming. Futures assists with identifying and engaging long-term programs that help maintain support, guidance, and accountability.
Get Help Now
If you are suffering from the disease of drug addiction or believe a loved one may be, contact Futures of Palm Beach for drug addiction treatment that can change your life.