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What to Expect from Treatment

Making the decision to seek treatment for drug addiction is always the right choice, but it can also be a scary time for someone who has depended on drugs in their everyday lives for so long. It will be a long road, and will take a lot of hard work on the part of the addict, their families and the treatment counselors who will dedicate their time to helping the individual get sober. It is important to know what to expect from treatment, so that there are no misconceptions about what it will take to become fully rehabilitated.

The first step of the recovery process typically begins with an overall assessment of the individual's history of drug use and their overall current mental and physical state. This assessment may consist of urine analysis, blood tests, etc. to ensure treatment staff are fully aware of any underling medical issues or drugs which the individual may not have admitted to using which could affect the outcome of their treatment. By doing this assessment, the treatment counselors that are working with the addict will have a better understanding about what course to take to get the individual on the correct treatment curriculum. Based on the intake assessment, treatment counselors and medical staff will create a personalized treatment plan that will consist of steps tailored to meet the individual's treatment needs.

During the beginning staged of drug rehab, family members and loved ones should be prepared for little or no communication with the individual that is in treatment. Treatment staff of the drug rehab facility of choice will know when the time is right for family/friend contact, and will advise when it's appropriate and recommended to visit. At the very beginning stages of treatment, when the individual is experiencing intense drug cravings and going through withdrawal, family members and loved ones can also expect cries to be released, promises to stop using drugs, complaints about the program itself or treatment staff, and other requests or complaints. This is a completely common response, and it is important that family members and loved ones encourage the individual to stick with it through this sensitive time. Don't panic, and work with treatment counselors to get any support needed to stay strong and do the right thing, which is keeping the individual in treatment no matter what.

The initial phase of drug treatment will be a complete drug detox which will get all of the residual drugs out of the individual's system, while also assisting them through any difficulties they may have with drug withdrawal. In some treatment facilities that do not provide a medically-supervised detox, the individual will not be allowed to start treatment until they have been drug-free for at least 48 hours which means that the detox will need to take place at a facility which can deliver a drug detox such as a hospital. It is important that all drug detox is carried out under 24-hour medical supervision and care, as there are risks involved and withdrawal can be an uncomfortable and painful process for hardcore addicts.

Withdrawal symptoms can begin within 3-24 hours of the last time a drug was used, with symptoms ranging from mild to moderate. The intensity of symptoms and how long they last really depend on which drug the individual is detoxing from. Withdrawal from cocaine for instance often has no visible physical symptoms, though individuals experiencing cocaine withdrawal will typically have cravings for more of the drug, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, lack of pleasure, sleepiness, and sometimes paranoia.

Opiate withdrawal, as with heroin on prescription opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin, can be especially painful and intense. Withdrawal symptoms have been described as similar to flu, but only ten times worse. Other symptoms include insomnia, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, leg movements, and cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey").

Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person and really depends on the length of time the individual has been using the drug, the dosage, and frequency of use. Some common meth withdrawal symptoms are depression, exhaustion, confusion, cravings, insomnia, restlessness, and disturbed/deep sleep (that could last a couple of days).

Alcohol withdrawal is of particular concern and it is crucial that individuals detoxing from alcohol after long-term dependence do so under 24-hour medical supervision. Acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, body aches, insomnia, diarrhea and sweating. In more serious cases of alcohol withdrawal, individuals can experience increased heart rate, hallucinations, high blood pressure, high fever, and Delirium Tremens. Delirium Tremens can cause panic attacks, shaking, and hallucinations which may not present themselves for a few days can last for up to a week.

Benzodiazepines are a type of prescription drug which are prescribed for anxiety but are commonly abused. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can also be very dangerous and should be monitored closely as this type of withdrawal can result in seizures which can be life threatening. Additional benzodiazepine withdrawal signs can include irritability, anxiety, insomnia and sensory disturbances. These symptoms can sometimes mimic other disorders such as schizophrenia, and can sometimes result in suicide. Because of these risks, individuals should not stop using benzodiazepines suddenly unless it is done under medical supervision.

When an individual is coming off of drugs, their overall health must be taken into consideration and any serious health issues must be addressed in conjunction with any other treatment. Addicts tend to lose sight of their personal health, hygiene and overall well-being when abusing drugs. This can result in devastating health consequences, and if not addressed will hinder treatment and complete rehabilitation. Chronic diseases such as HIV or diabetes are serious illnesses that have most likely gone untreated if the person has struggled with long-term drug use. Addressing these health issues as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan will prove effective in achieving the goal of long-term sobriety.

Individuals just starting out on their journey in treatment should expect drug cravings for some time, as a result of physical and psychological dependence that has developed to their drug of choice over time. If not in a drug rehab setting, most addicts simply succumb to these intense cravings and begin using again. If in a drug rehab setting, it's not going to be as likely an outcome due to the support system and intense care that the individual will have at their disposal. Individuals are much less likely to relapse if in treatment mostly because drugs will not be available to them, and also because of the strong support system that they will be surrounded by.

Drug detox is merely the first step of a comprehensive drug rehab program. Detox in itself is not considered treatment at all, and the majority of individuals who don't complete a comprehensive treatment plan quickly relapse. Following detox, the real work begins. This is where drug treatment professional help the individual dig into the real issues that need to be resolved to get the individual fully rehabilitated. This phase of drug rehab is made up of various elements with different treatment tools and services.

An important element of any effective drug rehab program is education. When the individual understands everything there is to know about addiction, they can recognize things in their own life which may have caused the addiction issues and prevent this from happening in the future. For instance, individuals may have things in their environment or individuals in their lives which trigger drug use. If they are aware of these toxic elements in their life, they can get rid of them or avoid them altogether. This gives them a better chance at staying out of harmful situations and relationships, hence making long-term sobriety possible.

There are a variety of drug rehab programs available to treat addiction, and the rehab that is right for an individual really depends on drug history and other contributing or underlying conditions or factors. When choosing a drug rehab program, choose one that provides a safe and supportive environment where professional drug treatment counselors will work to provide the best treatment possible so that you or your loved one can be fully rehabilitated. You're not looking for the quickest program; you're looking for the most effective program.

A long-term residential drug rehab program for example offers an environment that allows for complete focus on recovery. Individuals reside at the drug rehab facility anywhere from 3 months to a year, and completely immerse themselves in the process of overcoming addiction. Individuals who choose to take part in treatment at a residential drug addiction center are showing that they are really determined in making a change in their lives. Professional drug treatment counselors use both individual/group therapy to address addictive behavior triggers. Other treatment techniques and behavioral counseling can help individuals develop coping skills and new life tools which can maintain sobriety and lead a more productive life when treatment is complete.

A short-term drug rehab is another example of a common treatment program, and is typically an in-patient program which can last anywhere from a week to 30 days. Most short-term drug rehab facilities concentrate on brief but intense individual and group counseling, and deliver a modified 12-step approach. A short term drug rehab program is only recommended for individuals who have a short history of drug use, and is not recommended for individuals who have struggled with long-term addiction.

An outpatient drug rehab program is another option, and is any drug rehab program where the individual receives treatment during the day and then returns home or to a sober living facility at night. Some outpatient drug rehab programs require the individual to show up daily for treatment, while others require the individual to attend anywhere from 2-5 days a week. Outpatient treatment is often available during the day, evening, and weekends. An outpatient drug rehab program often focuses on education and counseling which will help the individual be able to cope with life without drugs and thereby lead a more productive and successful life. Length of treatment at an outpatient drug rehab facility depends on the treatment plan which is specific to each individual, however most individuals will spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days in such a program. An outpatient drug rehab program is not recommended for most individuals who have been struggling with long term addiction, especially those with a history of relapse. As discussed earlier, a long-term addict requires a more intense course of treatment and is best served in an inpatient setting.

Individuals who have struggled with addiction and their family and loved ones can expect to receive out of treatment what they put in. If an addict dedicates themselves to treatment and surrenders to the process, no matter how long it takes, they can expect to become a fully rehabilitated individual with a bright future ahead of them. Individuals and their families can get the help they need right away by seeking drug addiction treatment today. Contact a professional drug rehab counselor in your area today who can answer any questions and guide you through the process.

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