Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
Treatment is sometimes intensive at first, where patients attend multiple outpatient sessions each week. After completing intensive treatment, patients transition to regular outpatient treatment, which meets less often and for fewer hours per week to help sustain their recovery. In September 2017, the FDA permitted marketing of the first mobile application, reSET®, to help treat substance use disorders. This application is intended to be used with outpatient treatment to treat alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulant substance use disorders. In December 2018, the FDA cleared a mobile medical application, reSET®, to help treat opioid use disorders. This application is a prescription cognitive behavioral therapy and should be used in conjunction with treatment that includes buprenorphine and contingency management. Read more about reSET® in this FDA News Release.
Drug abuse changes the function of the brain, and many things can “trigger” drug cravings within the brain. It’s critical for those in treatment, especially those treated at an inpatient facility or prison, to learn how to recognize, avoid, and cope with triggers they are likely to be exposed to after treatment.
People who have been using alcohol and other drugs for a short period and who are at low to moderate risk of health harms often benefit from a therapy session that focuses on improving their awareness of the risks and negative aspects of use. The purpose of these sessions, known as ‘early interventions’ or ‘brief therapies’, is to motivate them to take action to reduce their alcohol and drug use, and to consider treatment. A range of public and private services provide these therapies.
People who are using alcohol and other drugs in ways that place them at high risk of harms, or who are experiencing problems associated with their use, may be dependent. Dependence is when alcohol or other drugs cause physical and psychological changes in a person, leading to them spending a lot of time thinking about, obtaining and using them, and recovering from the effects. People who are dependent are likely to need structured and more intensive interventions to help them change their alcohol and other drug use behaviour.
Detoxifying the body is not a cure for tolerance and dependence and, without follow-up treatment, the person is likely to relapse and start using alcohol or other drugs again. This is because their brain chemistry has changed in response to the alcohol or other drug being constantly present. Therefore, it is a good idea to try to follow up withdrawal treatment with counselling, residential rehabilitation, or medication assisted treatment.
After time in residential rehabilitation, people need to adjust to living in the general community again. Support is provided to help with this adjustment. This may include daily visits to a health professional or counsellor or spending time living in a half-way house. Half-way houses are regular houses in regular suburbs where several people who have been through residential rehabilitation live together while they adjust to the responsibilities and realities of regular life, without relapsing to alcohol or other drug use.
In medication-assisted treatment, medication is prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms, control craving, and block or change the effects of alcohol and other drugs. Medication alone is not enough to achieve lasting recovery from dependence on alcohol or other drugs. At the same time psychosocial support is provided to address the psychological health and social environment and help improve both the quality and duration of life and promote recovery from the effects of alcohol and other drug use.
People receiving inpatient treatment live on-site at a rehab facility in a supportive and supervised environment. After finishing inpatient rehab, they may continue recovering in a partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment setting.
What is inpatient rehab like? Inpatient rehab involves an extended time period for treatment, regardless of the substance a person was using. Clients are required to stay at the facility for the entirety of the program, including overnight. Although there is no single treatment that’s right for everyone, inpatient rehab is one of the most effective forms of care for drug and alcohol addiction.
For example, alcohol can cause seizures during withdrawal, so medical staff needs to be trained to handle seizures. An intravenous (IV) drug user might need to be screened for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C. Medical care in the inpatient rehab setting is sometimes the first treatment people have gotten in years.
Withdrawal symptoms last long after the drug has left the body. The time frame depends on the drug of abuse, the amount used, how long it was abused for and many other personal factors. Clinical care in inpatient helps mitigate negative side effects as a person faces lingering withdrawal symptoms.
After inpatient, a client may transition to partial hospitalization programming or an intensive outpatient program. In both of these programs, the person may continue living on-site at the rehab facility, or they might live in a sober living house or return home — it depends on how the facility’s programs are designed.
Inpatient rehab can help anyone that needs help with drug and alcohol addiction. However, it is designed for people who can benefit from a more intensive approach that removes outside influences and distractions. Overall, inpatient drug rehab can help anyone who has successfully completed medical detox, but still needs 24-hour care for substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health conditions.
If you or someone you love struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Your recovery is possible. Call The Recovery Village today to learn about our inpatient programs located at facilities across the country. Our caring representatives can answer your questions about addiction and the rehab process, and calling is free and confidential.
The reason there are no locks is that no rehab or treatment program is going to work unless you are willing. If you enter rehab knowing that you are going to drink or use drugs again, you are wasting your money and everyone’s time. If you decide to stay, you’ll encounter similar conditions regardless of the facility you choose.
Addiction treatment at Hazelden’s Chaska facility is gender-specific. The level of care provided, intensive outpatient programming (IOP), typically involves alcohol and drug treatment sessions as often as four days a week, initially. Then, throughout your treatment experience at Hazelden in Chaska, you will work closely with your counselor to continually gauge and adjust the frequency and focus of your care.
This guide is written for individuals, and their family and friends, who are looking for options to address alcohol problems. It is intended as a resource to understand what treatment choices are available and what to consider when selecting among them.
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