The club scene is still alive and thriving. Large city clubs promote the latest house and EDM music, while even smaller cities and towns usually have some subset of club culture. From disco-era cocaine, to 90’s rave culture ecstasy, to today’s designer drugs (and everything in-between), club drugs have remained constant.
In many cases, a variety of drugs can be found in most active dance clubs and in many parties. While not everyone who goes to clubs partakes of substance use, the underground culture of drinking and using does impact some more than others. Many people assume that drug use that happens only on nights out or in social situations is more safe than drug use on an everyday basis. Unfortunately, club drugs and social drug use can be just as deadly as ongoing drug use at home. Many newer club drugs are made with synthetic and toxic chemicals, and even old familiar club drugs (like ecstasy) may be contaminated or mixed with more lethal ingredients.
It’s a misnomer to believe that occasional drug use does not lead to addiction. Occasional drug use may be habit-forming and lead to dependence or chronic substance use. In a study published in the journal Substance Abuse and Misuse, club drug users had higher scores on addiction severity tests than individuals who used alcohol or non-club drugs. In other words, club drugs can and do cause serious addictions, and people fighting with these addictions may need outside help in order to heal.
An inpatient drug rehabilitation program is designed to provide that help. With the right program, the addicted person will receive tailored help that designed treat both the substance use problem and the underlying causes and issues that keep the problem from resolving itself on its own.
The Importance of a Full Physical Exam
In most addiction rehabilitation programs, the person in need of recovery sits down with a counselor and discloses all of the drugs that he or she took on a regular basis. This also applies to individuals who use substances in clubs, parties, and raves. Large dance parties often offer a wide variety of drugs, and those who use substances may lose track of what they have taken, or they may not have received drugs or alcohol from impeccably trustworthy sources.
Many modern “designer drugs” and even well-known substances may be mixed with toxic additives, stimulants, sedatives, dyes, or other materials that can pose significant health risk. People who may have underlying conditions, such as heart arrhythmia, ulcers, or auto-immune disorders can unwittingly cause severe health damage. Even healthy individuals put themselves at high risk with drugs that are found in the club scene.
According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the drugs commonly provided at raves include:
- Ecstasy, an amphetamine-based drug that causes hallucinations
- Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, which is a central nervous system depressant
- Methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant
- Ketamine, an anesthetic
- Rohypnol, a sedative
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or LSD, a hallucinogen
Since each drug causes different symptoms, and each drug works a bit differently in the body, most people addicted to drugs that are commonly used in club culture go through a variety of symptoms during the detoxification and rehabilitation process. Drug screening tests can help doctors and patients work together to determine exactly what substances have been taken, and how much of that drug is still stored in the body. With that information in hand, they can devise treatment programs to help make recovery more productive and effective.
In many drug rehabilitation programs, people in recovery are given a series of targeted medications that help them control their cravings and keep their addictions from overwhelming their responses. Often, these medications have been studied for years, and researchers know exactly how the medications will work to ease symptoms of withdrawal and ongoing addiction.
Unfortunately, there are no such drugs that have been specifically designed to help with club drug addiction. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that there are no drugs designed for methamphetamine addiction. Similarly, the NIDA reports that there are no drugs designed for ecstasy addiction. That doesn’t mean, however, that doctors have no options when it comes to treating club drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
For example, people who have been taking large amounts of rohypnol in their club drug mixtures may be treated in the same way as people who are addicted to other drugs in that medication class. The journal Australian Family Physician found that tapering people down slowly during rehabilitation programs helped to ease symptoms. People addicted to rohypnol may begin taking another form of benzodiazepine during detoxification, and then slowly taper down to nothing in rehabilitation.
Finding Root Causes of Addiction
The medications provided during a rehabilitation program may help increase comfort, but they don’t completely eradicate the addiction. The behavior that supported the addiction still exists, and this behavior can feed the addiction and make a relapse much more likely. In order to change this behavior, therapists often use a technique called cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, this technique revolves around the idea that addictive behaviors stem from maladaptive thoughts. If the person can address those thoughts, and recognize that they are harmful or just untrue, the person won’t act upon them and the addiction relapse won’t take place.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been studied extensively in drug addiction treatment, and many studies have found that it is effective. For example, a study published in the journal Addiction found that participation in this type of therapy can significantly reduce the rate of drug abuse in adolescents. Studies on adults have returned similar results.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is not the only option. Other therapies include art therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, adventure therapy, and narrative therapy. It’s clear that targeted therapy has the power to change addictive behavior, and therefore make drug use and addiction relapse less likely.
Choosing an Addiction Recovery Program
The techniques described above can be used in either an inpatient or an outpatient setting. There is no right or wrong way to overcome substance use. It all comes down to the wants and needs of the person in recovery. The treatment must be tailored to meet the needs of that person, at that time.
Sometimes, the person’s doctor or insurance program may also have an opinion. But in the end, this is primarily a choice that should be made by the person in recovery. These rehabilitation programs are completely voluntary, meaning that the patient can leave whenever he or she wants to do so. If the recovering person is forced into a situation that’s awkward or uncomfortable, it might be too tempting to leave. By allowing the individual a voice in the decision, he or she will gain empowerment in recovery and therefore be more likely to finish the program.
The Canyon offers drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in our beautiful facility in Malibu, California. We believe that treatment is more effective when the addict is kept comfortable, and when the surroundings are stimulating.
We’d like to talk with you about recovery from substance use, and share more information about our dedicated programs and how we can help. Please call us today to find out more.