Through scientific research, we now know more than ever about how drugs work in the brain. We also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives.
While it is extremely rare for individuals with a substance use disorder to “fix” themselves, they can – with the help of family members or friends –take some key steps toward recovery…and a better tomorrow.1
Step One: Could It Really Be an Addiction?
Sure, chugging beers or shooting up might have been fun at first. But then tomorrow came…and the next day. Before long, after continued use, the thought of whether addiction is setting in begins to come up.
- Do you think about drugs a lot?
- Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
- Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
- Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
- Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
- Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
- Has using drugs hurt your relationship with your family and drug-free friends?
- Have you been shirking your duties at school, at work or at home because of drugs?
- Has your physical appearance and personal hygiene suffered because of drug use?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, a substance use disorder may have already developed. A drug addiction can happen to people from all backgrounds – rich, poor, young, old, any race, any culture, following drug consumption over years or possibly even just weeks. Okay…so now what?2
Step Two: If an Addiction Is Suspected, Seek Expert Help
Through scientific research, we now know a lot about how drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives…IF they seek the help they need. People with an addiction seldom find a way to control it on their own. Expert guidance and support can make all the difference. And since there is a wide range of treatment choices out there, it’s essential that adequate research is done to determine the best choice.
As far as other people finding out anything about this, privacy laws prevent physicians and counselors from sharing such information with others – even parents. However, there is one exception to this rule: Doctors can speak to parents and some officials if they think the patient is in danger of hurting someone.If the patient considers abuse an issue, this can be discussed with the care provider or a school counselor.3
If the patient or medical specialist decides that substance abuse treatment would be beneficial, many options are available. How to pay for such services may also be an important consideration. Insurance often covers services that are deemed necessary. The treatment facility should be able to assist with this.
Step Three: Deciding to Submit to the Treatment Needed
Treatment approaches must be tailored to address individuals’ specific drug abuse patterns and any other medical, psychiatric or social issues. Addiction specialists can suggest what would likely be the most promising options for a particular set of needs in treating the whole person. If all of the existing conditions are not addressed simultaneously, the outcome will likely not be as successful in any one specific area.
The first step in treatment is oftentimes detox, which serves to cleanse the body of toxic substances. This is important, because drugs can impair the mental abilities needed to stay in treatment. When patients first stop abusing drugs, they can experience a variety of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms, including mood disorders (such as anxiety and depression), restlessness and sleeplessness. Reputable treatment centers are very experienced in helping patients get through this process and remain safe.2
The Canyon Would Be an Excellent Starting Point
Gaining the ability to stop abusing drugs is just one part of a disciplined, life-long recovery process.
When entering a drug addiction treatment program at The Canyon, your specific concerns are matched with specialists who are assigned to you as your core clinical team. First off, these experts formulate a comprehensive assessment of the medical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual aspects of your needs and circumstances.
With the help of this supportive and insightful team of experienced professionals, you will be taught skills and encouraged to practice handling real-life situations without the unhealthy distractions that you have grown comfortable in using during times of physical or mental stress, pain or anguish.
1“What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs , (January 2016).
2“What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs: For Adults”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-you-have-problem-drugs-adults , (January 2016).
3“What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs: For Teens and Young Adults”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-you-have-problem-drugs-teens-young-adults , (January 2016).