A Elements Behavioral Health Guide to Drug Rehab
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Addiction Treatments
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Naltrexone is a medication originally designed to help recovering opioid addicts maintain drug abstinence during treatment. Substance abuse specialists and researchers eventually discovered that use of the medication can also help reduce alcohol cravings in recovering alcoholics. According to the results of recent studies, naltrexone also holds promise as a potential treatment for people recovering from amphetamine addiction. This news has significant real-world importance, because doctors currently have no medication options to offer to their amphetamine-addicted patients. Discovery of such a medication could potentially help vast numbers of people throughout the world successfully break the cycle of active amphetamine abuse.

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Substance withdrawal delirium is a mental health condition that occurs when diminishing levels of alcohol, drugs, or medications in the body lead to the onset of an incoherent, unbalanced state of mind. Along with a related condition called substance intoxication delirium, it belongs to a group of disorders that also includes various forms of dementia and amnesia. While a variety of substances can potentially produce delirium during the withdrawal process, alcohol has an especially well-deserved reputation for its delirium-inducing potential. Alcohol withdrawal-related delirium, known as delirium tremens, is a potentially fatal condition.

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Most any medication intended for healing may induce some harm or discomfort. All medication prescriptions include information on side effects or adverse reactions to the medication. Some people may have no reactions while others have multiple reactions. Whether one experiences these effects depends on multiple factors including dosage and the person’s tolerance.

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An addiction to alcohol or drugs can turn your life upside down and result in very serious consequences. Whether you became addicted to painkillers prescribed after an injury or a loved one started abusing heroin, you know the terrible impact addiction has on you and your family. And you know it’s time to get help. However, when it comes to an addiction to heroin and other opiates, there’s one addiction treatment option that is fraught with controversy: methadone treatment.

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The director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, recently made a call to action to prevent deaths from drug overdose. One of his main tools for doing so would be wider access to naloxone, a drug that is considered to be an antidote to overdose by opioid drugs. Right now, the drug is only available as a prescription, although some members of law enforcement carry it with them as well. Kerlikowske would like to see addicts, patients with chronic pain who take opioid painkillers, and family members of the former have better access to the life-saving medication.

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Many people may be familiar with the organization Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They may, however, be less familiar with the strategy which makes AA so successful in helping people live sober for a lifetime.

Known as the 12 Step program, the method was originally designed to address alcoholism. Since the beginning of AA, the 12 Step model has been adapted to help people looking to overcome a variety of addictions. New research shows that the highly successful strategy works equally well for teens and young adults seeking recovery.

Teens Benefiting Greatly From 12 Step Programs

Teens that complete treatment for drug or alcohol use benefit just as much as adults from post-rehab support programs that are based on 12 Step methodology according to a pair of recent studies. Up until now not much research had be done tracking teen and young adult involvement in these programs, but a couple of new investigations show that the programs provide younger participants with a support resource that is often otherwise lacking for them.

Teens and young adults who are working on sobriety often do not have a healthy network of sober friends. The 12 Step program provides a ready-made group of supporters to them.

A recent study lasted one year and followed 300 plus teens and young adults to record their involvement in 12 Step programs and compared that to their use outcomes. On the high end, the youth attended meetings three times per week at the beginning of the year. Attendance dropped to just over one time per week by the end of the year.

Link Between 12 Step Attendance/Sponsor Contact And Sobriety

Researchers found a direct link between attendance and sobriety. The more often the teen/young adult attended support group meetings, the longer they remained sober.

As encouraging as those results were, there was even better news for young people who verbally participated in the group meetings and who kept in contact with their sponsor. For those folks, there was an even stronger tendency to remain drug and alcohol free.

Attending meetings regularly helped to make positive lifestyle changes, but fully investing in the 12 Step program by participating at meetings and staying accountable to the 12 Step group sponsor made that change more secure.

A second study followed 127 teenagers for one year to see how attending a 12 Step meeting influenced their ability to maintain abstinence. In that study only about one-third of teens stayed faithful to the group sessions. However, for those who did, even attending just one meeting per week made a difference in their ability to avoid relapses.

One Harvard medical expert commenting on this study suggested that teens join a group even before they complete their regular rehab treatment. Joining early, he said, improves the likelihood that the teen will stay active with the group once he/she leaves formal rehab.

The bottom line is this: attending a 12 Step group is the best step toward living sober and the more actively involved a person is in that group, the more certain their recovery becomes.

Although it’s classed as a Schedule I drug in the United States, with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” many American addicts go to underground clinics or other countries to receive ibogaine treatment for addiction. The substance is an alkaloid, extracted from the iboga root which grows in West Africa. The root has been used by the Bwiti believers for centuries, and has recently been used to combat addiction in high doses. Not only is ibogaine a psychoactive drug, there have also been 12 reported deaths of people using it for addiction. Despite this, several research projects are underway and people still seek it out as treatment.

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Keeping a record of your substance abuse (or your cravings) is widely touted to be an effective method of taking control of your addiction. Cynics may assume that something as simple as keeping a record of your usage couldn’t possibly have any impact on your behavior, but many ex-addicts have pointed to the humble journal as one of the key factors in their recovery. If you’re still having trouble taking control of your addiction, writing your experiences and emotions down in black and white could be the turning point you’re waiting for.

Recording How Often and How Much You Use

The moment you decide to institute a change in your life is the true beginning of your recovery, but getting to that point isn’t easy. When you’re bogged down in the habitual and hazy world of substance abuse, the number of lines you snorted or drinks you kicked back isn’t always easy to settle on. It’s easy to forget the whisky chaser or the pill you popped at lunchtime because the actions become virtually automatic. Actively noting down when you take your drug of choice makes the truth irrefutable. You will have a clear record of just how often you rely on your substance, and this also makes it easier to translate into monetary value.

If you’ve made the decision to record your drug use, you probably do have a problem. Undoubtedly, your journal will reveal that your problem is actually much bigger than you imagined, and that you bleed cash into it for a series of extremely short-term highs. The harsh reality of the situation – written out in front of you in black and white – serves as a much-needed slap in the face. You begin to realize how much the substance does dominate your life, and it therefore helps you see the reasons you should make a change.

Recording When, Where and Why You Use

Most people who abuse substances have a unique set of internal (emotional) or external (situational) triggers that push them to use drugs. For example, a stressful day at work might always be followed by a stiff drink, or seeing a group of friends might always lead to heavy cannabis use. If you also make a note of the situation you are in at the different times you choose to take drugs, then you can more easily identify your triggers to use. The simplest things to write down are when you used, whom you were with, how you were feeling, and how much you used.

The important thing is to identify the most high-risk situations for you. Feelings of depression or even general melancholy might always precede an ecstasy binge, or it might be going to a nightclub where the drug is rife. There are probably a number of factors which make it more likely that you’re going to use, and when they occur simultaneously, you might notice that you take more. Identifying these situations helps immensely during recovery, because you will become acutely aware of the factors influencing you at any given time. It also helps to write down when you experienced a craving but didn’t use, for the same reasons.

The Emotional Side of Things

The last major benefit of keeping a journal is the ability to air your emotions to an impartial “listener.” Your journal is like a trusted confidant, showing unconditional love and understanding whilst still presenting you with the reality of your situation. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with yourself during your diary keeping. Do your best to document your reality, without undue embellishments or omissions. The process of writing events, emotions, and situations down on paper forces you to organize them into some form of narrative, which in turn helps you look at them from a different perspective. Looking at situations in new ways usually leads to a greater understanding and acceptance of what happened.

Research has shown that journal writing can help people recover from both physical and psychological conditions. It’s been found that people who write things down during their recovery (from various conditions) need less medication, feel less pain, are happier, and score much better on psychological tests. These marked benefits may not have been directly studied in substance abusers, but when coupled with the ample anecdotal evidence available online, they obviously still apply.

Starting Your Diary

The most difficult aspect of the entire process is getting started. In reality, it doesn’t matter when you start, and it doesn’t really matter if you manage to write in it every day. Aiming to find twenty minutes every day to write a short entry or keeping a record of your use throughout the day is ideal, but if you can’t always do it, don’t beat yourself up about it. If possible, keep it with you all day (along with a pen), or if not, try to find the time before you go to sleep each day. The more you use it, the more you’ll start to see the benefits and want to continue. Remember, your diary is completely confidential, and it’s yours, so you can fill it in however works for you. The key is to express yourself, talk about your drug use and the difficulties you face in your life, and above all to read it back and think about the patterns you start to see.

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We Understand Your Confusion

What type of drug rehab is right for me? Will my loved one stay in treatment long enough to get the benefits of rehab? Will my insurance cover drug rehab?

You have questions. We have answers.

Take some time to review DrugRehab.us and learn about your treatment options. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused, please pick up the phone. Our expert advisers are here to help.

Whether you decide on an outpatient drug treatment program or an inpatient residential drug rehab, you are making a choice to move forward with your life. You are choosing to reclaim your life from drugs and alcohol.