3 Addictions

Helping You To Recover From Addiction

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Meth Withdrawal

What Does Meth Withdrawal Feel Like?

Meth, short for methamphetamine, is a recreational drug that functions as a stimulant. It increases your energy level, alertness, brain activity, and talkativeness. You also get a pleasurable, euphoric “high” soon after you take the drug.

Meth has powerful effects, making the drug prone to abuse. When you have been using the drug for a time, you also become vulnerable to meth withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms are generally not fatal, but they can become sources of great discomfort.

Meth withdrawal often happens when you stop taking the drug after taking it habitually. The sudden absence of the drug makes it difficult for your brain to adjust, and this is what leads to withdrawal symptoms.

If you are wondering what meth withdrawal feels like, read on for more detailed descriptions of the symptoms.

How soon does withdrawal start and how long does it last?

Meth Withdrawal Based on research, withdrawal from meth occurs in two stages. The first stage can happen within 24 hours of your last dose of meth. The withdrawal symptoms may be at their most intense at this time. Over the course of a week, they will gradually subside.

The second stage often occurs over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Symptoms are less intense at this time.

Some users may suffer from lingering withdrawal symptoms lasting for months. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS.

What are the withdrawal symptoms?

Each user will have different withdrawal symptoms depending on how severe their case is. There are common symptoms, though, such as these.

Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common symptom of meth withdrawal. Research indicates that as much as 30% of individuals withdrawing from meth suffer from anxiety disorders.

Depression

Depression is another common withdrawal symptom, and it is considered normal when you are getting off meth. In most cases, depressive symptoms die down about 3 weeks after the last dose. But in some people, depression can persist for a longer time.

Meth cravings

The sudden absence of meth in your system will trigger intense cravings for the drug. Your brain becomes stressed as it adjusts, and the discomfort you feel may strongly compel you to take meth again. Cravings are frequent symptoms for people withdrawing from this drug.

Increased appetite

When you were still using meth, you may have noticed being less hungry. This is a common effect of the drug. But when you are in withdrawal, the opposite happens — your appetite will increase. In particular, you will crave carbohydrate-rich food, especially at the beginning of the withdrawal period. These food cravings may last for 2 to 3 weeks.

Sleepiness and fatigue

When you were on meth, you would feel that your energy level is so high that you can go on without sleep. But once the drug is gone, your energy level will drastically drop, making you feel sleepy and tired most of the time. These effects are most pronounced during the first week of withdrawal. Some users may even suffer from hypersomnia, a condition characterized by sleeping for around 11 hours a day. Experiencing vivid dreams is also common.

Psychosis

Psychosis refers to a range of different psychological symptoms that make you feel detached from reality. During meth withdrawal, the usual symptoms are auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations. In other words, you may hear, see, and feel things that are not really there. Additionally, you can have delusions, which are ideas that seem true to you, but in reality are untrue.

Why does withdrawal happen?

Meth WithdrawalMeth makes your brain release lots of dopamine and serotonin. These two molecules are involved in producing feelings of reward and satisfaction. Eventually, your brain’s supply of dopamine and serotonin will run out, and once you suddenly stop taking meth, withdrawal will kick in.

The discomfort you feel from withdrawal will continue until your brain has replenished its supply of dopamine and serotonin. This can last for a few days to weeks.

What are the best coping strategies for withdrawal?

Withdrawing from meth can be really uncomfortable. Even then, there are ways to make it more tolerable. Here are a few techniques you can use while withdrawing from this drug.

Keep yourself busy

If you can “distract” yourself with productive activities, like a creative hobby or sports, you can put your mind off any meth cravings. The cravings may be quite intense in the first few days, but they will slowly subside within about 2 weeks. The more you can keep yourself busy, the less time you will have to entertain meth cravings.

Exercise

Meth WithdrawalExercise is known to release brain molecules that put you in a good mood. Additionally, when you exercise while withdrawing from meth, it gives the added bonus of keeping yourself physically fit. In turn, your overall state of health will improve, which also helps in your recovery.

Avoid drug triggers

As much as possible, remove yourself from people and situations that encourage you to take meth. This way, you can effectively avoid the risk of relapse while withdrawing from the drug.

Eat healthy

As your appetite returns, make sure your diet is balanced and healthy. Avoid eating more than you usually do, as this may turn into a food addiction. A good state of physical health will help your recovery greatly.

Are medications necessary?

Medications are only prescribed by doctors when necessary, usually when you are going through a medically assisted detox procedure. This is the best way to quit meth, as you will be supervised by medical professionals through the entire process. They will ensure the safest and most comfortable process of withdrawal for you.

Some medications used in meth detox are:

  • Bupropion (Wellburtin)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

These medications deal with meth cravings, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other common discomforts experienced during withdrawal.

Quit using meth safely

To ensure the best outcomes of recovering from meth withdrawal, seek professional help right now. Talk to your doctor or a recovery professional and you will know the best treatments for your needs.

Marijuana Withdrawal

How Long Does Marijuana Withdrawal Last?

Since marijuana is also an addictive substance, prolonged or heavy use can increase users’ likelihood of experiencing withdrawal when they quit. Even though marijuana withdrawal is not as severe as the withdrawal experienced from harder drugs such as heroin or cocaine, most users will still experience withdrawal if they try to stop using.

Marijuana WithdrawalMarijuana withdrawal varies among different users. Individuals who are mildly dependent on marijuana can quickly stop using the drug themselves, but chronic users with a higher tolerance may require extra assistance to kick the habit.

Marijuana withdrawal can be challenging for heavy and chronic users, but the symptoms will depend on the individual’s dependence on the drug. The duration of withdrawal is also largely dependent on how much a person smokes and how long they have been using the drug. Individuals who use larger amounts of marijuana more frequently will experience a more severe and drawn-out withdrawal. Additionally, people who typically have a lower tolerance to physical and emotional distress might find the withdrawal more challenging to go through.

Withdrawal symptoms usually start within 24 hours of an individual’s last use, and then after two to three days, they reach their peak. Even though most of the symptoms go for about two weeks, some chronic users have stated that they experienced emotional imbalance, night sweats, and insomnia for a few months after stopping.

Timeline for Marijuana Withdrawal

Day 1: Individuals typically experience insomnia, anxiety, and irritability during this time.

Day 2 – Day 3: The withdrawal symptoms will reach their peak during this period. The individual will experience intense cravings for marijuana and possible stomach pains, chills, and sweating.

Day 4- Day 14: As the days go by, the symptoms will start to improve generally, but the person’s brain chemistry will begin to change and re-adapt to normal functioning without marijuana, leading to depression. The individual will also experience marijuana cravings during this time.

Day 5 – Day 15: Most of all, the symptoms should have gone by the third week. Users who experience serious psychological addiction have experienced anxiety and depression for a few months after stopping marijuana use.

Some marijuana users also go through withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks or months, referred to as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).

Each withdrawal symptom may continue for varying periods depending on various factors.

Cravings

Marijuana WithdrawalEven though most regular weed smokers usually do not think they are addicted to it and most former users have typically experienced drug cravings in the initial stages of their abstinence journey. The cravings will vary depending on each individual but what remains constant is the strong urge to use marijuana.

Irritability

Irritability ranges from mild to aggressive, which is expected during marijuana withdrawal. However, if it lasts for longer than a week, it is advisable to get assistance from a psychologist, drug counselor, or doctor. This could be an underlying problem that was masked by marijuana use.

Anxiety

This may be a symptom of marijuana intoxication and intoxication. The anxiety may continue or become worse even after stopping. If this symptom persists after one week of stopping marijuana use, make sure you see a physician.

Depression

After taking it for years, some individuals who stop using marijuana might feel like they have wasted so much of their life on the drug. It is normal to feel like this, and this can be the driving force that helps you change your life for the better. However, these feelings of depression are supposed to lift after one or two weeks. If this doesn’t happen or affects your functioning, making any life changes feel overwhelming, then seek assistance from a drug counselor or a doctor.

Issues with Sleep

Marijuana WithdrawalA significant number of former marijuana users have reported experiencing problems with sleep during withdrawal, such as night sweats, disturbing or vivid dreams, and insomnia. Some have also stated that they frequently had dreams of using marijuana, also referred to as “using dreams.” Recovering users may experience vivid dreams often about 1 week after stopping, and they can go on for almost one month before they are off the drug completely. It is also not uncommon for former users to have such dreams years after stopping taking marijuana.

Insomnia can go for a few days or weeks after stopping using marijuana. Some individuals may experience irregular sleeplessness for several months after quitting.

Headaches

Some individuals who quit marijuana will experience intense headaches for a few days after stopping taking the drug. These headaches will typically come on 1-3 days after stopping marijuana and peak after about 2 to 6 days. The symptoms frequently go away after two weeks. However, some former users have reported experiencing the symptoms for weeks or months afterwards.

The physical withdrawal symptoms from stopping marijuana are less acute, peak sooner, and fade quickly than psychological symptoms. The amount and frequency of weed used before quitting impacts the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms: chills, fever, tremors, shakiness, sweating, and headache
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Stomach pain

For most users, marijuana is eliminated from the body in 30 days. The detox process is typically less painful and lasts for a maximum of three weeks or fewer. Marijuana withdrawal takes time. Even though the initial effects of taking the drug often wear off after 3 hours, people who have been abusing marijuana for a long time or heavily can still have traces of the drug in their bodies even months after use.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Medications For Alcohol Withdrawal

Drinking alcohol in moderation should not pose any serious health problems. However, regular heavy drinking may cause your body to become dependent on alcohol. Any time you try to reduce your drinking or stop it altogether, you will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These tend to be very uncomfortable, making it much harder to control your drinking habits.

What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

  • Alcohol WithdrawalInsomnia
  • Trembling
  • Mild anxiety
  • Headache
  • Stomach upset
  • Palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anorexia
  • Hallucinations (visual, auditory, or tactile)
  • Seizures
  • Tachycardia (heart rate of over 100 beats per minute)
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Mild symptoms, such as trembling, headache, and stomach upsets, generally happen within 6 to 12 hours of your last drink. Hallucinations and seizures can occur within 24 to 48 hours. The worst symptoms, such as delirium tremens (DTs) and intense hallucinations, may develop after 48 to 72 hours.

DTs constitute a medical emergency. Thus, if you or someone you know is experiencing this, call for medical help immediately. If DTs is not treated promptly, it may turn life-threatening.

What causes alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol WithdrawalAlcohol interferes with the normal function of the brain. As a depressant, it slows down activity in the brain, promoting relaxation. If you drink frequently, your brain will soon become used to the effects of alcohol. Consequently, to keep the brain functioning, it will have to work harder to keep you alert.

Once you cut down on alcohol or stop drinking, the brain is still in that hyperactive state. Without alcohol to slow the brain down, withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, trembling, restlessness, and seizures kick in. The cause is an overactive brain.

How is alcohol withdrawal treated?

Benzodiazepines are commonly used medications to treat withdrawal symptoms like seizures, insomnia, and anxiety. These drugs, also known as “benzos”, are central nervous system depressants. In other words, they slow down the activity of the brain, effectively calming you down. You may even feel drowsy or sleepy while taking benzos.

Both benzos and alcohol are depressants, and both have addictive potential as well. Benzos also carry other side effects, including dizziness, confusion, and muscle weakness. Thus, benzos need to be taken carefully and only with medical supervision to be effective.

Three benzos are often used in alcohol withdrawal treatment. These are:

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

These drugs are tightly regulated, and you cannot get them without prescriptions. Thus, they are only used in proper treatment settings. These medications are often part of alcohol detox, which can either be inpatient or outpatient.

Inpatient rehab settings give the best results for detoxing with benzos. Here, you get 24/7 care from medical professionals, so in case you feel anything strange, uncomfortable, or painful, you can get help right away. But benzos have also seen success when prescribed in outpatient rehab programs.

Because of their potential side effects, the dosing of benzos need to be carefully monitored and controlled. Which benzo you will be given, and how much, depends on the withdrawal symptoms you have, the severity of your alcohol dependence, and whether you are in an inpatient or an outpatient rehab setting.

There are three methods mainly used when prescribing benzos for alcohol detox.

Symptom-Triggered Regimen (STR)

Alcohol WithdrawalIn STR, your benzo dosage depends on how you rate your level of pain. If your pain rating is higher, you get a bigger dose. Several other criteria are also assessed before any medication is prescribed.

For STR to work safely, you can only undergo this regimen in an inpatient rehab facility. You will need direct supervision from doctors and consistent monitoring.

The main advantages of STR is it shortens the length of treatment and lets you take less medication overall. The risk of under- or overmedication is also smaller.

Fixed Tapering Dose Regimen (FTDR)

In FTDR, your dosage is fixed regardless of the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. FTDR can be used in outpatient settings, as consistent monitoring will not always be required. Also, this regimen works best if you have mild withdrawal symptoms.

Also, as the name implies, your dose will be tapered down with time. Benzos are only temporary medications, as using them for a long time can lead to addiction.

Loading Dose Regimen (LDR)

LDR uses long-acting benzos, which stay in your body for several days. It works best in preventing seizures, and it is only done in inpatient rehab settings. Monitoring is important in LDR, so it cannot be administered in outpatient rehab programs.

Other medications

Aside from benzodiazepines, other drugs may also be used to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Anticonvulsants like gabapentin and carbamazepine are also helpful, especially in preventing seizures. Additionally, some studies have shown that anticonvulsants can help with reducing alcohol cravings.

The good thing about anticonvulsants is their lack of addictive potential. With that, they are safer than benzodiazepines. However, using anticonvulsants alone may not be enough to effectively manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Thus, both kinds of medications may be used in combination.

Adrenergic drugs, like clonidine, are also used when detoxing from alcohol. These drugs lower your blood pressure and heart rate if they are high. Adrenergic drugs do not treat seizures or DTs, though.

Are medications always needed in treating alcohol withdrawal?

Medications are not always necessary. Before doctors prescribe you anything, they will assess your condition first. Not all cases of withdrawal warrant medication.

Doctors often use what is known as the CIWA-AR (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment – Alcohol Revised) scale to find out how severe your withdrawal symptoms are. If you score zero to 8 points on this scale, medications may not be necessary for you. But if you score 9 and above, you will be prescribed medications.

If you do not need medication, supportive care will be given to you for up to 36 hours. After that time, it is highly unlikely that you will develop worse withdrawal symptoms.

To ensure that withdrawal does not bother you again, it is best to stay away from alcohol. Continuing to drink will significantly increase the chances that you will experience withdrawal again in the future.

Anxiety Lead To Drug Use

Does Anxiety Lead To Drug Use?

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the United States. Data from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) shows that 40 million American adults (aged 18 and older) suffer from anxiety disorders every year. That’s about 18 percent of the US population.

The good news is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Despite this, less than 40 percent of those with these conditions receive proper treatment. In some cases, individuals with anxiety disorders resort to substance use to try and relieve their symptoms.

Because of this, the ADAA estimates that around 20 percent of people with anxiety disorders are also afflicted with substance use disorders.

Why does anxiety lead to drug use? Are anxiety treatments also able to address associated substance use disorders? Let’s find out.

Why anxiety may lead to drug abuse

Anxiety and Drug UseWhen you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, like trembling, nervousness, difficulty speaking, irritability, and the like, you would want yourself to calm down. Drinking alcohol is a popular way to do this. After a drink, you may begin to feel more relaxed and confident.

While the occasional drink does no harm to your body, you may get used to the relaxing effects of alcohol over time. Eventually, you will no longer feel these effects after just a few drinks. Your body will need more alcohol to feel the same effects. This is called tolerance, and it can build up over time. It may then lead to heavy drinking, which in turn can become an alcohol addiction.

The same holds true if you use other addictive substances, like marijuana, to deal with anxiety symptoms. At first, you may feel yourself improving. But as you keep taking those substances over time, you will eventually develop a substance use disorder.

At the end of it, you will have been suffering from two conditions instead of just one.

How to avoid drugs when you have an anxiety disorder

AnxietyIf you often experience symptoms of anxiety, the best thing to do is to consult a mental health professional. They can help you figure out if you actually have an anxiety disorder. When you have anxiety symptoms, it doesn’t always follow that you have an anxiety disorder. You need to fulfill specific criteria first before being diagnosed with one.

If the mental health professional concludes that you do not have an anxiety disorder, he will teach you techniques to manage your anxiety. These include mindfulness, breathing exercises, and calming statements you can tell yourself each time you feel anxious. These prove helpful in relieving common symptoms of anxiety and help you calm down and think more realistically about the things around you.

On the other hand, if you do have an anxiety disorder, treatments are in order.

What kind of anxiety treatments are available?

Basically, there are two types of anxiety treatments: medications and psychotherapy. The former are prescription drugs used to relieve anxiety symptoms in some patients. Not everyone with anxiety disorders need medications, though. This would depend on the severity of your case.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, are treatments that deal with your mind and emotions. Some mental health practitioners call them talk therapy because of the conversational nature of the treatments.

There is a wide range of talk therapies used in addressing anxiety disorders, but by far the most effective is called cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. At its core, CBT aims to correct negative patterns of thoughts and behaviors that lead to anxiety.

Anxiety Lead To Drug UseDuring CBT, your therapist will train you to identify erroneous thoughts that are not grounded in reality, which in turn trigger anxiety. He will then ask you to consider more realistic and positive alternatives then have you weigh the evidence for both the negative and positive thoughts. Once you realize the positive thoughts have more basis in reality, then your patterns of thinking about anxiety-inducing situations will change.

Once you get the hang of thinking more positively about the things that cause you anxiety, you will feel less and less anxious when in those situations. Eventually, you’ll be able to approach those situations with confidence.

In addition to being highly effective, CBT also does not take long to produce results. Many patients have reported significant improvements in their anxiety symptoms after eight to ten sessions of CBT.

What if I have both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder?

If you have two mental health problems occurring at once, this is called a dual diagnosis. It requires special attention since both conditions must be treated side by side. If each one is treated separately, your recovery outcomes are not as good.

Dual diagnosis cases are best treated with residential rehab programs, also known as inpatient rehab. In residential rehab, you need to live inside a rehab facility for anywhere between one to three months, depending on the program you’re enrolled in.

Inside the rehab facility, you will be fully focused on your journey to recovery. You will learn to adopt a new, healthy lifestyle that does not involve addictive substances. Each day, you will attend a number of therapy sessions to help you work through the substance use disorder. Also, you can get into new hobbies in rehab if they offer recreational amenities like sports areas. If you get into a sport, for example, you will learn an entirely new way of coping with stress. Not only is it drug-free, but it keeps your body fit and healthy as well.

Dealing with both anxiety and substance abuse is tough. But when supervised by trained professionals in a residential rehab facility, your chances of recovery are much higher. It may take some time and effort, but at the end of it, you will be able to take control of your life again and live sober.

Alcohol Effects

Alcohol Effects on Testosterone

Drinking alcohol is a popular social activity for many people. However, it does have a lot of negative health effects. Alcohol can affect your liver, heart, kidneys, muscles, and even your testosterone levels.

Read on to find out more of alcohol’s effects on testosterone in detail.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testicles. It’s a predominantly male hormone, though women also produce small amounts of it in their ovaries. Testosterone is mainly responsible for regulating sex drive and sperm production. Other effects include influencing bone and muscle mass, fat storage, and red blood cell production. It can also affect mood.

Low levels of testosterone in men can cause the following:

  • Alcohol EffectsInfertility
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Low libido
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of body hair or facial hair
  • Development of breasts
  • Loss of bone mass
  • Poor concentration
  • Hot flashes

In women, low testosterone can cause:

  • Low sex drive
  • Brittle bones

This hormone requires three glands to be made. These are the hypothalamus, the anterior pituitary gland, and the testes. Here is the process:

  1. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is produced by the hypothalamus.
  2. GnRH stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
  3. FSH and LH stimulate the testes (or ovaries in women) to produce testosterone.

Alcohol disrupts the function of all these glands, inhibiting the production of testosterone.

What are the short-term alcohol effects on testosterone?

AlcoholismWhen you drink, alcohol affects your pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Without GnRH, FSH, and LH, the testes cannot produce testosterone. Based on research, testosterone levels drop as quickly as 30 minutes after drinking.

In another study, healthy men were made to drink one pint of whiskey every day for 30 days. Their testosterone levels were then compared to those of men suffering from alcohol use disorder. After 30 days, the testosterone levels of the healthy men were nearly identical to those of the men with alcohol use disorder.

What are the long-term alcohol effects on testosterone?

If you drink heavily for a long time, you are more likely to have poor testicular function than people who drink moderately. In turn, your testosterone levels will be lower than theirs. Also, you will be more likely to be afflicted with erectile dysfunction and low libido.

Aside from interfering with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, alcohol can also damage the Leydig cells of the testes. These cells are responsible for producing testosterone. The damage is more pronounced when it’s a product of long-term drinking.

But if you drink only moderately, it should have no long term effects on your testosterone levels.

Does alcohol affect sperm production?

Alcohol disrupts the function of certain cells in your testes called Sertoli cells. These play a big role in sperm production, particularly in helping sperm mature. With the Sertoli cells affected, sperm cannot develop properly.

Also, testosterone and FSH have roles in sperm development. Alcohol decreases the levels of both these hormones, thus it negatively affects the growth of sperm. It may even lead to spermatogenic arrest, which is interrupted development of sperm. In turn, there will be a low concentration of sperm in the semen.

According to studies, about 50 percent of men who drink heavily were affected with spermatogenic arrest. Only 20 percent of men without alcohol problems had this issue. The studies additionally found that men who drank heavily had smaller testicles than other men.

Other studies have found out that heavy drinking may even turn the precursor molecules of testosterone into estrogen, increasing the levels of estrogen in men. Normally, this hormone is higher in females as it is responsible for maintaining the female reproductive system and controlling the menstrual cycle. If estrogen is high in men, it will affect sperm production, leading to smaller concentrations of sperm in the semen.

Additionally, high estrogen levels in men may cause these conditions.

Gynecomastia

This condition is marked by unusually large fat tissues in the breasts of men. In turn, their breasts enlarge and appear like the female counterparts.

Erectile dysfunction

Maintaining an erection requires a balance of hormones in the male body. If estrogen levels are high, this balance is disrupted, making it harder to stay erect. This condition is made worse when combined with low testosterone levels.

Stunted growth

Adolescent boys who drink alcohol are more likely to not grow tall. Increased levels of estrogen would stop them from growing in height. Also, high estrogen concentrations will cause the epiphyseal plates in their bones to close early, permanently stunting their growth.

How do I prevent these conditions when drinking alcohol?

Most studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol does not negatively affect testosterone production. That means you need to limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per day (for men) or one drink a day (for women).

Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one standard drink is defined as:

  • Alcoholism Effects12 ounces of beer (normally at 5% alcohol)
  • 5 ounces of wine (normally at 12% alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (or one shot) of vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, or other distilled spirits (normally at 40% alcohol)

Any more than one or two of those drinks is considered heavy drinking, which raises your risk of developing testosterone-related problems.

The more you can limit your drinking, the better it will be not just for your testosterone levels, but for your overall health as well.

If you have alcohol use disorder and cannot stop drinking, get professional help right away. Talk to your primary care doctor or an alcohol addiction specialist, who will help you create a treatment plan that’s just right for your needs.

You may have to enroll in a rehab program, and if your condition is serious, you may need to live inside a rehab facility for one to three months. Recovery takes a while, but if you’re focused and committed to it, the outcomes are good. After rehab, you will be able to live a sober life once again.

Drug Addiction Treatment

Is Drug Addiction Treatment Effective?

The main aim of drug addiction treatment is to help people suffering from addiction to stop abusing drugs. When they achieve this goal, the treatment progresses into helping these people stay sober by following the necessary measures to keep from relapsing. People with substance use disorders usually experience specific challenges. Since addiction is classified as a chronic illness, this means there is no cure for it. However, drug addiction treatment has proven to be quite effective in helping these individuals conquer their addictions.

There are various treatment programs and rehab facilities that are beneficial for people who want to recover from substance addiction. The effectiveness of drug addiction treatment programs is dependent on the program and the patient, including other contributing factors.

How Is Drug Addiction Treatment Measured?

Drug Addiction TreatmentSome treatment facilities assess their effectiveness through the number of patients that successfully go through their rehab programs. Others will look at patients’ continued sobriety during the following years or months to measure their success with the programs. The criteria defining the success of a drug addiction treatment program are flexible. Some programs will use varying types of treatment, while others handle relapse in patients.

Additionally, drug rehab is not always successful for anyone who steps into the program. Some of these facilities blame the patient for their addiction, thus setting them up for failure. Most rehabilitation programs also do not check up on their patients after they complete the treatment and base their success rates only on those who stay on for the entire period.

Monitoring one’s addiction and assessing their progress involves asking them about their thoughts and feelings. There are no known standards to gauge the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program, and different facilities will use their own criteria to define their results. For example, an individual might have stopped abusing their substance of choice but still exhibited specific thought patterns and damaging behaviors after the treatment. However, the program may still classify the case as a success.

It is advisable to look for a trusted and dependable program that focuses on treating the individual as a whole and not just the addiction.

What are Criteria Used to Assess The Effectiveness of a Drug Treatment Program?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines three specific goals for an effective drug treatment program aside from stopping drug use and maintaining sobriety in individuals:

  • The person should engage with society as a whole positively
  • The individual should also contribute in the workplace
  • The person should be a productive family member

Even though each rehab facility will define success differently, other measures overview what an effective treatment should achieve.

The patient being treated for addiction should exhibit these characteristics:

  • Improved safety, i.e., fewer injuries or accidents
  • An improvement in their legal status, i.e., committing fewer crimes or abiding by probation
  • Stronger connections and relationships with loved ones, friends, and family
  • Better mental health through improved behaviors, personality traits, and moods
  • Enhanced physical health, i.e., reduced medical visits
  • An improvement in their education or employment status
  • Longer gaps between relapses and decreased frequency and amount of substance use

Most drug rehab treatment programs monitor their patients’ growth as they continue with the treatment, determining any issues and obstacles that need to be addressed. An effective program also offers alumni groups and recovery meetings even after patients complete the program.

Thus, when assessing the effectiveness of a drug treatment program, abstinence from addictive substances is not the only thing to consider. As mentioned above, we also need to consider the individual’s improved ability to function in the community, at work, at school, and home. These improvements are made possible when the individual reduces their drug use. Therefore, we need to observe the individual’s general quality of life.

Does Relapse Mean Drug Addiction Treatment Was Ineffective?

Drug AddictionThe National Institute on Drug Abuse specifies that 40%-60% of patients undergoing drug addiction treatment usually relapse. As a chronic disease, addiction symptoms can reappear even after treatment, so continuous care is necessary. Relapse back to drug use does not mean the treatment was unsuccessful. Some people need more time to improve and heal fully. They might sometimes relapse but go back to sobriety themselves due to skills learned during rehabilitation.

Drug addiction recovery is a continuous process, and patients usually need several treatment rounds. Most people also typically require aftercare once they complete their addiction treatment programs. Aftercare typically comprises support groups or substance abuse counseling to help the person stay connected with other affected individuals struggling with drug addiction.

Types of Treatment Programs and Their Effectiveness

Drug Addiction Treatment EfficacyAn individual’s success in a drug treatment program will depend on their specific circumstances and the type of program selected. Other factors also influence positive treatment results.

Good drug rehab programs are usually managed by skilled professionals who have been trained in addiction treatment. They also have clinical staff on the site to handle the patients’ physical and mental needs. Rehab programs with high success rates usually provide long-term care and personalized treatment plans with evidence-based methods.

Addiction treatment is an ongoing process that takes time. Programs that go for longer than three months are usually the most efficient. Long-term rehabilitation treatment enables the recovering patient to deal with any hidden issues connected to their drug abuse problem. It also helps them modify their way of life by learning beneficial new habits and breaking old destructive ones.

Personalized addiction treatment offers care to each individual depending on their addiction experience and circumstances. Considering different people and their individual addiction experiences helps to customize the treatment to meet their recovery needs and thus provides them with a greater chance for success.

Evidence-based methods for addiction treatment such as behavioral therapy have been studied and shown to be effective in helping individuals beat their addiction. These approaches are often conducted in family, group, or individual settings. Medication-assisted therapy is another evidence-based method used concurrently with counseling and therapy for people suffering from alcohol or opioid addiction.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering the success of a drug addiction treatment program is that it meets the individual’s overall needs to increase the chances of maintaining lasting sobriety.

Alcoholism

Can The Brain Heal Itself From Alcohol?

Most people experiencing alcohol dependence have experienced slowed thinking and memory problems associated with drinking. As these people continue drinking, they may find it harder to remember new information such as people’s names or recall memories. They can also experience blackouts whereby they cannot recall entire events or conversations that happened when they were drinking. We know that heavy drinking can gradually lead to severe long-term brain damage.

AlcoholismAlcohol abuse has significant effects on the body and the brain, depending on how long one has been using, but it is not easy to undo the damage that has been caused to your body. The brain can start healing itself from the harmful effects of alcohol use in time and recover what it has lost. However, heavy drinking can still affect a person’s memory, attention, and cognitive abilities, which are weakened even when there is alcohol in the bloodstream. Impaired function leads to reduced focus and concentration, as well as decreased reaction times. Alcohol can cause dehydration in anyone who does not take sufficient water to compensate for this, resulting in kidney damage.

The brain does not go back to its original condition for a long time after one stops drinking. Reaction time, memory, and attention span will normalize but will not be entirely regular for some time. For example, a hangover can have severe effects on one’s work performance. Heavy drinking seriously affects people’s work and relationships because when the brain is not functioning correctly, it can affect one’s entire life.

Within 14 days of detoxification during alcoholism treatment, the brain recovers most of its lost volume while the cerebellum, responsible for motor skills and movement, responds fastest. The brain can recover partially with sustained abstinence. Different brain areas also heal at varying rates; the part of the brain responsible for thinking will need more time to recover.

Effects of Alcohol On Your Brain

Alcohol EffectsAlcohol significantly affects the brain’s complex structures. It also cuts off the chemical signals transmitted between neurons or brain cells, resulting in the typical symptoms of drunkenness such as slowed reflexes, poor memory, slurred speech, and impulsive behavior. If a person continues drinking heavily for a long time, the brain adjusts to the obstructed signals by reacting more dramatically to brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Once the alcohol has left your system, the brain keeps overstimulating these neurotransmitters, leading to painful and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms which can harm the brain cells. The damage is worsened by sudden withdrawal and binge-drinking periods.

The brain damage caused by alcohol can happen in several ways; first, through neurotoxicity, which occurs when the brain cells are exposed to neurotransmitters for too long, causing the neurons to burn out gradually. Neurons usually form the pathways between various brain regions, so when they start burning out, this can slow down these pathways’ reactions. Aside from pathway damage, heavy alcohol use can also damage brain matter. People suffering from alcohol dependence usually have “brain shrinkage,” which means the volume of the white matter (cell pathways) and gray matter (cell bodies) will decrease over time. Even though the differences are subtle between brain damage in women and men, the amount of alcohol consumed still causes loss of brain matter regardless of gender.

Since alcohol affects a significant area of the brain, heavy drinking can cause many types of cognitive impairment. Examples include problems with impulsivity, spatial processing, problem-solving, attention, working memory, processing speed, verbal learning, and fluency. The regions of the brain associated with memory and higher functions such as impulse control and problem-solving are more vulnerable to damage than other regions of the brain. Thus, any problems in these areas of the brain are typically worse than others. Adolescents are at a higher risk of reduced performance or permanent damage, as their most affected brain regions are still developing.

Getting Back Brain Function through Recovery

Alcohol Abuse Effects on BrainEven though alcohol abuse can be detrimental to some brain functions, sobriety can restore significant healing to the brain for most people. If you abstain from alcohol early enough, you can be able to reverse most of the physical damage resulting from heavy drinking. After the first week of quitting drinking, communication between the cerebellum and other higher-functioning regions of the brain demonstrates increased performance. This is also experienced well into the recovery period during alcoholism treatment. In the same way brain damage results in cognitive impairment, repaired brain tissue can also improve cognitive functioning. Aside from improvements caused by healed brain tissue, there can also be some cognitive improvement as the brain adjusts to the damage and develops new pathways to replace those damaged by alcohol abuse. The most significant changes in cognitive functioning will be evident after a year of quitting drinking, even though a more extended abstinence period can offer better improvements.

Anyone in recovery can be optimistic that their brains will start to process things faster and better if they quit taking alcohol. Their brains will also be better able to control their motor functioning. Alcohol use can cause significant damage to one’s cognitive performance and brain functioning, but abstinence can undo most of the damage caused if the treatment is done in time. Repaired brain functionality is essential to feel like the recovery process is worth it, especially for people who have been abusing alcohol for a long time. Recovery brings about a sense of healing and feeling like you are on a path towards something better than the place you were before.  Regardless of complicated circumstances or specific stressors, it is possible to heal your body and brain from alcohol addiction and rebuild your life.

Drug Rehab

All You Need To Know About the Benefits of A Drug Rehab

Drug rehab is meant to give people with drug abuse problems the right resources to win their fight against substance abuse. Overcoming an addiction is not easy, and it requires the to change their environment and mindset; they have to rewire their brains and habits. This will help them build resistance when exposed to their everyday environment. Rehab offers several programs that address the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of the addict.

These programs are meant to address issues that act as triggers for the addict. The main benefit of drug rehab is to help the overcome their substance abuse urges, but there are many other benefits of enrolling in a drug rehab centre. This read will guide you to understand what you will gain from registering and completing a drug rehab program.

Benefits Of a Drug Rehab Program

  1. Drug RehabOvercoming substance addiction – Drug rehab equips loved ones with alcohol use disorder with personalized resources to help them overcome their addiction once they get back to their everyday life routine. It offers the person with drug abuse problems a safe, accepting, and supportive environment that allows them to be vulnerable enough to recognize that they have a problem. This vulnerability helps them address their issues and makes it easier to open about their struggles. A normal drug rehab routine incorporates therapy and treatments that help the understand why they keep turning to substance abuse as a form of escape. It makes the sobriety journey easier and makes the look forward to a life that is not a slave to substance abuse.
  2. Constant support – Most drug rehab facilities offer continuous care both during and after the patient leaves the facility. Aftercare support takes the form of group meetings and counselling sessions with local counsellors. This constant support helps them know that they are not alone in their substance abuse struggle. The patient is constantly reminded that they are fighting to get their life back and end the cycle of substance abuse. Aftercare reduces the possibility of relapse that mainly occurs after most people in addiction recovery leave the drug rehab facility. It also offers the person with substance abuse problems a safe space to communicate and address their triggers instead of abusing substances as an escape plan.

It is worth noting that aftercare helps with Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) that have been known to last up to 18 months after detox. PAWS include poor concentration, irritability, anxiety, poor appetite, depression, mood swings, and lack of sleep/insomnia. PAWS is one of the leading causes of relapse in recovering patients since they cannot cope. Support also involves spending time with peers who have fought through their substance abuse issues. Spending time with people who are sober/” clean” increases the chances of sobriety and early recovery.

  1. Drug RehabHealth focus – Drug rehab centres its programs and treatment around restoring health and nutrition for the addict. Most people struggling with addiction are malnourished because they constantly pump their system with drug substances. Poor diet is the leading cause of poor energy levels, sleep issues, and headaches, which prevent faster recovery. In most drug rehab facilities, the meals are balanced and of good quantity, making it easier for the patient to have high energy levels that help their recovery. During recovery, patients require a diet that boosts their dopamine levels and has less glycaemic content. A good diet boosts the patient’s mood and overall health, reducing their cravings and preventing relapse.

Additionally, the treatment plan incorporates exercise and physical activities such as swimming, playing tennis, and yoga. Physical activity strengthens the body and helps the patient in the aftermath of addiction. It acts as a form of release for their stress and makes them feel good about themselves, thus eliminating the need for substance abuse as an escape. Using physical activity and nutrition to boost the health of their body and mind renews their faith and replaces their self-destructive habits.

  1. Building habits and setting new goals – Addiction makes a person lack self-care habits and discipline. Self-care involves setting up goals and loving yourself enough to achieve them. Setting goals is not as easy as it sounds. Many people fail to focus on their goals because of their mindset. This cycle of setting up goals and not achieving them makes the lose hope and fall back to their negative habits. Drug rehab offers treatment programs that teach people struggling with addiction to set both short and long term goals. It also helps them achieve their goals by allowing them to embrace a healthier mindset. The habits and coping mechanisms that you will learn in drug rehab will reduce your chances of relapsing.
  2. Constant medical support – This benefit is specific to inpatient drug rehab. The patient receives ongoing medical care and support. They are monitored during their stay in the facility. The detox stage is the toughest because it strains the body, making it difficult to maintain sobriety. The detox stage is characterized by dangerous and uncomfortable symptoms that make the patient vulnerable to health complications such as stroke and heart attack. Even after the detox stage has passed, the body is still undergoing a lot of strain as it struggles to readjust to life not dependent on substance abuse. It creates a lot of stress on the mental and physical well-being of the patient. People prone to relapse benefit from this because they manage their withdrawal symptoms and PAWS, making it easier to cope and stay sober. Since they are living within the drug rehab facility, they can immediately address their discomfort and health complications.
  3. Drug RehabTreatment and therapies – Therapy is part of the drug rehab programs because it addresses the emotional triggers of the addict. Addressing this makes it easier for them to identify their triggers and replace them with positive and healthy coping mechanisms. The individuals suffering from substance abuse will be able to identify the flaws in their thought process that lead them to make bad decisions. This is a stepping stone to getting a healthy mindset. Some of the therapies include:
  4. Motivational interviewing
  5. Integrative approach
  6. Behavioural therapy
  7. Family therapy
  8. Dialectical behavioural therapy
  9. Cognitive-behavioural therapy.

 

Alcohol Rehab

What Happens After Alcohol Rehab?

If you have an addiction to alcohol, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), you will need to go to alcohol rehab to regain a sober lifestyle. Depending on how severe your AUD is, rehab can take up to several months. During this time, you will learn to live without alcohol, developing healthy habits and coping strategies for stress. At the end of every alcohol rehab program, the hope is that patients can live normal lives once again, away from the influence of alcohol.

But life after rehab isn’t always easy. You may still encounter a lot of temptations to drink, which may lead to relapse. In fact, only 20 percent of patients after rehab stay sober for an entire year after treatment. To reduce your chances of relapse, you need follow-up therapies after you’re done with rehab. These are also known as aftercare.

What kind of support will you receive during aftercare? Read on to find out more.

Will my life return to normal right away after alcohol rehab?

After you have completed your rehab program, it takes some time and effort to adjust to normal life. It helps to have a list of things to prepare for before your rehab is over, such as:

  • Alcohol RehabWhere to live
  • The people you will live with
  • Making a daily schedule
  • Staying away from temptations and triggers
  • Meeting up with sober friends and family
  • Finding support groups near you
  • When to ask for help
  • What responsibilities to take on

Make sure not to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do immediately after rehab. Take your new life slowly, one step at a time. Having too much on your plate will only overwhelm you. In turn, you will get stressed, and this is a potential trigger for drinking.

With appropriate aftercare, you can stay alcohol-free for a longer time. The risk of relapse also drops the more years you stay clean.

It’s crucial to know that recovering from AUD takes a lifetime. It takes effort and discipline on your part, even after alcohol rehab.

What are my options for aftercare?

Alcohol RehabOften, patients would go home after they’re done with alcohol rehab. This is a good choice if your home environment is supportive, healthy, and relaxing. If not, you may have to move into a sober living home.

In a sober living home, you would live inside a peaceful, safe, alcohol-free place. Staff would also encourage you to get help from local counselors and AUD support groups.

The effectiveness of sober living homes is also backed by evidence. Based on research, people who live in them are more likely to abstain from alcohol, less likely to commit crimes, and have better chances of finding jobs after rehab. Going home to a safe and healthy environment has these benefits.

You may also meet regularly with an alcohol counselor. He will help you deal with the emotions you got from your AUD, as well as any mental health issues that might have popped up. Talking with your counselor is also a big help in getting back into the rhythm of fulfilling responsibilities.

At first, you may need to meet with your counselor several times a week. You can tell him of any struggles, temptations, or challenges you’re going through. He will help you find ways to stay sober.

Later on, you and your counselor will not have to meet as often. But you still need to meet to evaluate your recovery goals and results. If you still experience triggers, reach out to your counselor right away for advice on how to deal with them.

It would help a lot if you go through family therapy. It’s common to have strained family relationships as a result of your AUD. Family members may feel threatened, betrayed, manipulated, or even abused because of your alcohol-related behaviors. Even after alcohol rehab, your relationships with your family will not be the same as before the addiction.

With the help of a family therapist, you will learn how to rebuild those broken relationships. The therapist will teach you and your family how best to communicate with each other. In most cases, he will meet with each family member individually at first. Later, he will ask everyone to gather and resolve issues together in a healthy way.

Family therapy helps you and your family to be less hostile towards each other. As a result, feelings of resentment, anger, and any negative emotions will be reduced. The more you live at peace with your family, the better it will be for your recovery. This is especially true if you are living with them after alcohol rehab.

Joining a support group is another option. When you’re in the company of people who are also committed to long-term recovery, your chances of staying sober are much higher. These people also understand your struggles, so you can easily relate with each other. They can help you, and you can help them too.

A popular support group for people recovering from AUD is Alcoholics Anonymous. A similar group called Al-Anon is for their families. These groups are free of charge to join, and there are a lot of these groups all around the US. Ask your therapist or rehab center to find a group near you.

What can I do to stay sober for longer?

Alcohol RehabOne very helpful thing is to do physical activities regularly. Include exercise in your daily routine, as it helps you clear your mind and improve your health. Choose an activity you enjoy for best results. For example, if you enjoy sports like tennis, make it a habit to play several times a week. You can even join a local tennis club.

Think about your professional goals as well. Consult with a career counselor for assistance in developing these goals. It’s never too late to chase your career aspirations again. It pays to talk to a financial advisor as well to set financial goals. Saving, investing, and knowing where to put your money go a long way.

Most importantly, have a person you can talk to at any time should you face any challenges to sobriety. It could be a trusted friend, or better yet, a therapist you know well.

Drug Rehab

How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost?

It is hard to determine the exact cost of drug rehab. You may have outpatient programs where you only need to see your physician a few times a week. At the same time, other people may opt for luxurious rehab centers with homeopathic treatment options, alternative therapies, pools, and saunas. When choosing a drug rehabilitation center, the cost is usually a significant concern aside from other factors, including the duration of your stay, the location, and the type of treatment you select. The cost of drug rehab is also based on the person’s requirements, but there are economical treatment options suited to people of various economic backgrounds.

The average cost of drug rehab depends on the facility, with some programs costing relatively more and others costing very little. Insurance is typically used to cater to rehab expenses. The amount covered by the person’s insurance depends on their insurance provider and what the rehab facility accepts. The insurance costs for substance abuse treatment can be covered by certain insurance providers, including:

  • Drug Rehab CostState-funded insurance
  • Military-offered insurance
  • Private insurance
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare

Keep in mind that insurance still has to take a comprehensive biopsychosocial evaluation of the client to get a diagnosis, assess the level of care, and determine the client’s needs. The assessment also helps to develop a personalized treatment plan for the patient.

Not all people have insurance, so they have to look for other ways to pay for their drug rehabilitation treatment. However, even without insurance, there are still alternatives available to help individuals get the treatment they need. All drug rehab programs provide essential services, but amenities and supplementary therapies generally raise treatment costs.

Types and Costs of Drug Rehab Treatments

Inpatient rehabilitation for a 30-day duration may cost up to $25,000, and a 90-day program can cost up to $60,000.

Detox

Drug Rehab CostA detox may cost between $300 to $800 a day, with outpatient detox ranging between $1000 to $1500 overall. Detox is the process of eliminating any addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs from the body. When it is medically managed in a safe environment, the patient can get the necessary care and attention to address the painful and possibly fatal withdrawal symptoms. The price of detox may vary based on the associated risks, the prescribed pseudo-medications, and the amount of care provided, to name a few. It is the first step of drug rehabilitation, but it does not deal with the hidden problems that lead to substance abuse. The price of detox typically excludes that of the follow-up treatment programs. The costs of detox usually accumulate daily and can go beyond $1000 a day. Medication assisted-detox can cost more if the treatment center charges the client for the use of drugs like Buprenorphine, Methadone, or Benzodiazepines. If one is going into an inpatient program, the price of detox might be covered by the overall cost of the rehabilitation program.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

30-day inpatient programs may cost between $2000-$25,000. Residential treatment can be incredibly costly for people suffering from a more severe substance abuse problem and even those with co-occurring disorders. Inpatient rehab usually costs more than outpatient programs because of housing and food costs and receiving medical supervision in an appropriate setting. Anyone looking to go for a 60 or 90-day program should expect to pay anywhere between $12,000 and $60,000. Some luxury rehabilitation programs can even go beyond $100,000 for 30 to 90-day durations.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient programs may be longer than inpatient programs, but the cost may be less for people with mild to moderate addictions. Patients suffering from less severe addictions typically need a less intensive approach. Outpatient drug rehab typically costs between $5000- $8000 for a 90-day duration. There are free outpatient rehab facilities that are publicly run but only accessible to those who qualify. The rates may depend on the number of visits to the facility as required and the duration of the treatment.

Medications

The type of medications and treatment required by the patient will affect the cost of the rehabilitation program. Certain individuals do not require medication for their substance abuse disorders. These medications usually treat opioid and alcohol addiction and can cost up to several thousand dollars annually. Methadone treatment for people suffering from heroin addiction can cost $4700 for an entire year.

Support Groups and Aftercare

Drug RehabAftercare for patients who have left drug rehab is usually free. Most national support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous are free and offer patients a place to be accountable for their recovery. Other recovering individuals also opt for counseling which varies in cost based on the type of therapy. Most sessions range from $75 to $150 per session. Some people also look for sober living housing, a community living set-up aimed at helping one stay clean. Like any other place of residence, these sober living environments can also vary in cost based on the type of housing.

Factors to Consider In Addiction Treatment Costs

Certain factors affect the price of drug rehab, and they include:

  • Amenities

The amenities provided in rehab centers cost money. They may include tennis courts, swimming pools, acupuncture, or massages. Luxury rehabs attended by wealthy people are more costly because of these services. Luxury facilities may go for tens of thousands of dollars monthly, while the rate may be much lower for most rehab facilities.

  • Treatments Provided

Individuals with severe addictions need more intensive treatment, and they may need to stay in the program, costing them more for treatment. Some users may not require detox due to the nature of their substance use and the extent of their withdrawals, minimizing the cost of treatment.

  • Type of Facility

Inpatient and outpatient programs differ significantly in price. Inpatient programs cost more due to the extra charges for intensive care and housing. The program duration and the location of the facility will also determine the price of the drug rehabilitation. If the facility is also in a state with a higher cost of living, then the treatment may be more expensive.

Considering these factors can help you decide which drug rehab program works best for you regarding treatment needs and costs.

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