Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem in the United States. Once the addiction takes hold, it can be nearly impossible to kick on your own. It may have started out as the legitimate treatment for chronic pain, or you may have first turned to drugs and alcohol as a result of peer pressure or experimentation that seemed harmless at the time. However, the addiction creeps in slowly and can soon take over your life. The only thing that matters is the next high, and that high becomes harder and harder to achieve. If this describes you or someone you love, the good news is that there is help available through rehabilitation centers.
A Prevalent Problem
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use continues to be a prevalent problem in the country. These are the trends that were seen between 2010 and 2012.
- The use of illicit drugs by children dropped slightly, but it increased among people over the age of 26.
- Non-medical use of prescription medications is a significant part of drug use among teenagers.
- Use of inhalants and cocaine is dropping according to recent trends, but use of heroin, methamphetamine, hallucinogens and ecstasy remain high.
- More teens are smoking marijuana than cigarettes.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, the chances are good that you’re not alone. The study shows that more than 49 percent of adults over the age of 26 have tried illicit drugs at some point in their lives. This includes more than 15 percent who’ve tried hallucinogens, 21 percent who have used psychotherapeutics for non-medical purposes, and more than 13 percent who have abused pain relievers.
Why Habits are Hard to Break
The fact is that most bad habits are hard to break, and drugs and alcohol are particularly difficult. The secret lies in the brain. After repeatedly using drugs, brain functioning begins to alter. It becomes more difficult to think clearly, and good judgment becomes elusive. The brain is also responsible for the drug cravings and the compulsions that may come along with the addiction. It is estimated that one of ten people is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and the top three drugs that people become hooked on are marijuana, narcotics and cocaine.
Recognize the Signs of Addiction
It’s important to know the signs of addiction. When you know what to watch for, it becomes easier to see the warning signs in yourself or others. Help is available, but someone has to reach out for the assistance first. If you’re wondering whether an addiction is present in your family, ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you or a loved one using more of the substance?
- Do you start to experience illness or withdrawal symptoms when you don’t engage in the behavior?
- Have you lied to hide your use of the substance or to justify your behavior?
If you answer yes to these questions, then it may be time to seek assistance. The addition is only one small part of the equation. Your body develops a tolerance to the drugs or alcohol, and your consumption quantities will steadily rise. This is when you start engaging in compulsive behaviors, and the desire for the drug can remain dormant even after years of sobriety. The craving can be initiated by seeing a bottle of alcohol or a needle, so recovering addicts must always be diligent. This is why it’s vital to work with a rehabilitation center that will help you deal with the addiction of today while working to develop coping mechanisms that you can use in the future
Inpatient or Outpatient
The key difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment centers is whether you remain on site or remain at home and go in for regular appointments. Both programs can be effective for long-term healing, and choosing the right one is a very personal decision. Inpatient programs are generally suggested if you need detoxification services to help get through the initial withdrawals. The structured environment helps addicts get through that first difficult month where the temptations outside the rehab center may prove to be too much.
Outpatient programs provide patients with more freedom, and many people who were previously enrolled with an inpatient program will use an outpatient program to transition back to their normal life. People learn how to deal with the negative influencing factors in their lives, but they aren’t sheltered from those factors. Your doctor or the professionals at the rehab center can help you determine which program is right for your needs and situation. It’s a very personal decision, and it’s important to be open and honest with yourself and the professionals about your ability to handle temptation and successfully complete an outpatient program.
The Benefits of an Inpatient Program
People don’t want to leave their families for a month, but they don’t always realize that inpatient systems have great benefits that aren’t available otherwise. It may require being away from family and friends for a short time, but you’ll return healthier and in better control of your life. Before making your decision, consider these key benefits:
- Structure – The structure eliminates most free time and makes it harder to give in to the cravings. There is less time to think about the next high, and that increases the odds of success.
- 24-Hour Support – With inpatient programs, there is always someone available to help. This can make a large difference early in the treatment program when cravings are at their highest and withdrawal symptoms are difficult to manage.
- No Access – Without access to the drugs, it’s harder to relapse.
- Supervision – The withdrawal isn’t just physical. It’s also emotional, so it’s important to have professionals that can provide you with the support you need during this difficult time.
- Shelter from Negative Factors – If peer pressure or the stress of life played into your addiction, then you need time to learn how to deal with those factors before encountering them again. Inpatient services give you the time you need.
- Focus on Your Needs – This is the time to focus on your needs, challenges and issues. When you can focus completely on your healing and long-term coping mechanisms, your outlook for the future will be brighter.
- Necessary Tools – Inpatient programs have the most extensive tools available. They have skilled professionals who will help you overcome the addiction as well as understanding why it happened in the first place. They can help you develop better coping mechanisms to minimize the risk of a relapse.
You may feel like you’re alone in your addiction, but the truth is that you’re one of millions who is going through this. Whether you’re trying to help a loved one or you recognize that you need for yourself, the assistance is available. With rehab centers and inpatient programs, you can overcome the addiction now and take steps to avoid falling into the trap again in the future.