What You Need to Know About

Drug Addiction Treatment

Having a child who is drinking or taking drugs can be overwhelming and frightening. If you have concerns about your child having a substance use disorder, you need information about the substance they are using as well as the steps toward recovery. Addiction is a challenging topic to understand and address, and ProjectKnow.com is here to help.

ProjectKnow.com offers parent-focused harm reduction drug education that focuses on recovering from addiction. Providing content about substance abuse and the various forms of addiction treatment ProjectKnow.com strives to assist parents through one of the most difficult times in their lives as they work to support and guide their child on the path toward recovery.

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Getting Help to Get Clean & Sober

Recognizing the problem and deciding to take action are the first milestones to substance abuse recovery, and critical steps to reclaiming a healthy life.

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It's often difficult for someone to see the full impact their drug or alcohol dependence is having on the people they care for the most. That is when staging an intervention may be necessary.

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Upon entering treatment, a substance abuse history is created, including drugs taken, abuse period and side effects so a treatment plan is precisely tailored to the patient's needs.

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During detoxification, the abused drugs or alcohol are flushed from the system in a measured fashion. This is a challenging but critical step due to the withdrawal symptoms.

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Once detox is completed, the rehabilitation phase starts. The body and mind now begin their recovery while therapy carves a path toward long-term success and patient health.

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As treatment is completed, a support network is created to bolster the patient's ability to remain clean and sober. Group therapy often plays a role in overcoming challenges.

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Sober Living

Leading a clean life of sobriety is a commitment to long-term health. Sober living communities offer ongoing care to those who feel they need the extra support to stay drug and alcohol free.

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Recovery is an ongoing process and one that lasts a lifetime. Staying substance-free takes vigilance and a strong support system to leave drugs and alcohol behind for good.

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Relapse Prevention

Being aware of the warning signs can keep an individual from relapsing, backsliding into an unhealthy lifestyle. Knowing how to cope with these constructively is a vital part of any recovery.

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The Basics of Rehab

Aspects of the rehabilitation process for substance addictions may differ in some ways depending upon the specific addiction that needs to be treated, but the basics of rehab treatment for any addiction are the same. They consist of:

  • Medical Support for Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Peer Support

Medical Support

In order to begin treatment for substance abuse, a patient must stop using the substance to which he or she is addicted. When that substance causes physical addiction or dependence, withdrawal symptoms often result if the substance is abruptly discontinued.

Therefore, the first step in the rehabilitation process consists of medical support that aims to minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms. This medical support, which can be administered in an inpatient treatment facility or an outpatient clinic, consists of monitored use of less addictive and less harmful substances that mimic the effect of the abused substance upon the chemistry of the patient's brain. The process helps to prevent addicts who seek outpatient therapy from returning to drug use in order to avoid the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, and it helps patients who choose inpatient therapy by allowing them to begin intensive counseling therapy after they are as free as possible from the distracting physical effects of their addictions.

Counseling Therapy

Counseling therapy is aimed at helping each patient understand how to deal with the specific triggers that led him or her to abuse drugs or alcohol. First of all, counselors help patients identify those triggers. Then, they teach patients new coping strategies based on behavioral modification therapy. Patients who had previously convinced themselves that they had no way to cope with personal or social pressures without turning to alcohol or drugs are taught that these pressures can be addressed through positive action rather than through escape by means of substance abuse.

Counselors often also help patients discover new interests and talents such as sports, outdoor activities, art, and music, so they learn to use these interests as part of a holistic and healthy way of dealing with everyday stress and pressure. They may also assist recovering addicts in making new career choices. This is especially the case where patients' dissatisfaction with their former careers may have triggered their substance abuse, as well as in cases where substance abuse has led to job dismissal, the revocation of professional licenses, or other forced career changes.

Peer Support

Drug Rehab Centers

Side Note Picture Drug rehab centers offer individuals suffering from a drug- or alcohol-related dependency and withdrawal symptoms a place to get help and regain control of their lives. There are many types of rehabilitation centers, each offering specialized treatment and different rehabilitation programs. Read More

Rehabilitation experts have found that peer support helps to reinforce the healthy behaviors and coping strategies that recovering addicts have learned through intensive counseling. Two of the most common methods of peer support are group therapy and self-help support groups. Group therapy unites recovering addicts who are traveling a similar path to recovery, and allows them to share their experiences and challenges with a skilled counselor who then enlists the experiences of the group to help each member deal with specific issues that may arise. Self-help peer groups, such as the 12-step programs that are an integral part of the basics of rehab for many recovering addicts, allow for greater anonymity than group therapy sessions and allow each participant to develop new strengths by guiding others without the presence of a professional facilitator.

A comprehensive addiction treatment program with a solid foundation that includes the basics of rehab provides necessary physical and psychological support to patients who want to succeed in breaking the grip of addiction.


Treatment Program Lengths Explained

Drug and alcohol treatment programs offered in inpatient facilities can differ in length. Anyone planning to participate in an inpatient treatment program can choose from two available options: short-term or long-term stay.

  • The short-term stay typically involves five to seven days of detoxification and stabilization.
  • Long-term treatment primarily means staying from 60 to 90 days inside a facility.

Side Note Picture The average length of an inpatient treatment program is 28 days.The 90-day treatment program is regarded to offer the most promise in regards to addiction recovery. This is supported by current research published in scientific and peer-reviewed journals showing that the longer individuals stay in treatment, the greater their chances of achieving long-term stability and sobriety. The latest research in the fields of psychiatry and substance abuse treatment also indicates that there is indeed a direct connection between a patient's length of stay in a facility and his or her stability after discharge.

To provide a better framework for long-term sobriety and recovery, experts in the field of addiction treatment recommend a minimum treatment course of 90 days. In addition, the treatment of choice among several government agencies is a 90-day treatment program.

Ninety days is the general recommendation because each patient's needs are unique, thus requiring an individualized form of treatment. A patient should stay in treatment for no less than seven to ten days and remain in treatment for as long as he or she needs the support being provided.

The length of stay for each patient is determined by the number of activities he or she needs to undergo to reach recovery. The time spent in a facility may involve attending or doing the following activities:

  • Lectures
  • Individual and group therapy sessions
  • Yoga, tai chi, and other exercises
  • NA or AA meetings
  • Individual assignments
  • Special therapy sessions for psychiatric problems
  • Art and music therapy
  • Task, duties, and responsibilities

"The first step of inpatient treatment is evaluation and assessment." The first step of inpatient treatment is evaluation and assessment. This is done to identify the patients' medical history, personality type, and existing psychological problems. The goal of inpatient treatment is to help patients see what changes need to be made in their lives to be able to free themselves from drugs and alcohol completely.

Detox is usually the second step of inpatient treatment. This form of treatment is normally employed to assist patients in coping with and overcoming their cravings for drugs or alcohol during the early stages of the recovery process. Patients can only expect to begin their journey towards complete recovery after successful detoxification. Depending on the type and amount of drugs or alcohol involved, the detox process can last from three to 14 days.

As an alternative to the standard 90-day treatment program, shorter programs are available and offer some promise to addicts with less time available for treatment. Addicts can enroll in programs requiring them to stay between five to seven days in a treatment facility so that their bodies can be purged of addictive substances. Another option is a 30-day program, which is usually a compressed version of the 90-day treatment plan composed of intense treatment sessions designed to teach patients how to deal with their cravings. However, short-term treatment programs can offer lasting success only if recovering addicts are provided with extensive aftercare.

Use vs. Abuse. vs. Addiction

Substance use is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, although there may be legal penalties for recreational use of restricted mind-altering substances. However, recreational use of even legal substances, such as alcohol, can lead to substance abuse and even substance addiction. Substance abuse occurs when people use a substance too frequently or in overly high doses, and abuse can result in harmful physical and psychological side effects. Substance addiction is defined as physical or psychological dependence on a particular substance to the point that an addict cannot perform even the most routine daily tasks without ingesting a sufficient amount of that substance.

Someone who routinely takes a serving or two of alcohol before bedtime because of recent research that ascribes beneficial effects to moderate alcohol use is engaging in substance use. A post-surgery patient who uses a carefully prescribed dosage of an opiate pain reliever is also engaging in substance use. In both cases, there is a perceived or real benefit from the controlled use of the substance, and it is being used in a way that minimizes any potential ill effects. Even someone who sets out to become intoxicated at a party is really just using alcohol as a means of recreation, and while the law defines any use of illegal substances as a crime, there is no medical abuse unless a person uses these substances in an excessive and harmful manner on a regular basis.

Sniffing Cocaine

Substance Abuse

Admitting that there is a problem, however, is the first and most important step in seeking substance abuse treatment. With the right support, treatment and tools, you can overcome an addiction to drugs and alcohol, achieve sobriety, and reclaim your life. Read More

Substance abuse sets in when the desire to obtain the mind-altering effects of a substance intensifies to the point that this desire defines or even shapes a person's daily activities. A person who only works hard to have enough money to spend on cocaine at the end of a busy day is abusing cocaine, as is an individual who schedules his or her day to allow for a session of heavy drinking. A patient who takes narcotic painkillers in dosages higher than those prescribed by a doctor is abusing those painkillers. Substance abuse becomes especially dangerous when the reason behind the abuse is a need to escape reality by taking advantage of the pleasurable feelings produced by self-administering high doses of commonly abused substances as a means of forgetting pressing personal or social problems.

When a substance abuser needs larger and larger quantities of a mind-altering substance to obtain its desired effects, it is a sign that a substance abuse problem is progressing to full-blown substance addiction. Many mind-altering substances work by changing the balance of naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain. When the brain becomes accustomed to excessive levels of neurotransmitters that are affected by substance abuse, it cannot function without the substances that release those heightened levels of neurotransmitters. Therefore, it sends messages to the body in the form of unpleasant symptoms that are intended to signal the substance abuser to supply the brain with more of the abused substance. Once a person cannot function without steadily increasing amounts of one or more abused substances, that person suffers from drug addiction.

Responsible substance use almost never leads to abuse or addiction. Overly frequent recreational substance use can lead to substance abuse, especially if a recreational user looks to mind-altering substances as a way to escape reality. Treating substance abuse in its early stages, by addressing the factors behind the perceived need to use substances as an escape route, may help prevent full-fledged substance addiction.


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