Getting Help For Drug Addiction
Dealing with a drug addiction can be a lonely and isolating experience, but it’s important to remember that addiction is not a life sentence.
There are a number of treatment options available that can help you to get your life back on track and recover from even the most severe physical or psychological dependency – help is out there, and you do not have to face this situation alone.
Am I struggling with a drug addiction?
If you use drugs on a social and recreational basis it can be difficult to know whether you have developed a physical or psychological dependency on a particular substance, as addiction can creep up on you unexpectedly.
Even those who fit the stereotypical description of someone with a substance use disorder may not realise that they are struggling with an addiction, as it’s extremely easy to normalise our own behaviour and convince ourselves that we don’t have a problem.
If you can relate to a number of the below statements, it is likely that you are dealing with a drug addiction that requires professional intervention.
- I experience withdrawal symptoms when I am unable to take drugs for a period of time
- I need to take higher amounts on a more frequent basis in order to experience the same effects
- I have attempted to stop using drugs but have been unable to cut down on my consumption
- I have received comments from friends, family members and colleagues regarding my drug use
- I use drugs at inappropriate times, such as early in the morning or during working hours
- I have experienced negative consequences due to my drug use but continue to take them
- I feel agitated, anxious and irritable when I am unable to use drugs
- I spend a large amount of time thinking about, obtaining, using and recovering from drugs
- I can no longer imagine my life without drugs
- I spend more money than I can afford on drugs
- I have lost interest in hobbies, events and activities that I previously enjoyed
- I have noticed my physical appearance and health deteriorating and I bathe less than I should
- I find it difficult to function during everyday life without using drugs
- I shop around for multiple doctors in order to obtain extra prescriptions
- I have borrowed or stolen money in order to fund my drug use
- I have to make a concerted effort to hide my drug use and behaviour from those around me
- I find it difficult to stick to limits when using drugs and often take more than I originally intended to
It is possible to be struggling with drug addiction even if you do not relate to the above statements. If you are concerned about your drug use or that of someone close to you, give our team at Rehab Recovery a call today.
Our friendly and non-judgemental call handlers can talk you through your options for recovery – many of them have been in your shoes and understand the range of complicated emotions that you may be feeling.
Which drugs do people most commonly become addicted to?
The majority of illicit substances contain addictive properties, and even a number of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications have the potential to become addictive if taken for long periods of time and/or without medical supervision.
While many of these substances may invoke pleasurable and euphoric sensations at the moment, the comedown from this high is often extremely unpleasant. This can cause many people to take a higher dosage at a more frequent rate, increasing the risks of becoming addicted.
Commonly used addictive drugs
- Synthetic cannabinoids
- Prescription stimulants
- Prescription opioids
It can also be difficult to know whether the substances that you are taking have been laced with other ingredients or drugs that could result in an overdose or another form of a medical emergency. The fact is that anyone can become dependent on almost any illicit substance, even if it is initially only ingested in social situations.
Addiction can quickly spiral out of control and even widely accepted drugs such as cannabis can have severe consequences if a physical or psychological dependency occurs. 
Which treatment programmes are available for drug addiction recovery?
As addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it goes without saying that there are multiple different options available to suit the needs of the majority of potential patients. The most common choice that patients face is whether to opt for inpatient or outpatient treatment when recovering from drug addiction, as both come with a range of benefits.
1. Inpatient treatment
When a patient checks into a residential drug rehabilitation centre for an extended period of time, they are undergoing inpatient treatment. This means that they will effectively live at the rehabilitation centre for the duration of their treatment, undergoing counselling and focusing on recovery. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start away from old routines and environments where they will benefit from 24/7 support and guidance.
The majority of inpatient treatment programmes last for a minimum of 30 days and some range from a few months to up to one year. Residents are surrounded by counsellors, medical professionals and other patients for extended support and understanding.
2. Outpatient treatment
Although inpatient treatment is highly effective, it is recognised that this option may not be available for everyone.
Many people dealing with addiction are holding down jobs, running a household and taking care of children and are unable to drop everything for a few months in order to check into a rehabilitation centre.
In these situations, outpatient treatment can be extremely helpful. Offering many of the key elements that are found in residential programmes, this form of recovery allows patients to attend treatment during days and times that are convenient to them before returning home in the evenings.
Many people find it beneficial to complete an inpatient treatment programme first, continuing their recovery with outpatient treatment as part of an aftercare plan.
What is medical detoxification?
Physical detoxification is the process in which an individual’s system is cleansed of all substances over a period of time. This can help to alleviate and manage many of the more severe withdrawal symptoms that may develop when someone who is addicted to drugs stops taking their usual dosage.
It is important that detoxification is undertaken in the presence and care of medical professionals, as some withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even life-threatening. 
In most cases, a personalised plan will be developed for the patient in which they will slowly reduce their dosage over a number of days or weeks until they are no longer ingesting the substance.
The withdrawal process can vary depending on a number of factors including the severity of the addiction, any underlying mental health conditions and the type of substance that the individual is addicted to.
Most detoxifications can be completed within 24-72 hours, although some symptoms may persist for weeks or even months.
Which forms of counselling will I be offered in drug addiction recovery?
There are a number of different counselling options available throughout drug addiction recovery, and these therapy treatments can be conducted in both group settings and as individual sessions depending on the needs of the patient.
1. Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help patients to become aware of their own self-destructive behaviours and mindsets, allowing them to change the way they see the world and gain more control over their reactions to difficult situations and emotions.
With an emphasis on mindfulness, CBT can allow patients to cope with stress in a healthy way as well as identify unhealthy behavioural patterns.
2. Dialectical behavioural therapy
Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) teaches patients how to regulate their emotions and cope with stressful and difficult situations without resorting to drugs or other substances.
It is also highly effective for individuals with certain mental health conditions such as borderline personality disorder and can help to control cravings and potentially avoid relapse.
3. Motivational interviewing
A common difficulty that many patients face involves finding the motivation to continue with treatment. As humans, we are hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, so choosing to stop taking drugs in favour of an often uncomfortable recovery journey can be a difficult action to take.
Motivational interviewing aims to tap into the hidden motivations that can help patients actively want to change their behaviours and lifestyle by asking a series of questions and inviting the patients to consider what they want their future life to look like.
4. Contingency management
Popular in the United States and gaining traction in the United Kingdom, contingency management involves rewarding patients with money or vouchers when they complete certain sobriety goals. This often requires them to produce a sample of drug-free urine in order to receive their prize and can be a highly effective method of treatment. Learn more about contingency management here.
5. 12-Step programmes
12-Step programmes such as Narcotics Anonymous can be found around the world and are a way for people recovering from drug addiction to provide support and encouragement to one another. These programmes focus on complete abstinence from addictive substances and behaviours and can be hosted in-person or online.
What happens after drug addiction treatment?
Once a patient has completed a treatment programme and is attempting to reintegrate back into the outside world, they are at a high risk of relapse. Some 40-60% of patients relapse after leaving treatment, and it’s important to recognise that this is normal and almost expected. 
However there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce this risk, and these will be laid out to patients in a personalised aftercare plan.
It is highly recommended that the majority of patients continue their counselling on an outpatient basis as well as attend local support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Cocaine Anonymous (CA).
Some people may benefit from a stay in a Sober Living Facility, an environment in which they can relearn how to carry out daily tasks and activities without relying on drugs to mask any uncomfortable emotions.
Many rehabilitation centres offer an alumni programme, where former patients can reconnect and continue to benefit from the advice and support of the staff and medical professionals.