Drug and alcohol rehabilitation (rehab) is the general term used for the
“processes of medical and/or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and so-called street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or amphetamines."1
If this is your first time doing research on drugs, drug and alcohol addiction, and treatment for substance dependence, then the above definition has a lot of terms that you may be unfamiliar with.
This may not be your first time looking at drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment information. In fact, you may be a pro at looking at information regarding substance abuse, addiction, and related topics because you or your loved one has relapsed one or multiple times. You have probably scoured the internet for new information that will give you a glimmer of hope that recovery and a life without substance abuse, addiction, and dependence is possible.
There are no clear answers when it comes to substance addiction and dependence. Much of the results of drug addiction are dependent on the person:
- What type of he/she has been using?
- How much does he/she use?
- How long/often has he/she been using?
- What is his/her background? (Where did he/she grow up? Does the family have a history of violence, drug abuse, etc?)
- What is his/her genetic make-up? (Does the person have any genes that run in the family that make him/her more predisposed to drug addiction?)
In the same way, there is no one way that a person can recover from drug addiction. Rehabilitation and treatment for a person’s drug or alcohol dependence is not only based on the above factors. When it comes to effective treatment, there are a combination of factors that can lead to a strong recovery, including:
- The ability of the program to customize a treatment plan that meet the person’s needs and symptoms.
- Strong support, including the rehab/treatment center, fellow recovering addicts, and family
- A mixture of different treatment options, including drug replacement therapy, counseling, cognitive behavior therapy, etc. that will give the user a tool box full of different tools that he/she can use in order to successfully treat his/her addiction.
The first thing you can do to help ensure a strong, successful recovery is:
1) Becoming knowledgeable about your particular issues or the issues of your loved one. This includes:
- Objectively, without judgment, look at what the drug does to the user’s brain to understand the biology of why the person has become addicted.
- Look at the circumstances that lead to the person becoming an addict. This may mean, looking at the person’s past, was he/she abused as a child? Does someone in his/her family have an addiction? What type of people does he/she hanging out with? Do they struggle with addiction?
By asking these questions and understanding the addict’s history, the drug they use, what it does to the chemistry in his/her brain, what has lead him/her to take drugs, etc. will all give you a broader picture of the person’s life. This may help you better understand where the person is coming from and given you a more realistic picture of what he/she needs to successfully recover.
If you are the loved on of a drug or alcohol addict, you may be filled with immense hurt, pain, anger, sadness, and feelings of inadequacy of helping him/her rehabilitate and treat his/her drug addiction. It is completely natural to have these feelings. Dealing with a drug or alcohol abuser and addict presents many very difficult and uncomfortable situations.
As you will see in the pages of this website, because addiction is a brain disease, the majority of the time the addict does not want to be addicted, relapse, and destroy his/her life and relationship with you.
No matter what happens – how many treatment centers the person goes to, detox and rehabilitation plans the person goes through, therapy sessions, etc. – the best way for you to manage your emotions and actions toward the user is by controlling your own life.
There are many great programs for friends and families of addicts. Also, many rehab and treatment centers have corresponding programs for friends and families that combine the addict’s treatment with family therapy sessions. If this is something that you believe would be beneficial for the user’s recovery and the recovery of your relationship, make sure the treatment program chosen has this option available.
2) Telling your treatment or rehabilitation center about what you have researched and found what you need.
Although a rehab or treatment center should have trained and certified professionals administering and monitoring the addict’s rehabilitation, it is important to share the information you have found out with them. This will help them better understand where you are coming from, what you may be misinformed about or to help answer your questions, and give you more information.
If you have done a lot of research on drug addiction, you know that there are many myths about various drugs, what they do to a user’s brain, different types of recovery, and whether or not addiction is a disease.
All the information on this website is cited and referenced so that you can check the accuracy of our information and where we have gotten the information.
The best way to ensure that you get the most accurate and up-to-date information is to communicate with others, whether it is talking to addicts about their experiences, to treatment centers about different forms of treatment, or to support groups about surrounding issues.
3) When looking at new treatment rehab centers ask specific questions about their capabilities to meet your particular issues.
With the knowledge you have gotten from talking to your loved one about addiction and his/her needs, as well as your knowledge about the affects of different drugs, what they do to the brain, and the available options for types of addictions, come up with 3 to 10 specifics questions for the treatment center.
Many times you may be happy to have found a treatment center that will accept you or your loved one for treatment. Depending on the availability of space or funds, a proper rehab and treatment facility can be hard to get into. However, no matter what, it is important that you be ready for what is in store. This starts with educating yourself and preparing questions to understand the treatment center’s process.
The more you know, the better equipped you will be to help yourself or your loved one achieve a successful recovery.
1) “Drug Rehabilitation.” Wikipedia. Date downloaded: July 6, 2010.