Anyone who has decided to stop their addiction of alcoholism, prescription drugs, amphetamines, heroin, or marijuana has done the most difficult thing in their life. They have been living a life centered around substance abuse, and when an addict decides they are sick and tired of being sick and tired, recovery begins to work, and they can relearn a logical way of life again.
What Is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is the excessive and harmful use of a chemical whether it has medical justification or not. Substance abuse can also be considered a combination of mood-altering substances because it is the body’s addiction to the drug, even beyond the danger line, that keeps the user on practicing.
The Making of an Addict
Alcohol and drugs are commonly used socially at first. When these social events go well, the user or the alcoholic begins to see how the use of this substance fits into their lifestyle, and they use it more often because it is working for them or making them feel temporarily better. There are people who continually use drugs recreationally and never fall into the negative downward spiral that real addicts find themselves in. Here are several social identifiers that would contribute to becoming addicted.
- The abuser has family history of drug abuse.
- Mental issues like depression or anxiety are occurring.
- Traumatic events inn the past are masked by addiction.
- Use of drugs started as an early age.
The phase of “social using” or “social drinking” can last for years, but, unfortunately, the more the potential addict uses, the more the addiction twists their thinking and handling of everyday situations. Their life becomes the substance as they use more in an attempt to handle their problems. This is classic substance abuse.
Professionals refer to “stinking thinking,” emotional shutdown, and erratic behavior as major parts of the disease. Excessive use of drugs and alcohol falls into the category of illnesses that are not necessarily visible on the outside, but are causing pain on the inside. Unless the addict turns to recovery, the pain and confusion will grow and the addict will self-medicate with more of their substance of choice.
Substance Abuse Statistics
Increasing drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a dangerous trend, and it is reported that in the past three years, the use of illicit drugs has risen 8.7 percent each year. Alcohol is a major offender with other drugs such as prescription drugs, ecstasy, and methamphetamine rising most quickly.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA believes that approximately 23.5 million teens and adults were eligible for treatment in 2009, but only 2.6 million received professional treatment. The population of the U.S. is approximately 300 million, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that over 2.1 million visits to the emergency room in 2009 were related to excessive drug and alcohol use.
Alcohol is the most common substance abused. Studies show that 53 percent of men and women over the age of 18 report that at least one of their close relatives’ struggles with alcoholism. Alcohol is easier to obtain than most drugs and readily acceptable in our society, so statistics reveal that more than 55,000 alcohol overdoses were reported last year.
Driving Under the Influence
Also in 2009, over 31 million people admitted to driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Each state has individual laws and statutes concerning DUIs, but typically a .08 BAC or Blood Alcohol Count is the legal limit when driving. For most people, one beer, one glass of wine, or one ounce of liquor would all read .08, and the driver would be considered intoxicated. Testing for drugs requires a blood test, but would also show a DUI.
Here are five suggestions to prevent accidents and DUIs:
- When driving a vehicle or if you are planning to, don’t drink alcohol or use drugs for three hours prior. If you must move, call a friend, use a designated driver or take a taxi.
- Don’t drive under medication or when drowsy.
- Don’t text. Pull over because it has been proven that the eyes are taken off the street for up to 12 seconds. Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents in the United States.
- Insist that all passengers riding with you should “buckle up.” Small children must be in a car seat.
- When changing lanes, use extra precaution. The rule is to keep three car lengths between vehicles.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Most addicts use several substances, such as alcohol and marijuana with their drug of choice. Addictions are complex because they have consumed the user for so long. When the addict puts the substance down and begins to take up life again, the body clears up first, then the mind and emotions. The behaviors and habits have developed and become a part of the addict’s everyday life, so it takes longer to change the mental and emotional statuses.
The first step after an addict acknowledges that he/she is an excessive user/addict is to find a reputable detox facility. Many detox units are connected to a treatment center, but they are also found at a separate location. The time spent in detox is only about three to eight days, but it is necessary so that the addict can have medical assistance if needed. There will not be any programs or much education. The sole purpose is to allow the body to be cleansed of the chemicals, so the individual can begin to recover.
Rehab to Recovery
Once the addict leaves detox, they will be feeling better, but they haven’t changed any of their acquired habits because detox does not offer that opportunity. Removing the alcohol and other mind-altering substances is just a start, but it leaves a void that needs to be addressed or the addict will simply return back to their drug of choice to handle the situations.
Entering a treatment facility will prevent this returning to the old habits. The typical rehab center asks for a commitment of 28 days to six months, and that will be in a completely substance-free environment. Everything is provided for the client to begin their new life including nutritious foods, comfortable living arrangements, fitness and exercise time, experienced counselor and doctors who care. There are no toxic people permitted in the facility, so the client is free to start a clean life.
The Benefits of Inpatient Treatment
A first-rate inpatient treatment center offers many people the chance to live in an environment free of drugs and alcohol possibly for the first time. Living in a facility with other recovering substance abusers and learning about recovery allow the addict a chance to practice new strategies for their life.
Addiction involves all areas of the addicts’ entire life, including their health, relationships, career, emotions, and the way they actually see themselves. Taking time to enter a rehab center means giving yourself time to be educated about the disease and its effects. The treatment center will have education classes in a variety of subjects of life, and personal counseling to work on the old behaviors. The client will learn significant information such as how to identify triggers that would set the addiction back in motion.
Success depends on addressing the reasons why someone abused their drug of choice in the first place, not just taking the substance away. Learning to make right decisions is an important step in recovery. The open environment of a rehab encourages open communication, which leads to expressing ideas and constructing new behaviors.
Replacing Addictions with Life
There is no magic potion to recovery, but those who go to inpatient treatment are much more likely to remain clean and sober. They receive the foundation that they need for the rest of their lives. Substance abuse is complicated and can’t be fixed overnight. Every client requires a “buffer” zone before they jump back into their regular routine again, and that is exactly what inpatient treatment creates.
The only way to break the bad habits that set in while you were using is to step outside your environment and concentrate on getting your life back in order. A high-quality drug rehab assists the client in establishing new habits and boundaries that they will continually use. They will offer the client a chance to honestly evaluate their life and the direction it is headed.
We believe that the benefits that come with attending rehab are invaluable. Recovery is a process that begins when the addict stops substance abuse, and it continues for the rest of their life. The changes that occur in treatment are what the addict can continually build on to change their life both inside and out. The principles that are learned can be applied in any excessive substance use to bring success. Now that the substance has been identified, make a smart choice to go to an inpatient treatment and discover a fabulous life you never knew existed.