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OVERVIEW OF DRUG ADDICTION

There are many vices a person can have, but most of them wouldn’t be considered potentially lethal. People often turn to drugs like marijuana, opiates, and cocaine as a means of coping with feelings of stress or other intense emotions. But as they continue using the drugs to cope, they become physically dependent on the substances they’re abusing, which means that their bodies have come to need drugs in order to perform certain natural functions. In effect, after using drugs as a vice in order to deal with some other issue, drugs become the problem.

Although it’s an incurable disease, addiction is treatable. Nobody has to continue suffering in the throes of active addiction, losing their health, jobs, relationships, and homes. Unfortunately, many addicts have reached the point of wanting to get their health and their lives back, but due to lack of access, fear, or some other reason, they’re unable to obtain the resources they need to overcome drug addiction. That’s why we at Detox Local have created this comprehensive guide to choosing the right drug detox program. With detoxification being the essential first step of a successful drug addiction recovery, we want to provide an informative resource from which people can learn about the signs of a drug problem, learn about drug detox programs and how detoxification fits into the recovery process, and learn how to find the drug detox program that best addresses the recovery needs of you or your loved one.

DO I HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM?

Every day, we unknowingly encounter a number of dangerous substances that can be used as recreational drugs. Beyond the medications and household chemicals, there are a number of illicit street drugs known to be as addictive as they are lethal. While a number of people admit to experimenting with drugs—in fact, at least two out of five Americans admit to having at least tried marijuana—most of those people don’t become addicted. After dabbling for a brief period, they realize that drugs aren’t for them.

One of the main differences between alcohol and drugs is that while a person can drink socially, you can’t really be a social drug user. By nature, the recreational use of illicit drugs is an addiction waiting to happen, and many people don’t even realize when they’ve crossed the line between substance abuse and addiction. This is actually part of the reason that so many addicts are in denial of their addictions—because many feel they would have noticed had they actually crossed that line. However, whether due to being in denial or oblivious, there are many drug addicts who aren’t aware that they’re addicted, which is why it’s important to know some of the key signs of drug addiction.

A person with a drug problem becomes distant and secretive.

Whether they acknowledge their growing addiction or not, a drug addict is almost always determined to keep their drug use a secret from family members and other loved ones. This happens for a number of reasons, including not wanting loved ones to try to interfere, not wanting to be judged or forced into treatment, not wanting to lose freedom, and also because when others are aware of a person’s drug problem, it makes the problem much more real and difficult to ignore. Therefore, as substance abuser slip further into addiction they become increasingly standoffish and secretive.

Developing a drug problem causes a person to exhibit a decline in work or school performance.

The cause of this performance decline due to drug use taking an increasingly central role in the person’s life. As the drug addiction worsens, they become willing to sacrifice things like their career or education. This is because there will come many times when the addict is forced to choose between going to work and getting a fix, or going to school and getting a fix; unfortunately, the latter wins out. Before long, it’s likely that they’ll either lose their job or be at risk of losing their job, or their grades will take a sudden, downward turn.

Someone with a drug problem becomes protective of the time they need to score or use.

It’s inevitable that any drug addict is going to spend much of their time seeking and using drugs. As the addiction worsens, a person with a drug problem will seem to make any excuse they can so that they can be dismissed from their obligations. Moreover, they exhibit desperation and will even become agitated or angry when their time is threatened. Similarly, drug addicts often refuse to commit their time, preferring instead to be vague about what they are or aren’t willing to do so that they don’t have to outright say they can’t or don’t want to do something. Therefore, a person with a drug problem will seem very non-participative, eager to make excuses to get out of any time commitments.

Because of a drug problem, a person’s relationships get damaged or destroyed.

Much like their tendency to blow off work or school, someone with a growing drug problem will begin blowing off other people. In many cases, this begins with the individual seeming disinterested or detached in relationships, but as a drug problem becomes worse, an addict may even begin victimizing loved ones. A drug problem requires a substantial financial investment, so after using up all of their own resources an addict will being trying to con money from loved ones through lying, manipulation, or even stealing. This results in drug addicts either damaging or outright destroying their important relationships, but the sad truth is that sustaining a drug habit has essentially become more important than their responsibilities and relationships.

Someone with a drug problem begins to engage in reckless, risky behavior and make poor decisions.

In fact, substance abuse is, itself, a very reckless behavior and a poor decision; however, this actually refers to risk-taking beyond the drug use. Overall, a drug problem makes people volatile, unpredictable, and impulsive, which contributes to reckless and risky behavior. They seem to be much more willing to engage in behaviors that would have previously been deemed too dangerous.

Most drugs will either make a person extremely energetic or drowsy.

Although the many drugs that exist cause a variety of effects, many of them will affect a person’s energy level or alertness. With regard to this specific effect, drugs can be broken down into “uppers”, or stimulants, and “downers”, or depressants. As such, someone with a drug problem—who is presently under the influence—is very likely to exhibit either an unusually high or low energy level. A high energy level is typically accompanied by manic-like, fast speech while a low energy level can mean that the individual keeps dozing off while sitting up or even standing.

A person with a drug problem will exhibit a change in appearance or lifestyle.

This change in appearance or lifestyle often starts off subtle and becomes more pronounced over time as the drug problem worsens. Initially, the person might seem to be less considering grooming and hygiene. It’s common for them to start appearing disheveled, or to adopt a different style altogether. But this is more than just appearances as many of their routines and behaviors change as well. They’ll often begin doing or saying things that are completely out of character, which is why a significant change in appearance or lifestyle is considered a strong indicator for a drug problem.

A drug problem is like to cause financial and legal problems.

No matter which drug a person becomes addicted to, having to sustain a drug habit is incredibly expensive. The vast majority of people aren’t going to have the financial resources that would allow them to buy the amount of drugs they want or need without repercussions. This is why addicts often become unable to pay their bills, lose their homes and cars, and will oftentimes resort to increasingly desperate means to supplement their addiction funds. Many drug addicts will resort to committing crimes, robbing and stealing from businesses or other people in order to get the next fix. In fact, an addict’s loved ones are frequently victimized in this way as the addict lies to and steals from them in the name of addiction. As such, a number of addicts will experience legal troubles due to the crimes they committed while in active addiction.

  • 90% smoked, drank or used other drugs before the age of 18
  • 23 million Americans age 12 or older suffer from drug addiction
  • 700,000 Americans seek treatment for alcohol or drug addiction daily
  • The yearly cost for substance abuse related crime is 700 billion dollars

WHAT CAUSES SYMPTOMS OF DRUG WITHDRAWAL?

We’ve all heard the term “addiction” and understand it to mean that a person needs a certain intoxicating substance or else there will be painful withdrawals. However, people who haven’t been addicted and haven’t had an addicted loved one don’t usually know why a drug addict will experience withdrawal symptoms if the individual stops using drugs. In other words, while they understand addiction, they don’t understand how it causes symptoms of drug withdrawal. Therefore, it’s important to have an understanding of the physical, mental, and emotional processes that underlie the development of an addiction.

When a person uses a drug for the first time, the effects of the drug are extremely strong, so not very much of it is needed in order to achieve intoxication. After having enjoyed the experience, they begin abusing drugs more frequently, wanting to experience the intense high that they felt the first time. But as they use drugs more frequently and take larger doses, the drugs are becoming less effective. This occurs because the body is adjusting to having drugs present in the system in longer and longer intervals. In other words, with the chase for the next high intensifying, the body is actually becoming less affected by the drugs, which causes substance abusers to continue escalating their dosage until they’re imbibing lethal amounts of these dangerous drugs in a single sitting. And despite escalating the amount of drugs they’re consuming, they find themselves still unable to achieve the level of high they want, leaving them perpetually unsatisfied and always looking for their next fix.

The more well-known symptoms of drug withdrawal are best explained by learning how the brain responds to habitual substance abuse. While there are many different drugs that exist, the one thing that they all have in common is that their active ingredients are chemicals, which enter the bloodstream and make their way to the brain. Here’s an example: When a heroin addict uses heroin or a methamphetamine addict uses crystal meth, the effects of the drugs are due to the addicts’ circulatory systems transporting the heroin and crystal meth to their brains where they begin wreaking all sorts of havoc.

As to the specific effects that drugs have on the brain, it varies somewhat from one drug to the next. However, the majority of drugs disrupt the balance and functioning of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay messages from one part of the brain to another. This is called neurotransmission and is one of the primary targets of the disease of addiction. An example of neurotransmission is reading; Those strings of letters that you see on the page are processed and identified by one part of the brain, and then sent to another part of the brain so that those letters can be turned into words. But the neurotransmitters that are most affected by drugs are ones related to functions such as memory, learning, and the pleasure and reward circuits. This means that neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are the most affected, resulting in feelings of pleasure and reinforcing the behaviors that induced the feelings of pleasure, which in the present case would be the drug use.

Since a drug addict continues to use over time, the brain must adapt to the continuous presence of substances that alter its chemical balance. It does this by adjusting its own production of neurotransmitters, relying more and more on the person’s ongoing drug use to replenish the supply whenever they dwindle. And when those neurochemicals begin to dwindle, the result is symptoms of withdrawal. With the brain experiencing a major neurochemical deficit, it’s not functioning as well as it should, which causes feelings of depression, anxiety, agitation, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting, sweating, trembling or shaking, feeling tense or on edge, and confusion. These symptoms tend to emerge within four to twelve hours after a person’s last dose, and while the majority of people don’t experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, addiction to certain drugs—particularly benzodiazepines—is considered much more dangerous than others during the detox phase of recovery.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOING TO A DRUG DETOX CENTER?

Most people associate recovery from drug addiction with things like counseling and group therapy. Although they both play an important part in addressing the mental and emotional aspects of an addiction, there’s a very important step that occurs before a person goes to rehab.

Addiction is a progressive, chronic brain disease. Most have heard addiction described that way before, but addiction is a very complex illness and simply referring to it as a disease doesn’t convey its encompassing nature. Its development is cumulative, which refers to how a person must continue to abuse drugs before that continued, habitual behavior results in the altered structure and functioning of the brain. This notably causes the symptoms of withdrawal, which indicate that a person has become physically and physiologically dependent on a drug. However, it would be quite difficult for a person to participate in counseling and group therapy when still suffering from the effects of physical drug addiction. In short, the physical symptoms of withdrawal would make it difficult to focus on any of the mental and emotional benefits of quality addiction treatment.

Addiction is a progressive, chronic brain disease

While it’s true that there are a few drug addictions that may not require a drug detox program, many drug addictions warrant a detox program before inpatient rehab. The basic purpose of a drug detox facility is to break a person’s physical dependence on drugs by flushing those drugs and any other harmful toxins out of the body. Individuals are afforded whatever amount of time they need to achieve this physical cleansing so that their bodies can be returned to a state of physical health. However, drug detox centers are beneficial for more than just the physical treatment; it’s also inherently beneficial to the mind, affording a person a much-needed period of time during which to focus on adjusting to sobriety and experiencing emotions that haven’t been diluted by intoxication. Moreover, many people are still apprehensive about recovery when they enroll at a drug detox facility, so having this initial period of time to relax and acclimate is often when those in recovery begin to feel empowered and confidence in their choice to finally beat their addictions.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM GOING TO A DRUG DETOX CENTER?

After the intake process, the new patient is taken to their residential accommodations where they will stay during their detox treatment. Many of the details from one facility to the next may change—the locale and scenery, the amenities that they might offer, the forms of care that are used, and other such features—but there’s one thing that’s true of all drug detox centers: They want you to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible, which allows you to focus on your recovery without the fear of temptation.

Due to having been in a state of active drug addiction, it’s expected that a person body will need something of a reprieve, or a period of time to decompress before transitioning to rehab for inpatient treatment. The central purpose of detoxification is to cleanse the body, ridding it of any harmful or toxic chemicals while also attending to the patient’s basic needs. With this continuous level of care, many of the most unpleasant symptoms of drug addiction are eliminated or minimized. In fact, the round-the-clock supervision and attentive, professional care are essential parts of drug detoxification programs for the purpose of each patient’s comfort and to give them the greatest opportunity for success in treatment. However, another important reason that there’s continuous monitoring and care is so patients can be monitoring for any signs of discomfort or pain as well as for any sign that their symptoms are becoming dangerous so that the necessary measures can be taken if the need should arise.

There are many different things that physicians and detox technicians observe while patients are in drug detoxification, including blood pressure, bodily temperature, and even dilation of the pupils. Moreover, patients are routinely asked to quantify their physical and psychological states, which typically entails rating their comfort on a numerical scale. The purpose of this is so staff can easily gauge the amount of discomfort or distress that a patient might be experiencing. When it comes to the specific care and treatment techniques that are utilized during drug detoxification, most quality drug detox programs emphasize the importance of diet and nutrition as well as keeping the body adequately hydrated; in fact, hydration is often particularly important since this helps the body to rid itself of many different toxins and chemicals. If a patient’s symptoms aren’t stabilized using any of the initial forms of care, they’re likely to be offered certain medications, which are intended to alleviate moderate to severe discomfort.

As for what the medications actually treat, most of them help patients to relax or sleep. Commonly referred to as “comfort medications”, benzodiazepines like Librium, Ativan, and Oxazepam are some of the most frequently used medications at drug detox centers. However, other medications like sedatives and muscle relaxants are used as well. These medications help with sweating, aches and pains, insomnia, anxiety, and many other symptoms, but even when a patient’s symptoms aren’t extremely severe, using mild comfort medications can offer that extra level of relaxations and allow patients to sleep better. Additionally, medications like Clonidine and beta-blockers are offered at most drug detox facilities, which can help patients who are experiencing high heart rates and high blood pressure.

There’s no predetermined amount of time during which a person must stay at a drug detox program. Since the needs of every patient are different and unique, the process might take one person ten days while another completes the drug detox program in a week. However, most people require between one and two weeks to overcome physical drug addiction and complete detoxification. With the body stabilized and cleansed, the treatment phase of recovery can begin, which will address the mental and emotional underpinnings of drug addiction.

HOW IS IT BENEFICIAL TO COMPLETE A DRUG DETOX PROGRAM?

The majority of the population will never know what it’s like to experience drug withdrawal symptoms. Much of what the average person perceives withdrawal to be has been gleaned from news reports and movies. The consensus is that drug withdrawal is an agonizing, painful experience because that’s what they seen. On the one hand, it’s true that abruptly ceasing drug use and trying to go “cold turkey” will result in a very unpleasant experience; however, what most people don’t know is that drug detoxification—the period during which the body is cleansed of drugs and any other toxic or harmful substances—doesn’t actually have to be painful or agonizing. The reason that withdrawal is so notoriously unpleasant is because most people experience it on their own during times when they’re unable to obtain drugs, meaning that they’re experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal at their full intensity. Worst of all, these experiences cause them to be fearful of sobriety and recovery.

However, by detoxing in a drug detox facility, a person will receive treatments that alleviate much of the discomfort of withdrawal, making their experience much less unpleasant than it would be trying to detox on their own. With continuous supervision, professional care provided by experienced staff, and the use of comfort medications, patients are comfortable and can simply relax while their bodies are cleansed of drugs. Additionally, by making drug detoxification a more pleasant and serene experience, detox facilities are actually improving each patient’s potential for success by ensuring that withdrawal doesn’t discourage them from persevering through the recovery process.

In addition to providing comfort, drug detox centers also afford a level of reassurance and safety to patients who might feeling intimidated by the prospect of recovery. When a person attempts to detox on their own at home, they receive no professional care or supervision that would monitor their symptoms and ensure that they don’t become dangerous. This means that if those symptoms reach the point of maximum severity, a person’s very life can be in danger; however, choosing to detox in an actual detox program guarantees that a person will remain safe throughout the process.

OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS OF DRUG DETOX PROGRAMS

Although choosing a drug detox program might seem to be a relatively straightforward and almost thoughtless process, but there are many more factors involved than you might think. For one things, you don’t want to book a bed in the first drug detox center that comes up in your search results since you couldn’t be sure that the facility and program would offer everything you would need. Therefore, before choosing a detox facility, it’s essential to sit down and determine what, exactly, your needs are and what types of things you will need to have them met. Additionally, there are a number of important considerations that you probably wouldn’t even think about.

One thing that many people overlook when choosing a detox facility is location. This is particularly important when a person’s detox program and inpatient treatment program are offered at two separate facilities. While this may seem trivial, location is important since a person is likely going to want the detox facility and treatment facility to be close together, which allows for an immediate transition from one to the other without any significant lapse of time in between due to travel. Having to travel from a drug detox center to an inpatient facility means that there’s going to be a period of time between completion of detoxification and the start of rehab when a person might encounter some sort of tempting situation and relapse. Therefore, choosing a drug detox center in the right location is an important consideration.

One thing that many people overlook when choosing a detox facility is location.

Additionally, there’s also the financial aspect of attending a detox center. It used to be that most assumed treatment wasn’t an option due to the expense, but there are many more options available now than ever before. Those who choose to do so can still pay out-of-pocket, but many drug detox programs can be covered by most private and government health insurance plans. Ever since the healthcare reform, substance abuse treatment has been one of the essential benefits of health insurance. However, if health insurance coverage isn’t an option, there are scholarships and grants offered by many state governments as well as by many treatment facilities individually. The intake coordinators of most detox centers and rehabs can usually recommend any such funds that might be available. And although this may not be the most desirable route, there’s always the option of getting a loan to finance treatment. In addition to the personal loans people can get, there are a number of financial institutions that offer lending services specifically for people who are trying to pay for substance abuse treatment; most of these loans offer perks like an extended period of time before requiring the first payment.

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT DRUG DETOX CENTER?

According to estimates, there are more than fifteen thousand facilities dedicated to treating addiction in the U.S. The sheer number of potential drug detox centers is astounding and makes the prospect of narrowing down those facilities to the one that best fits your needs seem more unlikely than searching for a needle in a haystack. While many people have left this up to chance and subsequently had multiple attempts at recovery, that’s not the only option that’s available to you. We are Detox Local, and we’ve made it our mission to help anyone who has been suffering from drug addiction to take the first steps of recovery by finding the drug detox program that’s right for them.

We have created a directory of only the best, highest-quality drug detox facilities in the country, which makes us uniquely adept at finding the detox program for anyone who’s suffering from drug addiction. If you’re looking for a drug detox center for you or someone you love, Detox Local can guide you through this complicated process. Instead of having to decipher redundant search results, you can call us toll-free at 1-866-315-7061 and let us do all the work for you.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR STAY AT A DRUG DETOX CENTER?

After completing a drug detox program, the next step in the recovery process is to begin an inpatient treatment program at a residential rehab. While the goal of detox facilities is to help a person to break their physical dependence on drugs, inpatient rehab is where a person can address the more psychological aspects of addiction. This means taking a closer look at the mental, emotional, and social history of someone in recovery in the hope of finding the factors that might have contributed to his or her addiction in the first place. Upon completing an inpatient program, many people movie on to forms of outpatient care and transitional living before finally returning home, healthy and sober.