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What Should I Expect from Treatment for Drug Abuse?

The first thing that an individual will need to consider when entering any drug rehab program is to have the correct outlook and expectations from treatment for drug abuse. The outcome of treatment is very dependent on these expectations, the choice of program and how dedicated an addicted individual is to that program. It can take a lot of courage on behalf of an addicted individual to seek treatment for drug abuse, as treating drug addiction can be very challenging yet very rewarding in the end. All of the hard work and focus that is needed to become rehabilitated will be worth it in the end when the addicted individual is able to live their life drug-free.


As a first step of treatment for drug abuse, professional drug treatment counselors will typically assess the addicted individual's drug history and current medical and mental state. This way, the addicted individual's treatment curriculum can be tweaked and tailored to meet specific needs or address a certain situation that may affect the treatment outcome. For example, if an individual has an underlying medical condition this may need to be addressed before any further steps are taken in treatment or be addressed concurrent to treatment. A personalized treatment plan which addresses the needs or conditions which are specific to that individual will ensure the best results.

At least at first, family member and loved ones will be encouraged to refrain from trying to communicate with the addicted individual who will surely be going through a transition period which may prove difficult. For example, individuals who stop using drugs need time to readjust mentally and physically to life without drugs. During these beginning stages, they will experience intense drug cravings and will also be going through withdrawal which will affect them physically and mentally. It is a crucial time, where the individual may be inclined to relapse or even have the desire to leave treatment. Leave this up to the professionals, who understand how to handle these symptoms and emotions and get the addicted individual on the other side of them. It is extremely common for individuals to go through all sorts of emotions and exhibit all types of behavior during this sensitive time, but it is often short-lived and treatment professionals can most often keep such reactions at bay.


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A drug detox will be part of the initial phase of treatment, and treatment professionals either at a drug detox facility or drug rehab will help ease withdrawal symptoms until any drug residuals have left the individual's system. This often entails seeing that the individual gets plenty of rest, nutrition, fluids, supplements, exercise and counseling as need to make this process as smooth as possible so they can continue on to the next steps of treatment. A drug detox normally just takes a few days, but can take up to a week or two depending on which drug the individual is detoxing. The symptoms associated with drug withdrawal can vary, and it really depends on the individual's history of drug use including drugs of abuse, dosage, and length of time the individual was abusing them. Most drug withdrawal symptoms can be overcome easily, and aren't dangerous. However, alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal does come with risks, and can result in coma or death. This makes it necessary for treatment professionals to take extra precaution when individuals are detoxing from these substances.

Drug Education and Addiction Therapy

After treatment professionals have gotten the individual through a drug detox and the withdrawal process, the real work can begin. By this time, a comprehensive treatment curriculum has been devised by treatment professionals to address the issues that are at the core of the individual's drug problem. The individual's treatment plan will most likely be composed of multiple elements utilizing various treatment tools and services. The first step of any treatment plan will often be an education step, to help the individual come to a better understanding about drugs and how addiction works. Treatment professionals may also try and hone in on specific triggers in the individual's life which may have influenced their drug use. For example, there may be certain individuals that put pressure on the addict to take part in certain activities which may involve drugs or cause them to use drugs. If the addict can recognize these types of influences and drug triggers, it can help them avoid these influences and help they stay out of harmful situations in the future which may trigger drug use.

If the individual has chosen a residential or in-patient drug rehab program, they will be in a better position to focus on treatment instead of other distractions and negative influences. This will give them a better shot at experiencing the benefits of treatment, and having these benefits last even when they leave treatment. In a residential setting, there won't be any access to drugs which also provides a more conducive atmosphere for treatment. Treatment in a residential drug rehab can take anywhere from 30 days to a year, depending on whether or not one is taking part in a short-term or long-term program. A 30-day program is not going to be beneficial if the addicted individual has struggled with long-term addiction. It's simply not a sufficient amount of time to address all issues involved.

It is always recommended that individual take part in a program that takes no less that 90 days, as this will give the individual enough time to get enough treatment in and that this treatment will prove effective when they leave. Either way, addicted individuals should be prepared to undergo an intense course of therapy and counseling, both individual and group, to look at their lives and delve into deep-seeded emotional and psychological issues that caused them to become addicted to drugs in the first place. Through therapy and other treatment techniques addicted individuals will be encouraged to develop new coping skills and a new approach to situation in life so that they can maintain their sobriety long-term.

Need help finding treatment?

Choosing the correct treatment program for yourself or a family member can be one of the the most important decisions you ever make. With so many choices for treatment, and so many variables to consider, getting help from a knowledgeable addiction specialist who understands what types of treatment will work best is invaluable.

Our addiction specialists are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about treatment. All calls and services are completely free of charge and completely confidential. Start your recovery today!

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