Drug addiction is a treatable chronic brain disease. Recovery is possible, but it is not always easy. One of the most important components of recovery is finding and participating in a supportive sober network. Although many people try to go through withdrawal on their own, they often find it unpleasant, uncomfortable and difficult, and so they frequently wind up relapsing. This is why a supportive network along with professional facilities that medical staff trained in addiction recovery can help them avoid falling back into their old addictive ways.
Other solutions for your clients might be 12-step program that utilized by recovery programs such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is highly successful in helping addicts move into new relationships with themselves and others. Counseling is also important for someone who is struggling to discover what it means to be clean and live soberly. Every moment of substance abuse treatment should focus on helping address potential barriers to sobriety and giving the patient tools to cope with challenges encountered in everyday life. This includes prevention of relapse. The patient seeking sobriety should find a group or a counselor with whom he or she feels comfortable. But many time there is a need for the addict to find a recovery center that provide from them what is not available at home. The patient should also be prepared to face hard questions that may make him or her face up to past actions and present situations that are not pleasant to confront.
One other factor in recovery is properly dealing with stress management. Stress Management should be part of an effective recovery-activity program. Stress can make people feel unable to cope with the ins and outs and ups and downs of daily living. Talking it over one-on-one with a compassionate counselor or sharing with an emphatic group of people who have faced and overcome similar trials and tribulations are invaluable in helping someone start down the road to recovery.
People who are addicted to various substances – be it opiates or alcohol or prescription drugs – need to remember one important insight psychiatrists and counselors often share: Being addicted does not mean someone is weak, stupid or hopeless. Drug addiction does terrible things to the brain. Drugs tap into a primitive part of the brain that often makes people do things they would not otherwise do. This makes changes in the brain that can actually be discerned in a brain scan. However, when someone starts working on recovering from her addition, the brain begins to recover and become more normal looking. It is possible to recover completely from addiction and to live a normal life once again. It is possible, but it is not easy. The first step is often to admit that one has a problem and one needs help to get sober. This provides motivation for doing the hard of work of recovering. It means telling yourself that your sobriety will be your life’s priority and you will stick to learning and performing coping skills. You would also make it a priority to learn about your disease and learn how to avoid relapse and the things that may trigger a relapse.
Options for recovery include treatment centers, like the one’s offered by Recovery Works. These treatment centers can provide a person the much needed safe, drug-free environment to help get you started on the road to health and sobriety. The initial focus of a treatment center might be helping you deal with the sometimes debilitating withdrawal symptoms, which include a runny nose, sweating, chills, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, insomnia and joint pain. Some treatment centers offer transitional housing for those who are improving but who are not quite ready to return to the former environment that might make them relapse. Outpatient counseling and drug treatment with methadone or suboxone. This option helps the patient gradually wean himself or herself from their addictive drug, giving them hope for getting completely off the substance.
Families can be an important part of someone’s recovery. The more your family understands what you have gone through and what they can do to help you, the better your recovery experience may be. You may have to work even harder to regain the trust and love of people you might have hurt when you were actively addicted. The healing of broken relationships can be another powerful motivator for someone to get help.
There is no stigma or shame in trying to get professional help for what seems to be a personal problem. There is a certain amount of admirable courage for someone who has made the decision to get their life back on track and makes a private covenant to do whatever it takes to become once again a sober and productive member of society.
About the Author
Dr. Johnston graduated from Medical School at CMDNJ New Jersey Medical School in Newark after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers Camden College of Arts and Sciences.
After a three year residency at West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees he became Board Certified in Family Practice and practiced in Camden County for 26 years. Dr. Johnston is also board certified in Addiction Medicine as of 2002.