The latest estimates hold that there are roughly 20 million people across the United States whose drinking or drug use is serious enough that they meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder. These people, men and women from all social strata and all walks of life, share one thing in common: Their struggles with substance abuse are out of control and they are losing a battle with addiction. Of these, around 1 in 10, or 2 million people, make it into treatment for their addiction in a given year. Continue reading
New Year’s Day is right around the corner, and millions of Americans will be setting goals for themselves to pursue in 2015. What will your New Year’s resolutions be this year? To lose weight? Make more money? Improve your relationships? Travel more? Quit drugs and alcohol? This last one may not be the most common, but it is certainly one that many people from all walks of life will be making. Continue reading
Each year as the holidays approach, families may postpone their efforts to get a loved one to rehab. It may be that that families are so desperate to see a loved one who was lost to addiction that they don’t even want to think about sending him (or her) away. After all, it may be the only time they see this person this year. Moms and dads may want to have just a few moments of family togetherness with this person they’re worrying about night and day.
This feeling is completely understandable. Of course they want to have a nice holiday celebration with everyone together again.
Comments from several addicted people who did show up for their holiday dinners after being away shows that no one got what they wanted from these celebrations. Continue reading
In the field of addiction treatment, what is usually meant when you say “detox” is a medically supervised period of coming off the drugs a person was using. When a person is coming off heavy levels of drinking, close medical care and support are needed to prevent injury during withdrawal. Some other drugs, like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium and others) may cause dangerous symptoms during withdrawal that also require close support. At the end of detox, a person is sober. He will not be prepared to deal with all the challenges of life on his own, he is just free from the effects of drugs. He may still suffer from cravings. Few people remain sober if their only help is detox.
At Narconon, detoxification means something very different. Here, it’s just one part of our overall program. Our detox is composed of three elements: time in a sauna, moderate daily exercise and a carefully controlled program of nutritional supplements. This step is called the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program. Continue reading
The weekend of November 15-16, 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General was speaking at the American Public Health Association meeting in New Orleans. He had plenty to say about the use of drugs and excess use of alcohol.
He told his audience, “Without healthy people we are nothing. Without a healthy people, we have no future.” He also reminded the crowd that the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
There are many paths to being healthy according to this definition. One of those paths is avoiding the use of drugs and the excessive use of alcohol. The Surgeon General agrees, as his strategy for achieving health includes this statement: “Preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use improves quality of life, academic performance, workplace productivity, and military preparedness.” Continue reading
Across the broad field of addiction recovery, there are many opinions about what addiction really is. Does it really make much difference which definition is correct? It does. Different forms of treatment are based on these differing concepts and definitions of addiction. If the underlying definition of addiction is erroneous, then the treatment based on that definition may miss the mark.
For a moment, let’s look at the disease concept of addiction. This concept assumes that it is a physical illness similar to diabetes or heart disease, the diseases most commonly used for comparison. So if addiction is defined as a disease, it would seem logical to treat that problem with medication. Therefore, there are rehab programs that use prescription drugs in the beginning, middle and end of the treatment program, and after the person leaves.
But there are millions of people around the world who are involved in Twelve Step meetings. When a person succeeds in recovering from addiction this way, it casts doubt upon a definition of addiction that includes the concept of disease as the Twelve Step process includes no provision for disease.
If addiction was truly a physical disease, perhaps genetically based, housed in the physical tissue of the brain, then medication might be a good solution, as it is with when bacteria invade a person’s lungs. If it is a disease, then there would be no “moral failing” involved in addiction. A person who wishes to recover can feel that there is no need to examine the harm he (or she) has done to himself or others. After all, it is just a disease that the individual himself is not responsible for, the same as if he comes down with a cold. Continue reading
When a family seeks a recovery program for a loved one, the variety of treatment programs they face will probably be baffling to them. Should they find a methadone program or one that provides buprenorphine? An in-patient program or out-patient? Group counseling or individual counseling? The first time a family wades into all these choices, it is normally quite confusing. Unless someone in the family has been through rehab or has worked in this field, the family may just choose the program that’s the most affordable or the easiest to get into right away.
It can happen that a person who really does want sobriety ends up in a program that differs philosophically from his own beliefs. He (or she) can have a hard time in this program. For example:
• Some people are not willing to admit that they will always be addicts or that they will always be powerless over their own addictions
• There are people who don’t want to receive more drugs as treatment for their past addictive behavior, such as methadone as a maintenance drug, Xanax (for anxiety), Lexapro or Prozac (for depression), acamprosate (for alcoholism)
• The use of hallucinogens to break a person’s addiction may not sit well with some people
• There are programs that use brutal boot-camp atmospheres to break a person’s spirit down so they become more “receptive” to treatment
• There are even programs that use electric shock to make the idea of drinking or using drugs repellant to the individual. Continue reading
There are all kinds of drug rehab programs in the world. Some have widespread popularity and others are isolated to just a few rehab centers. Like wilderness programs. You can find this type of rehab program with fair ease, but they are not widespread. Equine programs – ones that incorporate care and riding of horses – are a little more common. Some programs don’t focus on this modality of treatment but might include some involvement with horses. Continue reading
It’s certainly true that different people have different reactions to completing a drug rehab program and going back home sober. Some graduates want to focus on going back to work and taking better care of themselves and their families. This is, for nearly everyone, a dramatic improvement over the situation that existed while they were addicted.
Others want to be more active, to reach out to people who are struggling with drug or alcohol use and have not yet been helped. There are more than 20 million people who need drug or alcohol rehabilitation services in the United States at the moment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only about one person in ten gets the help they need.
Those other nine? Some look for rehab but the vast majority don’t even try. This is where those who have completed rehab and are now sober can help so much. First, they completely understand the phenomenon of addiction because they have been through it themselves. Second, they probably have a very good idea what the addicted person is feeling and thinking and why he may not be seeking rehabilitation. This empathy between the person who is now addicted and the person who has recovered from addiction can provide the means to start turning that addict’s life around. Continue reading
There’s so many ways to help people overcome problems with alcohol or drugs. Perhaps the most important right now are drug prevention and education for youth and drug rehabilitation. These are, as you may know, the services that Narconon centers around the world offer. But there are additional changes that need to occur if we are, as a culture, to overcome the losses being incurred by abuse of and addiction to substances like alcohol, heroin and pills.
Just to comment on these losses for a moment, the primary among these is the terrible loss of life. Around the world, more than two million lives are lost due to alcohol consumption, according to the World Health Organization. And more than two hundred thousand lives are lost each year to drug abuse. These lives are lost both due to direct overdoses and indirect causes such as illnesses like pneumonia, cancer or liver failure that result from drug or alcohol use. Continue reading