As long as an addicted person keeps taking the drug they are accustomed to, they can usually prevent the onset of depression. But let them decide to get sober and stop drug or alcohol abuse, and most people can expect to be hit by serious depression. For one thing, drugs or alcohol are strong chemicals that overwhelm the body's own innate chemical balance. When drugs are taken repeatedly or consistently, the body functions that create natural chemicals as a response to pleasurable activities shut down. After all, the strong chemicals in heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol or other drugs are seen as superior to the body's natural ones.
After days, weeks or months of substance abuse, the body relies completely on the foreign substances that are being consumed. As long as they are taken in a consistent fashion, the drug user won't really notice that he has lost his natural chemical balance. But when he tries to quit -- it's a different story.
Severe depression is a typical symptom of withdrawal from several drugs:
- Cocaine and crack cocaine
- Opiates including morphine, codeine, OxyContin, Dilaudid, Vicodin, methadone
One of the most valuable services that can be provided for the recovering addict is relief from this depression. Without some relief, some addicts in recovery may seek to escape the depression and cravings that hit during withdrawal by returning to drug use.
Some drug recovery programs state that this depression that occurs at this time is a "co-existing" condition. It's also referred to as a "dual diagnosis" -- the person is diagnosed with addiction and depression both. Many conventional drug rehab programs prescribe medications intended to alleviate depression. There's a long list of these drugs available. But the problem is that many of these are themselves addictive and they all have unpleasant side effects.
Certainly it is possible that some people could have experienced depression before becoming addicted, but as depression is a noted symptom of withdrawal, it makes much more sense to get a person through a healthy withdrawal before thinking about any other medications.
For decades, nutritional experts have stated that certain nutritional deficiencies can contribute to depression. Therefore, as soon as a recovering addict arrives at a Narconon center to start withdrawing from their drug of choice, they are given abundant nutritional supplements repetitively throughout their waking hours. The supplementation of vitamin B complex, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium in particular assist each person going through withdrawal.
Of course, there's far more assistance given during withdrawal than just nutrition. Those going through withdrawal are kept busy with interaction with staff in the form of physical assists and light re-orientation exercises that help each person relax and leave the bad experiences of addiction far behind. Light practice of communication skills help each person begin to relate to the people around them rather than thinking constantly about the anguish of the past or apprehensions about the future.
By the time a person is stably through withdrawal and ready to start the real process of building a drug-free life, it is customary for recovering addicts in the Narconon drug recovery program to have brighter and positive outlooks on their chances for recovery.
As the Narconon program progresses for each person, she will discover more ways to build a drug-free life that she can look forward to after graduation. There is a thorough detoxification program that uses more nutrition, moderate exercise and time spent in a low-heat sauna to flush drug residues out of the body. Once these toxic residues are gone, it's very common for recovering addicts to achieve brighter outlooks on life and a greater ability to think clearly.
There is also a thorough counseling segment to the program that enables each recovering person to recover his ability to perceive the environment as he once did, without the haze of drugs. This counseling helps each person leave the addictive mindset behind and get ready to repairing relationships and start setting goals for a sober future.
Life skills courses and practical application guide each person through the restoration of family relationships and a return of personal integrity. These processes may not be the easiest tasks in the world to tackle, but each person has staff around him or her who know what it's like to go through this recovery and are willing to help every step of the way.
The Narconon rehab program completes with instruction on a common-sense moral code that gives greater stability, especially in challenging situations that may come up in the future.
By the time a person has completed all these phases of recovery, he or she can stand up straight and proud, ready to return to life as a productive individual. When there are goals in sight, friends and family who accept you back and the self-esteem of knowing you have beat your addiction, it's really hard to suffer from anything other than too much excitement to get out and start living -- clean and sober.