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An Introduction to Drug Treatment

So you have a loved one who needs drug rehab. Families trying to save one of their members from addiction very often feel all alone with this problem, but they shouldn't. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that more than 22.2 million persons are abusing drugs and/or alcohol to an extent that the habit has damaged their lives and created physical and mental dependence.

Internationally, literally hundreds of millions of people are abusing drugs, many of them to the point that they can't quit when they want to. The U.N. estimates as many as 190 million people use cannabis/marijuana, as many as 21 million people abusing highly addictive opiates, and perhaps another 50 million using toxic and addictive amphetamine-type stimulants.

Alcohol abuse adds a whole other layer to the picture. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol abuse contributes to problems and incidents that can kill or disable the drinkers or the innocent bystanders at a young age. The current increasing alcohol consumption figures are calculated to cause 2.5 million deaths per year worldwide.

One survey in the US showed that 64 percent of those surveyed felt they had experienced addiction in someone close to them, either a close friend or a family member. Around the world, the experience is the same: someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol--they can't quit--you fear for their very life--and you want to help.

And you should fear for their life. Addiction normally has one of three outcomes: prison, sobriety or death. For a loving family, only one outcome is acceptable: Sobriety.

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What Is Drug Treatment?

The term drug treatment encompasses a very broad range of options. Those options may be as modest as a local priest running a Christian support group in his basement and helping addicts with teachings from his or her faith. Or it may be a huge, state-run institution in Moscow, where addicts are locked up each night and are subjected to rounds of hypnosis and barbiturates each day.

Methods of staying clean of illicit drugs run the gamut of intensive support by members of the group, all the way to medically prescribed heroin in several European countries, with the idea that the addict can live a less criminal lifestyle when his drugs are provided for him.

A drug treatment program should start with some type of support while the addict is withdrawing from drugs. Depending on the type of drug and severity of addiction, "cold turkey"? withdrawal can be agonizing and dangerous. A safe and effective drug rehab program will support with nutrition and one-on-one assistance in getting through the sickness, cramps, aches and mood changes of withdrawal.

When the person has withdrawn from the most immediate toxic effects of the drugs he was taking, he now has the job of rebuilding a life that was in so many cases destroyed by addiction. Many people who started being addicted at an early age or who were addicted for decades have completely lost their social skills. To restore their personal relationships, to rekindle their own self esteem takes plenty of counseling and new life skills training.

But when a thorough job is done of these steps, a person really can discover lifetime sobriety as a result of drug treatment. A shortened address to this critical problem, some group therapy and a several counseling sessions over a month's time is just not enough to reassemble the pieces of a shattered life.

Who Needs Drug Treatment?

The right answer to this question very seldom comes from the addict himself or herself. To most addicts, the next dose of the drug that is helping them feel normal, enabling them to feel like they can function for another day, is as important as their next breath of air. Even when they can see the destruction being caused by drugs, they may feel there is no hope of life without their crack cocaine, their whiskey, their heroin, their OxyContin or Vicodin or Xanax.

The right answer is that the person who can't quit on their own, who has made repeated promises, who is experiencing damage from their drinking or drug use but continues to use - these are the people who need drug rehabilitation treatment. To continue to believe the promises may mean that the addicted person will have time to overdose or have a serious car accident while drinking. In short: the family will in nearly every case have to make this decision for the addicted person.

Where to Find Drug Treatment?

Drug treatment can be found in most developed countries without much trouble. In Russia and the Mid-East, most drug treatment programs are run out of psychiatric hospitals. In European countries, there are many state-run drug facilities. In each country, there is generally a department of the government that registers drug treatment facilities and broadcasts the information on what is available. For example, in Norway, the Ministry of Health and Care Services approves drug treatment plans and oversees the facilities. Many European drug treatment facilities offer methadone or Suboxone opiate substitution treatment. Unfortunately, these forms of treatment keep the addict's dependence on a drug fully intact. Recommendations vary on how long an addict should stay on methadone or Suboxone before being tapered off - if they ever are.

In Latin America, drug treatment centers are generally in short supply except for the wealthy. In North America, drug treatment is a huge industry, with country club-like settings available for those who can pay. In Ontario, where medical services are funded by the government, rehabilitation facilities are managed by the Drug and Alcohol Registry of Treatment (DART). In the United States, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a directory of rehabilitation facilities.

Types of Drug Treatment

As mentioned, there are as many types of drug treatment as there are theories and bright ideas. In some facilities, faith and a strong network of support are used to steer a person to a clean and sober lifestyle. The plus to this type of program is that there are no substitute drugs, no prescriptions of other drugs to address any other mental conditions a therapist may feel are present. The downside is that for many people, the cravings are much too strong to be ignored and they will leave a group of this type in favor of returning to their addicted lifestyle.

Some rehabs take the form of a therapeutic community. In this form of treatment, members support each other in daily life and in meetings. They do the work of running the community and looking after the members themselves to a great degree. Here too, the plus is that no substitute or psychiatric drugs are administered. For some people, it is a disadvantage that residence in such a community may go on for years before a person has conquered the addictive patterns that once destroyed his or her life.

A great number of drug rehabs use a combination of individual counseling, group counseling, substitute drugs and additional medications for co-existing conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder. When co-existing mental conditions are diagnosed, this is referred to as a "dual diagnosis"? - a diagnosis of addiction and a concurrent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or any of the hundreds of other psychiatric labels. Programs may last 28 to 30 days which is as long as most insurance programs last, and then, conveniently, they end. Whether recovering addicts are ready or not, they are out of coverage and they are on their own.

There is another option that is healthier and has a better outcome. It uses no drugs of any kind. It does not run on a limited schedule. The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation is a holistic program, which means that it considers the entire person, his physical health along with his mental and emotional health, when planning out his or her recovery.

The program starts with a withdrawal step that utilizes calcium and magnesium to calm cramps and aches and provides vitamins and minerals that begin to rebuild an addict's body. Every person receives around-the-clock assists and attention to help him or her through this difficult time. As a result, many people find the withdrawal experience at a Narconon center to be unexpectedly tolerable.

From there, the recovering addicts take the little steps that turn into bigger steps as they recover the simple skills of learning to communicate clearly, without flinching or dodging. They go on to learn how to choose drug-free friends and make ethical decisions again.

Each person progresses at his own rate, because each person has his own history to confront and differing abilities with which to confront it. But with the heartfelt desire to recover a clean and sober lifestyle again, those who were once addicted can once again look forward to an honest and productive life. And families can look forward to having their loved one back; this one who was once lost to drugs, now, lost no more.

Click for more information about Drug-Free Withdrawal. Or contact Narconon International. Find the Narconon Center nearest you.

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