Understanding the Perils of Drug Abuse and Possible Solutions
Millions of people suffer from drug-abuse effects every day. Citizens might see addicts on the street, or dependent people may work diligently at a job each day as they stay under the radar. The perils of drug abuse are widely known, but many people don't apply those ideas to their situations until it's too late. Take a look at the mind of a drug user, and their choices for a healthy future in the form of rehab and support groups around town.
Descending Into Drug Abuse
Every addict has a different path toward their drug of choice. Addicts might hang out with the wrong crowd and try the drug on a whim. Alternatively, people might turn to drugs as a way to escape an especially painful period, such as the death of a loved one. Drug abuse can happen to anyone, although some studies suggest that people are more vulnerable to addiction if a family member suffers from the same issue. Addictions occur with various substances too, such as prescription pills, nicotine or alcohol. The preferred drug solves a problem for the addict as they try to leave reality in one form or another.
Functioning as an Addict
In many cases, addicts aren't obvious visuals in society's landscape. Some addicts are entirely functional. They'll go about their day as if it's normal with drugs in the background. Work, school and family may seem to take precedence above other items, but the drugs underlie every action. In fact, that person might be high for most of the day as they take the drugs during bathroom breaks. Many addicts can appear normal for years at a time, but their dependence will soon be apparent and possibly damage their work and home life for good. That desired high will become harder and harder to obtain with just a short, drug break throughout the workday.
Recognizing the Signs of Drug Abuse in Others
A person's best friend may be there for them over several decades. However, the person's current mood suggests that something unhealthy is occurring in his or her life. The signs of drug abuse that a loved one might see can be both obvious and subtle. Struggling addicts might be short-tempered, depressed, euphoric and forgetful all in one day's time. Their appearance will show visual signs too. Skin colors fade, teeth take on a yellow color and the hair might thin. Loved ones must be observant about these signs, and make it a point to ask about drug use when the person appears calm.
Applying Drug Abuse Concepts to Personal Behaviors
It might be easier to pinpoint drug-abuse factors in others than it is in oneself. If personal issues are occurring, it's possible to fall prey to drug use without realizing it. A person might drink two or three extra glasses of wine one night instead of just one, for example. This situation begins to reoccur on a daily basis, however. At some point, those drinks become the only thing that's positive about the day. This situation is the definition of being addicted. Personal situations change throughout a lifetime, but it's how they're dealt with that makes a person an addict or not.
Entering the Detoxification Process
The only solution to drug abuse at first is detox. This process is marked by entering an inpatient facility. The substance abuser must remain at the treatment center for several days at the bare minimum. Detox involves a complete removal from the drug of choice. Medical professionals will usually monitor each patient and their vital signs. If there are any extreme withdrawal symptoms, specific medications might be given to ease the pain. Detox takes significant strength on the part of the addict because the body is physically starving for the drug. As the system clears, the addict feels better about their state of health.
Improving Through Inpatient Treatment
Detox marks the first step on the journey to sobriety. The next recovery period involves the mental side of addiction. Patients remain at the facility as they enter treatment sessions. They'll have one-on-one sessions with professionals along with group interactions. It's the group sessions where many patients blossom into more caring and sober adults. Groups are designed for sharing among patients and professionals. Small groups might form during exercises that help everyone form bonds through the treatment program. Becoming close friends with fellow substance abusers makes each individual feel like they're part of a community.
Exploring Outpatient Freedom
After several weeks or months within inpatient treatment, patients usually graduate to outpatient services. They're allowed to return home, and rebuild their life into a sober and positive journey. However, patients must return to the facility on a regular basis in order to attend mandatory sessions. An addict is never cured of his or her dependence. These outpatient sessions continue the teachings of the inpatient treatment but just on a smaller scale. Outpatients can discuss the temptations found outside of the protective, facility walls. Recounting successes is also encouraged as every outpatient listens to everyone's stories.
Involving the Household During Recovery
When an outpatient returns home, the household must be prepared. Ideally, a facility staff member can visit the home and speak with the residents about recovery processes. If a household member is currently using drugs, that person and their drugs cannot be in the home when the patient is released. The home needs to be a haven away from drug temptations. Loved ones may need to remove alcohol bottles from the kitchen, and discard any smoking paraphernalia from adjacent rooms. The transition back into the home will be a difficult one, but it can be easier with a clean household and supportive family members.
Using Community Resources
When outpatients are feeling tempted, the facility and household loved ones may not be enough to ward off the cravings. Patients are encouraged to seek out community resources, such as local meeting groups. When a recovering addict feels strong, he or she should put together a list of group locations and times. If a craving becomes overwhelming, walking to the community group can be a way to stay sober. It's also a good idea to keep a treatment friend's phone number handy. Contacting that person during a tempting period can help both addicts remain on a sober pathway.
Preventing Drug Abuse
Avoiding any drug abuse should be the goal for anyone dealing with personal issues. If a drug looks tempting to escape reality, consider talking to a loved one or seeking professional help. Most addictions start with a personal imbalance in life. A death in the family, disease and other stressful situations make drugs look like a comforting alternative. Be honest about emotions and frustrations, and let these feelings be heard. Releasing stress allows the mind to think more clearly and avoid drug use altogether.
Loved ones can do their part for a struggling friend or relative by supporting their recovery process. It's not possible to force someone into rehab. They must want to get healthy on their own. Once that person dedicates their time toward recovery, loved ones can be there as much as possible. A supportive friend to lean on may be all that's necessary to ward off those drug cravings in the future.