Their bodies get used to the dosage and now they need greater quantities to continue feeling the same high. With time, the body becomes chemically dependent on the drugs, so you have to continue abusing drugs. That is how addiction starts.
Once you know that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may need to go to a drug treatment facility for treatment. Most commonly, the first level or the most acute level of care is detoxification, which addresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings while the body gets rid of the substance.
You may experience a variety of symptoms, both physical and psychological, which is why it is best to be in a treatment center. Physicians and nurses monitor you and ensure that you are detoxing safely.
The medical part of treatment is only the beginning, where you are physically stabilized and made comfortable so that you are in a position to address the root causes that led to addiction. Oftentimes, addiction to drugs or alcohol is driven by certain psychological factors.
So you are likely to have triggers in your life that make you want to continue using. Also, the brain undergoes changes due to addiction, which takes a few years to correct. Instead of hoping for the best after a medical detox, it might be best to consider continuing treatment with counseling focusing on addiction.
There is a common misconception out there that all have to do is detox in order to enter recovery, but it isn’t that simple. You need the right tools to battle your cravings and help to prevent a relapse. Counseling will help with recovery. Primarily, it will treat your underlying mental health issues, which may have caused you to start abusing drugs in the first place.
Why It’s Essential to Get Counseling
Once you have medically detoxed from alcohol and drugs, you are still not in safe territory from a relapse perspective. Only time will allow you to make life style changes needed to maintain sobriety and you need to give time for the brain to change back to its original state of producing enough pleasure neurotransmitters in response to regular stimuli such as food, hobbies or sex. Consequently, ending treatment after detox is risky. The longer the length of treatment, the better.
Drug counseling will not only help you to the root causes of your addiction to alcohol or drugs, but also provide you with the therapeutic support to stay sober as you make lifestyle changes and allow your brain the time it takes to revert back to its original dopamine-release functionality. It also may provide strategies to cope with the challenges of being sober without returning to your old habits.
Most people aren’t sure what to expect during drug counseling. However, it is often similar to other talk therapies. You may visit a alcohol and drug rehab facility or an outpatient clinic to receive therapy on an outpatient basis. Here, you will have an assessment to shape the customized plan that is right for you.
Group therapy is part of most drug and alcohol rehab centers or detoxification facilities. Some people get anxious about discussing their individual problems in a group setting. It is important to remember that other group members are also afflicted by the disease of addiction and likely have issues that parallel yours. So there is a great deal of empathy in a group setting. Making it easier to share your issues or concerns.
Individual therapy, offered in conjunction with group therapy will help you navigate issues that are too personal to share in group. Individual therapy also helps to address mental health issues that may not be fully addressed in a group focused on substance abuse issues. Diseases like bipolar disorder or depression require separate treatment than addiction counseling. However, you can get both if you choose a rehab center that offers dual-diagnosis treatments.
You may also want to focus on self-help groups, such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). The best part about belonging to self-help groups is that they are free, they are available everywhere (even on cruise ships), and the support is forever. Consequently, it is important to engage with self-help groups at the earliest opportunity.
If you have decided to stop abusing alcohol and drugs, now is the time to choose your rehab center or detox facility. Here, you will not only detox in a clinically safe setting, you will also be ready to follow through treatment after detoxification.
Dr. Cidambi is a leader in addiction treatment and innovator of safe and effective ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification level of care for alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and suboxone. Prior to founding the Center for Network Therapy, she completed her residency in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York. Due to the successful detoxification program, Dr. Cidambi was featured frequently by media outlets, including NPR, CBS, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal.