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Drug and Alcohol Addiction: How Does It Affect You?

Addiction Epidemic

Contrary to popular opinion, people with drug and alcohol addictions are not weak or lacking in willpower. Many of them hold jobs, have families, and function in society. In fact, 71 percent of people who use illegal drugs are employed. However, substance abuse and alcohol problems can affect productivity and mood. As many as 500 million days of work are lost each year to alcohol addiction alone. Teenagers who use drugs are more likely to demonstrate violence, depression, and poor academic performance. Young people are also highly at risk for drunk driving. Teens with alcohol problems consume, on average, five beverages before driving.

Adolescents and adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are a danger to themselves and others, but even that isn’t enough to make them stop because addiction causes physical changes in the brain.
These changes create a reduction of self-control and strong impulses to use drugs or alcohol that cannot be managed without help. This is why treatment programs are so important for living with an addiction. According to research, the longer a person stays in treatment for drug and alcohol dependence the better their chances of staying sober.

Inpatient and Residential Treatment Programs

The first step for addicts is to get clean. For many people, this means checking into a facility where they can stay until all the substances are out of their system. Residential treatment programs are places where people live while getting sober, and first they must detox. Residential facilities are considered inpatient centers because patients do not leave. Often times, a patient will stay for 28 to 90 days or longer, depending on the severity of their addiction and how well they respond to treatment.

After an initial detox period, patients receive intense therapeutic treatment programs personalized to their needs. This could include active participation in individual therapy sessions, and group meetings. Family therapy is sometimes included, but usually a person’s time in an inpatient program is spent without outside stresses or influences.

Benefits of Inpatient Care

Going to outpatient programs without first attending an inpatient program doesn’t work for many people. This is because of the difficulty of staying sober in the real world. At an inpatient center, there are no alcohol or drugs to use. People have to stay sober. Also, patients don’t have to worry about normal, everyday issues such as fights with spouses, work problems, or paying bills.

While inside an inpatient center, the focus is on recovery with no distractions. The supportive environment and constant affirmations that people can succeed make it easier for everyone to stick with the program. Receiving help inside a facility teaches people how to resist the temptations to use and to identify the reasons why they use. Without fully exploring the cause of the initial drug or alcohol use, people can easily relapse into old patterns.

Another benefit of getting help in a facility is that medical professionals are on staff to monitor patients. Sometimes, unforeseen consequences of drug withdrawal occur, especially during detox, and having instant access to professionals who know what to do can make people more comfortable and they will progress through the process safely and as comfortably as possible.

The Main Goals of Inpatient Treatment

The main component of nearly all recovery is psychological therapy. Many types of therapy are usually offered at inpatient centers, more so than can typically be accessed in outpatient programs. Patients respond differently to each type, and may even need different types at various stages of recovery. An effective program is designed to be flexible enough to adapt to the patient’s changing needs such as:

    • Patients who also have psychological disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder, may need separate therapy for those conditions. Dual diagnoses are common among drug and alcohol addicts, and the best program for these individuals will be one that has expertise in treating these issues.
    • People struggling with addiction usually do well when receiving help with therapies directed toward a healthy lifestyle, such as dietary therapy and exercise therapy. Getting the right nutrition, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep make a huge difference for some people.

After completing an inpatient program, patients should continue with their programs by seeing therapists and other professionals while adjusting to being home again. As many as 40 to 60 percent of people relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But this shouldn’t be viewed as failing. It is merely a sign that someone needs to adjust their recovery program.

 

 

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