Millions of people in the UK regularly use drugs – for a variety of reasons. It may be that they are taking them for recreational purposes or to treat medical conditions. Others take them because they have no choice; they have developed a crippling addiction and consequently need treatment to get better. But what is drug treatment and how easy is it to access?
Drug treatment is available in many different forms and from a variety of organisations across the UK. For the most part, it consists of a drug detox to break the physical cycle of abuse followed by rehabilitation to help change destructive thought patterns and behaviours so that a return to drug use in the future is prevented.
Professional counsellors and therapists are fully trained to help those with drug addictions overcome their illnesses. However, despite there being plenty of help available across the country, many people continue to struggle with an illness that is destroying their life. This is often because they either do not realise they have a problem or because they are unaware of how or where to access drug treatment.
Do You Need Drug Treatment?
If your use of illegal drugs or prescription medication is giving you cause for concern, it may be the case that you need help. Maybe you do not actually believe that you have a problem? It is often the case that the family members and friends of an addict can see the issue long before the addict can.
Drugs are chemical substances that cloud the mind and affect judgement. They also hamper the ability to see things clearly, and many addicts are unable to comprehend the extent of their problem or the damage that it is causing.
Before you can even think about the question of what is drug treatment though, you need to establish if you need it. The following questions might help:
- Are you taking illegal drugs?
- Do you use prescription medication?
- Do you use illegal drugs regularly and have you increased your consumption in recent times?
- Are you taking prescription medication that was not prescribed for you?
- Do you take your drug of choice to change how you feel or to help numb painful memories?
- Do you take risks such as driving or going to work after taking your drug of choice?
- Do you feel guilty about your drug use or lie about it to loved ones?
- Have you thought that you should cut down on your drug use?
- Have you tried to cut down without success?
- Has your drug use become more important than your family, your work, your friends?
If you have answered yes to two or more of the above questions, treatment may be necessary. But what is drug treatment and how can you access it? We will look closer at this in the following paragraphs.
What Does Drug Treatment Entail?
If you need help for a drug addiction, you should know that treatment is provided by entities such as the NHS, charities, local counsellors, and private clinics. To achieve permanent sobriety though, you will likely need to consider a comprehensive recovery programme that includes detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare.
Drug detox is the first step on the road to recovery and deals with breaking the cycle of substance abuse. Although a natural process that begins when you stop taking drugs, detoxing from any chemical substance can be complicated and requires careful supervision.
Most people will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms as their body attempts to restore normality after years of drug abuse. These symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe in intensity but in a dedicated facility, the worst of the symptoms can often be prevented.
The way in which you progress through a detox will be determined by several factors including the type of drug you were abusing, how long you were addicted for, and whether you have any underlying medical health issues. It is not possible to tell what type of symptoms you will experience before detox begins or how severe these symptoms will be. This is why most experts agree that detoxing from any chemical substance should be a process that takes place in a supervised facility.
Choosing a Rehab Programme
Once your detox is finished, you will be able to get started on a programme of rehabilitation, which is an essential part of the recovery process. Detox is just the beginning and only addresses the physical element of the addiction. To fully overcome the illness, you must continue with a programme of rehab in either an inpatient or outpatient facility.
The aim of rehab is the same regardless of whether you opt for an inpatient or outpatient programme, but the length of the programme will differ as will how quickly you can access treatment. Most inpatient programmes are provided by private clinics and can be accessed within a few hours of enquiry, if necessary.
When it comes to outpatient programmes though, access is usually delayed due to waiting lists for places. This is because for the most part, outpatient programmes are provided by the NHS and charities that depend on government funding or donations. This can impact their ability to provide immediate access as they are often heavily oversubscribed.
Your choice of treatment provider will depend on how quickly you want to access treatment and how quickly you want to get through rehabilitation. With an inpatient programme, you will stay in the clinic for a period of between six and twelve weeks, after which time you will return to independent sober living with aftercare support to help with recovery maintenance.
With an outpatient programme, you will not stay in the clinic but will attend regular counselling sessions, while continuing with your daily life. This type of programme can last for many months; some continue for a year or more, depending on how many treatment hours you have each week.
Treatments for Drug Addiction
When you enter a rehab programme, you are likely to be given a bespoke treatment plan. This will also include a schedule of treatment that will be followed throughout.
The benefit of bespoke treatment plans is that they are designed specifically with you in mind and are flexible enough that they can be changed if necessary. There is no way to tell exactly what type of treatments your plan will include until you have had an assessment, but it may include some elements of the following:
- Individual Counselling – Individual counselling gives you the chance to meet with a counsellor or therapist on a one-to-one basis to discuss the various issues that may have contributed to your addiction. You will explore your life history to identify the negative thought patterns and behaviours that led to your illness, and you will work with your counsellor to challenge these behaviours and find positive replacements.
- Group Therapy – Group therapy is a massive part of addiction recovery and involves a group of recovering addicts coming together with one or more counsellors to discuss common triggers and temptations to addiction as well as how to develop coping strategies to avoid such behaviours going forward.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a therapy that will give you the opportunity to identify the maladaptive behaviours that have caused you to develop your addiction. The idea is to identify and challenge your behaviours before finding less destructive alternatives that you can reinforce until they become your natural response to certain life situations and challenges.
- 12 Step Therapy – 12-step therapy is based around the principles of fellowship support groups such as AA and NA. Many rehabilitation programmes use this type of therapy as an introduction to fellowship groups, which you can then use as a tool when you leave your rehab programme. Working the 12 steps of sobriety can make your recovery stronger and it is believed by many experts that failure to include it in a programme of recovery can increase the risk of relapse.
- Family Therapy – Family therapy is designed to address the issues within the family unit that may have contributed to your illness as well as helping you and your family members overcome the issues that have arisen as a result of the addiction.
The above is just some of the therapies that may be used during drug treatment. Most bespoke plans include a range of traditional therapies such as those above as well as holistic therapies to help heal the whole person and not just the illness.
Holistic therapies are designed to alleviate stress and improve overall wellbeing and are seen as an effective tool in addiction recovery, particularly when used in conjunction with counselling and therapy techniques. Examples of holistic therapies include:
- tai chi
- music therapy
- art therapy
- equine therapy
- sports and nutrition.
While every clinic will have its own rules and procedures, most will follow a simple pattern when it comes to treating addiction. You can expect your daily routine to include counselling and therapy, holistic treatments, meal times and some free time where you can rest or interact with other patients.
If you would like more information on what is drug treatment or to find out about how to access a programme with Oasis Bradford, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.