Drug Addiction | First Steps to Quit
Addiction is a disease that discriminates against none. It is found in every race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic group across the United States. Those affected by drug addiction often struggle when beginning their journey to recovery and hesitate to get the help that they need largely because they simply do not know where to begin. Even while the process of quitting can be intimating, taking the first steps to recovery is much more simple than it may seem.
Admitting to the Problem
First and foremost, those who suffer from addiction must reach a point in their lives where they can be honest with themselves and those around them in admitting that they have a problem. Addiction does not happen over night, and the slow process by which drugs come to control a person’s life may often leave the drug abuser blind to the fact that he or she has a problem. Here are the most obvious signs of addiction that can be pointed out to an addict to help make them aware of their problem:
- Drug usage interferes with work, family, and personal responsibilities
- Attempts at stopping drug abuse independently are unsuccessful
- Experiencing a loss of control over drug usage
- Changes in the individual’s personality and mood
- Physical changes in the individual’s appearance such as weight loss, sores, and dental issues, among other physical changes
However, even once a drug addict is able to recognize and admit his or her problem, most often professional help is necessary to reach recovery. The next step in quitting drug abuse is finding a recovery program that fits the individual’s needs.
Finding the Right Program
Every person is different, and therefore, his or her road to recovery should be completely individualized. It is important to consider the personality and the needs of each individual addict when deciding on a program. Does he or she require close supervision? Will he or she need transportation to and from treatment daily? Does the individual work and is he or she able to take time off from work for treatment? All of these are issues that should be considered when selecting the right addiction treatment.
Detoxing from a Substance
Some addicts require inpatient admission to safely detox their bodies from the chemical substance. For those who use alcohol or benzodiazepines, this process can even be deadly without medical attention, so it is important for addicts to consult with professionals about whether or not medical supervision is necessary for their safety.
For many addicts, inpatient admission is a way for them to separate themselves from temptation and begin the important process of identifying alternatives to their drug use. For inpatient treatment, individuals are admitted to a rehab program where they undergo group, individual and other types of therapy typically for a 30, 60 or 90 day treatment stay.
While these rehab programs can prove to be very effective for addicts, not all persons with addiction have the luxury of removing themselves from the outside world for such an extended period of time. For such people, outpatient treatment may be a better option.
Outpatient treatment comes in many forms. Typically, individuals who receive outpatient treatment receive intensive outpatient therapy in the form of individual and/or group counseling, substance abuse education, and relapse prevention strategies for several hours each week. For some, medication management may also be a part of his or her outpatient treatment as well. However, there are some individuals with addiction who prefer a different sort of approach to addiction treatment who may want to consider a 12 step program.
12 Step Programs
A 12 Step Program offers those with addiction a more spiritual approach to conquering addiction. While 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous operate independently out of community centers and churches, many inpatient and outpatient programs incorporate elements of the 12 step approach into their treatment programs as well. In a 12 step program, sessions are led by individuals who have recovered from substance abuse and have conquered addiction. Even while many who participate in 12 step programs attest to their success, there are others who do not prefer such programs due to the religiosity of the program.
No matter which path to recovery is chosen, the most important step in quitting is following through with the treatment. An addict must adhere to treatment requirements and dedicate him- or herself to achieving the goal of recovery. Only through admitting the problem, finding a treatment that fits the needs of the addict and following through with treatment can individuals take the steps necessary to quit using substances.
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