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Drug Addiction Rehab

The term ’drug rehab’ a shortened form of ’drug rehabilitation’ and sometimes simply ’rehab’, refers to the treatment of drug addiction, usually within the confines of an addiction treatment centre on a residential basis. The length of stay required is dependent on the severity and progression of the addiction as well as the programme chosen. Typically, drug addiction treatment programmes range from a few weeks to many months in duration. A person who has been using heroin for twenty years is highly unlikely to be able to address the issues resulting from twenty years of use, let alone deal with any pre-existing issues in a few weeks. Likewise, if a drug abuse problem is identified at an early stage, long-term residential drug rehab treatment is probably not necessary.

There is, we believe, still a great deal of confusion that exists regarding the difference between drug abuse, and drug addiction. To my knowledge, there is no test available that can categorically determine if a person is an ’addict’ as opposed to a drug abuser. What is a fact is that all drug addicts have abused drugs - as all alcoholics have abused alcohol. However, not everyone who abuses drugs or alcohol is, or will become, a drug addict or alcoholic. Therefore, the questions you might be considering could be:

"Am I a drug or alcohol abuser, or am I an addict/alcoholic?"
"Does drug rehab work for people who abuse drugs as it does for addicts?"

The question of whether someone is a drug abuser or an addict, to some extent, is academic. By the time drug rehab becomes a consideration, the user will have reached a point where his/her drug use is causing serious problems. The only questions that need to be answered are:

Do I want to do something about the problems?’
Is drug rehab an option for me?

It is usually the case that people with drug and alcohol related problems have attempted to resolve their problems via various means without success prior to contemplating drug rehab. When this is the case, drug rehab is an option irrespective of whether addiction exists or not.

From a treatment point of view, the addiction versus abuse dilemma can be highly relevant when it comes to deciding which type of drug rehab programmes to consider. For example:

Minnesota Model

The 12 Step or Minnesota Model of drug rehabilitation employs the ’disease concept’ at the heart of its programme of recovery, and as McElrath stated in 1997, ’is inextricably interwoven with the programme, practice and philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)’. The ’disease concept’ states that addicts are actually born with a genetic predisposition towards addictive behaviour. This predisposition, combined with the right (or wrong) environmental factors, produces drug addicts and alcoholics. It is not for me to get into the pros and cons of this paradigm. However, it should be noted that it is necessary for a person to accept that he or she has a disease and as such, has no control, i.e. is ’powerless’ over the disease in order to successfully complete this type of drug rehab programme. It therefore naturally follows that this treatment method requires a person to accept that he is an addict/alcoholic in order to participate.

Social Learning Model

The Social Learning Model proposes that a person learns how to behave by observing other significant people’s behaviour in their environment and imitating that behaviour to effect positive outcomes. When alcohol and drugs are used in this way, the positive reinforcing effects i.e. increased confidence, reduced sense of social anxiety, social acceptance etc, convince the person to repeat the action over and over again. It is this repeated use that eventually produces the negative effects associated with long term drug abuse and by the same, render the user psychologically and or physically addicted to the substance.

Choice Model

This is a very straight forward approach to addiction - people drink or use drugs because they choose to. They could stop if they really wanted to stop but they don’t. Lack of will-power, and moral fibre are the reasons why people get themselves into difficulties with drugs and alcohol.

Treating addiction is by no means an exact science. There is still much to be learned about how the factors contributing to addiction affect some people more than others. However, whether you consider yourself to be an addict or drug user with problems makes no odds. Getting help to deal with your problems should be your only goal.

Drug rehab is not a cure for addiction (there is no cure),but many thousands of people have benefitted from attending rehab by gaining a greater understanding of their condition, themselves and what they need to do to lead productive lives free from ’active’ addiction.

If you would like help in finding the most appropriate addiction treatment for you or a loved one, call 0203 811 5619 day or night.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab

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