Before looking at the question of what is addiction treatment, it is important to talk about what addiction is, who it affects and why treatment is so important. There are many individuals across the UK struggling with addiction, but lots of these do not even realise they have an issue. This is often because they have a personal idea of what addiction is.
There is a huge amount of stigma and stereotyping attached to addiction, which can be harmful as it can prevent affected individuals from realising they have a problem that requires treatment. For example, someone who only drinks cider or beer might assume that he or she cannot possibly be an alcoholic because they do not drink spirits or wine. Likewise, someone who only takes prescription medication may believe that he/she could not be a drug addict because they have never used illegal drugs.
The reality is that addiction is not the same for everyone. To understand the question of what is addiction treatment and who needs it, it is important to learn more about it.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is an illness of the brain. It is not a lifestyle choice, despite what many people have been led to believe. Nor is it a consequence of bad behaviour, which is another common misconception. Addiction can refer to any pattern of behaviour that has a negative impact on the life of the affected individual. Drug and alcohol addiction are probably the most well-known, but it is possible to become addicted to certain activities as well, such as shopping, gambling, and sex, for example.
Furthermore, while alcohol and illegal drugs are common causes of substance addictions, they are not the only ones. The reality is that any mood-altering substance can lead to addiction, and this includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, inhalants, solvents, and former legal highs.
Addiction is more to do with the amount of control a person has over his or her use of a substance (or activity) rather than the actual substance. So even those who have never touched an illegal drug, can develop an addiction if they allow their use of mood-altering chemicals to get out of control.
Who Is Affected by Addiction?
The issue of who is affected by addiction is also one that causes controversy. With so many individuals believing that addiction only affects those from poor backgrounds or those of a certain age, many of those who are affected are unable to see the truth of their situation.
It is easy to believe you do not have an addiction if you do not fit the profile of what you think an addict is. The reality, however, is that anyone can be an addict if he or she uses mood-altering substances and allows their use to spiral out of control.
It does not matter how old you are or where you come from; addiction does not discriminate. But while there is no exact cause of addiction in everyone, there are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of some being affected more than others.
These factors include:
- a family history of addiction
- early exposure to mood-altering substances
- a history of mental health problems
While the above risk factors can increase a persons chances of developing addiction, they are not a guarantee that this will happen. There are some people who do not have a single risk factor but still go on to develop an addiction, while others have every risk factor listed above and do not end up with addiction.
Why Is Addiction Rehab Important?
Admitting that addiction is an issue is vital to moving on to treatment. Without accepting addiction, you will be unable to move forward. We know that addiction gets worse without treatment and the longer you are addicted, the more of an impact this illness will have on your life going forward.
In the early days of addiction, health problems are quite minor, but as time goes by, these issues worsen. Many addicts fail to recognise health issues because the chemicals they are taking are numbing the pain or symptoms. It is only when these health issues start to get worse that they are no longer able to ignore them. There are many different health problems associated with addiction and some can be more serious than others. Nevertheless, the sooner you access treatment for your addiction, the less chance there is of developing lasting health problems.
Another area of your life where problems may have manifested is in your relationships with others. It is common for complete breakdown of relationships with family members and friends to occur because of substance abuse and addiction.
The worse your addiction gets, the harder it will be for you to maintain healthy relationships with those around you. You will probably find that the most important thing in your life becomes the substance you are using; everything else will pale into insignificance.
Knowing that they have taken second place to alcohol or drugs can be hard for some family members to understand. They fail to comprehend that their loved one is ill and unable to think clearly. They cannot understand why this person continues to abuse alcohol or drugs when doing so causes so much heartache and pain.
Health and relationship problems are just the tip of the iceberg though when it comes to the damage caused by addiction. It is an illness more than capable of destroying lives. It can lead to unemployment, poverty, crime, homelessness, and premature death if not treated.
What Is Included in the Standard Addiction Programme?
Now you know what addiction is and who it affects, you also know why it is so important to get treated. If you are ready to take the step towards recovery, you will want to know a bit more about addiction treatment and what it is like.
For most, addiction treatment begins with a programme of detoxification. Detox is necessary when there is a physical addiction. The process can take anywhere between one and two weeks. Upon completion, you will have a clear mind and body so that you can start your rehabilitation.
Detox programmes are designed to help the addict break free from his or her physical addiction. When you stop taking drugs or alcohol, you will likely experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, which can be mild to severe in intensity.
While most people will only experience mild to moderate symptoms, there is a risk of more severe symptoms occurring. The type of symptoms, and how severe these are, cannot be predicted but they usually depend on the type of substance you have been abusing and how long for.
In a supervised detox facility, many of the worst symptoms can be headed off with medication or nutritional supplements. Those that do cause discomfort can be eased with appropriate medication.
Which Rehab Programme Is Best?
Addiction treatment does not end when your detox has finished though. Detox is actually just the beginning of the addiction recovery process and it does nothing to address the emotional or psychological issues of the illness.
When considering the question of what is addiction treatment, you will probably hear about rehabilitation and the fact that programmes tend to be either inpatient or outpatient based. You may be curious to know which one is best. The answer to this depends on your circumstances and your requirements. If you have a severe addiction, it might be best to recover in an inpatient clinic where you are removed from your daily life and routine.
In the comfort and safety of a residential clinic you will not have to worry about any distractions or temptations from the outside world. You will be free to get on with your recovery and will have support from fully trained individuals whose only job is to help you get well.
Although inpatient programmes offer the best chance for permanent recovery in the shortest amount of time, they are not for everyone. There are some individuals who would not benefit from such a programme; in fact, some people might find being away from loved ones detrimental to their progress in recovery.
In these circumstances, outpatient programmes are usually the better option. With this type of programme, you will attend regular counselling or therapy sessions before returning home when they finish. This is the best of both worlds for many and, provided they have a strong support network in place at home, there is no reason the addiction cannot be overcome.
The choice of rehab programme might be something that is worrying you; if this is the case, please call us here at UK Rehab. We can provide answers to any questions you might have as well as put you in touch with detox and rehab providers in your area.
If you are ready to get started on a journey towards recovery, please contact us today for free and confidential advice and information.