The illness of addiction is one that many people suffer from around the world. It is also one that is very misunderstood, with many individuals refusing to see it as an illness but more of a moral failing. However, addiction is a recognised illness of the brain and just like any other illness, treatment is available. Where to get addiction treatment is something that many people wonder about. Yes, it is true that treatment for addiction is not as readily available as treatment for other illnesses such as diabetes or cancer, but it is available nonetheless. Many organisations around the UK work hard to make it even more accessible to those who need it. Before getting into the issue of where to get addiction treatment, we will first look at what addiction really is and just who is affected by it.
What Is Addiction?
As already alluded to, addiction is an illness of the brain and one that affects people from all parts of the world. It is important to stress here that when it comes to the word addiction, many are unsure of what it really means. It is a term that is thrown about in casual conversation, with the true meaning lost on most individuals.
For example, addiction is not the same as liking something a lot. Just because a person loves chocolate and eats it every day does not mean that he or she has an addiction. An addiction is actually a pattern of behaviour that causes negative consequences for the individual. If this pattern of behaviour interferes with their everyday life, then it is said to be an addiction.
Addiction is also about control and the lack thereof that a person has. The person addicted to drugs or alcohol will find that he or she has no control over their ability to quit these substances, even if they really want to quit.
Who Is Affected by Addiction?
There are some who believe that addiction is a consequence of poor decision making or bad behaviour and that those affected by it are individuals of questionable moral character. There are even some who have the view that only people from poor or deprived backgrounds are affected by addiction, when this is completely untrue.
The reality is that addiction does not discriminate. It can affect individuals of all ages and from every background. It does not matter how much money a person has or who their parents are; if he or she abuses substances such as alcohol or drugs, there is the risk of addiction.
Nevertheless, not everyone who uses or abuses drugs or alcohol will end up an addict. So what makes some develop an addiction while others do not? Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. If there were, it would be much easier to treat and prevent addiction.
While scientists do not know the exact reason some people become addicts, they do know that there are a number of risk factors that make it more likely that someone will be affected. These factors include:
- Family History Genetics plays a part in determining a persons risk for addiction. For example, those who have a parent with an addiction are said to be four times more likely to be affected themselves when they are older. This could also be attributed to the fact that these children are brought up around substance abuse and are given the impression that it is normal. When are older, they may use substances to cope with a stressful life in the same way their parents did.
- Environment Not only can living with an addicted parent increase the risk of addiction, so too can other environmental factors. Experiences that a person had, the behaviour of their friends, socio-economic status, stress, peer pressure, and quality of life can all increase the risk of addiction.
- Trauma Traumatic experiences often lead individuals to self-medicate with chemical substances. Alcohol and drugs often provide temporary relief to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, for example, or who are trying to block out painful memories of abuse or bullying. There are several types of traumatic experience that can increase a persons risk of addiction. In addition, the more trauma an individual has experienced, the higher his or her risk of addiction.
- Mental Health Problems Alcohol and drugs are also commonly used by those who suffer with various mental health problems such as anxiety disorder and chronic depression. There is a strong link between mental health and substance abuse. Those who already have mental health problems have an elevated risk of addiction because of self-medicating with these substances. Nonetheless, those who find themselves addicted to alcohol or drugs are risking the occurrence of various mental health problems, so the two are intrinsically linked.
- Early Exposure It is said that the earlier a person is exposed to alcohol or drugs, the higher the risk for addiction. The majority of addicts will have had their first drink or drug at an early age.
Where Can You Get Addiction Treatment From?
Addiction can destroy lives if left untreated the good news is that there is no reason for it to be left untreated these days. Help is available for addiction and is provided by many different organisations. Treatments are either free or paid for, and as you might imagine, free services tend to be in huge demand. Below are some of the organisations providing treatment for addiction:
The NHS, as you would expect, provides treatment programmes for those with addiction. However, this is one area where the demand far outweighs the supply. NHS addiction services are heavily underfunded and, as such, usually have long waiting lists for treatment. Most programmes provided by the NHS are outpatient based.
There are numerous addiction-related charities operating around the United Kingdom, and many are run by former addicts who want to do all they can to help others overcome their issues with addiction. As charities also provide free treatment to those who need it, these services are also in huge demand. As with the NHS, most charity treatment programmes are outpatient based. Nevertheless, there are some who offer a small number of residential beds to those in most need.
Local counsellors provide outpatient services and are funded by the NHS or privately by the patient. Patients attend regular counselling sessions and return home afterwards.
Private clinics tend to provide mostly inpatient programmes for those in need of immediate help for addiction. These programmes are typically paid for by the individual or family members, but some accept government funding. There are various levels of luxury provided by private clinics, but most offer intensive treatment programmes over the course of around six to eight weeks. These short but intensive programmes give addicts the chance to immerse themselves in their recovery while not having to deal with the pressures and strains of everyday life.
Local Support Groups
There are some people who manage to get sober and stay sober with the help of a local fellowship group such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. These local support groups hold regular meetings that allow members to share their stories and experiences with each other.
What to Expect from Treatment
You now know where to get addiction treatment but what is it like? This is another question we are often asked here at UK Rehab. Many people who are struggling with addiction know that they need help but do not know where to get it from. Furthermore, they are reluctant to reach out due to being unsure what treatment will mean for them.
Most affected people will require a detox in the first instance. This is the process that will help them quit alcohol or drugs before starting a programme of rehabilitation. It is our view that detox programmes should be carried out in a supervised facility as this is the best way to ensure the safety and comfort of the individual. The risk of complications with a physical detox increases the need for careful supervision; in a dedicated facility, staff have knowledge and experience of the withdrawal procedure.
Detox programmes usually last for between one and two weeks. During that time, the patient can expect to go through a variety of withdrawal symptoms that will be either mild, moderate, or severe in nature. Some will only ever experience one or two mild symptoms while others will go through the whole gamut. Symptoms usually reach a peak after a few days before subsiding. It is impossible to know who will experience what kind of symptoms. This usually depends on the type of substance the person was abusing, how long for, and other factors such as age and overall mental and physical health.
After detox, rehabilitation can begin. Patients have the option of an inpatient or outpatient programme depending on their needs and personal situation. Rehabilitation aims to tackle the issues that caused the addiction in the first place, and most treatment providers will use a combination of treatments and techniques to help the individual overcome his or her illness. This can include individual counselling, peer-to-peer therapy sessions, 12-step work, cognitive behavioural therapy, and family therapy.
For more information on where to get treatment for addiction or for advice about what to expect from each type of programme, contact us today. We can put you in touch with a rehab provider that will suit your own needs and circumstances. Our team of advisors is on standby and will answer any queries you may have about addiction and how to overcome it.