Maybe you’ve just come to realize that things have gotten bad, but are things really bad enough to check yourself into rehab? It is important to be aware that you are not alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that an estimated 22.7 million Americans need treatment for a problem with drugs or alcohol. But how do you know when is the time for drug rehab for yourself, or even for a loved one? Having a substance abuse problem does not always mean the person is addicted to drugs. Often times it will get to the point of addiction, before a person decides they want to stop.
It is important for you to know that a substance abuse disorder, or developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol does not mean that you are a bad person. Becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs is not a moral failing. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA) “addiction is a health issue, not a moral issue”. Many people fear judgment they may receive because of the negative stigma that has been associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Please realize that there are millions of others just like you. You just need to know when it is the right time to ask someone for help. Addiction is a disease and much like any other disease, addiction is a treatable one.
Addiction or dependence on substances can be both mental and physical:
You don’t have to develop a dependence, or be addicted to drugs or alcohol to attend rehab. If your substance abuse is causing any negative impacts on your life, it is never too early to ask someone for help. Sometimes it’s easier to see the changes in your life from the outside. Confiding in your close friends or family members is an important indicator to take into consideration when making the decision to attend a rehabilitation facility. If your family and friends are concerned about you, then you probably should be too.
A lot of people who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol will try to quit on their own, without the help of a structured substance abuse treatment program. In most all cases, it is very difficult to break free from substance abuse on your own, especially once a physical or mental dependence on the drug has developed. Getting help from a structured drug rehabilitation program is the most likely way for someone to achieve sobriety.
Denial can become a huge factor and coping mechanism for someone who is struggling with substance abuse. A lot of people who become addicted deny the facts surrounding them, in order to further justify using alcohol and drugs. You may have yourself convinced that you have things under control, or that you can stop at anytime. If your substance use becomes more important than other areas of your life, you likely have a problem. If you find yourself using more and more often or justifying the financial losses, turmoil in your personal relationships or if you’re facing legal troubles, it is likely a good time to consider checking yourself into a drug rehab facility.
Making the decision to seek professional help from a drug rehabilitation center:
It is usually not one earth-shattering, destructive event that may have pushed you to seek rehabilitation from drug or alcohol abuse. For most people who struggle with an addiction, it’s just the day-to-day routine of being constantly under the influence, struggling to find the money to get your next fix, all while trying to hide your problem from your friends and family. Your routine of getting high becomes so exhausting that you finally begin to understand the fact that you need some professional help.
Many will feel trapped by their addiction. They want to change, but don’t know how or they’re too afraid to ask for help. Perhaps they fear that they would become a burden to others, or they’re simply afraid to admit that things have gotten out of control. Most people do not want to admit their weaknesses to others. That is an essential part of our innate human nature. We constantly strive to appear strong, being able to take care of ourselves, even when, deep-down we know we can’t. It’s understandable and honestly, committing to go to a drug rehab is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Many people who are struggling with addiction fear the painful withdrawal symptoms.
If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using, this is a sign you’ve developed a dependence to alcohol or drugs. Perhaps you experience nausea, headaches, insomnia, paranoia or a multitude of other ills when you stop using. This is how addiction holds on to you with a tremendous amount of power and control. A lot of addicts who want to stop using, simply don’t because the withdrawal symptoms can be too painful. These symptoms will only get worse with continued use.
A full medical detox is the first step of the most effective alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs. This can be intimidating and even scary for someone who is a struggling addict. A variety of evidence based, medication assisted treatments are available to help people who struggle with certain types of substance abuse. These medications can assist by easing the withdrawal symptoms during the early stages of a patient’s recovery. Some withdrawal symptoms can turn deadly, especially for people who become addicted to opiates like heroin, prescription drugs like Oxycontin or other opioids. A professional, medical environment is strongly recommended for the initial detox phase.
The best time for drug rehab is right now.
Getting help with substance abuse is never easy for someone to admit, but the problems will only get worse over time. Addiction is a progressive disease, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to finally quit. Addiction can lead you to some dark places in life. Countless people do things they would have never even imagined before they started using. A continued addiction can also bear deadly consequences. In 2017, more than 72,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States. Your family members and loved ones would be devastated if you left this planet because of your addiction. Get help today, pick up the phone and call our treatment center. We are available 24/7, and we want to help you right away.
Although most addictions begin with less direct approaches to drug use, like snorting or smoking drugs, many people who experiment with injecting drugs through needles can develop or strengthen their addictions much sooner.
What is intravenous drug use?
Intravenous (IV) drug use is simply the action of injecting a liquefied substance into the bloodstream directly through a vein with the use of a syringe and needle. When people inject drugs into their system, the result is a rapid and heightened high. Injecting drugs can take as little as 5-10 seconds to feel the effects of the drug. Due to the instantaneous high achieved with intravenous drug use, dependency and addiction can develop rapidly, both physically and psychologically.
Most drugs can be injected using needles, with the exception of marijuana. The most commonly injected drugs are heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, opioid painkillers, barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Typically, a user of these substances does not begin by injecting them. As a user’s dependence and tolerance increases from ingestion or smoking the drug, they may turn to injecting the drug to produce more prominent effects and to feel the high much sooner. When someone begins using drugs intravenously, very few consider the dangerous potential for physical and psychological damage that can occur from IV drug use.
The dangerous consequences of using needles for drugs.
Using a needle to inject drugs can cause numerous health problems for the drug user. These problems range from cardiovascular diseases, infections, scarring and abscesses to other, more deadly consequences like HIV/AIDS and increased likelihood for a drug overdose death.
Intravenous drug use can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and can cause veins to completely collapse over time, rendering the vein permanently useless. Repeated trauma at the injection site will cause blood clots to develop in the vein, which will seal the sides of the vein together, causing a complete collapse.
Drug overdoses and death are common for intravenous drug users. When you are injecting drugs into your body, you are sending the substance directly into the bloodstream, which accelerates the drug from entering the blood-brain barrier. For instance, when you inject a drug it can take anywhere from 5 to thirty seconds to feel the effects. If you were snorting the exact same drug, it could take up to 5 minutes to feel an effect. It is much easier for an IV drug user to overdose as they end up taking more drugs than their bodies can handle. Often times this happens so fast, the user doesn’t even realize they have taken too much, before it is too late.
If you ever suspect someone is overdosing on drugs, it is important to call 911 immediately, as a drug overdose is a medical emergency.
Getting immediate help for someone who has overdosed on drugs could save their lives. In the case of heroin or opioid abuse, Narcan® or naloxone is an opioid overdose reversing agent. Many emergency medical technicians (EMTs), police and fire departments carry naloxone with them at all times. It is also available in 46 states as an over the counter medication. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which can immediately reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose. Even if you have administered naloxone to someone who was experiencing an overdose, it is still highly recommended to call 911 as the effects of the drugs injected could outlast the effects of the naloxone.
Infectious disease risks are increased by sharing needles with other drug users.
Sharing needles with other people can greatly increase the likelihood of exposure to infectious diseases like HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Sadly, many who suffer from a substance use disorder do not take the necessary safety precautions when injecting drugs. HIV is such a high risk for IV drug users because the virus can remain in a used needle for up to 42 days, depending on temperature and other factors.
In an effort to decrease the spread of disease, many localities and charitable organizations have set up needle exchange programs across the United States. These programs aim at not only encouraging people to use sterilized needles to prevent the spread of diseases, but they also aim to reduce the negative stigma associated with drug abuse. Many people who have a substance abuse problem or have become addicted to drugs are afraid to report diseases and other health complications due to the negative stigma associated with their lifestyle. This arguably makes the scourge of drug abuse in America much worse as people become too afraid to ask for help.
Suboxone® is an evidence-based, prescription treatment for opioid addiction and heroin addiction. It is a prescription medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone and has been shown in numerous studies to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms in patients who are beginning their recovery from addiction. These studies also highlight that the medication is beneficial in helping reduce the likelihood of relapse in some patients. Suboxone is known as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which is used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy and other “whole-patient” approaches to treatment.
Suboxone can be an incredibly helpful part of drug rehab, as the United States faces an overwhelming drug overdose crisis.
In 2017 over 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most of these overdose deaths were fueled by an ongoing opioid epidemic that appears to only be getting worse as time goes on. Opioids were linked to 47,600 of these deaths (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths). With the United States battling this epidemic, the need for effective treatment is at an all time high.
The History of Suboxone and buprenorphine.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone® to treat opioid dependence issues in patients in 2002. Because Suboxone is itself an opioid drug, it should only be taken with a prescription from a doctor, under close medical care and supervision at a treatment facility like we provide at More Than Rehab, a Houston, Texas area drug rehab facility.
How does Suboxone work?
Helping to suppress cravings and often painful withdrawal symptoms, Suboxone has the potential to make the process of detox and recovery from opioid addiction much more manageable. Suboxone and buprenorphine have some distinct advantages over other medication assisted treatments like naltrexone or methadone. Suboxone contains both buprenorphine (an opioid partial-antagonist) and naloxone (an opioid antagonist). The buprenorphine will allow the brain to think it is receiving opioids, while the naloxone component blocks the euphoric “high” associated with opioids. These components, in combination will last for about 24 hours. Success rates, as measured by retention in treatment and one-year sobriety have been reported as high as 40-60% in some studies.
At More Than Rehab, we have found this form of treatment to be successful, helping our patients in the Houston, Texas area avoid the painful process of detox and withdrawal from an opioid or heroin addiction.
Since Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist, it will have less of an effect when it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain. This does not produce the same high effects of full opioid antagonists like Oxycontin, hydrocodone, morphine or heroin. For patients taking Suboxone, they may experience a mildly pleasant sensation. However, for someone who had developed a dependence on opioids, most patients describe that they feel ‘normal’ after taking Suboxone. If the patient had been experiencing pain symptoms they may experience mild pain relief. When taken properly, Suboxone or buprenorphine will not get a euphoric high like they would when they took oxycodone or heroin.
Since the effects of the buprenorphine lasts a full 24 hours, if a patient who was using this medication-assisted treatment took a problem opioid like heroin or Oxycontin they would not get their usual high. Buprenorphine sticks to opioid receptors so the other opioids could not get in. This is a major benefit of medication-assisted treatments and will ultimately help prevent relapsing while on the medication.
Since Suboxone is only a partial opioid antagonist, taking more of the drug than was prescribed will not allow the patient to get high, unlike other step-down treatments like methadone. This is called the “ceiling effect”. If Suboxone or buprenorphine was taken in the event of an opioid overdose it would help lower the effect of suppression of breathing from the full opioid.
Suboxone contains Naloxone, which helps to discourage misuse and abuse.
Naloxone is the life-saving drug that can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. By blocking opioid receptors in the brain, it can be used to prevent suppression of breathing, which in the event of an overdose, can be life-saving. The nasal spray version, Narcan® is available as an over-the-counter medication in 46 states. Since the opioid receptors in the brain have a higher affinity for naloxone, they will take the place of any other opioid present in the central nervous system, which can block any further negative effects.
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The presence of naloxone prevents the Suboxone from being crushed or injected and abused like any other opioid. Suboxone is administered sublingually as a film or strip that dissolves under the tongue. If it is used any other way, the naloxone will block the effects of the buprenorphine so the user cannot get high. It was designed this way to prevent misuse or further substance abuse. Only when used as directed will the Suboxone work as intended.
How long should Suboxone treatment last?
The length of use for medication assisted treatment varies greatly and depends on the individual situation. Treatment usually lasts between 1 and 6 months, though in some cases it can be recommended for use over 12 months or longer. As the patient stabilizes, the doctor will decide to taper-off dosage, slowly over time. During this maintenance phase of recovery, you should be monitored closely by a medical addiction treatment professional, as results will vary.
Suboxone and buprenorphine treatment will work best in conjunction with other recovery techniques, like individual and group therapy sessions. To begin a lifetime of sobriety, a comprehensive treatment program is recommended. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to opioids or heroin, please call us today. At More Than Rehab, we want to help make the world a better place, one client at a time. We listen to you, your needs and we will formulate an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve your goal of sobriety. We are available 24/7 and can get the process started, all you have to do is call.
Many people wonder what it is like to work in a drug rehab facility. For most addiction specialists, the career path is a rewarding one. You get to help people rebuild their lives, often times from the bottom, back on up. You know the old saying: “rock bottom is a great place to build a new foundation”. But, what is it really like to work in a drug rehab or detox center? What does the typical workday entail? Many of our clients end up showing a very real, motivated interest to work as an addiction specialist once they complete our program and maintain sobriety for a period of time. We champion this type of attitude, because many people who currently work for drug rehabilitation centers are recovering addicts themselves.
People who work in the field of addiction recovery are often in high demand. With over 70,000 people dying from drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, the need for qualified alcohol and drug abuse counselors will likely remain high for years to come. Also, with increasing government funding and public resources being devoted to helping people who are struggling with addiction, job demand will surely continue to rise. If you choose to work in a drug rehab, the experience will be a highly rewarding one as you will be directly helping people who need your help, literally every single day you go into your workplace.
A variety of career choices are available in the substance abuse treatment sector.
A wide variety of career options exist in the field of drug abuse treatment and relapse prevention. From administrative support to medical detox doctors there is a wide array of possibilities for someone who wants to work in the field of substance abuse treatment. Depending on your qualifications, you potentially have numerous job possibilities available to explore. Some positions in different states have different requirements, but even our rehab center has a maintenance guy. Many treatment centers have a head chef and other support staff which wouldn’t necessarily require a professional medical degree. The first step to seeking a career in addiction and drug abuse treatment is deciding exactly how you would like to help people who suffer from the disease of addiction.
Doctors, therapists and addiction counselors are among the most common careers at a drug rehab center.
A typical addiction counselor will likely be a licensed psychiatrist, or have a master’s degree in counseling. Most master’s programs offer fields of specialization, like one in substance abuse and addiction. Some facilities have medical directors who oversee the detox process and can prescribe medication-assisted treatments (MAT) to help ease the withdrawal symptoms experienced throughout detox and early recovery. Many of these doctors are psychiatrists who specialize in treating mental health disorders. This enables them to look for any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to an addiction. This is typically referred to as a dual diagnosis. The field of psychiatry requires at least 11 years of medical training, usually more.
Psychologists can call themselves doctors if they have a PhD, but they are not medical doctors, meaning that they cannot prescribe medications. Working in a drug rehab center, a psychologist will work to understand the underlying causes of addiction through group and individual therapy sessions. These techniques include cognitive behavioral sessions where the psychologist will teach patients how to cope with withdrawal symptoms and identify triggers associated with their abuse of drugs. The psychologist will also develop a comprehensive relapse prevention strategy for their patients. They can also lead family group therapy sessions where they attempt to heal any broken family relationships.
To become a certified addiction counselor (LCDC) in Texas, the state requires at least an Associate’s degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling, and 4,000 hours of supervised work experience. A full list of requirements can be found at this link: Texas Human Services Guide
Psychiatric nurses, addiction therapy nurses and detox specialists.
Many people will prefer careers that focus on the direct, day to day care of a facility’s patients. These positions focus on personal treatment for the patients as they go through detox, adjust to withdrawal symptoms and they can even administer medications to their patients. These nurses are instrumental in tracking the progress of the treatment, helping make recommendations for continued care. They will often consult the physician on the progress of their individual clients on a daily basis. Throughout their daily routine, nurses and detox specialists try to make the clients feel as safe and comfortable as possible. This is a great job opportunity for a person who wants to feel a direct impact on their client’s lives. Typically, these types of jobs are in the highest demand in the addiction treatment and rehabilitation sector.
Social workers, case managers and sober companions.
Like nurses, these staff members work closely with patients and their families as they transition into and out of treatment. A social worker or case manager is a professional who typically first determines the client’s initial, and individual needs for treatment. They will formulate a plan of action for each client and even work closely with the families of people who are struggling with addiction. A social worker will typically have a Master’s degree in social work.
Sober companions typically help those in recovery transition from inpatient treatment programs, back into their daily routines. Often referred to as “sober coaches” these people can provide around the clock support for someone as they reenter society. They will even come into your home and help you identify potential relapse triggers and make sure there is no more substances or residues you could use to relapse and get high again. These positions can sometimes require certification, but most just ask for experience in managing addiction recovery. This experience can be personal experience, so this is a great position for recovering addicts who want to begin work in the field of substance abuse treatment.
Administrative and support staff.
Another great entry point for someone without the required degrees, certification or schooling is in some sort of administrative support role. This can be anything from answering phone calls at the drug rehab facility, keeping books and financial records for the facility, or doing data entry on patient files. Answering the phones and speaking to prospective clients is a very rewarding process. You get to be the face of the treatment program and you are the first to offer them support in their time of great need.
While working in the field of recovery from addiction may not be for everyone, if you’ve read this far, odds are you are considering going to work at a drug rehab center. We strongly encourage anyone that has a desire to help people to look further into the field of substance abuse treatment and addiction services. The world needs your help. Eight people die per hour, each and every day from drug overdoses in the United States. To combat this, we desperately need more help. Your help.