What Does Long Term Drug Use Do To Your Body?

When it comes to drug abuse, the main concern is often the immediate health impacts of drug use. However, there are also several long-term effects of drug abuse on various systems in the body. For example, prolonged exposure to certain drugs can cause changes in vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and brain.

These changes can lead to serious health problems like liver disease, liver failure, brain damage, mental illness, heart disease, and in some cases, death. Chronic drug use can increase susceptibility to other diseases like cancer or infections due to suppressed immune function.

This article will take a closer look at some of the more common long-term effects of drug abuse on various systems in the body.

Different Classes of Drugs and Their Long-Term Implications on the Body

There are three types of drugs; depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Each one has a different effect on the body.

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Depressants

Depressants like alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazepines, heroin and other opioids slow down the function of the central nervous system (CNS). Depressants may cause slower reflexes, dizziness, and poor coordination and balance when taken in small quantities.

Large doses may lead to nausea, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. When taken over a long period, depressants may cause changes in brain structure, creating long-term imbalances in hormonal and neuronal systems that are not easily reversed. Other common effects include:

Stimulants

Stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine, and MDMA increase the activity of the central nervous system. In small doses, stimulants may increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure and cause reduced appetite, sleeplessness, and agitation. Large doses may lead to anxiety, paranoia, aggression, panic, stomach cramps, and seizures. Long-term use has been linked to the following:

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens like LSD, ketamine, and magic mushrooms alter a person's perception of reality. They may cause visual and auditory hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, anxiety, and panic. Long-term use has been linked to the following:

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Heart and Circulatory System

One of the most common long-term effects of drug abuse is damage to the heart and circulatory system. Drugs particularly harmful to the heart include stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, which can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure. This strains the heart and can lead to conditions like aneurysms, heart attacks, and death.

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Stimulant use can cause cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarctions, aortic dissection, and endocarditis. In other cases, they may exacerbate pre-existing heart conditions, speeding the heart damage. 

Other drugs like opioids and alcohol can slow heart rate and circulation to dangerous levels. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high heart failure, blood pressure, or stroke. It can also cause cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. Alcohol has also been linked to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Respiratory System

Another common long-term effect of drug abuse is damage to the lungs. This is particularly true for smoked drugs like marijuana, tobacco, and crack cocaine. Repeated exposure to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and promote oxidative stress in the outer lining of the lungs. Over time, this leads to chronic inflammation and scarring, making it more difficult for oxygen to flow through the lungs and into other organs. 

Likewise, drugs like heroin can cause significant damage to lung tissue due to their direct impact on blood vessels. In particular, these substances constrict blood vessels and inhibit oxygen delivery to vital organs like the brain and heart. Drug use has been linked to different respiratory problems, including bronchitis, chronic cough, emphysema, and lung cancer. Inhalation of these drugs can also damage the airways and make breathing difficult.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Brain

Drugs interfere with the normal functioning of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for transmitting signals from one neuron to another. In particular, drugs affect the release of dopamine and other key neurotransmitters that regulate mood, reward processing, decision-making, and movement.

As these chemicals are disrupted by drug use, users can experience various unpleasant side effects, including intense cravings, confusion, altered consciousness, and impaired motor control. Moreover, prolonged drug use can have lasting impacts on brain development, particularly in adolescents and young adults who are still experiencing significant neurological changes throughout their formative years.

Drugs affect the brain in different ways, including:

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Liver

The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, so it's not surprising that drug abuse can significantly impact this vital organ. In particular, drugs like alcohol and heroin can cause liver damage by promoting inflammation and cell death.

Over time, this can lead to cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver cannot function properly. Other drugs, like methamphetamine, can also damage the liver by causing oxidative stress. These changes can lead to liver inflammation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

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Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Kidneys

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and toxins out of the blood. Drug abuse can damage these organs and impair their ability to function properly. In particular, drugs like heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine can cause kidney failure or damage by causing inflammation and oxidative stress. These changes can lead to kidney disease, which can be fatal.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Immune System

Chronic drug use can compromise the body's ability to fight off infections and disease, increasing an individual's susceptibility to illness. In addition, heavy drug use has been linked to conditions like HIV and hepatitis, especially among IV drug users. These conditions can compromise the immune system.

How to Quit Using Drugs

The best way to be healthy again is to quit using drugs. Your body and mind can return to normal when you stop using drugs. However, quitting is often the hardest part. Addiction changes the brain in ways that make it difficult to control cravings and resist the urge to use. 

Withdrawal symptoms also make quitting difficult, as they can be uncomfortable and dangerous. So quitting is often more than just a matter of willpower. It requires a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of addiction as well as other possible health care issues.

That's why it's important to seek professional help when ready to quit. Addiction treatment centers like More Than Rehab provide the support you need to detox safely and overcome your addiction. With the right care, you can get your life back on track and restore your physical and mental health.

 

 

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Why Are Opiates Like Heroin So Addictive? 

Opiates are a class of drugs that include both illegal drugs such as heroin and prescription medications such as morphine and codeine. Made from the poppy plant, these powerful substances work by binding to receptors in the brain, triggering feelings of euphoria and reducing pain.

While opiates have long been used for their therapeutic properties, they are also widely abused for recreational use. In fact, opiates are some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, with heroin addiction rates skyrocketing in recent years.

According to the National Survey in Drug Use and Health 2019 report, 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids. 9.7 million misused prescription pain relievers, and 745,000 people used heroin. Sadly, overdose deaths involving opioids increased from about 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021.

Most of these overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is now often added to street heroin to increase its potency. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, making it extremely dangerous and highly addictive.

Chasing the Heroin High

The powerful effects of heroin are impossible to resist for many people. Once someone takes the drug for the first time, they quickly become hooked on its potent high and find themselves chasing that feeling over and over again. This process is fueled by different aspects of addiction, like withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, and cravings.

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Withdrawal symptoms set in when a person stops using heroin or reduces their dosage. These symptoms can be both mental and physical and vary in intensity. They can include everything from anxiety and irritability to nausea and diarrhea. In some cases, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they lead people back to drug use to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings.

Tolerance occurs when a person needs increasingly larger doses of heroin to get the same effects. As tolerance builds, people start to experience withdrawal symptoms more often, even if they're still using the drug. This can create a never-ending cycle of addiction in which people are constantly chasing that initial high while also trying to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Cravings are another major factor in heroin addiction. These strong desires for the drug can be triggered by anything from seeing drug paraphernalia to hearing someone mention heroin use. Cravings are often so intense that they lead people to use heroin, even when trying to quit.

Ultimately, these factors leave little room for choice or willpower on the part of the person abusing heroin. Instead, they become driven by a compulsion to abuse this dangerous drug in an attempt to recreate that initial euphoric rush again and again.

Understanding Heroin Addiction and How it Happens

At the chemical level, heroin is very similar to opioids like morphine and codeine. Like these drugs, it works by activating opioid receptors in the brain and triggering the release of large amounts of dopamine. This flood of dopamine produces a potent sense of euphoria, which is why so many people are drawn to heroin in the first place.

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However, this intense pleasure also causes addiction to develop and flourish. In the long term, repeated heroin use causes changes in the brain that make it difficult to experience normal feelings of happiness or pleasure without using the drug. This drives people to continue abusing heroin even when they are fully aware of its harmful effects.

In addition, repeated exposure to heroin can lead to tolerance and dependence, both physical and psychological factors that severely complicate the recovery process. Heroin withdrawal issues are persistent and difficult to overcome.

Eventually, one develops an addiction and cannot live without the drug. This is when people start doing things they would never have done before to get their hands on heroin. They may steal from family or friends, lie, cheat, or engage in other illegal activities to get money to buy more drugs. Heroin addiction can happen in less than a week, depending on the frequency of use and purity.

Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction

When most people start abusing opioids like heroin, they assume they're in control and can handle it without getting addicted. But like other mental health issues, substance use disorder can take over a person's life without warning. Some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others, and certain risk factors can make someone more likely to develop a problem with heroin. These include: 

1.    Family history of addiction or mental illness

2.    Childhood trauma or abuse

3.    Previous substance abuse

4.    Mental health disorders like depression or anxiety

5.    A difficult or abusive home life

6.    Peer pressure or a desire to fit in

7.    Access to drugs

8.    Curiosity about drugs

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Treatment is essential if you or someone you love is addicted to opioids like heroin. Opioid addiction is a serious condition that can lead to overdose and death, but there is hope. With the right treatment plan, people can recover from drug addiction and go on to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.

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Heroin addiction treatment often consists of detox, followed by rehabilitation and therapy. Detox is the first step in treatment and involves getting rid of all traces of the drug from the body. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but it is necessary on the road to recovery and long-term sobriety.

After detox, people usually enter a rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation programs can last for 30 days or more, and they typically involve group and individual therapy, support groups, and other activities designed to help people recover from addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common approach used in heroin addiction treatment, as it can help people change the thoughts and behaviors that lead to drug abuse. 

Patients with dual diagnosis, meaning they suffer from both addiction and another mental health disorder, may need to receive treatment for both conditions at the same time. This is because treating one condition without the other can often make relapse prevention difficult.

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug. If you or someone close is struggling with a heroin addiction, More Than Rehab is always there to help. Give us a call. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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5 Signs Your Loved One is Using Illegal Drugs

Drug use is a growing problem in the United States. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), about 50% of Americans aged 12 and older have used illegal drugs at least once. With this shocking trend, it's no wonder many people are worried about their loved ones using illegal drugs.

If you're concerned that your loved one may be using drugs, it's important to identify the instance of abuse early, so you can intervene before it turns into a full-blown addiction. The longer your loved one abuses drugs, the harder it will be for them to quit without experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Long-term drug or alcohol abuse can also lead to serious health problems, like liver damage, heart disease, and brain damage.

How to tell if someone is on drugs

It can be difficult to tell if your loved one is using illegal drugs. However, some warning signs may indicate drug use. If you notice any of the following signs, it's important to talk to your loved one and get them help:

A shift in mood and personality

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One of the most common signs is a dramatic change in mood or personality. This can manifest itself in various ways, from sudden outbursts of anger to withdrawing from social activities. For example, a person who is usually cheerful may become withdrawn and sullen. Or a person who is typically outgoing may become more introverted and subdued.

These changes in behavior may be accompanied by other signs, such as changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or energy level. Drug use can also cause a person to become more impulsive, irritable, or paranoid. If you notice any sudden or dramatic mood swings or changes in personality, it could be a sign that the person is using drugs, and you should take action accordingly.

Behavioral changes

Another common sign of drug use is a change in behavioral health. This can include neglecting responsibilities, engaging in risky behaviors, or exhibiting criminal behavior. For example, a person who suddenly starts skipping work or school, getting into fights, or breaking the law may be using drugs. They may also isolate themselves from friends and family, become withdrawn and outspoken, avoid eye contact, lock doors, borrow money, disappear for extended periods and chew gum to cover up.

Changes in hygiene and appearance

A change in physical appearance can also be a sign of drug use. The reason is that people abusing drugs don't care about their appearance much more than finding the next shot of drugs. They also may be unable to eat or sleep, leading to weight loss.

Besides, drug admission modes like injection can cause visible track marks and infections that can change a person's appearance. As a result, a person may look unkempt, have bloodshot eyes or red eyes, and dilated pupils. They may also look thin and tired; their skin can be pale or odd in color.

Changes in physical health

If someone is using drugs, it can sometimes cause them to have physical health problems. This might include weight loss, frequent sickness, mouth sores, runny nose, etc. That's because drug use can lead to a weakened immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infection.

Drug use can also lead to accidents or injuries that result in bruises and skin abrasions. But the most obvious physical sign of drug use is slurred speech, like when a person's words are jumbled or they have difficulty speaking. This happens because drugs can slow down the body's central nervous system.

Recognize paraphernalia

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Last but not least, if you see any drug paraphernalia, it's a sure sign that the person is using drugs. This includes pipes, syringes, rolling papers, lighters, and roach clips. Drug paraphernalia is often used to store, prepare, and consume drugs.

So, if you see any of these items lying around it's a good indicator that the person is using drugs. You can find paraphernalia in your loved one's room, car, or even on their body.

Tips when looking for signs of drug use

People who abuse drugs won't make it obvious that they're doing so. In fact, they will often try to hide their drug use from others. So it's important to be vigilant and look for the subtle signs of drug use. Here are some tips:

Talk face-to-face with a loved one

When your loved one comes home, take some time to talk with them face-to-face. This will give you a better opportunity to look for any signs of drug use, such as changes in appearance or dilated pupils. You might also catch some smell of drugs like marijuana, alcohol, or tobacco.

Observe their behavior

Are they more withdrawn than usual? Do they seem more tired or have less energy? Have they been skipping work or school? Are they engaging in risky behaviors? Do they have any mental health disorders? These are all potential signs of drug use.

Listen to what they say

Do they avoid eye contact when talking to you? Do they make excuses for their behavior? Do they seem paranoid or anxious? These could all be signs that they are using drugs.

Trust your gut

If something doesn't feel right, trust your gut instinct. If you think your loved one is using drugs, there's a good chance they are.

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Search their spaces

If you suspect your loved one is using drugs, it's important to search their personal spaces, such as their room, car, or locker. Check the drawers, wardrobe, inside prescription drugs containers, in a plant, under the bed or sofa, between books, inside containers, candy bags, etc. Most drug users hide drugs or paraphernalia in such places.

Check their phone

Nowadays, people use their phones for everything. So it's not surprising that drug users also use their phones to keep track of their drug supply and contact dealers. If you have access to your loved one's phone, check it for any suspicious texts or calls. You can also look for apps associated with drugs, such as those used to buy or sell drugs.

Drug use can be difficult to spot, but there are some warning signs to look out for. If you think your loved one is using illegal drugs, take action and talk to them about it. If they are unwilling to get help, you can reach out to a professional addiction treatment center for help.

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What Drugs Are Tranquilizers? How Are They Abused?

If you don’t mind the risk of having a panic attack, the new Netflix show "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is a chilling account of the Milwaukee cannibal's crimes. It outlines his horrific behavior while revisiting the heinous crimes. Dahmer would lure his unsuspecting victims back to his home or hotel and drug them using tranquilizer drugs like Triazolam and temazepam. These drugs were an unusual but regular part of his killing routine. 

Dahmer would drug his victims first and kill them while they lay unconscious. He would then perform sexual acts with the corpse, eat some of their body parts and preserve others, like genitalia, head, skull, skeleton, etc. In total, Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 victims between 1978 and 1991. A majority of them were young, gay men.

He Used Tranquilizers Like Triazolam to Drug His Victims

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In the first episode of the 10-episode Netflix series, Jeff takes Tracy Edwards home and hands him the spiked drink. He uses Halcion (Triazolam), a prescription drug that his doctor had prescribed to help with his sleeping issues, to sedate Tracy. A few moments later, Tracy gets groggy and compliant, making it easier for Dahmer to commit his gruesome crimes. But luckily, Tracy Edwards managed to escape and notify the authorities.

How do Sedatives and Tranquilizers Work?

Tranquilizers are a class of drugs that are typically used to treat a range of mental health issues like anxiety disorders, insomnia, etc. They are classified as:

Tranquilizers work by affecting the central nervous system, which helps to slow down the body's response to stress. When used properly, these drugs are generally safe and effective. However, they can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.

Tranquilizers should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. They should also never be combined with alcohol or other drugs, as this can create a dangerous reaction.

But like millions of other Americans, Dahmer misused his prescription sedatives - not on himself but on his victims. This ultimately led to the horrific murders for which he is now infamous. Larger doses of tranquilizers can lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Dahmer was later arrested and convicted of the 16 murders he committed. He was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment but died on Nov 28, 1994, after being beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

Prescription Sedatives and Tranquilizers

In addition to Triazolam, other types of sedatives and tranquilizers used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders include:

Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed type of tranquilizer. They work by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Examples of benzodiazepines include:

Barbiturates are sleep-inducing sedative drugs made from barbituric acid. They include drugs like:

Hypnotic drugs or sleeping pills are often prescribed to patients with sleep issues. They work differently on the brain compared to other drugs listed above. Examples of hypnotic drugs include:

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Side Effects of Tranquilizers

The side effects of tranquilizers can include:

Tranquilizer Abuse

According to SAMHSA, about 6.1 million people misused prescription tranquilizers in the past year, constituting 2.3% of the population aged 12+.

People abuse tranquilizers for a variety of reasons. For some, the sedative effects of the medication can provide a sense of relaxation or euphoria. Others may use tranquilizers to self-medicate underlying mental health conditions such as depression or PTSD.

Some people may also abuse tranquilizers in combination with other drugs or alcohol to magnify the effects. Xylazine is a good example of how people abuse tranquilizers.

People are adding a drug called Xylazine to street drugs, making them more deadly.

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Another recent news story has highlighted the dangers of mixing Xylazine with street drugs. According to reports, the tranquilizer drug is increasingly added to street drugs like cocaine and meth, making them more deadly.

Xylazine, or "Tranq" is a veterinary anesthetic that is also used as a sedative in humans. Like other tranquilizers, it slows down the central nervous system, causing drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of coordination. When combined with street drugs, the effects of Xylazine can be even more dangerous. The drug can cause respiratory depression, seizures, and even death.

The spike in Xylazine use was first reported in some parts of Puerto Rico, followed by Philadelphia, where it was found in 91% of opioid samples in 2021. Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) found the drug in 28% of tested drug samples. But some areas of Massachusetts had Xylazine in 50%-75% of samples.

Sadly, as the rate of Xylazine surge, so does overdose rates. A 2015 study of 10 states and cities only found Xylazine in 1% of overdose deaths. However, the percentage increased to 6.7% in 2020 when the country hit a new record for overdose deaths. A year later, in 2021, the record was broken with over 107,000 deaths.

Addiction Treatment at More Than Rehab

If you are struggling with addiction to tranquilizers, it is best to seek addiction treatment. Treatment centers like More Than Rehab offer comprehensive addiction treatment programs to help you recover from addiction and live a sober life.

At More Than Rehab, we offer a variety of treatment options, including inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) programs. This makes it easy to find something that works for you. We also have a detox program to help you safely and comfortably detox from tranquilizers. Don't wait to get help, contact us today. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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Why is Addiction So Hard to Overcome?

Most people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to do so. In reality, addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. 

People with an addiction may feel compulsively driven to seek and use drugs even though they know the substance is causing them damage. They may want to stop using but feel powerless to do so. Over time, continued substance abuse changes how the brain functions, which can drive an increased need for the drug. These brain changes can be long-lasting and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people with substance use disorders. 

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain's decision-making center. It is characterized by compulsive drug seeking despite negative consequences. People with addiction often feel unable to control their drug use and continue using despite the harm it causes.

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People who become addicted to drugs often start using substances recreationally or to cope with underlying mental health issues. They may not understand the risks involved and how quickly addiction can develop. Tolerance to drugs builds up quickly, meaning that larger and larger doses are needed to get the same effect. As drug use escalates, so do the risks for negative consequences, including addiction.

Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not as easy. One cannot just snap out of it; attempting to quit cold turkey could lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In fact, many addicts will go back to using because the withdrawal symptoms are too difficult to bear.

Why Do Some People Develop Drug Addictions?

Most experts agree that addiction is not caused by a single factor but is instead the result of a combination of genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors. Addiction can also be due to psychological reasons. This means that some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others, even if they're exposed to the same risk factors. 

But just because someone has one or more of these risk factors doesn't mean they will necessarily develop an addiction. Likewise, not having any risk factors doesn't mean someone won't become addicted. Still, the more risk factors a person has, the greater their chance of developing an addiction. 

Psychological Reasons for Addiction 

People with mental issues like anxiety, depression, ADHD, guilt, shame, or bipolar disorder are more likely to turn to drugs as a form of self-medication. Drugs tend to temporarily relieve the symptoms of these underlying mental disorders.

For example, people with anxiety may use marijuana to relax, while someone with depression may temporarily use stimulants to feel happier. However, using drugs in this way can lead to addiction and make the underlying mental disorder worse.

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Biochemical Reasons for Addiction

When someone uses drugs or drinks alcohol, it triggers a dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that is associated with pleasure and rewards, and it helps to reinforce certain behaviors. As a result, the person feels good when they use drugs or drink alcohol and is more likely to repeat the behavior.

Over time, the brain's reward system becomes less sensitive to dopamine, and the person needs to use more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same level of pleasure. This can lead to biochemical addiction, as the person cannot control their use despite negative consequences.

Environmental Reasons for Addiction

Exposure to alcohol and drugs at an early age can increase the risk of developing an addiction later in life. This is because the developing brain is more susceptible to the effects of drugs and alcohol.

In addition, stress and trauma can also lead to addiction. People who cannot cope with their problems may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. These environmental factors can greatly increase the risk of developing an addiction.

The Challenge of Beating a Drug Addiction

Addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. It is a complex condition that can profoundly impact every aspect of an individual's life. Despite the challenges, it is important to remember that addiction is treatable and recovery is possible. Beating addiction is hard, but it is not impossible. 

There are several reasons why overcoming addiction is so difficult.

  1. First and foremost, addiction changes the way the brain functions. Repeated drug abuse alters the brain's circuitry, making it difficult to stop using even when an individual wants to.
  2. Additionally, addiction can lead to physical dependence, meaning that the body becomes accustomed to functioning with the drug and begins to experience withdrawal symptoms when it is not present. These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant, making it difficult for someone to stay sober for any time.
  3. Finally, addiction often co-occurs with other mental health problems, which can complicate treatment and make a recovery all the more difficult. 

Despite the challenges, however, treatment is possible, and many people do go on to lead healthy, drug-free lives.

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How to Overcome Addiction

Overcoming addiction requires a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of addiction, as well as the addict's individual needs. Treatment should be tailored to each person and may include detoxification, therapy, and relapse prevention.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction, as each person’s experience is unique. However, certain principles are essential for all successful treatment programs. These principles include:

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don't give up hope. Help is available, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. With treatment and support, it is possible to recover and lead healthy, drug-free lives.

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Can You Get Treatment For A Xanax Addiction?

Xanax is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs are some of the most commonly abused substances in the world. They're also responsible for a high number of emergency rooms visit across the United States. Benzodiazepines slow down the nervous system and have a calming effect on the user. Xanax is typically prescribed to treat medical conditions like anxiety and panic disorders, but it is also commonly abused for its calming and relaxation effects.

Warning Signs of Xanax Abuse

Many people use Xanax as directed by their doctor to treat anxiety or panic disorders. However, some people misuse or abuse Xanax, which can lead to serious consequences. Warning signs of Xanax addiction:

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People who abuse prescription drugs like Xanax may crush and snort the pills or mix them with alcohol or other drugs. Mixing Xanax with other drugs can be dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose and other serious side effects.

Side Effects of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse can lead to physical, mental, and behavioral health problems. Some of the most common side effects of Xanax abuse include:

Xanax can also cause severe or rare side effects like:

 

How Addiction to Xanax Happens

People who abuse Xanax may start taking the drug as prescribed by their doctor. However, over time they may begin to take more of the drug than prescribed, or take it more often. They may continue to use the drug even when it is no longer needed. This can lead to addiction.

Xanax binds to the brain's GABA receptors and increases the level of the neurotransmitter GABA. This results in feelings of calm and relaxation. However, when people take Xanax regularly, they build up a tolerance for the drug. This means they need to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect.

As their tolerance builds, so does their dependence on the drug. And as their dependence grows, so does their risk of developing an addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone dependent on Xanax stops taking the medication cold turkey.

These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sweating, shaking, and seizures. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, help is available.

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Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

For those seeking treatment there are different Xanax addiction treatment options available. These treatments can be tailored to the individual's needs. Some of the most common options include:

Therapy and Group Support

Therapy provides a safe space for people to process their feelings and work through any underlying mental health issues contributing to their addiction. There are different types of therapies available, such as:

Other Medications

Many other medications can be used for the treatment of Xanax addiction. These include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Each of these medications can help to ease the symptoms of Xanax addiction and allow the person to better cope with withdrawal.

Antipsychotics can help to reduce paranoia and delusions, while antidepressants can help to ease depression and anxiety. Mood stabilizers can help to even out mood swings and reduce irritability. These medications can be used with therapy and counseling to provide the most effective treatment for Xanax addiction.

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Medication Tapering

Medication tapering is a process whereby the dosage of a medication is slowly reduced over time, helping to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This approach can be used for Xanax addiction and has been shown to be effective in helping people overcome their dependence on the drug. The first step is to work with a doctor or other professional to create a tapering schedule.

This schedule will start with a high dose of Xanax and gradually reduce the amount over time. The goal is to eventually reach a point where the person is no longer taking any Xanax at all. The process can be difficult, but it is often successful in helping people break free from their addiction.

Get Help for your Xanax Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Many treatment options are available, and the sooner you seek help, the better. Don't wait to get help. Start your journey to recovery from addiction today.

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Do Harm Reduction Efforts Actually Lower Addiction Rates?

In recent years, there has been a growing movement in the United States to adopt harm reduction strategies when it comes to drug addiction and overdose. Harm reduction is a public health approach that focuses on reducing the negative consequences of risky behaviors rather than on eliminating the behaviors themselves. Proponents of harm reduction argue that this approach is more realistic and effective than traditional approaches that focus on abstinence.

There is some evidence to support this claim. For example, a study of needle exchange programs in the United States found that these programs were associated with lower rates of HIV/HSV infections among injection drug users. Another study by SAMHSA notes that these programs save lives by being accessible and available in a way that underlines the need for compassion and humility toward people who use drugs. 

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SAMHSA adds that harm reduction programs provide access to treatment, social services, and health care. They reduce chronic diseases such as HIV/HCV, overdose deaths, and acute life-threatening infections related to unsterile drug injection.

However, it is important to note that harm reduction efforts alone are not enough to address the underlying causes of addiction; they must be part of a comprehensive strategy that includes prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Nevertheless, harm reduction programs can play an important role in saving lives and reducing the harms associated with drug use.

What is Harm Reduction, and what are its Goals?

Harm reduction is a public health approach that seeks to minimize the harms associated with harmful behaviors. It is rooted in the belief that people have the right to make their own choices about their health and well-being and that everyone has the potential to reduce the harms they experience.

Harm reduction approaches provide a non-judgmental way to connect people with services and support. By focusing on reducing harm rather than on eliminating risk, harm reduction provides a more realistic and achievable goal for many people. As a result, it has the potential to improve individual and population health outcomes. The principles of harm reduction include:

·       Respect for autonomy: People should be free to choose their health and well-being without coercion or judgment.

·       Meeting people where they are: Services and support should be tailored to meet the needs of each individual, based on their unique circumstances.

·       Harm reduction is not abstinence: The focus is on reducing harm, not eliminating all risk.

·       Harm reduction is pragmatic: It recognizes that people will engage in risky behaviors and seeks to minimize the associated harm.

·       Harm reduction is evidence-based: It is based on the best available evidence rather than ideology. Harm Reduction Programs and Services A variety of harm reduction strategies can be employed to achieve the goals.

Some common harm reduction strategies include:

Needle Exchange Programs

Needle exchange programs provide clean needles and syringes to people who inject drugs to reduce the risk of HIV, AIDS and other blood-borne diseases. These programs also provide other services such as counseling, referrals to addiction treatment and recovery services, and access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose.

Nearly three-decade of research has shown that these programs were associated with lower rates of HIV, hepatitis, and other infections. The research also found that SSP users are 5x more likely to enter drug treatment and about 3x more likely to stop using drugs than those who don't use the programs.

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The Use of Federal Funding to Purchase Fentanyl Strips

Fentanyl strips test for the presence of fentanyl in drugs. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than heroin. It is often mixed with other drugs without the user's knowledge, which can lead to accidental overdoses.

Drug checking with fentanyl strips can reduce this. The US government has funded states and localities to purchase fentanyl strips as a harm reduction measure. The strips can be used to test drugs for the presence of fentanyl, which can help users make informed decisions about whether or not to use them.

Providing Safer Consumption Spaces

Safer consumption spaces are places where people can consume drugs under the supervision of trained staff. These spaces can provide various services, including access to clean needles and syringes, naloxone, counseling, and referrals to addiction treatment and recovery services. They also educate individuals on how to reduce substance use and drug-related harm and curb the spread of infectious diseases. Today, over 66 safe consumption spaces are operating with the approval of law enforcement worldwide, including in Europe, Canada, and Australia. 

Increasing Access to Opioid Overdose Reversal Treatments

Opioid overdose reversal treatments, such as Narcan® or naloxone, can save lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a medication that can be administered by injection or nasal spray, and it is available without a prescription in many states. Many states have implemented standing orders programs, which allow health care providers to prescribe naloxone to people who may be at risk of overdosing. The drugs can also be issued to friends and family members of people who use opioids.

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Naloxone used to block the effects of opioids medication Oxycodone Morphine to save life in emergency case

Know Your Source

Know Your Source is a harm reduction program in Vancouver, Canada, that provides information about the purity and potency of drugs to users. The program also encourages users to inject slowly, use in the presence of a sober friend and be aware of the early signs of overdose and how to use naloxone. 

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a harm reduction approach that combines behavioral therapy with medications to treat substance use disorders. MAT is used to treat opioid addiction and effectively reduces the risk of overdose and death.

These are just a few examples of harm reduction programs and services that can be employed to reduce the risks associated with substance use. Many other harm reduction strategies can be used, and the best approach will vary depending on the community's needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, resources are available to help. Treatment and recovery services can provide the support you need to overcome addiction and build a healthier, happier life.

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What is the Cost of Alcohol Rehab?

Approximately 21 Million people in the United States struggle with alcohol addiction in America every year. If you or a loved one is among them, you may wonder what the cost of alcohol rehab programs are.

The cost of alcohol rehab can range from free and low-cost programs to expensive inpatient treatment. This variation is due to aspects like the level of care, type of treatment, length of stay, and whether insurance will cover any or all of the costs.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Rehab

The cost of alcohol rehab can depend on several factors, including:

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Let's look at some of the different types of alcohol rehab and their average costs, as indicated by the National Drug Helpline.

Day Drug Detox Cost

If you struggle with mild to moderate alcohol addiction, you may only require a short detoxification period followed by outpatient treatment. If this is the case, the cost of alcohol rehab will be lower. The cost of a day of drug detox is about $250-$800.

3-Month Outpatient Care Cost

If you have a more severe addiction, you will likely require outpatient care for 3 months or more. The cost of outpatient alcohol rehab can range from $1,400 – $10,000.

30-Day Intensive Outpatient Program Cost

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a type of outpatient care that is more intense than traditional outpatient care. It typically requires 3-5 days of treatment per week for 4-6 hours each day. The cost of an intensive outpatient program can range from $3,000 – $10,000 for 30 days.

Residential Treatment Cost

If you require more intensive treatment than an outpatient program can offer, you may need to enter a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs provide 24-hour care and supervision in a setting that is removed from triggers and temptations. The cost of residential treatment can range from $5,000 – $80,000 for 30 days.

Sober Living Cost

After you have completed a residential treatment program, you may choose to live in a sober living environment. Sober living homes provide a safe and structured environment for people in recovery. The cost of sober living can range from $500 – $5,000 per month.

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The Cost of Alcohol Addiction Treatment with Insurance

While many different treatment options are available, many people struggling with alcohol use disorder are deterred by the cost of rehab. Fortunately, most health insurance plans, including Medicaid, Medicare, military, and state-financed health insurance, now cover alcohol addiction treatment. Here is how it works:

Most insurance plans will cover some or all of the cost of detoxification, which is the first step in alcohol addiction treatment. Detoxification can be done in a hospital or outpatient setting and typically lasts a few days to a week. During this time, medical staff will monitor patients closely and give medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms.

After detoxification, patients will typically participate in an intensive outpatient or residential treatment program. These programs typically last 30 days and provide 24-hour support and supervision. Patients will participate in individual and group therapy sessions and activities designed to promote recovery. The cost of these programs varies depending on the level of care required; however, most insurance plans will cover at least a portion of the cost.

Alcohol addiction treatment can be expensive; however, insurance coverage can make it more affordable. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, it is important to check with your insurance provider to see what coverage is available.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment without Insurance

If you do not have health insurance, or if your insurance does not cover alcohol addiction treatment, options are still available. Many treatment centers offer sliding-scale fees based on a person's ability to pay. Sliding scale fees allow people to pay what they can afford, making treatment more affordable.

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There are also many state-funded alcohol addiction treatment programs available. For example, the California Department of Health Services offers a variety of treatment options for people struggling with alcoholism. Other states do the same too.

These programs are typically free or low-cost and can be an excellent option for those without insurance. To find out what is available in your area, you can contact your local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) chapter or the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

Alternatively, you can apply for scholarships or grants to help offset the cost of treatment. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers a variety of scholarships and grants for people struggling with alcoholism. Some high-end rehabs also have scholarship beds for people who can’t afford them.

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, there is help available. Many treatment options are available, regardless of your insurance coverage or financial situation.

Get Help for your Addiction

In conclusion, alcohol addiction treatment can be costly; however, many options are available to help make it more affordable. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, please reach out for help. Some people care and are ready to help you on your journey to recovery.

What Are the Most Popular Drugs Used at Music Festivals?

Drug use is rampant at music festivals due to the carefree atmosphere and the availability of drugs. Many people view drug use as a part of the festival experience and feel that it enhances the music and the overall atmosphere. The overall atmosphere of festivals can make it difficult to “dance safe.”

However, drug use can also lead to negative consequences, such as bad trips, overdoses, and arrests. According to the National Institute on Drug Use, drug use can also trigger or worsen mental health disorders. As a result, individuals need to be aware of the risks associated with drug use before they choose to use drugs at a music festival. Health care is not and should not be top-of-mind when attending a music festival but drug use makes future health care issues a problem.

Popular Drugs Used At Festivals

According to a Drugabuse.com study of 976 people in the United States, 53% of those attending live music events admitted to using illicit drugs or alcohol, with more than 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% of festival goers used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who each used hallucinogens or MDMA.

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Here are some of the most popular drugs used at music festivals:

Each of these drugs produces different effects, depending on the individual's physiology, the dose taken, and the person's state of mind. While some people may enjoy the effects of these drugs, others may find them uncomfortable or frightening. Keep in mind that each person reacts differently to drugs, so it is important to be cautious when taking any substance.

Most Intoxicated Live Music Event Genres

The study by drugabuse.com also found that festival goers abused drugs or alcohol more in some music event genres than in others.

In the study, EDM, heavy metal, and alternative music events had the highest percentage of people who drank alcohol or used drugs, with 67.5%, 52.2%, and 60.6%, respectively. Indie rock and reggae were also found to be relatively high on the list, with 60.2% and 60.0% of respondents saying they had used alcohol or drugs in the events. Classical and Rock music events had the lowest, with 39.8% and 39.6%.

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Consumption at Concerts

Here is a quick look at consumption at concerts per substance, according to Drugabuse.com

Popular Substance at EventsPrevalence in Music EventsPercentage
AlcoholAlternateHeavy MetalEDM  57.6%56.2%54.9%
MarijuanaReggaeHip-Hop/RapEDM33.3%29.6%29.3%
MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)EDMReggaeIndie Rock25.6%4.8%3.0%
HallucinogensEDMIndie RockHeavy Metal9.8%4.8%3.8%
CocaineEDMHip-Hop/RapBlues8.5%3.3%2.9%
OpioidsHip-Hop/RapEDMReggae2.6%2.4%2.4%

Why Do People Use Drugs at Festivals?

While the use of drugs is certainly not limited to festivals, several factors can contribute to drug use at these events.

Anonymity

The anonymous and often crowded nature of festivals can make it easier for people to buy and use drugs without being detected.

Availability of Drugs

The availability of drugs at festivals is usually higher than at other events, as dealers know that there will be a demand for their products. Besides, things like alcohol are often heavily promoted in such events since manufacturers usually sponsor.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often a factor, as people feel pressured to conform to the behaviors of those around them.

Just for Fun

Many people use drugs as a way to let loose and have fun. The relaxed atmosphere of a festival can make it seem like an ideal time to try new things. Others use drugs to try to stay awake and not miss out.

Enhance the Experience

For some people, taking drugs is also a way to enhance their music experience. Certain substances can cause colors and sounds to seem more intense, leading to a more immersive and enjoyable experience.

Makes Sharing Space Easier

Drug use can make sharing space with large groups of people easier. In crowded environments, drugs can help to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of social connectedness.

Some people also use drugs to self-medicate, relieving anxiety or boredom. However, it is important to remember that drug use comes with risks. Overdosing or mixing drugs can lead to serious health problems and even death.

Dangers of Using Drugs at Music Festivals

Drug use is common at these events and can lead to serious side effects. Ecstasy, for example, can cause dehydration, overheating, and heart problems. Club drugs like ketamine and GHB can cause vomiting, hallucinations, and blackouts. And marijuana use can impair your judgment and coordination.

There's also a risk of combining drugs in dangerous ways. For example, one might drink alcohol to quench the thirst from ecstasy use. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, such mixing masks the impact of ecstasy and can lead to accidental overdose and death.

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There are also increasing cases of drugs being cut with other substances, which can make them more potent and dangerous. For example, cocaine may be cut with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be deadly even in small amounts. MDMA may be cut with n-ethylpentylone, a psychoactive drug linked to adverse effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

In addition, drugs like MDMA can cause dehydration and overheating, which can be dangerous in a crowded and chaotic environment like a music festival. Because of the drug-related harm involved, it is important to be aware of the dangers of using drugs at music festivals and ensure that you stay safe if you attend one of these events.

Ways to Stay Safe At Music Festivals

If you choose to use drugs at a music festival, you can utilize some harm reduction approaches to reduce the risks.

How to Attend a Music Concert Without Participating in the Substance Use Culture

Just because substance abuse is common at music festivals doesn't mean you have to participate. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these events without using drugs or alcohol. You can choose to attend smaller, local events that may be less likely to involve drug use. Alternatively, you can look for festivals that focus on specific genres of music, such as jazz or folk, which tend to attract a more mature crowd.

You can also take steps to create a drug-free environment at a festival. If you're camping, for example, you can choose to stay in a designated sober camping area. And if you see someone who looks like they're struggling, don't be afraid to reach out and offer help.

Music festivals can be a great way to enjoy your favorite artists and explore new genres of music. But it's important to be aware of the risks of drug use at these events. By being informed and taking precautions, you can stay safe and have a great time without putting yourself, and public health at risk.

What Happens During A Full Medical Detox From Drugs?

The first and most important treatment step for those struggling with addiction is a medical detox. During detox, the body is cleansed of all traces of the addictive substance, and any withdrawal symptoms are monitored and managed by medical professionals.

Detox helps to break the physical dependence on a substance and provides a safe and supportive environment for those in early recovery. Detox can also help to identify any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the addiction.

After detox, patients can begin to focus on the psychological, social, and behavioral health issues surrounding addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Without detox, it would be much harder for those struggling with addiction to get the help they need.

What is a Medical Detox?

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Medical detox is a process in which the body is cleansed of drugs or alcohol under the supervision of medical professionals. Medical detox aims to make the withdrawal process as comfortable and safe as possible. This is typically done through medication, close monitoring, and support from counselors and other professionals.

Medical detox can be an important first step in recovery, as it reduces the likelihood of immediate relapse and makes it easier for patients to focus on their recovery effort. However, it is not a substitute for comprehensive substance abuse treatment, rather it should be considered an important first step to recovery. Patients who undergo medically-managed detox programs should be transitioned to a rehab program or another form of treatment as soon as possible.

Why is Medical Detox Important?

Substance abuse changes the brain in many ways, altering its chemistry and making it increasingly difficult to control impulses. Continued use can cause addiction as the body craves those substances and starts to function more normally in the presence of the drug than without it.

At this point, any attempt to stop using can leave one feeling sick (also known as withdrawal symptoms). These symptoms can be severe or even life-threatening for some substances like alcohol or benzodiazepines. For example, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can cause delirium tremens (DTs), a deadly syndrome that, if left untreated, can cause impaired consciousness, hallucinations, profound confusion, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, etc.

For other substances, the symptoms may be uncomfortable enough to cause relapse. Opioids, for example, trigger flu-like symptoms that are so severe and can push one back to using to feel better. 

Therefore, cold turkey is not the best option, and slowly tapering off the substance with the help of a medical professional is a better path. Drug detox provides a supervised setting where patients can safely detoxify from substances while receiving important medical care. It can also help manage the effects of withdrawal and make the process as safe and comfortable as possible.

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Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and usually begin within 6-12 hours after your last drink. Common symptoms include:

More severe symptoms can include seizures, racing heart, hallucinations, and delusions. If you experience any of these side effects, it's important to seek medical help right away. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, but with professional help you can safely detox from alcohol and begin your road to recovery.

What medications are provided?

Medications are often used during detox to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The most common types of medications used include:

Medications can be an important part of detox, but they should be used under the supervision of a medical professional. Withdrawal and cravings can be difficult to manage on your own, but with the help of medication, you can safely detox from drugs or alcohol.

When is Medical Detox Necessary?

When it comes to substance abuse, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when detoxification is necessary. The decision should be made based on some factors, including:

If you have experienced withdrawal symptoms in the past or if you are currently experiencing any physical health problems, detoxification may be necessary to stop drinking safely. In general, however, detoxification is not always necessary when discontinuing alcohol use. Speak with a healthcare professional to determine whether detox is right for you.

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What Happens After a Medical Detox?

Medical detox is just the first step in overcoming addiction. To achieve long-term sobriety, patients must receive treatment at a rehab facility or any other treatment program. Patients who undergo medical detox should transition to a rehab program, which can include inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient rehab requires patients to live at the facility while receiving around-the-clock care, while outpatient treatment allows them to continue living at home while attending regular therapy sessions. Both these treatments use an evidence-based approach to addiction that addresses specific aspects of drug addiction and its impacts on the individual, family, and society.

By receiving continuous care at a detox center, patients will likely stay sober in the long run. Rehab facilities also provide additional resources, such as support groups and 12-step programs, to help patients maintain their sobriety after leaving the facility.

Professional Medical Detox Program

A full medical detox from drugs can be an intense and scary process, but with the help of a professional detox program, it doesn't have to be. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don't hesitate to seek help. MoreThanRehab offers comprehensive detox programs that will provide you or your loved one with the support and care needed to make a successful recovery. Don't wait any longer - call us today!

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