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Mr. Osayande is a guest writer for my blog who has offered his opinion on addiction being a treatment coordinator at a drug detox clinic in California.
I have worked with many individuals suffering from addiction over the years. Treating a drug addiction is tough and many times patients will relapse. A large number of individuals who join our programs quit after the first few weeks. However, there are those who are able to succeed and live drug-free for the remainder of their lives. How do they do it when statistics show relapse rates are so high? Over the years, I have picked up on some traits exhibited by those who are able to successfully overcome their addictions.
Many people who get addicted to drugs do so because they need to find some level of escape from their daily lives. Unfortunately, before they know it, they have allowed themselves to spiral out of control and end up in worse situations than before. Individuals who undergo detox need to understand that many times there are underlying issues for substance abuse. Those who understand this and take active steps to resolve not only their addiction, but what led to the addiction in the first place are much more likely to stay clean. I believe this is one of the reasons why so many people are back on drugs only weeks after a successful detox. They never tackled the real reason they got hooked in the first place.
Many addicts will have underlying mental disorders as well. These many times will require more than just self-help or therapy sessions. Addicts who are identified as having mental disorders can then also have those issues addressed.
Detox is usually the first step in treating addiction, but by itself cannot treat long-term substance abuse. In order to remain sober for a lifetime, addicts must be ready to face their demons.
Successful treatment of addiction can take a long time. It is a hard, long-fought process. You can’t have a cheat day. The moment you allow your barriers to fall, you are back at step 1. This is why it’s so difficult for people to keep motivated throughout the process. There are many different strategies to help patients stay motivated, like bringing in family members into sessions throughout the treatment. Overall, if each individual cannot keep their spirits high and stay motivated, then they suffer the risk of falling back on bad habits.
A lot of addicts have a big problem with lying. Drugs can do scary things to people, and addiction can alter the way a person thinks and behaves. Many times, addicts will blame everyone but themselves for their current situation. I have noticed that people who overcome addiction have a strong sense of personal responsibility. They don’t lie to others or themselves. They understand that they can’t “stop anything they want to” and that things are not under their control anymore. Being able to recognize your own bad traits removes a big barrier for treatment. If a person refuses to help themselves, then it becomes very difficult to treat them.
A lot of times, addicts will have destroyed the relationships with their loves ones through such lying and manipulation. Taking responsibility and owning up to their mistakes becomes an integral part in rebuilding their damaged relationships. While many addicts will expect empathy from others for what they are going through, they must be willing to reciprocate those feelings to those they have hurt. Keeping a good relationship with your family leads me to my next point.
Addicts who were able to overcome their substance abuse problems had overwhelming support from their families. There are entire programs structured around family-involvement. These programs are particularly effective for adolescents. Family members can be there to help keep the recovering addict motivated and happy. When you are at your lowest, knowing you can lean on family is very reassuring. A drug treatment program can last a lifetime. In order to lower the chances of relapse, family should be ready and willing to help guide and support their loved ones months or even years after they step out of the treatment facility.
Treatment for drug addiction is not a fun experience for most people. However, patience is essential for successful treatment. Many times, people will leave prematurely and find themselves back on drugs within days. Those who overcome their addictions are able to realize very early on how critical it is to stay in the program for the full recommended length of time. Taking too much time off from work can be difficult for people. However, leaving a program early will just increase your odds that you will have to come back again in the future. Many individuals will need at least a few months in order to stop drug use. Even then, it is recommended that they develop a strict plan for the coming months in order to reduce their chances of relapse.
Many of the individuals I have seen over the years come to treatment centers alone and afraid. Those who chose to remain isolated do little for their treatment. Individuals willing to engage in self-help groups or sit down with therapists or counselors are much happier during their treatment. These individuals can find support from a variety of sources like family members and peers, not just other addicts and therapists. They are willing to help others and be helped, and this goes a long way towards their treatment.
Addiction treatment continues to be one of the most heartbreaking activities undertaken by medical professionals. It requires caring and diligence not only on the part of the individual providing treatment, but also by the addicts themselves. Those who are able to keep motivated and exhibit a true drive towards treating themselves are likely to succeed. Those with caring and supportive friends and family do even better. Hopefully my observations have provided some insights into how difficult it is to treat addiction, and just how much effort the addicts themselves must put forward to recover.
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