Some people not connected to the worlds of addiction and recovery may be surprised to learn that one of the fastest growing substance abuse epidemics is not any well-known and stigmatized “street drugs,” but an improper or habitual use of prescription drugs. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that around 15 million people used a medication not prescribed to them or for a non-medical purpose in the year. This is a very dramatic increase over the past 10 years.
As people, including physicians, were unaware of potential dangers of certain pharmaceutical painkillers, and these drugs became more available, the number of people misusing, becoming addicted, and dying of overdoses skyrocketed. According to the National Institute of Health, the number of people dying from prescription drug overdoses has more than doubled between 2001 and 2014.
Medications Abused: With any prescription drug, it is vitally important to strictly follow the instructions of a health-care provider, and to be open about effects of the drug, and open to making changes to increase effectiveness or reduce side-effects. Simply choosing on your own to increase or decrease your dose of a medication can cause harm that it is difficult to predict.
Generally, the drugs most commonly abused fall within three classes: Opioids painkillers Central nervous system depressants, such as benzodiazepines, used to treat anti-anxiety. Stimulants used to treat attention deficit disorder Medications of these types can have effects similar to street drugs, causing some people to misuse them to get high. They also have a high potential for dependence, meaning that someone may originally take a drug for a medical issue, but then feel unable to function without it.
If you, or someone close to you, has personally struggled with addiction, you know that stopping substance abuse is not merely about increasing willpower to “say no.” Breaking physical and psychological dependence and developing new, healthier habits and ways of coping is a journey that must be taken one moment at a time. To stick, it must be a commitment you renew and keep the rest of your life. However, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Drug treatment centers can help you understand your disease and gain the tools for fighting it. According to SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), there are more than 14,000 treatment facilities claiming to offer help with recovery from addiction. It can take a lot of research and careful thought to find a place that will really offer you the support and care you need.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that addiction is not something that can be “solved” in a 30, 60, or 90 day retreat from your normal life. A treatment center that will really make a difference for you should offer a complete continuum of care, setting you up to make good decisions throughout your life. Here are the ways Pax House offers treatment designed to make a lasting impact.
Detox: Detoxification is the first step of the process. After months or years of regular substance abuse, your body has developed a dependence, so that it feels unable to function without your use. A person without a substance dependence disorder has the ability to manufacture neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine that produce good feelings. Drugs bombard the brain with higher levels of these chemicals than is normal, and so the body adapts by not making them anymore. This means going through withdrawal can bring on a lot of unpleasant physical and emotional feelings. A detox process supervised by trained and dedicated professional staff can help keep you comfortable, and make it through this difficult initial first stage.
The decision to leave behind a lifestyle ruled by substance abuse and addiction is not one to be taken lightly. It is not just a case of strengthening your ability to “just say no.” Rather, recovery requires leaving behind everything you know, and rebuilding your life to one that takes care of yourself and lives in freedom, rather than mindlessly giving into cravings. The combination of a peaceful, relaxing setting, evidence-based treatment tailor-made to your needs, and experience and compassionate staff can make Pax House an important part of starting this journey. Here are some things to expect from the process of recovery at a drug rehab center like Pax House.
Detoxing: A long-term period of substance abuse has likely wrecked havoc on your physical functioning. After months or years of consuming large quantities of a substance, your body has gotten used to receiving it and adjusted accordingly. Going without the chemicals can cause unpleasant, and sometimes even dangerous side-effects, and the temptation to resume use to alleviate the pain can be very strong. Being surrounded by professionals to care for you and make this time as comfortable and safe as possible can make a huge difference on getting your recovery off to a good start.
Counseling: Once you are deemed stable enough, the work of a lifetime of recovery begins. Underneath your addiction, there might be a mental illness, trauma, or insecurity you have been trying to use substance abuse to repress. Therapy is a central part of getting to the core of who you really are, and learning coping devices that can better support your health and thriving. At Pax House, licensed therapists can teach mindfulness to feel more connected in the present, cognitive-behavioral techniques to gain more control over your thoughts and actions, and music and art therapy to expand your ability to express your thoughts and emotions. Group therapy, both process groups facilitated by a therapist, and peer-led 12 step meetings, help you feel less alone as you connect your struggles to those other people are experiencing, and receive support and advice from others.
Care for Physical Health: With substance abuse, you have spent a long time neglecting and abusing your own body, and your health has doubtlessly suffered. Taking care of your physical conditioning is an important part of restoring your health so you can get the most out of life. Aside from direct benefits to your health, exercise can also be an important mood-booster that can produce endorphins naturally, strengthen your resolve to remain sober. The Pax House holistic treatment program especially emphasises exercise, and provides a lot of different activities to help you gain strength