This is a collaborative post.
If you’re addicted to drugs, it probably took years or even decades to realise you’ve lost control. Similarly, addiction recovery is a process not a one-off event. There are three key phases of drug addiction recovery – detoxification, rehabilitation and long-term recovery.
In this article, we’ll cover how abstinence-based drug rehab should support you at each stage.
Drug Rehab – Stop Taking Drugs Safely with a Drug Detox
If you’re physically addicted to opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine or tramadol) or benzodiazepines (including valium, diazepam, lorazepam or temazepam), then you will need a medically assisted drug detox. This will help you to stop taking prescription and/or street drugs safely. Detox medication and close monitoring by clinical staff will keep you stable, as toxic substances are cleared from your system.
Jason Shiers, psychotherapist at UK Addiction Treatment, says: ‘You should only attempt to detoxify from physically addictive drugs or alcohol with help from a qualified doctor. Stopping abruptly is likely to bring on physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, some of which can lead to hospitalisation, relapse or death. Even if you’re young and fit, drug withdrawal is unpredictable. Please speak to your doctor or an addiction treatment professional about how to stop safely.’
If you’re a heavy user of drugs including cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, ketamine, cannabis or new psychoactive substances, then you’ll also need a medical assessment, monitoring and psychological care during detoxification. You may or may not need a short course of medication – this will be individually assessed at the start of a drug rehab programme.
The safest way to undergo drug detox is in a residential drug rehab or in hospital. This way, you’ll have medical assistance quickly if you feel distressed or physically unwell.
Drug Rehab – Change your Addictive Mindset with Drug Therapy
If your goal is abstinence, you’ll need to learn about how drug addiction operates in your life and how to manage cravings to use drugs. The best way to achieve this is with drug therapy – group sessions and/or individual counselling.
In residential drug rehab, you should expect to participate in a range of therapeutic sessions throughout your stay. Treatment approaches include 12-step therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, family therapy and trauma therapy, as well as techniques like art, music and dance therapy.
The most comprehensive drug rehab programmes offer complementary sessions, such as meditation and mindfulness, acupuncture, yoga, massage and nutritional advice. They promote physical and mental wellbeing, as well as equipping rehab clients with practical ideas to sustain their recovery.
Drug Rehab – Life Beyond Drug Addiction Treatment
Lastly, you’ll need an individual plan for maintaining long-term recovery. Who supports your goal of abstinence? What aspects of your life need to change to stay drug-free? What makes your life enjoyable and fulfilling?
UKAT’s Jason Shiers says: ‘In drug rehab, the treatment staff should always work closely with you, so you understand how to maintain your recovery. For example, they might suggest that you attend rehab aftercare sessions and get involved with local drug recovery groups. Each day, prioritise the actions that help you stay well. From these simple foundations, you’ll find the strength and confidence in your recovery to rise to new challenges.’
For more information about drug rehab including the types of treatment and the phases of drug recovery, please visit the UK Addiction Treatment website.