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Drug Addiction & Treatment

On the surface, drug addiction can be pretty confusing. It’s detrimental to the individual engaging with it. It’s detrimental to friends and loved ones. It’s detrimental to society as a whole.

 

So why would anyone engage with it? Well, here at Help 4 Addiction, we understand exactly how and why an astounding 5.4 percent of people become drug addicts at some point in their lives.

 

We understand that drug addiction is a disease. We understand that it is an illness. But we also want to ensure that you know that it is something that you can overcome. Believe it or not, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Drug Addiction is a Disease

 

Let’s start out by establishing that addiction is a disease. Much in the same way as other diseases can prove detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing, addiction can be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing.

 

Many people will wrongly assume that addiction is a result of poor moral standards, lack of ethics, or an absence of willpower. But this really isn’t the case.

 

There are all sorts of factors that can result in addiction and influence addiction. When it comes to drug addiction, you also have to bear in mind that drugs can change your brain’s chemistry and encourage you to act in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise dream of.

 

They can have physically addictive qualities as well as mentally addictive qualities. The combination of physical addiction and mental addiction can make these substances extremely difficult to kick.

 

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What Constitutes as Drug Addiction?

 

So, what actually is drug addiction? What symptoms and behaviour can highlight drug addiction?

 

Well, drug addiction is when someone actively seeks out drugs and either uses them compulsively or finds their use of drugs difficult to control. They will continue to seek out and use drugs regardless of negative impacts that their drug use may be having on their life.

 

While the majority of people voluntarily begin taking drugs, repeated use can alter their levels of self-control and interfere with their capability of resisting urges to continue using these drugs.

 

This sounds pretty straightforward and simple to identify. But it’s important that you can determine the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction, as these are two related but completely different problems.

While drug addiction sees someone become reliant on drugs, drug abuse is when someone uses drugs in a quantity or fashion that can be dangerous to themselves and those surrounding them.

 

Someone can engage with drug abuse without being a drug addict. Of course, drug abuse is a serious problem. Many people die of overdoses associated with drug abuse every single year. But for now, let’s keep the focus on drug addiction in particular.

 

You Can Become Addicted to Legal or Prescription Drugs

 

When we think of drug addiction, the majority of our thoughts automatically turn to illicit and  illegal drugs – cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin, for example. But it’s important to remember that you can be addicted to legal or prescription drugs too! Alcohol may well be legal, but it is technically a drug and you can become an alcoholic.

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Prescription opioids are legal, but again, you can become addicted to them. Tobacco is legal, but contains extremely addictive nicotine. Even the caffeine in coffee, which people of almost all ages can consume, can prove to be addictive.

 

So, never assume that just because something is legal or prescribed, it is completely safe and that you cannot become addicted to it.

 

Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs, Whilst Others Do Not?

 

If anyone takes drugs consistently and regularly or abuses drugs consistently and regularly, it’s highly likely that they will become an addict.

 

Why do some people become addicted to drugs in real life when others do not?

Well, this can fall down to various different factors, but the most common factors that influence whether someone becomes an addict in their lifetime tend to be environment, biology, and development.

 

Environment

 

The environment that we grow up in or find ourselves in at a later stage in our lives can largely influence whether we become a drug addict or not. Someone who is exposed to drugs and offered drugs or access to drugs regularly is more likely to become an addict than someone who has never seen drugs in real life.

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Similarly, someone who socialises in circles where people are regularly engaging with drugs is more likely to also engage with drugs and risk addiction than someone who doesn’t know anybody who does drugs.

Peer pressure or a wish to fit in can prove to be a major influencer when it comes to people trying drugs, getting involved with drugs, and becoming addicted to drugs. Other environmental factors that can impact our likelihood of becoming an addict can include economic status, experiences of physical or sexual abuse, stress, and parental guidance.

 

Biology

 

Believe it or not, biology plays a major role in someone’s chances of becoming a drug addict.

 

Some of us are simply biologically hardwired through our genes to be at more open risk of experiencing addiction.

 

Some of us have a naturally addictive personality and will indulge in things to a state of excess or detriment.

 

Development

 

Addiction can occur at any point in someone’s life. We could have gone our entire life drug free, only to become an addict at a much later date. But generally speaking, the longer someone goes without becoming a drug addict, the less likely they are to ultimately become a drug addict.

 

The earlier in someone’s life that drug use begins, the more likely they are to experience trouble with addiction as they grow older. Introductory steps towards addiction tend to be particularly problematic in regards to teenagers.

 

Not only are environmental factors, such as peer pressure, more likely to affect teens, but teens taking drugs have not fully developed areas in their brains that control decision making, judgement, and self-control.

 

Risks Associated with Drug Addiction

 

Now, we all know that drug addiction is a bad and undesirable thing. Nobody wants to experience drug addiction. But what actually are the risks associated with it? Well, the ultimate risk that comes hand in hand with drug addiction is the risk of loss of life.

 

If you are suffering from addiction, you constantly put yourself at risk of overdosing or experiencing an adverse reaction.

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You also regularly put yourself in a situation where you cannot be entirely sure what you are putting in their body – after all, drugs aren’t regulated and people who sell drugs could be selling you absolutely anything.

 

You are also at risk being incarcerated for possession of an illegal substance. Besides potential loss of life or jail time, which of course, should ward anyone away from trying their chances with this kind of thing, you also risk complete dependence on a substance that is expensive.

 

An addiction can quickly chip away at savings and income. Alongside these personal risks, drug addiction can result in alienation from social circles (including families, friends, and professional relationships).

 

Symptoms of Drug Addiction

 

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from drug addiction, it’s never too early to seek drug addiction help.

 

If you’re concerned, chances are that there’s cause for concern, and it’s better to tackle the problem sooner when you are in doubt as to whether you or a loved one is an addict, rather than later, when you may be sure that you are they are an addict.

 

So, what are some signs and symptoms of drug addiction that you might want to keep an eye out for?

 

  • You continue to take prescription drugs when they are no longer required to counteract the health problem they were prescribed to treat.

 

  • Your tolerance increases – you need to take more and more of a given substance to experience the same effect it provided you with in smaller volumes to start with.

 

  • You feel unwell or strange when the drug wears off. You experience a wish to take more to “feel okay” again.

 

  • You spend a lot of your time thinking about the drug and when you can next have it or where you can get some more.

 

  • You regularly take more of the drug than you told yourself you were going to.

 

  • You can’t stop yourself (or find difficult in stopping yourself) from actively seeking the drug out and taking it.

 

  • You lose interest in things that used to occupy your interest.

 

  • The drug, thinking about the drug, sourcing the drug, or taking the drug begins to interfere with your day to day life. You might begin to miss work, miss or cancel social meetings, or you may even stop eating or washing properly.

 

  • You begin to borrow or steal money in order to be able to pay for the drugs.

 

  • You attempt to hide the drug and the effects it’s having on you from others.

 

  • You notice changes in your personality or behaviour. You may be irritable, lack motivation, feel paranoid, or get angry more quickly.

 

Is There a Cure to Drug Addiction?

 

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for drug addiction. It’s similar to various other chronic diseases that isn’t curable. However, it’s important to remember that addiction is treatable. You can move on from your addiction and lead a great quality of life after rehab treatment and recovery.

 

Seeking Help For Your Drug Addiction

 

If these symptoms apply to you or a loved one, addiction may well be a problem and it’s always best to immediately opt for professional drug addiction treatment and support. Self-help can only go so far in regards to drug addiction.

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At the end of the day, if you are suffering from addiction, you are likely to be impacted in a way that actively reduces your motivation and your self-control may be compromised. You may even find that resistance to treatment occurs.

 

By seeking professional help, you can reach out to people who will be able to determine whether you definitely are an addict. If so, they will be able to help to make the best decision possible depending on your individual circumstances.

 

Calling a Helpline

 

Calling a helpline is a great first step to take when it comes to the path of drug addiction help. By calling Help 4 Addiction, you will be connected to a professional who will be able to talk to you about your situation and who will also be able to determine the next best steps to take.

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They will be able to guide you in the right direction for your addiction. This may involve referring you to treatment centers in the UK, Visit our Find a rehab center page for more. You needn’t worry when calling us. You will never be forced to do anything that you don’t want to do. You will simply receive the best information regarding what’s likely to be best for you or a loved one. Call now on 0203 955 7700

 

Drug Rehab

 

Drug Rehab tends to come hand in hand with the best outcomes for individuals experiencing drug addiction. Rehab is when you spend an extended period of time in a rehabilitation treatment center. This can last a week or a month in the center, but sometimes you may be required to stay longer in order to complete your treatment. Your stay will begin with a detoxification or “detox” period. This helps to clear any drugs from your system.

 

Withdrawal symptoms may manifest in this time, but you will be surrounded by professionals who can help to alleviate any discomfort better than anyone else will be able to. They will be able to help you through this process with medication and support.

 

You will also be around other people who have been through similar experiences and will be able to understand what you are going through. Once you have completed your detox process, you will be able to progress to the next phase with a clean slate.

You can read some of our useful reosurces on Rehab here:

 

The next stage is therapy. This will help you to unveil whatever it may be that is causing and triggering your addiction. Identifying these things will help you to understand your addiction and consequently overcome it more effectively. The most common and effective form of therapy for drug addiction tends to be cognitive behavioural therapy (which is often shortened to “CBT”).

 

Avoiding Unverified Treatments

 

On a final note, it may feel a little daunting going through traditional and professional means of combating drug addiction. But it is absolutely essential that you only ever seek treatment and help through these sources.

 

Con artists are out to make money from people’s doubt. Their methods are often unproven and can even be dangerous. So, be careful who you seek help from. Stick with the qualified and approved professionals!

 

Drug addiction, of course, is an extremely complex subject and it would be impossible to address every aspect of it in just one webpage. But hopefully, the above information has helped you to get to grips with the topic a little better and will help to guide you in the right direction should you experience drug addiction!

 

If you are concerned about addiction, require more information about addiction, or feel that you are ready to move forward with your journey towards recovery, don’t hesitate to call us at Help 4 Addiction 0203 955 7700. We understand you and we are here to help you!

 

You can call on 0203 955 7700 to speak to a friendly advisor.

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Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazapam (vailium)


Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Nalmefene
  • Acamprosate (campral)

Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

*based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

Local treatment

Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

Treatment Away

Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.