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All you need to know about getting help for a drug addiction both privately and on the NHS.

If you or somebody you know has a drug addiction, then you’re not alone. Roughly 35 million people in the world have a drug use disorder. However, only 1 in 7 people with a drug addiction receive treatment. 

This is something we want to change at Help4Addiction. We aim to help anybody living in England or Wales get the help they need to treat and overcome their drug addiction.

Seeking treatment is the best thing you can do, as well as educating yourself on drug addiction and the ins and outs of rehab. Read on to learn more about drug addiction and the rehab process for drugs, and how Help4Addiction can help you.

What is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disorder that is characterised by continual drug use despite the negative consequences it can have on your physical and mental health, relationships, behaviour, and work. It classifies both a mental illness and a complex brain disorder – and is the most severe form of a wide spectrum of substance abuse disorders.

However, addiction is treatable and can be managed successfully with the right tools and support. Typically, addiction is treated with a combination of medications and behavioural therapy. This combination is known as medication-assisted treatment. However, one size doesn’t fit all – each treatment plan should be assessed individually, depending on your drug use patterns as well asenvironmental, social, and medical issues

Substances can change the way you feel, both mentally and physically – and can often make you feel good or ‘high’ while you’re taking them. They can also create an urge to take the drug again, leading you to develop a habit. This can ultimately lead to you developing a dependence on the drug, furthering the drug addiction.

People with a drug addiction will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug or they lower the amount they take – which can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous and life-threatening. This strengthens the cycle and intensifies the urge to take more drugs, making it difficult to stop taking drugs. 

Some people may be at a higher risk of developing drug addiction or SUD (substance use disorder). There are three main risk factor categories – individual risk factors, family risk factors, and community risk factors.

If you have high levels of impulsivity and rebelliousness, you may have an increased risk of drug addiction. Likewise, if you struggle to regulate your emotions effectively, this can also be a risk factor for drug addiction. Psychiatric issues/ mental health issues can also increase the chances of developing a drug addiction – for example, major depressive disorder.

Some family risk factors for drug addiction could include prenatal maternal smoking, as well as having substance use issues in the family. However, it isn’t just having substance abuse in the family that can be a risk factor – having peers who abuse drugs can also pose a risk. [iv] Typically, there is a multitude of factors that can influence drug abuse, and there isn’t always just one cause.

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Prescription Drug Addiction

Drug addiction doesn’t just involve illegal substances such as cocaine and heroin – it’s also possible to get addicted to prescription medication, and abuse prescription medication.

Prescription drug abuse and prescription drug misuse is the act of taking prescribed medication in a way other than the doctor prescribed. Many people make the mistake of thinking that prescription drugs aren’t addictive, and only alcohol and illegal drugs can be addictive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Prescription drugs, as well as illegal drugs, can change the way your brain works. Prescription drug abuse can affect your ability to make decisions as well as your self-control, and you can develop a dependence on the drug.

Prescription drug addiction may be more common than you think. According to a government review, almost 12 million people (which roughly equates to ¼ of adults in England) are currently taking medication for pain, insomnia, or depression – and they find it difficult to stop. 

This is something we can help you overcome at Help4Addiction – we can help you find the best local drug service for you, whether it be inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment.

What is Drug Addiction Treatment?

Drug addiction treatment or drug addiction rehab is designed to help those addicted to drugs, both legal and illegal, break their addiction. Drug addiction not only includes breaking the physical drug addiction but also therapy to help improve mental well-being.

Drug addiction treatment can take many forms and can occur in different environments. There is no set time for drug addiction treatment – this is because everybody is different, and most drug addiction treatment plans are personalised depending on your circumstances (e.g the length of your drug addiction and the drug that you’re addicted to).

Short-term treatment isn’t always as effective as long-term treatment as many people with a drug addiction will relapse back to drug abuse. This is why most long-term treatment programs (whether it be residential rehabilitation or other treatment) will involve regular monitoring.

In some cases, medication will be provided. This is particularly common with opioid addictions, which can have severe withdrawal symptoms and intense drug cravings. If you’re receiving treatment for opioid addiction (e.g heroin addiction), you may be offered methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone

What Drugs Require Rehab?

Although some drugs can be quit without rehab and at home, you may need extra help quitting other drugs. If, for example, you were prescribed aspirin for a heart condition, you should be okay stopping using the drug without medical assistance.

However, there are many drugs that are much more difficult to quit as they can be addictive, and you can develop a physical dependence on them – and you can experience withdrawal effects when you cease using them.

Here are some drugs that you may need to detox from and attend rehab to quit:

The Rehab Process

At Help4Addiction, we can help you find a variety of different rehab treatment options. Drug rehab is widely considered the best treatment for drug addiction – professional treatment boasts better results than quitting cold turkey alone without medical assistance or professional help.

Addiction treatment usually caters to your personal needs – so you may have a different treatment plan from another patient with a similar addiction. However, most rehab treatments involve three key stages – detox, therapy, and aftercare/ secondary treatment.


The first stage of addiction treatment for drugs almost always begins with drug detox, which is the act of cleansing your body of the drug and clearing your body of all the toxins. This stage of the drug rehab process is necessary in order for you to proceed with rehab and therapy.

The drug detoxification stage of the addiction treatment process is the stage where the drug withdrawal symptoms are at their worst. Drug withdrawal is often an unpleasant process, with uncomfortable and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms.

The withdrawal symptoms you may experience can vary depending on the drug you’re being treated for. However, some common physical and mental drug withdrawal symptoms include:

With addictions to substances such as heroin, you’ll likely be offered a 24/7 medically assisted drug detox. This is because some withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening – some cases may require hospitalisation.

The length of the detox process can vary depending on a variety of factors – for example, your height, weight, how long you’ve been taking the drug, and the drug or drugs you used. For example, it can take weeks to detox from heroin, but usually, the withdrawal symptoms will peak after three days. Withdrawal from cannabis, on the other hand, will usually last around 72 hours

Typically, the first 48 hours without the drug are the most difficult, and you’ll likely experience intense withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings during this period. However, in some cases, you may be offered medication to help you deal with the withdrawal.

Although some clinics offer a 5-day detox program or a 7-day detox program, at Help4Addiction we usually recommend at least a 14-day detox program or a 28-day detox program depending on your circumstances.

It is important to note that the detox process only deals with the physical side of drug addiction. This is why the next stage of the rehab process is important for your mental health and your physical health – read on to learn more.


Upon completing drug detoxification and once your withdrawal symptoms are under control, you will usually move on to the next stage of the drug rehabilitation process. This often involves a combination of different therapies to improve your mental health and well-being and to help you gain an understanding of your addiction, including your triggers and the root cause of your addiction. 

Behavioural therapy can be particularly helpful when overcoming and dealing with drug addiction – particularly a combination of talking therapy and behavioural therapy. You may be offered CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

CBT is a type of talking therapy that can help you to manage your issues – it is frequently used to treat depression and anxiety, but can also help to treat addiction and prevent relapse. This type of therapy is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are linked – and that your negative thoughts and feelings can influence your behaviour and vice versa. 

Regular therapy sessions can help you gain a further understanding of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, as well as help you understand the root cause of your addiction and your addiction triggers. One of the main aims of therapy for addiction is to build your confidence and strength and to prevent relapse.

You may be offered counselling or therapy in a group setting with other individuals in similar circumstances, or you may be offered therapy or counselling in a one-to-one environment with a counsellor or a clinical psychiatrist. Group therapy can be effective and can help you build productive friendships with other people with addiction.

Depending on the rehab clinic you opt for (e.g private drug rehab), then you may be offered different holistic therapy options such as art therapy or sports therapy. Many programs offer a variety of options to promote well-being and improve your mental health.

Secondary Treatment

After you have completed the main bulk of rehab, you should still continue to work on your addiction. Drug addiction can’t be cured overnight, and it requires constant work to prevent relapse and stay drug-free.

Most people will choose to continue receiving support, whether it be by continuing therapy and/ or counselling, or by joining support groups and attending group meetings.

Although it may have been your decision to take drugs in the first place, the level of control is often lost once you develop a dependence on the drug. Unfortunately, relapse is often a part of addiction, and you may return to drug use while in addiction recovery.

It isn’t always a straightforward process, and relapsing doesn’t mean that the treatment doesn’t work. Addiction treatment is an ongoing process, which is why you’ll receive continued support throughout your journey.

Types of Drug Addiction Rehab

The main two types of drug addiction rehab treatments are inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab. Read on to learn more about the two, as well as quasi-residential drug rehab.


Inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab, involves you taking residence in a rehab centre. Often, residential rehab will involve medical assistance from a qualified medical professional – especially when dealing with unpleasant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms during the detox process of your drug treatment plan.

Drug rehab on an inpatient basis is usually recommended for severe drug addictions, whether it be heroin addiction, alcohol addiction, or prescription drug addiction. Typically, you’ll remain in residential rehab for at least 28 days. You’ll be provided with a personalised treatment program that will suit your individual requirements. You can also find 7-day rehab treatments and 14-day rehab treatments.

Inpatient therapy is also frequently recommended for severe drug addictions or those who have been addicted to drugs for a long time. Inpatient rehab is effective as it removes you from your previous environment, allowing you to successfully detox from the drug and prevent relapse.


Although inpatient drug rehab is commonly recommended, especially for more severe addictions, it isn’t always the most viable option. You may be offered outpatient rehab treatment – which means that you won’t be a resident in a rehab clinic. Instead, you’ll attend a rehab centre on an outpatient basis.

If you have a cannabis addiction, you’ll likely be offered rehab treatment on an outpatient basis. This is because the withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from cannabis aren’t usually as severe as withdrawal from other drugs – for example, opioid addiction withdrawal.

Typically, you’ll attend sessions and appointments that have been pre-booked. Being an outpatient doesn’t mean that you won’t have access to the right tools and support – you’ll still receive professional advice and support to help you overcome your addiction, manage your withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.


Another rehab option is quasi-residential rehab. This form of rehab clinic involves you living in one residency while travelling to other locations and environments to receive other rehab treatments such as behavioural therapy or group therapy with a psychiatrist.

This is an effective treatment option as it removes you from the environment you were in when you were addicted to drugs, which can help you detox from drugs effectively and prevent relapse.

How Can Drug Treatment Help Me?

Opting for quality drug addiction treatment is the best way of breaking your drug addiction for good, and the best thing you can do for your mental health and for your physical health.

At Help4Addiction, we offer a free helpline. If you’re worried about a loved one or you want to take action and overcome your drug addiction, give us a call today. We can offer you support, tailored advice, and the best recommendations for local drug and alcohol rehab services and treatment centres. We have an extensive network of rehab contacts around the UK, so have a chat with us today to discuss your treatment options.

Last year, over 275,896 people contacted drug and alcohol addiction services. However, at Help4Addiction, we want this figure to be higher – as drug addiction affects many more people than that figure.

Addiction recovery can be a long and difficult process, so contact us today to make the most of bespoke detox and therapy plans, psychiatric assistance, quality and effective aftercare, as well as relapse support and prevention.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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