Challenges You May Encounter in Drug Abuse Treatment
The decision to enter drug abuse treatment is, in essence, a decision to enter into a new way of life. After months or years of drug abuse, the damaging effects of drugs have created a negative quality of life that affects both a person’s physical and psychological well-being.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, brain changes caused by long-term drug use make it considerably difficult to stop using without getting needed drug abuse treatment help. While many people do benefit from drug abuse treatment, there are nonetheless challenges to face along the way.
Drug abuse treatment takes addicts through the various stages of recovery, with each stage bringing its own sets of challenges. Ultimately, addiction recovery is a process of change that requires patience and an ongoing desire to get well.
As the first stage in drug abuse treatment, someone who’s abused drugs may well be in for a terribly uncomfortable experience. Depending on the type of drug involved, withdrawal effects can take any number of forms, some of which include:
- Chills and hot flashes
- Feelings of extreme anxiety
- Muscle aches and pains
- Intense drug cravings
Making it through the withdrawal period can be one of the biggest challenges a person faces within the drug abuse treatment process. For some people, the fear of withdrawal alone keeps them from seeking needed treatment help.
The Need for Ongoing Psychosocial Treatment
While detox treatment is a necessary and essential part of recovery, it’s only the first step in the drug abuse treatment process. Long-term drug abuse drives addicts to organize their entire lifestyles around getting and using the drug.
The addiction lifestyle influences the way addicts think, behave and interact with the world around them. Though detox treatment does break the body’s physical dependency on a drug, the mindset that supports compulsive drug-using behaviors remains firmly intact.
Ongoing psychosocial treatment in the form of psychotherapy, group therapy and 12-Step support group work is an absolutely necessary part of the drug abuse treatment process.
Finding New Outlets
With ongoing drug abuse, a person essentially trains the mind to associate happiness and joy with the effects of the drug. Once a person enters drug abuse treatment, finding new outlets for fun and excitement can be one of the biggest challenges in recovery.
In effect, recovering addicts must create entirely new drug-free lifestyles, which can take time. As long-term drug use easily alters the brain’s biochemical functions, people in recovery are ultimately reconditioning or “rewiring” how their brains work.
Drug abuse treatment entails a process of ongoing change that affects a person’s emotions, thinking, behaviors and overall lifestyle. When compared to the near-immediate effects from using drugs, it can be especially challenging for an addict to work through the pain and discomfort that the recovery process brings.
Accepting the changes that a drug-free lifestyle requires also sits at odds with an addict’s tendency to deny that a drug problem really exists. As long-term drug use compromises a person’s ability to make good judgments and decisions, the ability to accept change in recovery may well take months or even years to develop.