Cocaine FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

Can I Quit Cocaine Without Rehab?

It is possible to quit cocaine without admitting to rehab. However, it is likely that the period of abstinence achieved during this try could be short-lived [1].

A person who quits without strong support may relapse quicker, with a higher relapse rate than a person who tries to quit with professional help.


There are several reasons that count as advantages when a person attempts cocaine recovery with professional help. These advantages are:

  • – There’s a structure to follow – in a rehab clinic, schedules are maintained with and sequence of things planned out for each day stay.
  • – 24-7 Support – supervision during cocaine withdrawal provides emotional as well as medical support (if needed)
  • – There’s no access to cocaine or other substances that can hamper the recovery process, including cigarettes and alcohol.
  • – Therapy options are available, so if one method does not work, there are back-up plans
  • – Focus can be on self-improvement and self-care – this is especially true if outside the treatment, the person’s energy is largely spent attending to the needs of others
  • – New associations and friendships are made to replace relationships that encourage use of cocaine
  • – A cocaine rehab centre provides balanced nutrition often taken for granted as a factor in recovery
  • – Mental/emotional Recovery toolkit
  • – Good-quality amenities/surroundings encourage relaxation and healing
  • – Increased availability of holistic healing practices such as massage, animal-assisted therapy, reflexology, and acupuncture


Aside from the benefits, private rehab protects from harms associated with solo quitting from cocaine.

Such health risks pertain to:

  • – Physical health risks – breathing and heart problems
  • – Mental/emotional health risks – emotional turmoil, adjustment, and psychological withdrawal


In addition, in terms of psychosocial problems, there might be difficulty socialising or re-establishing relationships once the choice to stop using cocaine is made.

With therapeutic help and other types of resources available in private rehab, whole-person recovery is addressed; it is not just a matter of abstinence from cocaine.


Is There Treatment For Cocaine And Alcohol?

There is treatment available for individuals who are simultaneously struggling with cocaine and alcohol addiction.

With co-occurring problems such as this, experts approach the matter as “a complicated case” versus a “simple case” of addiction. This is due to the fact that there is multiple substance misuse on-going.


In complicated cases, inpatient rehab is recommended [2].


Evidence-based practice shows that in co-occurring substance misuse/abuse or dependency, sufferers likely to have: [3]

  • – A higher chance of staying addicted to alcohol, because alcohol heightens the effects of a cocaine high
  • – Toxicity due to cocaethylene, a chemical produced in the liver when cocaine and ethanol are both present in blood
  • – Seizure risk
  • – Liver damage risk
  • – Compromised immune system (weak resistance to disease)
  • – Stroke and heart-related problems
  • – Higher stress level, which ramps us nervousness, fearfulness and anxiety
  • – Impulsive behaviour that can lead to accidents, especially overdose


Inpatient residential rehab treatment safeguards a person’s overall health, ensuring that professional assistance is available in critical times.

Inpatient treatment also removes the possibility of access to alcohol and cocaine during the detox period, so that the new perspective (living without substances) is possible.

In contrast, outpatient treatment, although less intrusive and more affordable can be not as effective as inpatient treatment. This is especially true if there are co-occurring addictions (alcohol + cocaine).


In terms of specific psychotherapeutic approaches, two methods are widely used in cocaine addiction recovery.

These are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and 12 Step Facilitation.

Compared to other forms of supportive psychotherapy, these two are deemed more effective [4].


Will Cocaine Rehab Work?

Yes. Cocaine rehab will likely work if the following conditions are met: [1]

  • – Evidence-based practices such as 12 Step Facilitation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are utilised
  • – There is social support (from family and friends), in such a matter that is consistent, firm, and empathic
  • – Cocaine addiction is approached as a health concern with a strong behavioural component. This means that when there is a relapse, it is not treated as a failure, but as a temporary learning phase.
  • – There is personal commitment and readiness to change, even if feelings about recovery fluctuate (at times, a person can feel de-motivated about the process).


Because objective measures about the effectiveness of cocaine addiction treatment are not as clear-cut as laboratory results to measure other illnesses (such as heart disease or diabetes), there is a lack of quantitative data about rehab success rates.

However, there are qualitative (descriptions and case studies) that indicate the effectiveness of cocaine rehab as gathered by authoritative sources [2].


Individuals who improve and change continue to do so after rehab if they consistently work on the aftercare plan.

Since cocaine and/or substance use problems are largely determined by persons and situations surrounding the concerned individual, follow-through after rehab is recommended.

As preventive measures, attending regular meetings in support groups and getting in touch with addiction counsellors from time-to-time are also encouraged.


Research shows that open communication with sponsors and being active in mutual support groups counteract the possibility of relapse in cocaine addiction [5] [6].

Relapse prevention is a key component in cocaine addiction treatment approaches because the more instances of relapse, the higher the health complications become.


What Happens In Cocaine Rehab?

The three main events in drug rehab are detox, therapeutic care, and cocaine rehab aftercare.

The negative associations with rehab are largely because of the mind-set that persons who go to rehab are seriously ill.


In essence, admitting to rehab is the start of a new way of living, where the emphasis should be a return to a normal, balanced way of living.

To facilitate the return to this state of equilibrium, the whole person needs to be addressed.


The first step to restoring balance would be to remove the toxins via detox. Professionally assisted detox gives access to care 24/7, with contingencies for emergency situations.

Cocaine is stored in the body, its effects can last for quite some time, and without a detox programme that addresses withdrawal symptoms strategically, a person is apt to feel worse for wear.


In Abbeycare, the second phase, therapeutic care is handled as a personalised programme. A dedicated case manager works closely with the client to know what specific aspects of cocaine recovery need the most attention.

For therapeutic care, the approaches that appear to work best are 12 Step Facilitation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [1].

The last major event, aftercare, pertains to a detailed programme to equip clients with techniques to stay sober long-term.


Inevitably, life would bring about challenges. Staying sober is especially taxing for those who are still adjusting to new ways of handling stress.

Identification of triggers, helpful numbers to call, and a sponsor are details that usually appear in an aftercare plan.


More so, a capable rehab clinic would assert the crucial aspect of having concrete plans covering day-to-day matters.

As part of cocaine recovery, aftercare supports rehab clients socially and emotionally, with a future-oriented outlook.


Where Can I Get Cocaine Rehab For Free?

The NHS provides cocaine rehab for free, but the outpatient option is more available than inpatient care.


Outpatient care entails the following: [2]

  • – Being able to leaver the facility to attend to personal matters
  • – Access to health care professionals on a case-to-case basis
  • – Emotional and psychological support via psychotherapy/ group meetings



For outpatients, attending mutual support group meeting is commonplace. These meetings are run by:

  • – SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
  • – Save Our Selves
  • – Women for Sobriety (WFS)
  • – Addaction
  • – Cocaine Anonymous


Mutual support group meetings are helpful in encouraging recovery efforts after rehab, but attending meetings is not the same as therapy for cocaine dependence/substance abuse.

Both outpatient and inpatient rehab incorporate therapeutic care and counselling into their treatment designs.

In short, participating in mutual support groups lowers the odds of relapse form cocaine recovery treatment, but they should not be the sole source of cocaine addiction recovery [5].


As an intensive form of rehab, inpatient care helps stop relapse by enabling the client to be skilled in: [5]

  • – Distinguishing the difference between thoughts about using versus mental relapse
  • – Normalising thoughts of using, which are normal thoughts that enter the mind about using cocaine again, although these thoughts will not be acted out in reality
  • – Recognising signs of mental relapse, where an individual begins to think of schemes when it is permissible to use again
  • – Halting plans for relapse opportunities (going to places where there will be little to no access to sponsors/accountability partners/counsellors)
  • – Stopping the rationalisation of switching cocaine for another addictive substance (such as cigarettes, food, or behavioural addictions)
  • – Training to pinpoint situations where emotional triggers are present and may be overwhelming


Although available in outpatient care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in residential care can be better in revealing fears feed the addiction.

These irrational fears are deep-seated, and may only surface after extended, consistent sessions with an addictions expert.

These fears are typified as: [5]

  • – Fear of not being good enough
  • – Fear of failure in life
  • – Fear of feeling like a fraud/fake
  • – Fear of not knowing how to function without cocaine


Lastly, the steady, protective environment of cocaine rehab residential rehab can be the determining factor in cases where cocaine addiction is serious and needs particular care [7].



  1.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). How is cocaine addiction treated? Retrieved from:
  2.   NHS. (2017). Cocaine addiction: get help. Retrieved from:
  3.   Dasgupta, A. (2017). Cocaethylene. Alcohol, Drugs, Genes and the Clinical Laboratory. Retrieved from:
  4.   Melemis, S. (2015). Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery. Yale J Biol Med., 88(3), 325–332. Retrieved from:
  5.   Melemis, S. (2015). Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery. Yale J Biol Med., 88(3), 325–332. Retrieved from:
  6.   Public Health England. (2015). Improving mutual aid engagement. Retrieved from:
  7.   NHS. (2017). Drug addiction: getting help. Retrieved from:

7 Sobriety Rewards You’ll Never Regret

Posted on by Melany Heger


These seven rewards of sobriety are felt as soon as a month after the decision to quit alcohol or illicit drugs.

Behavioural experts agree that in medium to long-term sobriety, which lasts from 3 months to several years, individuals begin to develop new habits.

Mental and emotional health becomes more robust as the individual becomes a more mature person.

Meaningful Connections

In rehab, there is emphasis on attending meetings after the period of staying in the facility is over.

It is emphasised again and again, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection.”


It has become an accepted truth that one of lures of addictive substances is its power to obliterate hard-to-face emotions, especially those that require interacting with other persons.


Alcohol is widely known as a social lubricant. Drugs have been used to avoid painful human interactions.

These substances have been used to mask discomfort, especially in social situations.

Ingesting them can help a person become smoother in conversation, being more at ease even when tense.


When sober, social tension is something that a person has to deal with. It may become apparent that without the drink or drug, the relationship dynamic needs to change.

Or the relationship has to be let go altogether. Some persons who begin their sober living journeys are able to let go of toxic relationships, in order to have healthier ones.


Courageous Stance in Life

Individuals start to adopt a more courageous stance in life after sobriety because they have to face the wreckage their addiction has caused. Facing the truth is painful.

It is punctuated with missed events, memory lapses, recollections of things full of regret.


When a person realises that there is a series of things left neglected because of addiction, the feeling might be overwhelming.

However, once the commitment has been made to change, tacking the long list of tasks to correct becomes a therapeutic endeavour—especially if the person is emotionally supported.


It may be tempting to turn away from the pain once again, but to continue along the path of oblivion is not real living.

Individuals who decide to begin sober living do not want to go through the motions of living. Instead, no matter how painful, these individuals soldier on.


Setting Personal Boundaries

Your life as a person with addiction can be described as haphazard. At one point in time, this indiscriminate way of living and doing thing could be described as fun.

But after experiencing the stability (usually while in detox and rehab), something in you changed.


It does seem to feel better when there are schedules to follow, rules to adhere to, and personal boundaries to observe.

Because addiction is an all-or-nothing experience, many persons with addiction have found themselves at the bottom of the barrel, holding on to the last dregs of self-respect.


It takes a while to learn self-respect again. After being the worse version of yourself, admitting you have gone real low, it takes a while to let go of hating yourself.

When you set personal boundaries you are basically creating self-protective measures—and these measures are expressions of self-care.


Developing Empathy and Compassion

Once you get in touch with the worse parts of yourself and you’ve started working on self-forgiveness, you begin to forgive others too. Addiction can have its roots in trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

These negative experiences can include neglect and abuse, often by persons who were supposed to show love and kindness.


Individuals who are overwhelmed with pain usually do not have the capacity for compassion. It is not selfishness, it is mere survival. In this light, the addiction was the most logical way to cope with the emotional and mental anguish.


But once the pain abates as the person becomes better at coping with stress without substances, empathy begins to take root.

You get to appreciate the little things your loved ones did for while you were in recovery, how they treated you kindly, with little judgement. How they were there in your lowest points. You would like to return that given grace.


Emotional Resilience

Moodiness, irritability, easily angered, glum all the time. Some of these words describe the emotional states of emotional instability. In mental health literature, it is a stated fact that persons with alcohol and/or drug use problems have emotional problems alongside.


Particularly, these emotional problems refer to mood regulation. Some individuals have depression, some have anxiety, and some have other conditions such as bipolar mood disorder. There is an assertion that the use of substances was an effort to self-medicate.


If a person sought professional help for addiction issues, moods can be regulated with the help of psychotherapeutic techniques and medication.

It’s not a one-size-fits all solution, but most persons who have emotional problems and substance abuse problems do get better.


Being able to let small things slide, picking up the pieces after an emotional blow, coping with changes quickly, not taking things personally. These are the words that  describe an emotionally stable personality.


Increased Patience

From emotional resilience comes increased patience. You learn to wait, and know you will have your turn.

Having learned the initial steps of sobriety, a person begins to build a fund for accepting the unknown, and with acceptance, there is patience instead of overwhelming distress.

Discussed in the next benefit is one of the hardest qualities to develop related to embracing the unknown.


Tolerance for Ambiguity/ Uncertainty

Addiction is dependence on an outer source of power. To get you through the day, the night, something is needed. Relying on yourself seems unstable, uncertain. To fill in the gaps, you need the substance.


During recovery, individuals learn techniques to live with the uncertain parts of life. These uncertain parts, these questions, usually trigger fear.

And it is this fear that drives the desperation to cling on to the chosen addiction, be it alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain negative behaviours.


As ambiguity becomes something that can be tolerated, the fear it triggers lessens. The insecurity dissipates in time.

Having sure footing even if the path is unsure, even if you do not know where is heading is one of the best feelings a person can have. This is especially true when the unfamiliar previously meant danger and harm.


Drug Types FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

What Are The 4 Types Of Drugs?

In terms of the four types of drugs most commonly abused in the UK, these are: Cannabis, Cocaine, Ecstasy, and Ampethapmines. [1]

In terms of the four groups of drugs classifed according to their major effects, these are: stimulants, depresants, opioids, and hallucinogens.

Another way of classifying drugs uses the Drugs Wheel model [2].


The Drugs Wheel replaces the 4 types of drugs with 7 categories.

These 7 types of drugs are: [3]


  • >> Desired effects: Can make a person feel relaxed or euphoric (high)
  • >> Negative effects: distorted recognition of things seen, heard or felt; poor body coordination; memory; difficulty paying attention
  • >> Examples of drugs: Cannabis (Marijuana, Hash, Skunk); Synthetic Cannabis (Spice)



  • >> Desired effects: Can make a person feel more awake or alert; increases energy
  • >> Negative effects: Aggressiveness, fearfulness, and paranoid feelings.
  • >> Examples of drugs: methamphetamine (Ice), cocaine, amphetamines (Adderall; Dexedrine)



  • >> Desired effects: Feeling “loved and connected”; sexual arousal
  • >> Negative effects: low feelings 2-5 days later, careless behaviour (especially sexual behaviour), dehydration
  • >> Examples of drugs: MDMA (Ecstacy), Mephedrone (Meow meow), Ethylone


Hallucinogens or Psychedelics

  • >> Desired effects: Euphoria, feeling relaxed, feeling spriritually connected
  • >> Negative effects: Upsetting hallucinations (seeing/experiencing things that are not factually present), high level of anxiety
  • >> Examples of drugs: LSD, Psilocybin (Magic Mushroom), Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)



  • >> Desired effects: Euphoria, feeling disconnected from self, can cause relaxation, has a calming effect
  • >> Negative effects: Panic attacks; abnormal sense of smell and taste; disturbing hallucinations
  • >> Examples of drugs: Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas), Ketamine, Methoxetamine (MXE)



  • >> Desired effects: Can relieve anxiety, has a calming effect
  • >> Negative effects: Can cause confusion, slurred speech, and lack of body coordination
  • >> Examples of drugs: Alcohol, benzodiazepines (Valium), GHB (often referred to as a “date rape” or “chemsex” drug)



  • >> Desired effects: Relieves pain, euphoria
  • >> Negative effects: Dependence and/or tolerance to prescription painkillers means the person needs more of the drug just to feel normal; high risk of fatal overdose
  • >> Examples of drugs: Buprenorphine, Methadone, Oxycodone, Codeine, Fentanyl, Morphine, Opioid Medications



Using the 7 types of Drugs in the Drugs Wheel, it is most useful to health care professionals [4].

Proper classification of drugs according to their major effects helps professionals quickly assess an emergency situation.

In times when overdose or drug complications and/or adverse interactions are suspected, prompt action is needed.



Harm strategies can also be formulated by consulting the Drugs Wheel. These harm reduction strategies include:

  • >> Needle distribution and/or recovery programs
  • >> Substitution therapies like Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program and Heroin Assisted Treatment
  • >> Take-home naloxone (overdose kit) program
  • >> Outreach and education services to encourage safer drug use behaviour
  • >> Drink Driving prevention campaigns



The Drugs Wheel was created in 2012 in response to the popularity of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), mistakenly labelled as “Legal Highs”.

NPS or “Legal High” drugs were often marketed as “not safe for human consumption”.

Synthetic cannabinoid addiction more commonly known as Fake Weed/ or Spice Addiction poses a significant threat to the public, especially the young adult population. [5]


What Are Some Examples Of Prescription Drugs?

Co-codamol (for pain), Citalopram Hydrobromide (anti-depressant), and Diazepam or Valium (anti-anxiety) are the three most common prescription drugs in the UK [6].

Prescription drugs are given after a health care practitioner follows the following steps: [7]

Definition of the person’s health care problem (also called diagnosis)

Specifying the therapeutic objective – these can be: [8]

  • >> Promoting health
  • >> Preventive care
  • >> Treatment of the condition
  • >> Rehabilitation (support for recovery from illness)
  • >> Palliative care
  • >> Choosing a treatment that is known as effective and safe

Starting the treatment

Writing a prescription (script) for medicines

Providing the individual with the health concern the answers to the following questions:  [7]

  • >> 1. What are the effects of the drug?
  • >> 2. What are the possible side effects?
  • >> 3. What are the specific instructions?
  • >> 4. Are there warnings about the drug?
  • >> 5. When is the next/ future consultation?
  • >> 6. Is everything clear about the instructions?



For clarity, health care authorities need to make sure that persons seeking their care understand the essential information about the drug.

Sometimes, health care personnel ask individuals under their care to repeat the crucial information because it is believed that by saying it out loud, the person has processed the information correctly.



After prescribing medicines, health care practitioners are instructed to:

  • >> Monitor the results of the drug used as a therapeutic measure
  • >> Determine when the person has improved and needs to stop using the drug
  • >> Discern whether there is a need to change dosage, drug type, or intake regimen



The follow-up session with the health care practitioner is designed to facilitate the evaluation of the health status of the individual.

Skipping the process or self-medicating is not recommended.

Likewise, if there are signs of psychological dependence on prescription medicines, the health care practitioner must be alerted.



During the follow-up session, the health care practitioner should be able to tell if:

  • >> Treatment is effective
  • >> Treatment is ineffective



In the US, there are government efforts to curb the unnecessary prescription of opioid painkillers, as these are considered highly addictive. [9]

In the UK, the use of opioid painkillers is tightly regulated. [10]


Although the country is not as seriously affected as the US in terms of the so-called opioid epidemic, prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers have increased significantly for the past few years. [10]

The top selling prescription medicines in the UK are: [6]

  • >> Codeine (Co-codamol) – for pain (headaches/migraines, muscular pain, toothache)
  • >> Citalopram Hydrobromide – for depression and panic disorder
  • >> Amitriptyline Hydrochloride – for pain and migraine



In addition, morphine and morphine-like painkillers, called opioid painkillers are also increasingly prescribed [11].

Examples of opioid pain killers are Tramadol, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.


These painkillers are proven effective in treating the following conditions: [12].

  • >> Orthopaedic pain (for pain affecting the knee, hips, ankles, shoulders, hand and spine)
  • >> Dental conditions
  • >> Upper and lower back pain
  • >> Headaches and/or migraines
  • >> Cancer pain (especially breakthrough pain)
  • >> Post-operative pain



Although proven effective, using opioid painkillers can be addictive [11].

Individuals who develop a problem using opioid medications can detox safely in a rehab clinic such as Abbeycare to prevent risky withdrawal symptoms.

What Are Examples Of Drugs?

Examples of drugs used for recreational purposes, often illegally, are cocaine, heroin, cannabis (marijuana), diazepam (Valium), and Etizolam.

These drugs are the most common type of drugs seized by law authorities in Scotland. [13]


Behaviourists argue that the problematic use of illicit drugs is rooted in trauma, particularly adverse childhood experiences. [14]

For some individuals, the first step of recovery is by going through a detox programme in a reputable rehab clinic like Abbeycare Gloucester.

Therapists and addiction experts believe that using drugs became a valid coping mechanism to deal with stress.


Usually, the connection between stress relief/coping and drug use was made when the individual was most vulnerable.

It is highly possible that drug dependence/misuse is a symptom, and not the major problem the individual is experiencing.

By learning better ways to cope, becoming emotionally conversant, and building resilience, a person can break free from addiction.


Such new skills, self-insight, and understanding are best learned in psychotherapy.

Abbeycare Rehab Scotland incorporates psychotherapeutic lessons covering these topics in its residential drug and alcohol rehab programmes.


Drug and/or Alcohol Treatment: The Issue of Negative Experiences

Updated approaches in addiction treatment acknowledge the fact that drug misuse could be a symptom of: [14]

  • >> Traumatic experiences
  • >> Physical Abuse
  • >> Sexual Abuse
  • >> Emotional Abuse
  • >> Parental neglect
  • >> Abandonment
  • >> Social disapproval/ rejection/ bullying


These experiences are best explored in a structured environment with a counsellor or behavioural expert.

Issues surrounding these experiences tend to bring up strong emotions.

Under emotional stress, a person who is prone to misuse drugs can worsen, using the substance more as a way to cope.


The reason why exploring these deep-impact issues is done in a structured environment is to provide support.

Professional help can be crucial in gently nudging a person towards life-long recovery.

Additionally, effective therapeutic measures involve commitment, bolstered by family and community support.


When a treatment centre focuses on holistic care, there should be an emphasis on after-care provisions.

After-care means individuals in recovery must maintain their connections with supportive persons via attending Mutual Support Group meetings and/or continual communication.


Drug and/or Alcohol Treatment: Childhood and Family Matters

One of the major issues connected to adult drug misuse is the experience of negative childhood experiences.

When a person grows up with adverse childhood conditions, these conditions have a long-lasting impact.

If the child’s environment is one where the use of alcohol and/or drugs is accepted as a valid way to cope, the chance that the child will misuse addictive substances greatly increases.


Further, persons whose parents are heavy users of alcohol and/or illicit substances can inherit the genes predisposing a person to substance abuse.

But inheriting the tendency for alcohol and/or drug misuse is not destiny itself.


Some mitigating of the tendency to use addictive substances are: [15]

  • >> Psychoeducation in proactive schools or communities
  • >> Preventive actions by concerned individuals and/or significant others
  • >> Positive social influences or role models
  • >> The individual’s conscious decision to steer clear of addictive substances
  • >> Strong self-control as a behavioural or personal trait


Because nobody wants to be burdened with passing on the negative legacy of addiction, strategies for parents who have substance abuse issues include: [15]

  • >> Parental monitoring and supervision
  • >> Authoritative rule-setting
  • >> Monitoring youths’ activities
  • >> Praise for appropriate use of so-called gateway substances (cigarettes and/or alcohol)
  • >> Consistent discipline
  • >> Logic-based and empathy-based family rules




  1.   European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2019). United Kingdom Country Drug Report. Available at:
  2.   Scottish Drug Forum. (2019). The Drugs Wheel: A new model for substance awareness. Available at:
  3.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Want to Know More? Some FAQs about Marijuana. Available at:
  4.   Alcohol and Drug Foundation. (2019). Drug Wheel. Available at:
  5.   Barnes, T. (2018, 29 August). Spice should be upgraded to Class A drug, say police and crime commissioners. The Independent. Available at:
  6.   Mattews, S. (2018). A nation of pill poppers: Record 1.1 BILLION prescriptions written in 2017 as figures reveal the 20 most popular drugs but critics slam the NHS for spending millions on paracetamol. Daily Mail Online. Available at:
  7.  World Health Organization – WHO. (2010). Guide to Good Prescribing: A practical Manual. Available at:
  8.  University Van Pretoria. Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC). Available at:
  9.  Nat National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2016). Misuse of Prescription Drugs. Available at:
  10.  Britton, R. (2019, September 10). The UK is dangerously close to having a full-blown opioid crisis. Independent. Available at:
  11.  Owens, B. (2015, June 11). Tackling prescription drug abuse. The Pharmaceutical Journal.
  12.  Janakiram, C. et al. (2019). Opioid Prescriptions for Acute and Chronic Pain Management Among Medicaid Beneficiaries. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, 57(3), 365-373. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.022. Available at:
  13.  Scottish Publci Health Observatory. (2016). Drug misuse: availability and prevalence. Available at:
  14.  Hart, C. L. (2016). Prioritize People and their Complexities Over Drugs. [Powerpoint Slides].
  15.  National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2001). Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents. Available at:

Rehab Clinic FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

What Is The Purpose Of A Rehabilitation Centre?

The main goal of a rehabilitation centre is to enable a person to live a sober lifestyle by completing treatment in a residential, supported, and supervised environment.

This goal can be achieved by:

  • >> Learning new behaviours
  • >> Understanding the motivations behind addiction
  • >> Professionally assisted detox
  • >> Evidence-based therapy and counselling


The rehab process helps individuals achieve the goals of rehab.

The process of rehab comes in four phases. These are: [1]

  • Phase One – Assessment
  • Phase Two – Detoxification
  • Phase Three – Rehabilitation
  • Phase Four – Maintenance or Aftercare



In the health care profession, the term “rehabilitation” encompasses intensive measures to help a person recuperate from serious injury or harm [2].

Under this context, “Alcohol Rehabilitation” and “Drug Rehabilitation” can be understood as intensive, supervised regimens or schedules.


Activities in rehab programs are specifically designed by experts to:

  • >> Lessen the negative impact of alcohol and/or substance abuse – help with withdrawal symptoms
  • >> Assist in the transition period – from a compromised state of health to a more balanced state of being
  • >> Normalise the transition period by providing psychosocial support –through encouragement, companionship and communicating genuine concern



It is understood that individuals attending rehab are in the centre for many reasons, most of these reasons are particular to the individual, and may not be easy to explain.

However, persons who seek treatment in rehab generally want to get better.


Trusting the rehab centre to provide them quality care possible, they expect positive outcomes such as:

  • >> New ways to cope with life’s demands (without alcohol and/or drugs)
  • >> Lower relapse rate
  • >> Continuing aftercare support
  • >> A better chance of sober living, as rehab is not an instant cure


What Type Of Care Does A Rehabilitation Facility Provide?

A rehab facility usually provides residential care, where individuals stay for a fixed amount of time.

Some rehabs also provide out-patient care; and some rehabs are halfway or sober living houses.

A rehab clinic like Abbeycare Scotland work closely with community-based programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, and other recovery groups.


While most individuals go to rehab to experience structured care, some opt to stay for the detox programme only.

For persons who go for “Detox Only”, the programme consists of:

  • >> Monitoring of withdrawal symptoms
  • >> Availability of health care assistance
  • >> Treatments to ease symptoms (prescribed by health care workers)


Most reputable rehab centres will recommend a stay of at least 28 days.

A 28-day stay means a person does not just drug or alcohol detox. S/he is also given the opportunity to learn new skills in a safe and supportive environment.

In some instances when a person has a mild case of alcohol and/or substance use problem, a rehab centre can offer home detox treatment.


In the UK, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rates residential rehabs according to how well the facility provides care.

Dependable rehab facilities make sure that standards are maintained throughout the whole process of rehab.

A rehab that gives quality care should: [3]

  • >> Provide person-centred care
  • >> Treat clients with dignity and respect
  • >> Watch out for clients’ privacy, safety, and security
  • >> Be transparent in dealings with clients
  • >> Must have adequate equipment
  • >> Must have well-trained and competent staff



A clinic rated as “Good” such as Abbeycare can capably assist persons to live a sober life.

In order to help a person kick the habit of alcohol or drug misuse for good, a rehab facility would usually encourage clients to go for a full programme, and not just “a quick detox”.

It scientifically proven that by going through the four phases of rehab, persons will be able to make profound changes about their relationship with alcohol and/or drugs [4].


Alcohol and drug addiction can be treated, but because addiction is a chronic disease with a lifestyle component, treatment needs to be: [4]

  • >> Comprehensively designed
  • >> Professionally managed
  • >> Take special care of “first timers” as a good first encounter with rehab prevents relapse
  • >> Watches out for the long-term recovery of the client
  • >> Has provisions for long-term/repeated care in case of serious cases


It is unrealistic to expect a person to fully recover from addiction just because s/he stopped using the substance for a short while, especially without professional support.


What Are Different Types Of Rehab?

In terms of Alcohol Rehab and Drug Rehab, the types of rehab are Inpatient/ Residential and Outpatient Rehab.

Inpatient or Residential Rehab refers to a type of care where the client is prescribed a set number of days, staying in the facility to receive treatment and participate in therapeutic activities.

Whereas Outpatient Rehab is a type of care where clients come to the clinic in scheduled times for less-intensive forms of treatment.


Inpatient or Residential Rehab tends to benefit all levels of alcohol and/or substance abuse conditions, while Outpatient Rehab is more suited to persons with fewer symptoms [5].

The term “rehab” can also mean “Rehabilitation Therapy”, which encompasses the disciplines of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Physical Therapy, among other similar practices.

In the field of health care, the term “rehabilitation” is aimed at assisting persons to function as well as they can after a serious injury or illness.


It is apt to designate alcohol and drug use problems in the realm of rehabilitative care, as problems with alcohol and drug use are health concerns.

It is considered best practice to treat individuals who have alcohol and/or substance problems with open-minded understanding that these conditions are caused by factors outside their control.

Seeking help for alcohol and/or substance concerns is seen as a positive step as being ready to change is already taxing to an individual with this type of burden.


Additionally, individuals with alcohol and/or substance to be triggered when stressed [6].

Deciding to go enter rehab can be considered stressful, as the decision can instigate a number of lifestyle changes.

To help persons who are new to the process of recovery, a rehab clinic should be able to:

  • >> Gently but firmly introduce new habits
  • >> Put in place procedures so that the person knows where to go and what to do when s/he has reached their limits
  • >> Help clients identify their weaknesses and strengths
  • >> Utilise a treatment plan answer the characteristic needs of the client
  • >> Carefully map out an after-rehab strategy.


Generally speaking, though the NHS provides inpatient programs for free, admission to a private rehab clinic like Abbeycare causes less hassle.

In general, private rehab care can be more accommodating to clients, with the added advantage of providing continuous and personalised care.


What’s An Inpatient Programme?

An inpatient programme is a structured program designed to help a person overcome alcohol and/or drug addiction problems.

An inpatient programme offers detox, therapy and rehab aftercare as a complete package, whereas an outpatient program can be limited to counselling services only.


A residential rehab programme can be held in a government-run healthcare facility or in a private rehab centre.

An example of a private rehab centre that offers residential programmes to recover from alcohol and/or drug addiction is Abbeycare Clinic, with two locations in Scotland and Gloucester.

What Is Outpatient Counselling?

Outpatient counselling is done when a person who has alcohol and/or drug addiction problems chooses to deal with the concern outside a residential rehab centre or outside an inpatient programme.

Outpatient counselling generally means attending Mutual Support Group Meetings.

Outpatient counselling is not the full treatment for alcohol and/or drug addiction problems.


However, since outpatient counselling is usually free of charge, this is the go-to measure for persons who have financial issues with the cost of private rehab.

The most popular groups that offer outpatient counselling in the UK are: [7]

  • >> Alcoholics Anonymous
  • >> Narcotics Anonymous
  • >> SMART Recovery
  • >> Addaction
  • >> Adfam
  • >> Release
  • >> Smart Recovery
  • >> DrugFAM


In the public health care system, outpatient counselling is part of the recommended treatment for those who seek help from addiction problems.

A local drug centre will usually provide a client needed medications, then refer the client to a Mutual Support Group meeting.

A case worker from the local drug centre typically manages the case of the client, tacking the client’s progress as s/he tries to overcome addiction concerns.


However, keeping track of a person’s progress from attending outpatient counselling sessions can be tricky.

Because feedback is usually one-sided, a case worker may not get the most accurate information about how the client is progressing.


Two of the key factors of success in recovery are: [6]

  • >> Support – means social support, financial support, and encouragement
  • >> Structure – means an orderly routine to stick to where a person is compelled to follow


These two key elements may not be optimal in outpatient counselling, where attendance is usually voluntary and not monitored strictly.

Another way in which outpatient counselling is used is when it is an add-on to a long-term recovery program.

Some individuals who undergo an Inpatient or Residential Program are guided towards using outpatient counselling for three to six months, until they are more likely to withstand the challenges of recovery.


As part of a long-term treatment for alcohol and/or substance abuse, outpatient counselling can help anchor a person to their fundamental decision to stay sober.

There is weighty evidence to show that outpatient counselling benefits persons who are have already begun the process of change—the social aspect of outpatient counselling can be considered in this sense as the most valuable aspect [8].



  1.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says. Available at:
  2.   Medline Plus. (2016). Rehabilitation Also called: Rehab. Available at:
  3.   Care Quality Commission. The fundamental standards. Availale at:
  4.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Available at:
  5.   Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – SAMHSA-US. (2006). Chapter 4. Services in Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs. Available at:
  6.   Fournier, D. (2017, December 11). Fundamental Factors of Success in Addiction Recovery. Psychology Today. Retrieved from:
  7. NHS. (2019). Alcohol support. Available at:
  8. Lopez, G. (2018, January 2). Why some people swear by Alcoholics Anonymous — and others despise it. Vox. Available at:

Alcohol Withdrawal FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

To stage an intervention, set an appropriate time and place, prepare the r

Expect alcohol withdrawal symptoms to last an average of 5 days. [1]

Heavy consumption of alcohol and long-term alcohol use are both linked to longer withdrawal times.


Generally speaking, withdrawal symptoms do not feel good.

But with proper information and support, unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be overcome.

Common withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are:

  • >> Shaking/ tremors
  • >> Nausea/ vomiting
  • >> Insomnia
  • >> Anxiety
  • >> Headaches
  • >> Excessive sweating



More serious withdrawal symptoms include those that point towards:

  • >> Delirium Tremens (“the DTs”)
  • >> Epilepsy (including tonic-clonic seizures that are described as similar to epilepsy)
  • >> Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, and otherwise sensing things that are not really present)
  • >> “Wet Brain” or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome



Formally, the condition associated with alcohol withdrawal is called Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS). [2]

The AWS condition ranges from Mild, Moderate, or Severe.

Health care professionals diagnose Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) using a scale called CIWA-Ar, blood tests, and sometimes a toxicology procedure.


A mild case of AWS usually determined when the person has a low collective score in the categories defined by diagnostic tests.

A moderate case of AWS means the person is at risk of developing serious symptoms, and it would be best if they seek professional care.


A severe case of AWS is where a person experiences Delirium Tremens. DT is suspected when there is:  [3]

  • >> Mental Confusion
  • >> Hallucinations
  • >> Feeling disoriented/lost even in familiar everyday surroundings
  • >> Difficulty thinking and reason clearly
  • >> Long-term problems with memory about present events and past events



With severe cases of AWS, detoxing without professional support is not recommended as the risks are grave.

Individuals who have a serious case of AWS have a 4 to 6.6% fatality rate compared to persons who have milder cases. [4]

In addition, it is well recognized that professionally supervised detox contributes to a better outcome than detoxing alone [4].

However mild the case, withdrawal from alcohol use poses some risks, especially if there are signs that Delirium Tremens can happen.


Delirium Tremens is usually associated with heavy drinking that has gone on for many years [3].

Delirium Tremens can develop 1 to 4 days in the most vulnerable individuals.

Because alcohol withdrawal can be stressful, some individuals even if they do not have AWS, opt to go to a rehab clinic such as Abbeycare Scotland to detox from alcohol.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

An average of 5 days is the usual amount of time some alcohol withdrawal symptoms last. [1]

A typical time-line for alcohol withdrawal symptoms is presented below. [2]

Days 0 to 1

  • >> Anxious feelings
  • >> Irritability
  • >> Sleeplessness
  • >> Headaches/Migraines
  • >> Stomach upsets
  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> Loss of appetite
  • >> Insomnia

Days 1 to 2

  • >> Shakes/ Tremors/ Muscle spasms
  • >> High temperature/ Fever
  • >> Nausea/Vomiting
  • >> Difficulty sleeping and staying asleep


Days 2 to 3

  • >> Shakes/ Tremors/ Muscle spasms
  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> With some individuals signs of Delirium Tremens
  • >> High blood pressure
  • >> Heart is beating too fast
  • >> Difficulty sleeping and staying asleep


Days 4 to 5

  • >> By this time, the person may be feeling fewer headaches/stomach upsets/ flu-like symptoms.
  • >> But for some individuals, signs of Delirium Tremens may happen
  • >> With persons who have signs of the DTs, it is recommended to seek expert care


Delirium Tremens can cause health complications and even pose a risk to life.


In addition, alcohol addiction can co-occur with the following health conditions. These are: [5]

  • >> Anxiety and mood problems (particularly for women)
  • >> Other substance use problems like smoking and illegal drug use (particularly for men)
  • >> Liver damage
  • >> Neurologic (brain-related) impairment that shows up as blurred vision, slowed speech, and unbalanced stance when walking
  • >> Various cancers



Diseases that happen along with alcohol use and abuse can make recovery a long-time endeavour necessitating support from experienced care providers.

Because recovery is not just about taking a pill or attending a group meeting, experts cite the full use of a system that tackles the problem holistically.


Dealing with alcohol problems in a whole-person approach means:

  • >> Promoting wellness of the mind, body, and spirit/psyche
  • >> Thinking of Sober Living as a lifestyle instead of a quick-fix solution
  • >> Addressing issues of alcohol misuse by restoring balance in a person’s different life aspects
  • >> Focusing on long-term recovery and/or abstinence



In a clinic that uses a holistic approach such as Abbeycare Gloucester, these goals are achieved by having the following Holistic Care services available:

  • >> Nutritionally balanced diet – as long-term alcohol use depletes the body of essential nutrients [1]
  • >> Exercise – wards of depressive and anxiety-causing thoughts during the withdrawal phase of treatment [6]
  • >> Massage therapy – to encourage body-focus and body-awareness
  • >> Acupuncture – can help ease sensitivity to pain as well as some anxiety symptoms when a person is going through alcohol detox [7]
  • >> Relaxation techniques – such as guided meditation can help a person manage moods and increase mental focus [6]


Alongside established therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Techniques and 12 Step Facilitation, these alternative methods can boost a person’s chancer of fully recovering from alcohol addiction [6].

How Do You Stay Sober?

A person who wants to stay sober can benefit from learning behavioural techniques usually taught in 12 Step Facilitation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Learning techniques from these proven systems promote long-term abstinence from alcohol. [8]

Whereas, the cold turkey approach can be detrimental to a person’s chances of recovery because it sets the stage for the kindling phenomenon to occur. [9]


The kindling phenomenon is explained using an illustration here:

  • >> A person tries to do quit alcohol abruptly without other forms of support (like therapy or professionally supervised alcohol detox)
  • >> After a brief period of sobriety, the person relapses and goes back to drinking
  • >> The next time the person tries to quit alcohol again, withdrawal symptoms become worse.
  • >> The person is discouraged to quit from alcohol because the withdrawal symptoms are horrible.


Experts agree that if abstaining from alcohol is experienced negatively, especially if the withdrawal symptoms are severe, the less likely the person will stay sober [10].

Is Alcohol Use Disorder The Same As Alcoholism?

Yes. Alcoholism is the layman’s term for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

The terms “alcoholism” and “alcoholics” are regarded as derogatory. [11]

Health care professionals diagnose a person with AUD depending on several tests.


Mostly, a person who has AUD tends to have:

  • >> Physical signs of withdrawal when alcohol use is stopped
  • >> Psychological dependence on alcohol
  • >> Co-occurring health problems such as liver disease


In Scotland, the increasing numbers of alcohol-related accidents and deaths have alarmed officials. [12]

A change in policy increased the price of non-branded value bottles with the intention to discourage AUD affected persons to buy large amounts of alcohol for cheap a price. [12]

So far, it is suggested that making alcohol less accessible can help AUD affected individuals make better choices about alcohol.

But experts still agree that a comprehensive plan involving alcohol rehabilitation is the best route to recovery from AUD [8].


What Happens To Your Liver When You Stop Drinking?

The liver of a person who stops drinking alcohol will likely recover from the first stage of liver disease. However, if the person has a moderate to serious case of liver disease, professional help is needed in order to fully recuperate [13].

The liver is partly responsible for removing toxins from the body.

Alcohol is considered a toxin, because of its active ingredient, ethanol.


When a person stops using alcohol, the liver does not need to remove ethanol from the body.

As a result, the liver can remove other toxins causing the body harm.

Drinking too much alcohol for a long period of time can cause liver disease, which comes in four stages. [13]

  • >> Alcoholic fatty liver disease – usually, there are no obvious signs, but a person might feel pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • >> Alcoholic hepatitis – the most obvious sign is the yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • >> Fibrosis – this stage is when the liver repeatedly forms scars which hinder its normal activity
  • >> Cirrhosis – usually, this stage requires professional intervention as the person is at great risk of liver failure



Factors that make a person more vulnerable to permanent liver damage (cirrhosis) are: [10]

  • Being female
  • Being under-nourished or malnourished
  • Has a relative who has liver disease


A person who quits alcohol because of liver concerns will be fully evaluated for the extent of liver damage. [10]

To prolong the life of the individual who suffers from alcohol-related liver disease, professionals recommend life-long abstinence from alcohol. [10]

Aside from easing stress from the liver, abstinence from alcohol also benefits other parts of the digestive system.  Specifically: [14]

  • >> The lining of the oesophagus
  • >> The small intestines
  • >> The stomach


Excessive alcohol consumption even by individuals not affected by Alcohol Use Disorder tends to cause problems in the digestive process.

These symptoms can include: [14]

  • >> Diarrhoea – as alcohol is processed first, other things are not digested properly
  • >> Constipation – alcohol triggers the kidneys to remove more water from the body, causing hard, dry stools
  • >> Allergic reaction – particularly if the person is allergic to alcohol or ingredients with gluten/wheat in the drink


Abstaining from alcohol also lessens the risk of ulcers in the forming in the gastrointestinal tract, also called peptic ulcers. [3]

For professionally supervised detox and withdrawal from alcohol, Abbeycare Clinic can help.

After the duration of the rehab stay, clients are encouraged to keep in touch with therapists and to seek further help if needed.


  1.   Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Alcohol Withdrawal. Available at:
  2.   Muncie, H. Jr., Yasinian, Y. & Oge’ L. (2013). Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. Available at:
  3.   Trevisan, L., Boutros, N., Petrakis, I. & Krystal, J. (1998). Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal Pathophysiological Insights. Available at:
  4.   O’Donnell, J. (DATE). Quitting alcohol can be deadly: Hundreds in the US die each year. USA TODAY. Available at:
  5.   Enoch, M.A. & Goldman, D. (2002). Problem Drinking and Alcoholism: Diagnosis and Treatment. Available at:
  6.   Mayo Clinic. (2018). Alcohol Use Disorder. Avialbale at:
  7.    Chen, P. et. al. (2018). Acupuncture for alcohol use disorder. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 10(1), 60–69. Available at:
  8.   NHS. (2018). Alcohol Misuse Treatment. Available at:
  9. Modesto-Lowe, V., Huard, J. & Conrad, C. (2005). Alcohol Withdrawal Kindling: Is There a Role for Anticonvulsants? Psychiatry, 2(5), 25–31. Available at:
  10. Worman, H. (2005). Approach to the Patient with Alcoholic Liver Disease. Available at:
  11. Morris, J. (2017). The media has a problem with alcoholism – and it’s stopping people getting help. Available at:
  12. Jamieson, A. (2018). Scotland tackles alcohol crisis with minimum price law. NBC News. Available at:
  13. Felman, A. (2018). What’s to know about alcoholic liver disease? Medical News Today. Available at:
  14. Medline Plus. (2017). Digestive diseases. Available at:

Prescriptions Drugs FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

What Are The Most Prescribed Drugs In The UK?

The leading painkiller prescribed in the UK is higher-dose codeine (Co-codamol) with about 15 Million prescriptions given in 2017. [1]

The leading psychopharmaceutical drugs prescribed are Citalopram Hydrobromide (14+ Million in 2017) and Amitriptyline Hydrochloride (13+ Million in 2017). [1].

Both Citalopram and Amitriptyline are used to treat depression.


Citalopram is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), while Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant.

Both Citalopram and Amitriptyline are used to treat depression.

Meanwhile, Atorvastatin, a drug for high cholesterol tops the list of most prescribed medicine with 37+ Million prescriptions.

Because Aspirin and Paracetamol are available over-the-counter, the figures for these drugs are excluded from this list.


Morphine and morphine-like painkillers are called opioid painkillers.

These painkillers are most often prescribed for the following conditions [2]:

  • Orthopedic pain – conditions involving hips, knees, feet, ankles, shoulders, hand and spine
  • Dental conditions
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Cancer pain


Opioid painkillers have a high potential for abuse and dependence [3].

The most commonly abused opioid painkillers are [4]:

  • >> Tramadol
  • >> Hydrocodone
  • >> Oxycodone


The number of incidents of prescription drug addiction in the UK is not as high as the number of incidents reported in US.

Authorities credit stricter rules and implementation for this lower incident rate. [5]

However, at the current level, prescription drug addiction has already caused a number of deaths due to overdose.

A number of complications can also be attributed to prescription drug misuse. These are: [6]

  • >> Constipation
  • >> Feeling sleepy
  • >> Dizziness
  • >> Nausea/ vomiting
  • >> Difficulty breathing
  • >> Hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain)
  • >> Immune function problems
  • >> Hormonal problems
  • >> Muscle rigidity
  • >> Jerky muscle contractions
  • >> Physical and psychological addiction
  • >> Risk of overdose when used together with alcohol and/or anti-depressants


In addition, the long-term treatment of conditions using opioids is not definitively proven effective.

Experts warn that using opioids to relieve pain affects multiple organ systems, which influence numerous body functions [6].


Meanwhile, antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed type of psychopharmaceutical drug [7].

In 2018, it was found out that: [8]

  • Individuals aged 65 older are given more prescriptions than their younger counterparts
  • More women than men are prescribed antidepressants



Aside from depression, anti-depressants are used to treat migraine and diabetic neuropathy. [8]

The most widely known antidepressant is a type of drug called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs are sold under the names:

  • >> Citalopram
  • >> Dapoxetine
  • >> Escitalopram
  • >> Fluoxetine
  • >> Fluvoxamine
  • >> Paroxetine
  • >> Sertraline
  • >> Vortioxetine


What Are The Most Common Prescription Drugs?

Co-codamol is the most common prescription drug for pain (15+ Million prescribed in 2019) [1].

Meanwhile, three drugs for depression top the list of prescribed psychopharmaceutical drugs. These are: [1]

  • >> Citalopram Hydrobromide (14+ Million)
  • >> Amitriptyline Hydrochloride (13+ Million)
  • >> Sertraline Hydrochloride (nearly 13 Million)


The NHS lists the most popular painkillers as Co-codamol,


Morphine, and Morphine-like drugs. These drugs include:

  • >> Oxycodone
  • >> Hydrocodone
  • >> Fentanyl
  • >> Buprenorphine
  • >> Codeine


Some health care professionals pinpoint the widespread use of opioids to [3]:

  • >> The waiting lists in clinics being too long
  • >> Prisons prescribing the use of opioids for pain
  • >> Psychiatry consultants preferring the use of these drugs
  • >> Popular appeal of opioids in media and social media
  • >> Limitations on the prescriptions of stronger painkillers


Psychological dependence on prescription drugs can be assumed if an individual is described as [2]:

  • >> Needing more of the prescribed medicine to feel its effects
  • >> Taking more prescription medicine than originally intended
  • >> Daily activity is planned around the use of the medicine
  • >> Previously enjoyed activities are cut short in relation to the use of the medicine
  • >> Secretive behaviour surrounding the procurement of prescribed medicine
  • >> Moodiness and irritability when unable to obtain the medicine


Physical symptoms of prescription drug abuse vary depending on the drug type.

However, the pattern for psychological dependence is similar, no matter what type of drug is abused [9].


Recently, Public Health England addressed the misuse of Alprazolam (Xanax), a type of benzodiazepine drug [10]

Health risks posed by being dependent on benzodiazepines like Alprazolam include [11]:

  • >> Drowsiness, sleepiness, or dizziness
  • >> Unusual patterns of sleep
  • >> A form of amnesia where the person can have difficulty creating new memories
  • >> Next-day drowsiness
  • >> Problems thinking and reasoning clearly
  • >> Allergic reactions including extreme reactions that need immediate attention
  • >> Danger risk when driving and operating machinery



In addition, there is a great chance of becoming physically and psychologically dependent on benzodiazepines if use is not professionally supervised.

Other than Alprazolam, other benzodiazepine type drugs include:

  • >> Diazepam (Valium)
  • >> Chlordiazepoxide
  • >> Lorazepam
  • >> Lorprazolam
  • >> Nitrazepam
  • >> Temazepan
  • >> Flunitrazepam
  • >> Oxazepam
  • >> Phenazepam


Addiction to prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines and SSRIs can be treated safely in a rehab clinic such as Abbeycare Scotland.


What Happens To Your Brain When You Use Prescription Drugs?

Prescription opioid pain medicines stimulate the pleasure area of the brain. [12]

Long-term use of opioid painkillers can cause brain damage that affects a person’s ability to reason logically.

Addiction to opioid painkillers changes parts of the brain that make drug cravings irresistible, causing the person to use drugs even if it already harmful.


Opioid drugs quiet the part of the brain that is associated with stress. This area is called locus coeruleus.

However, when opioids are overused, the brain compensates by making the neurons of the locus coeruleus over-active.

When the neurons are over-charged, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms.


Prescription anti-depressants called SSRIs (including Citalopram and Sertraline) affect the brain by regulating the neurotransmitter called serotonin.

An optimum amount of serotonin in the brain makes a person feel calm.

But when the level of serotonin is too high, a person can feel anxious and confused [13]


Prescription anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Alprazolam slows down the body’s functions by increasing the effect of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in the brain. [10]

Prescription stimulant drugs like Concerta XL, Ritalin and Medikinet XL affect the brain by boosting the levels of two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine.


What Are The Dangers Of Prescription Drugs?

Overdose can happen if a person misuses prescription drugs.

Other potential harms include physical and psychological addiction, as well as side-effects associated with the specific prescription drug.


In the UK, the most misused prescription drugs include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, strong painkillers, and stimulants. [13]

The harms associated with misusing/abusing anti-depressants are: [14]

  • >> Nausea, vomiting
  • >> Weight gain or appetite increase
  • >> Impotence, erectile dysfunction, decreased orgasm
  • >> Fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness
  • >> Dizziness and headaches
  • >> Insomnia, problems falling and staying asleep
  • >> Dry mouth
  • >> Constipation
  • >> Irritability and anxiety


The harms associated with misusing/abusing anti-anxiety drugs are:

  • >> Feeling drowsy/ sleepy
  • >> Feeling tired all the time
  • >> Poor balance or physical coordination
  • >> Trouble finishing and concentrating on tasks
  • >> Slurred speech
  • >> Memory problems
  • >> Insomnia or sleep disturbance


The harms associated with misusing/abusing strong painkillers are: [15]

  • >> Sleepiness/ drowsiness
  • >> Not thinking clearly (blurry thoughts)
  • >> Shallow breathing
  • >> Nausea/vomiting
  • >> Difficulty passing urine
  • >> Constipation
  • >> High blood pressure
  • >> Feeling of euphoria becomes the focus of using medication instead of pain relief
  • >> Unsafe use of needles (if drug is used intravenously)
  • >> Increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia)
  • >> Tolerance to the drug means needing more of the drug to feel less pain



The harms associated with misusing/abusing stimulants are: [16]

  • >> Pain in the stomach area
  • >> Pain in the chest area
  • >> Heart beats too fast or too slow
  • >> Appetite loss
  • >> Anxiety and restlessness
  • >> Nervousness
  • >> Difficulty falling asleep
  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> Hair loss
  • >> Dizziness
  • >> Can cause thoughts about suicide
  • >> Can trigger psychotic breakdown (lost touch with reality)
  • >> Slows growth down (for children and adolescents)


A way to safely detox from prescription drug withdrawal is by entering a detox programme in a rehab clinic.

What Causes Prescription Drug Abuse?

Individuals can abuse prescription drugs because of the belief that the drugs will make them feel good.

The motivation to use drugs, in general, is driven by the perceived benefits drugs have to a person’s happiness.

Young people are at high risk of prescription drug abuse if they have access to these drugs.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (US), young adults (18-25 years old) count as the largest group that tends to misuse prescription drugs [kid].

Young adults who use prescription drugs say they use these medicines to:

  • >> relieve pain
  • >> deal with problems
  • >> decrease anxiety
  • >> feel better
  • >> lose weight
  • >> sleep
  • >> have a good time with friends
  • >> increase alertness
  • >> experiment
  • >> counter effects of other drugs
  • >> concentrate
  • >> relax
  • >> get high



The three types of prescription drugs most commonly abused in the UK are: [13]

Opioid pain killers including morphine and morphine-like medications

  • >> Anti-depressants
  • >> Anti-anxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines)
  • >> Stimulants used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)



As of the moment, there are no government statistics on the exact number of individuals with prescription drug misuse problems. [8]

However, health experts warn that the more a person uses these drugs in an unsupervised manner, the higher his/her chances are of becoming addicted or dependent.


In addition, a rough approximate of 1/2 million individuals are using opioids for more than three years now.

Information from the Department for Health reveals a 60% increase of opioid prescriptions in recent years.


Since opioids are highly addictive [3], the long-term use of these drugs exposes individuals to the risk of painkiller prescription addiction.

Ways in which a person can accidentally become addicted to opioid painkillers:

  • >> Using the painkiller in a primary care circumstance
  • >> Taking a higher dose
  • >> Taking more of the drug
  • >> Refilling or topping up dosage inappropriately


A private clinic with experts handling this type of addiction would be Abbeycare Gloucester.



  1.   Mattews, S. (2018). A nation of pill poppers: Record 1.1 BILLION prescriptions written in 2017 as figures reveal the 20 most popular drugs but critics slam the NHS for spending millions on paracetamol. Daily Mail Online. Available at:
  2.   Janakiram, C. et al. (2019). Opioid Prescriptions for Acute and Chronic Pain Management Among Medicaid Beneficiaries. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, 57(3), 365-373. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.022. Available at:
  3.   Owens, B. (2015, June 11). Tackling prescription drug abuse. The Pharmaceutical Journal.
  4.   NHS. (2019). Which painkiller? Healthy body. Available at:
  5.   Britton, R. (2019, September 10). The UK is dangerously close to having a full-blown opioid crisis. Independent. Available at:
  6.   Benyamin, R. et al. (2008). Opioid complications and side effects. Pain Physician, 11(2). Available at:
  7.   NHS. (2017). Health Survey for England 2016 Prescribed medicines. Available at:
  8.   Walker, A. (2019, November 2). Report reveals severe lack of services for UK opioid painkiller addicts. The Guardian. Available at:
  9.   Drug Free Kids Canada. (2018). help your teens before they help themselves. Available at:
  10.   Public Health England. (2018). Alprazolam (Xanax): What are the facts? Available at:
  11.   Anderson, L. (2019). Benzodiazepines: Overview and Use. Available at:
  12.   Haydon, I. (2018, July 26). How opioids reshape your brain, and what scientists are learning about addiction. Available at:
  13.   National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2016). Misuse of Prescription Drugs. Available at:
  14.   Roberts, J. (2014). The Most Dangerous & Heavily Promoted Prescription Drugs & Their Potential Natural Alternatives. Collective Evolution. Available at:
  15.   Savage, S., Kirsh, K., Passik, S. (2008). Challenges in Using Opioids to Treat Pain in Persons With Substance Use Disorders. Addict Sci Clin Pract 4(2), 4–25. Available at:
  16.   NHS. (2018). Treatment Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Available at:
  17.  National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Prescription Drug Abuse: Young People at Risk. Available at:

Hippy Crack FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

Why Is Nitrous Oxide Called Hippy Crack?

“Hippy” typifies the laid-back trait of persons who use it; “crack” describes the speed in which the drug takes effect, taking after “crack cocaine”[1].

“Crack” also originates from the whip-it cracker, a device used to discharge the drug into balloons or other containers.

Hippy crack is called many names including [2]:

  • >> Whippets/ Whip-its/ whippits/
  • >> Laughing gas
  • >> N20
  • >> Noz
  • >> Nangs
  • >> Sweet Air


In the UK, using Nitrous Oxide for recreational purposes is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act [3].

However, the easy availability of the drug coupled with loose enforcement of the law means its use is widespread.

Hippy Crack/Nitrous Oxide paraphernalia have been found in areas surrounding a music festival, parties, and other events youth frequent [2].


So far, up to thirty deaths have been connected with the unlawful use of Nitrous Oxide [3].

But because the negative effects of the drug are under-reported, many users seem to dodge serious consequences.

There is no formal categorisation of addiction to Hippy Crack/Nitrous Oxide.

However, mental health workers and health care professionals address problems regarding Nitrous Oxide use with the same guidelines as those used to treat other addictions [4].


A person addicted to using Nitrous Oxide, like other dissociative drugs, can have the following symptoms [5]:

  • >> A need to use it in a higher dose to obtain the same desired effect
  • >> Cravings for Hippy Crack
  • >> Headaches and/or flu-like symptoms when the “usual dose” is missed
  • >> Mood swings and irritability
  • >> Excessive sweating


Nitrous Oxide/Hippy Crack is considered a dissociative drug, which causes individuals to have [6]:

  • >> Hallucinations – seeing or feeling things that are not actually existing
  • >> Sensorial disturbances – sense of smell, taste, and feel are not normal
  • >> Panic attacks
  • >> Feeling disconnected from the body or self
  • >> The person feels as if s/he is floating
  • >> Feeling numb
  • >> Having a sense of euphoria (some describe it as bliss)
  • >> Perceiving things in real life are not real
  • >> Detachment from self
  • >> The theme of being connected to a “Higher Power” is common



Withdrawal symptoms from Nitrous Oxide can also be similar to withdrawal symptoms from other dissociative drugs.

However, withdrawal symptoms from Nitrous Oxide are still being studied so that a comprehensive understanding can be developed. [6]

Detox and withdrawal from Hippy Crack can be done safely in a rehab clinic like Abbeycare Gloucester.


Is Laughing Gas Dangerous?

Yes, laughing gas is dangerous because its use can cause a person to be deprived of oxygen, which leads to unconsciousness and in the worst case, death [7].

Laughing Gas, known as Nitrous Oxide or Hippy Crack harms the body by:  [7]

Creating a risk for asphyxiation (being deprived of oxygen)

  • >> Loss of oxygen in the brain can cause death or permanent brain damage

Loss of consciousness (passing out)

  • >> Increases the crime risk of harm for the person

Nitrous Oxide–induced Vitamin B12 deficiency causing:

  • >> Numbness and weakness in arms and legs
  • >> Neck pain
  • >> Reduced range of movements (difficulty extending arms and/or legs)
  • >> Shooting pain that starts with the neck and goes down the spine
  • >> Poor coordination of hands and feet
  • >> Handling small objects
  • >> Not standing or walking in a balanced way
  • >> Increasing the risk of acute megaloblastic anemia, which causes:
  • >> Shortness of breath
  • >> Muscles feel weak
  • >> Pale skin
  • >> Loss of appetite
  • >> Diarrhoea/nausea/vomiting
  • >> Swollen tongue

Escaping cold gas can:

  • >> burn the skin
  • >> shock the vagus nerve, causing the heart beat to slow down


There is also a risk for psychosis and cognitive impairment (thinking problems) [4].


Nitrous Oxide is considered safe when used in a controlled setting by a health care professional.

Officially used, it can help soothe children who get anxious with a dental procedure [8].



Likewise, in a clinic, Nitrous Oxide can be used as a minor anaesthetic.

The recreational use of Nitrous Oxide, known as Hippy Crack has become an alarming trend recently (2016-2019). [1]


Young people are prone to abuse Nitrous Oxide because of its mistaken reputation as a “safe” party drug.

In both recreational use and clinical use, the most negative effect seems to be nausea and/or vomiting.


Some individuals also become addicted to using Nitrous Oxide.

Authorities pinpoint its accessibility and low price (compared to other recreational drugs) [9].

Quitting the use of Laughing Gas/Nitrous Oxide can be safely done in a rehab clinic like Abbeycare Scotland, where professional help can ease possible withdrawal symptoms.


Is Laughing Gas Harmful?

Yes. The potential harms of Laughing Gas/Nitrous Oxide use include accidental suffocation and muscle debility [2].

There is also a risk for Nitrous Oxide Addiction, which can cause a person physical and psychological distress.


Inhaling Laughing Gas/Hippy Crack in an enclosed space increases the risk of oxygen deprivation or suffocation.

Suffocation can happen when a person who uses Laughing Gas has no access to air [2].


When Laughing Gas is inhaled [7]:

  • >> It binds to the opiate receptors in the Central Nervous System
  • >> The brain releases its natural opioids, or pain killers
  • >> The person feels relaxed, less anxious
  • >> But during this state the brain needs a boost of oxygen


If a person using Laughing Gas does not get oxygen immediately after, the following will likely happen:

  • >> Headaches/Migraines
  • >> Nausea/Vomiting
  • >> Loss of consciousness


In a health care facility where Nitrous Oxide is handled by professionals, oxygen is administered through a simple face mask that fits over the person’s nose to prevent loss of consciousness.


Loss of consciousness is caused when some parts of the brain stop receiving signals telling the person to stay alert. [10]

In situations when loss of consciousness happens, the person can be exposed to risks such as:

  • >> Crime (committed while the person is unconscious)
  • >> Vomiting – the person’s throat can be blocked, and because he/she is unconsciousness, this becomes a choking hazard
  • >> Hypoxia or oxygen deprivation can cause permanent brain damage [11]



In the A&E, persons who become unconscious due to oxygen loss are immediately given oxygen.

However, irreparable and permanent damage can happen when immediate access to oxygen is not received [11].

Therefore, inhaling nitrous oxide directly from the canister, and/or placing a plastic bag over the head while inhaling Laughing Gas/Hippy Crack is extremely dangerous.

In serious cases with no immediate help, fatalities can occur [2].


Even in clinics, undesirable side effects of Laughing Gas/Nitrous Oxide have been reported. These minor complaints include:

  • >> Nausea/vomiting
  • >> Shivering/ feeling cold
  • >> Sweating
  • >> Dizziness/headaches
  • >> Feeling very tired


Is Using Nitrous Oxide Illegal?

In the UK, using Nitrous Oxide/Hippy Crack for recreational purposes is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act [3].

Selling Hippy Crack, for psychoactive purposes is illegal. But selling Nitrous Oxide per se is not illegal.

The reason Nitrous Oxide is not a banned or controlled substance is that it has legitimate use in: [3]

  • >> Dental procedures
  • >> A&E and outpatient clinics
  • >> Restaurants (aerosol chargers used to make whipped cream in drinks)



In addition, possession of Nitrous Oxide/Hippy Crack is not illegal

But possessing it with intent to sell it as a (party) drug is illegal.

It is difficult to prove in court that a person who has possession of Nitrous Oxide intends to sell the substance for psychoactive purposes. [12]

In a recent report by the BBC, journalists easily obtained the substance by phone, online and in actual person at Manchester [3].


Hippy Crack’s low price (compared to other illegal drugs) and easy availability has are the reason why a growing number of people have become addicted to Laughing Gas.

In the Global Drug Survey of 2012, as many as 22,000 youths from the UK have reportedly tried the drug in nightclubs, music festivals, and other social gatherings [7].

Most of these individuals have wrongly been led to believe that Hippy Crack is safe and does not cause any undesirable effects.

What Does Hippy Crack Do?

Known formally as Nitrous Oxide, the drug is an anaesthetic and an analgesic [8].

An anaesthetic renders a person unable to feel pain, while an analgesic lessens pain sensations.

When inhaled, Nitrous Oxide causes a person to feel less pain or to totally feel no pain at all.


However, this effect is accurately reached when Nitrous Oxide is mixed with a ratio of oxygen.

In recreational use, the effects of Nitrous Oxide/Hippy Crack can vary.

Sometimes the desired effect is achieved and sometimes negative effects happen.

Negative effects of Nitrous Oxide/Hippy Crack

  • >> Vomiting and nausea – if not mixed with enough oxygen or when the dose is too high
  • >> Not recommended for use when the person is already using opioid painkillers
  • >> Can cause shallow breathing

Healthcare professionals, however, find Nitrous Oxide as an effective drug because:

  • >> It reaches the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal chord) within seconds after being inhaled
  • >> It is a non-invasive procedure
  • >> It has a good safety record of safety
  • >> Few side effects when administered with oxygen
  • >> The person given the drug is not required to be constantly monitored
  • >> Does not usually cause deep sedation
  • >> Can be used in different care environments as long as there is equipment
  • >> Usually applied to manage sudden pain connected to minor procedures


Using nasal hood or full face mask, Nitrous Oxide is mixed with a ratio of oxygen.

Within 1-2 minutes, a person can already feel it take effect.

Nitrous Oxide’s anaesthetic or sedative effect is much more known than its analgesic (pain relieving) effect.

That is why it is administered together with other pain killers. (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for example).


Professionals believe that it decreases pain because it lowers a person’s anxiety about the procedure.

With children, Nitrous Oxide is a boon to because it allows for the procedure to be done without much complaint.

For adults, Nitrous Oxide can be applied when undergoing some procedures like: [8]

  • >> Incision and drainage of wounds
  • >> Joint Dislocation/Injections
  • >> Muscle Pain
  • >> Pain involving fractures
  • >> Dental Procedures
  • >> Minor to Moderate Burns
  • >> Repairs of muscle tears
  • >> Foreign Body Removal



In short, when used by professionals, Nitrous Oxide is generally considered a safe drug.

But when Nitrous Oxide is used as a psychoactive drug, unintentional harm can occur.

Also, some individuals become addicted to Hippy Crack/Nitrous Oxide.

A sensible way of detoxing from Hippy Crack would be in a rehab clinic such as Abbeycare.



  1.   Lake, E. (2019, March 28). No laughing matter – What s ‘hippy crack’, what are the side effects of laughing gas and are nitrous oxide canisters illegal?. The Sun. Available at:
  2.   Sidmouth College (n.d.) Fact Sheet – Nitrous Oxide. Available at:
  3.   O’Donoghue, L. (2018, December 19). Laughing gas laws not working, says ex-chief crown prosecutor. BBC News. Available at:
  4.   Sheldon, R., Reid, M., Schon F. & Poole, Norman. (2019). Just say N2O – nitrous oxide misuse: essential information for psychiatrists. BJPsy Advances. Available at:
  5.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Hallucinogens. Availbale at:
  6.   Alcohol and Drug Foundation. (2017). Nitrous oxide. Available at:
  7.   Thompson, A., Leite, M., Lunn, M. & Bennett, D. (2015). Whippits, nitrous oxide and the dangers of legal highs. Practical Nuerology, 15(3), 207–209. Availabe at:
  8.   Lapietra, A. (2018). Nitrous Oxide in the Emergency Department. Pain & Procedural Sedation in Acute Care. Available at:
  9.   Rawlinson, K. (2017, August 31). Laughing gas still illegal despite court decisions, UK government says. Available at:
  10.   Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2015). Researchers reveal brainwave changes in patients receiving nitrous oxide. Available at:
  11.   Singh, V., Gupta, P., Khatana, S., & Bhagol, A. (2011). Supplemental oxygen therapy: Important considerations in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Natl J Maxillofac Surg., 2(1), 10–14. Available at:
  12.   Extance, A. (2017, September 4). Nitrous oxide causes UK drug law confusion. Available at:

Stop Drinking FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

What Happens When You Stop Drinking?

When you stop drinking, most will likely experience withdrawal symptoms, including sweating, tremor, headache, blood pressure fluctuations, and sleeplessness.

Generally speaking, withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant.

The most severe withdrawal symptoms usually occur in the first few days after drinking has stopped.


Here is the typical timeline for alcohol withdrawal symptoms [1]:

Days 0 to 1

  • >> Anxious feelings
  • >> Irritability
  • >> Sleeplessness
  • >> Headaches/Migraines
  • >> Stomach upsets
  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> Loss of appetite
  • >> Insomnia


Days 1 to 2

  • >> Shakes/ Tremors/ Muscle spasms
  • >> Fever
  • >> Stomach upsets
  • >> Nausea/Vomiting
  • >> Continued Insomnia


Days 2 to 3

  • >> Shakes/ Tremors/ Muscle spasms
  • >> Delirium Tremens (a form of seizure)
  • >> Blood pressure may rise
  • >> Heart can beat faster than usual
  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> Continued Insomnia
  • >> Some individuals experience hallucinations


Symptoms in days 2 to 3 can last up to 5 days, especially without professional help.

Experts believe, that if symptoms do not get worse 24 to 48 hours after the last drink, there is a better chance of recovery [2].

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) is the formal name given to the collection of symptoms felt during alcohol withdrawal [1].


AWS can range from Mild, Moderate to Severe.

In a rehab clinic, health care workers determine how serious AWS is by conducting an assessment process.


The AWS assessment process can include [3]:

Using a scale called CIWA-Ar:

  • >> Using a scale called CIWA-Ar:
  • >> Blood tests
  • >> Alcohol and/or toxicology screen



The assessment process will help to: [3]

  • >> Monitor a person’s progress during treatment
  • >> Determine instances when it is appropriate to give medication
  • >> Give an indication when treatment can be stopped
  • >> Help health care workers know when the person can be referred to outpatient care



Severe cases of AWS can result in death, due to Delirium Tremens.

This is especially true if a severe case is not immediately treated [2].


Why Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) happens [4]:

  • >> The brain maintains balance by maintaining the levels of inhibitory (“stoppers”) and excitatory (“go-ers”) neurotransmitters.
  • >> One of the major excitatory neurotransmitters (or brain chemical) is glutamate, which acts through the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) neuroreceptor.


  • >> Alcohol stops the action of the NMDA neuroreceptors, when this happens, the brain becomes over-excited.
  • >> Continuous, regular use of alcohol makes this over-excitement a regular action for the brain (this is called hyperexcitability).


  • >>Hyperexcitability accounts for AWS symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and tremors.
  • >> As for the brain’s inhibitory (“stopper”) neurotransmitter, it is called γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA).


  • >> GABA acts through (GABA-A) neuroreceptor.
  • >> When the brain acts in a normal way, GABA prevents a person’s brain from becoming overly excited.
  • >> Alcohol enhances the effect of GABA by making the GABA-A neuroreceptors over-eager


  • >> The “over-eagerness” is why a person feels relaxed after drinking an alcoholic beverage.
  • >> But when alcohol is consumed too much and too often, the brain gets used to this over-eagerness of the receptors.


  • >> The person’s brain becomes used to this high level of GABA-A neuroreceptor activity.
  • >> To maintain this unusual level, the person tends to want more alcohol in order to relax or just feel normal (not agitated)


An important concept in both alcohol craving and alcohol withdrawal is the “kindling”

With repeated attempts at alcohol withdrawal, a person may experience “kindling”.

Kindling means, that brain cells experience long-term changes and worsening of alcohol withdrawal symptoms every time an attempt to quit is performed.

When a person seeks professional help for detox, for instance in a clinic like Abbeycare, there is a better chance of preventing relapse [5].


What Defines An Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is defined as a person who exhibits problematic drinking behaviour, which affects the individual’s mental and physical health. [6]

The person’s social life, family life, and activities at work also tend to be affected.

For the person to be officially diagnosed as “alcoholic”, the problems (called impairments) should last for at least a week.


The term “alcoholic” is sometimes considered derogatory or insulting.

The terms “problematic drinking” and “Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)” have largely replaced “alcoholic”.

Persons who have AUD are also classified as having a mild, moderate or severe case of AUD, depending on the number of symptoms they exhibit.

Experts say that AUD is best approached undergoing a structured rehab program such as one offered by Abbeycare Gloucester Clinic.


In recent years, the term “grey area drinker” has become buzz word [7].

A grey area drinker can be described as a person who does not strictly meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder.

A grey area drinker may not have work, family or job impairments that make the problematic drinking easy to spot.

Grey area drinkers may not hit rock bottom like persons who have a more serious case of AUD.

But they can also benefit from professional care in an alcohol rehab clinic.



What Is The Best Way To Stop Drinking?

The best way to stop drinking is to reduce intake levels over time, gradually [8].

A cold-turkey approach increases the chance of relapse.

Relapse is linked to a phenomenon called “kindling”.

Kindling is a tendency for withdrawal symptoms to get worse every time there is another attempt to quit alcohol.

Individuals who quit drinking all of a sudden are prone to experience the most negative effects of alcohol withdrawal.


In serious cases, some individuals can be hospitalised due to Delirium Tremens or seizures connected with alcohol, withdrawal.

Less serious cases of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome can be successfully treated on an out-patient basis.

Overall, finding professional help is also a good idea so that the negative experiences associated with alcohol withdrawal can be minimised.


Here are some tips to quit alcohol adapted from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (US): [9]

  • >> Gradually decrease alcohol consumed to the recommended levels
  • >> Identify and avoid alcohol triggers
  • >> Talk through urges to drink with an accountability partner or a professional (counsellor, therapist, etc.)
  • >> Develop the habit to say “no, thanks” convincingly and readily.
  • >> Seek other healthier ways to cope with stress, manage moods, and feel more relaxed around other people.



Professionals who can help with quitting alcohol include:

  • >> Addiction counsellor
  • >> Local health care workers
  • >> Therapists who use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and 12 Step facilitation



A rehab clinic well-equipped to provide professional help will also:

  • >> Be able to handle withdrawal complications
  • >> Have qualified staff to administer treatments
  • >> Check an individual’s progress during alcohol withdrawal
  • >> Look after overall health
  • >> Personalise a treatment plan
  • >> Recommend support so the person can be supported after therapy

How Do You Know If Alcohol Is Affecting Your Health?

Signs that a person’s health is being affected by alcohol, can include memory loss, and early symptoms of liver damage.

In addition, alcohol dependency is another warning sign [4].

Memory loss is seen when: [10]

  • >> A person becomes increasingly forgetful of recent events
  • >> Appointments are forgotten
  • >> Some daily tasks are overlooked
  • >> Things become lost or misplaced more often
  • >> Usual activities take more time than usual because the person got confused about the next step
  • >> Other persons have remarked about the memory loss


Loss of memory is associated with problematic alcohol use because alcohol affects the hippocampus, the part f the brain responsible for memories. [11]


Early signs of liver damage

Whereas, memory loss is quite obvious, are less easy to spot.

The first stage of liver disease associated with heavy use of alcohol is alcoholic fatty liver disease. [12]

The symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver disease are:

  • >> stomach upsets/ nausea
  • >> abdominal pain
  • >> diarrhoea
  • >> lessened appetite
  • >> feeling weak
  • >> itchy skin


If there is blood in the vomit or stools, it is a sign to seek professional help.


Indicators of alcohol dependency [2]

  • >> morning drinking (with or without vomiting)
  • >> unable to feel “normal” without drinking
  • >> tremors and muscle spasms
  • >> the person plans the day around drinking
  • >> skipping meals
  • >> cannot sleep without drinking
  • >> being unable to keep a self-imposed drink limit


Defining “normal drinking” is useful when a person wants to know if his or her behaviour conforms to what is considered acceptable.

With this line of reasoning, the NHS guidelines can be consulted.


The NHS recommends drinking only 14 units of alcohol a week [13].

  • >> One unit of alcohol is equivalent to:
  • >> half a pint of regular beer
  • >> half a glass of red wine
  • >> one single measure of spirits or aperitifs


The NHS also suggests refraining from binge drinking.


Binge drinking means:

  • >> Male – 8 units of alcohol in a single session
  • >> Female – 6 units of alcohol in a single session


This definition is different because male and female bodies process alcohol differently in terms of metabolism, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics [14].

It is also recommended to evenly spread the 14 units recommended throughout the week.

Whenever possible, alcohol-free days should be practiced


Individuals who are concerned about alcohol use can benefit from detoxing safely in a structured program [15].

A rehab clinic such as Abbeycare Scotland can also offer a home detox option for a mild case of alcohol dependency.

Since alcohol dependence can be a sign of a deeper problem, some mental health workers also recommend psychotherapy.


Psychotherapeutic approaches most often used with problem drinking include:

  • >> 12 Step Facilitation
  • >> Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • >> Dialectical Behaviour therapy


An individual who undergoes detox and therapeutic work is likely to have a better grasp of the issues causing alcohol addiction.

This understanding can help sustain a sober living lifestyle.



  1.   Muncie, H. Jr., Yasinian, Y. & Oge’ L. (2013). Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. Available at:
  2.   Richard K. Newman; Megan A. Stobart Gallagher; Anna E. Gomez. (2019). Alcohol Withdrawal. Available at:
  3.   Gortney, et. al. (2016). Alcohol withdrawal syndrome in medical patients. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Available at:
  4.   Bayard, M., Mcintyre, J., Hill, K. & Woodside, J. (2004). Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 69(6), 1443-1450. Available at:
  5.   National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2017). Understanding Relapse. Available at:
  6.   Phillips, M. (1990). Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Available at:
  7.  Scott, C. (2017, November 16). ‘I belonged to the grey area between normal drinker and alcoholic’. Available at:
  8.  Chernyak, P. (2019). How to Quit Drinking Alcohol. Available at:
  9.  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2015). Self-help strategies for quitting drinking. Available at:
  10.  Braun, M. (2018). 3 Warning Signs of a Potential Memory Problem. Available at:
  11.  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2004). Alcohol Alert. Available at:
  12.  Felman, A. (2018). What’s to know about alcoholic liver disease? Medical News Today. Available at:
  13.  NHS. (2016). New alcohol advice issued. Available at:
  14.  Whitley, H. & Lindsey, W. (2009). Sex-Based Differences in Drug Activity. American Family Physician, 80(11), 1254-1258. Available at:
  15.  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2019). Available at:



Posted on by Melany Heger

Can You Die From Molly Days Later?

Individuals can die from using molly/ecstasy days after using the drug.

The cause of death is usually suicide due to depression. [1]

Accidental death because of molly/ecstasy use is due to:

Hyperthermia (body temperature too high) [2]

  • >> The body’s temperature becomes too high
  • >> The brain, heart, muscles,liver and kidneys are damaged
  • >> The individual becomes dehydrated, which leads him or her to drink more water, making the next symptom worse


Hyponatraemia (water intoxication) [3]:

  • >> Feeling overheated, the individual drinks too much water
  • >> Molly/MDMA makes the person not feel like peeing (antidiuretic effect)
  • >> Water intoxication happens (cells swell with too much water)


Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) [4]

  • >> Which can cause a sudden heart attack

Hypertension (high blood pressure) [4]

Cerebrovascular accidents (stroke) [4]

Unusual risk-taking behaviour caused by using the drug [4]

In the UK, there are recent reports of ecstasy use in music venues and festivals.

Sadly, ecstasy use has been connected to several deaths in these events [3].

In the US, ecstasy, often called “molly” is popular in raves.

Rave parties are organised dance parties where electronic dance music is played by DJs.


It is said that using ecstasy can heighten the experience of raves, particularly the trance-like feel evoked by the lights and sounds

Some individuals also use ecstasy in music events because the drug reportedly: [4]

  • >> Makes the party-goer more energetic
  • >> Boosts stamina and endurance to dance and stay up late
  • >> Helps a person overcome shyness, so the person socialises more
  • >> Enhances sexual arousal by increasing touch sensations


When its illicit use first became popular, it was widely hailed as a “love drug”.

Apparently, using ecstasy could make a person more empathic [5].

Having a greater sense of empathy is usually associated with being more demonstrative, “sweet”, and “cuddly”.


Ecstasy’s after-effects 2 to 5 days later is sometimes referred to as “suicide Tuesday” [1].

The feel-good effects of the drug wear off after six hours typically.

During this “crash” or low period, individuals describe their feelings as sad, depressed and blue.

Some refer to this state as being “E-tarded”.

These after-effects can be considered withdrawal symptoms ecstasy addiction.


Scientists pinpoint how ecstasy targets parts of the brain affecting memory and concentration.

In fact, brain changes of individuals who use ecstasy for a long time mimic those of individuals who are ageing and/or have age-related dementia [4].


The reason why it takes 2 to 5 days before the negative effects show is because of ecstasy’s slow half-life.

The half-life of ecstasy is 8 hours [4].

In contrast, the half-life of paracetamol (Panadol or Calpol) is 4 hours [6].

Half-life means the time it would take for a drug to show half of its effects in the human body.

Ecstasy/MDMA needs 5 half-lives to be totally eliminated by the body.

Consequently, it would take about the body about 40 hours to remove 95% of ecstasy from the system [4].

Abbeycare Clinic has a structured programme to help individuals who want to remove ecstasy from their system safely.


How Long Do The After Effects Of Molly Last?

The short-term after-effects of Molly, last 2 to 5 days. For long-term after-effects, these can be prolonged over a month or more.

Molly/ecstasy affects parts of the brain that control [7]:

  • >> Affection
  • >> Sex
  • >> Aggression or anger
  • >> Sleep
  • >> Management of pain


Individuals who use ecstasy, use the drug because of its reported feel-good effects.

However, the negative after-effects can be more than what the user bargained for.


The negative short-term effects connected with ecstasy use are [4]:

  • >> Excessive sweating
  • >> Muscles become tense
  • >> Teeth grinding
  • >> Restless movements of the legs
  • >> In some cases, epileptic-like seizures
  • >> Increase in body temperature and increased thirst
  • >> Headaches up to 2 days later
  • >> Stomach upsets
  • >> Insomnia
  • >> High blood pressure



There are also negative short-term psychological effects, which often feel like drug withdrawal symptoms:

  • >> Hyperactivity
  • >> Feeling of having too many thoughts/ thinking too fast
  • >> Difficulty concentrating
  • >> High level of anxiety
  • >> Panic attacks
  • >> Irresponsible reckless behaviour
  • >> Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • >> Mild hallucinations (seeing/sensing things that do not exist in reality)
  • >> Feeling separated from self (depersonalisation)



In addition to these, depression is common 2 to 3 days after ecstasy use, as well as increased moodiness [8]

Individuals who use ecstasy for the first few times do not usually mind the negative short-term effects.

But persons who use ecstasy regularly have expressed how the negative feelings outweigh the positive effects [4].

Because of these negative effects, some individuals choose to detox in a rehab clinic such as Abbeycare.


For the negative long-term physical effects connected with ecstasy use, these are [4]:

  • >> Liver toxicity – jaundice (yellowing of the skin), liver injury, and hepatitis
  • >> Teeth get worn due to teeth grinding and jaw clenching
  • >> Muscle aches, spasms, pains and tremors
  • >> Heart problems especially if there is already an existing heart condition
  • >> Increased chances of stroke
  • >> High blood pressure
  • >> Slowness of movement, rigidity, and unstable posture (parkinsonism)
  • >> Bilateral abducens paralysis (eye problem, usually resulting in being permanently cross-eyed)
  • >> Serotonin toxicity or serotonin syndrome [9]


Documented long-term mental/psychologically-related problems of ecstasy use are: [4]

  • >> Impairment of memory (difficulty remembering what was seen or said)
  • >> Impairment of the decision-making making process
  • >> Difficulties completing logical thinking and problem-solving tasks
  • >> Tendency to be impulsive
  • >> Tendency to lack of self-control
  • >> Increased number of panic attacks months of use has stopped
  • >> Paranoia (feeling someone is “out to get me”)
  • >> Hallucinations
  • >> Depersonalization
  • >> Flashbacks
  • >> Psychotic episodes (a break from reality where the person does something that can be described as weird or out-of-touch with reality)


Safely stopping the use of ecstasy can be done through professionally-assisted ecstasy detox and treatment at a drug rehab clinic, such as Abbeycare Scotland or Abbeycare Gloucester.


Is MDMA Used For Therapy?

MDMA is used in a clinical trial or testing capacity, in the United States.

The use of MDMA is now in Clinical Trials, Phase 3 [10].

After completing Phase 3, MDMA will be forwarded for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Foreseeably, the drug can be approved for use with persons being treated with PTSD in an out-patient setting while the person also has psychotherapy.


Ecstasy is popular recreational drug that is that has 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) [8].

But it is important to know that MDMA is NOT ecstasy/molly.

The MDMA used in the clinical trials is clinical-grade or pharmaceutical grade.

This kind of standard of purity makes MDMA suitable for use as medicine.

Meanwhile, ecstasy, which is produced illegally and with varying amounts of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is not suitable for the treatment of diseases [8].


In a controlled setting such as a laboratory, researchers have been able to prove that MDMA can help PTSD patients by:

  • >> Helping them relax while recalling traumatic events
  • >> Helping the patient feel secure while talking about the trauma
  • >> Helping the individual develop self-empathy while reflecting on the events


The rigorous process of drug approval by the FDA is to help assure that the potential benefits of MDMA outweigh its negative side-effects.

MDMA has a potential for abuse by persons who, because of the feel-good effects of the drug, become dependent on it.

Persons who become addicted or dependent on ecstasy/MDMA/molly are usually referred to a rehab clinic for professional help.


Is MDMA Good For PTSD?

MDMA can have potential benefits for those suffering with PTSD which is currently being treated with psychotherapy.

But MDMA used together with psychotherapy in an outpatient setting is still being tested in a clinical trial [10].

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved of MDMA use outside the clinical trial.

In the UK, MDMA is a Class A drug. Using it, carrying it and selling it are acts punishable by law [11].


The MDMA used in the US clinical trials is also NOT ecstasy.

Clinically-graded MDMA has a specific dosage, and is manufactured in controlled laboratories.

Whereas ecstasy sold illegally is manufactured with different dosages of the active component.

A study has shown that street-grade ecstasy can have 67%–100% MDMA as the active ingredient [8].

Some pills can also contain less than 67%, and in some cases, there was no MDMA contained in the pills.


Recently, some ecstasy pills seized by authorities were described as “fast releasing”; while some were dubbed “double dose” types. [11]

The varying dosage in illegally produced MDMA means a person can take a high dose and sometimes a low dose, with little to no precaution.

This uncertainty and instability can lead to accidental overdose, and in worse case scenarios even death.

In raves and music festivals ecstasy is usually combined with alcohol.

Because alcohol has a diuretic effect, it can increase the toxic effects of ecstasy, causing dehydration and overheating.


In addition, unwise judgments from alcohol and ecstasy use can sometimes cause accidents to happen [12].

Persons who become dependent on the use of alcohol can detox safely by participating in an alcohol detox programme.

In a clinic such as Abbeycare, persons who have issues with alcohol and ecstasy can securely discuss their options for treatment.

Recovering from ecstasy addiction can be challenging because it means dealing with withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for the drug.

Provided proper care and professional support, a person can learn specific techniques to overcome these challenges.



  1.   Kim, J. Fan, B. Lui, X. & Wu, P. (2011). Ecstasy Use and Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescents: Findings from a National Survey. Available at:
  2.   The Conversation. (2019). How does MDMA kill? Available at:
  3.   Chalk, W. (2017). This is what happens if you take too much MDMA. BBC UK. Avilable at:
  4.   Kalat, H. (2001). The pharmacology and toxicology of “ecstasy” (MDMA) and related drugs. CMAJ, 16597), 917-928. Available at:
  5.   Smothers, H. (2016). This Is What Sex on Ecstasy Is Like. Cosmopolitan. Available at:
  6. (2010). Paracetamol 500mg. Available at:
  7.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA). Available at:
  8.   Meyer, J. (2013). 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): current perspectives. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 4, 83–99. Available at:
  9.   Soloway, R. (2015). Ecstasy Summary of Harmful Effects. Available at:
  10.   Multidisciplinary Association for psychedelic Studies. (2017). A Phase 3 Program of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Available at:
  11.   BBC. (1 May 2019). MDMA: Why it’s ‘impossible’ to know how the drug affects you. Available at:
  12.   SAMSHA. (2013). Ecstasy-Related Emergency Department Visits by Young People Increased between 2005 and 2011; Alcohol Involvement Remains a Concern. Available at:

Rehab FAQ

Posted on by Melany Heger

What Does A Rehab Do?

A rehab facility tries to help individuals who have problems with alcohol and/or drug use manage their addiction.

Most rehab clinics aim to ultimately lead clients to live sober lives.

The activities in a rehab clinic aim to:

Educate clients about alcohol and/or substance abuse

Help enlighten clients about the origins of their addictive behaviour

Remove the stigma of seeking help for addiction

Promote new ways to live without alcohol and/or drugs


A reputable rehab centre in the UK such as Abbeycare Scotland conforms to Care Quality Commission standards (CQC).

CQC Certification guarantees that : [1]

  • >> The clinic makes sure the clients are safe before they enter rehab.
  • >> National clinical guidance/rules are followed.
  • >> Employees of the clinic are professionally trained and up to par with current standards
  • >> The clinic employs adequate support staff
  • >> The centre has facilities to support treatments offered


After attending rehab, most rehab centres link with Mutual Support Groups, so clients so that recovery efforts can be sustained.

Examples of Mutual Support Groups are:

  • >> Alcoholics Anonymous
  • >> Narcotics Anonymous
  • >> Cocaine Anonymous
  • >> Women for Sobriety
  • >> SMART Recovery
  • >> Secular Organization for Sobriety/Save Our Selves
  • >> LifeRing Secular Recovery


In order to ensure success in treatment, a rehab clinic should provide : [2]

  • >> Professionally supervised detoxification
  • >> Behavioural counseling (12 Step Programme, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and so on)
  • >> Evaluation of other mental health problems
  • >> Follow-up for long-term recovery


A person seeking treatment for addiction issues would be better serviced by a rehab clinic that aims for long-term recovery rather than quick fixes.

To promote a sober living lifestyle, behavioural therapies in a rehab clinic should emphasise:

  • >> changing attitudes about alcohol and/or drug use
  • >> learning new ways to cope with stress and triggers
  • >> seeking out help through social support
  • >> improve the ability to cope with the daily demands of life
  • >> establish a sense of emotional stability and calm


In addition, clients can benefit from rehab clinics like Abbeycare Gloucester that use a holistic approach treatment.

Holistic care can help clients regain physical, social, nutritional and spiritual balance.

Holistically oriented rehab clinics can incorporate exercise, massage, and aromatherapy into their care repertoire.

Ultimately, a rehab clinic should be able to:

  • >> Influence a client to maximise his/her quality of life
  • >> Address the individual’s multi-faceted needs
  • >> Help individuals adjust to living a lifestyle without substance abuse
  • >> Direct individuals towards wellness and health
  • >> Assist the individual to return to home and community as a renewed person


What Does Rehab Consist Of?

Rehab consists of detox, behavioural therapies, and aftercare services.

Expect a rehab clinic to provide:

  • >> Conducive accommodation
  • >> Professionally Supervised Detox
  • >> A regular schedule to follow
  • >> Counseling for emotional support and behavioural change
  • >> Education about health and addiction issues
  • >> Recreation (gym facilities and fitness classes for example)
  • >> Family Participation
  • >> Relapse prevention strategy planning sessions
  • >> Continuing Care or rehab aftercare


In the morning, rehab begins with a healthy breakfast, followed by the first group meeting.

Mid-morning, therapy sessions are held (individual or group)

Depending on the clinic, there may be another afternoon therapy session or a group meeting after lunch

Time is usually allotted for breaks in-between sessions.

Some rehab facilities hold sessions in the evening.


The type of programme an individual has can depend on a personalised treatment plan.

For individual therapy sessions utilising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, sessions last 30 to 60 minutes.

Group therapy sessions can last from 1 to 2 hours.

A private rehab clinic differs from public rehab clinics offered by the NHS.

Reasons why clients choose private rehabs are:[3].

  • >> Accessibility – no need to wait for weeks for an admission
  • >> Continuation of care provider – the professional assigned to the client sees through the whole process of treatment
  • >> In-patient care availability is limited in public rehab
  • >> Overall, the quality of services by private rehab clinics is seen as superior


However, due to financial constraints, some individuals are limited to using NHS rehab clinics.

Private rehab can be covered by insurance, while public rehab is offered free by the NHS to UK citizens.


What Is The Process Of Rehabilitation?

The process of alcohol or drug rehabilitation involves assessment, detox, rehabilitation (proper) and aftercare [4].

Specifically, alcohol or drug rehabilitation these phases are:

Phase One: Assessment

Interviews and checks are done so that the centre will have an idea of how to formulate a personalised treatment plan.

Questionnaires can be given asking the client about the history of alcohol and/or drug use.

Paperwork about insurance and other formal matters can be finalised


During this phase, clients will be interviewed about:

  • >> What substances are they currently using
  • >> When was substance use initiated? (How did it begin?)
  • >> Previous history of joining a rehab programme
  • >> His or her goals about rehab
  • >> In addition, the centre may ask about:
  • >> The client’s overall health
  • >> Education and/or work history
  • >> Details about social life
  • >> Quality of relationships with family/friends/supporting individuals


The last step of Phase One will usually be a Rehab centre orientation


Phase Two: Detoxification

The first two to three days of detox are the most challenging, physically, emotionally and mentally  [5].

But with professional guidance, the hardship can be overcome.

Emotional and physical support is crucial during detox, as individuals who go through relapse alone can be less-equipped to handle the demands of the withdrawal process.

Individuals who are well-supported during detox tend to follow-through with the rehabilitation process, assuring a better chance of life-long recovery. [2]

After one week in detox, a person is better able to handle the regular therapy sessions available in rehab.

Phase Three: Rehabilitation

During this stage, individual and/or group psychotherapy is offered

Clients learn about their motives, feelings, and hopes about addiction.

This part of rehab is where clients do the hard work of learning about themselves in a deeper level, so that they can learn new ways to cope.

Rehab clinics differ in therapy methods chosen.

A private clinic like Abbeycare offers 12 Step facilitation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Holistic therapy.


Other basic facilities only outpatient programmes or in-patient programmes with limited capacity.

Usually, therapies are composed of:

  • >> Assessment – determines where the person is in terms of the addiction and recovery process
  • >> Formulation of goals – what the client wishes to achieve after therapy
  • >> Treatment – where homework and behavioural monitoring occur


Individual Therapy in particular helps individuals to:

  • >> learn to monitor and control their thinking
  • >> discover their thinking patterns and how these lead to addiction
  • >> maintain a sense of self-control over drug cravings
  • >> learn coping skills to live alcohol or drug-free
  • >> break the cycle of substance abuse
  • >> gain an understanding of how thoughts, behaviours, and emotions relate to each other
  • >> utilise rational planning skills to cope with life’s daily challenges


Phase Four: Maintenance or Aftercare

In rehab, this phase involves strategic planning to know how to proceed after the client exits rehab.

Outside rehab, this phase can involve

Peer support groups or Mutual Support Groups (Alcohol Anonymous SMART Recovery, etc.)

Peer providers – such as certified peer specialists, peer support specialist, recovery coaches, sponsors or mentors

The rehab clinic usually connects the client to these after-care groups, as it is of utmost importance that the client is supported after rehab.

Evidence shows that clients who have continuing personalised care have better chances at recovery than persons who do not have after-care support.  [4]

How Long Is Rehab For?

The shortest stay will be for seven days, the typical stay will be 28 days, and some clients can stay up to 90 days in rehab.

Most rehab programmes in the UK last 28 to 30 days.

Some clients, however, choose longer treatment programmes.

The longest length of stay can be up to 12 weeks.

The length of stay in rehab depends on the following factors:

  • >> What substance is used
  • >> For how long has the person been using the substance
  • >> How motivated the person is to change
  • >> The amount of emotional, social, and financial support the client has


The NHS recommends individuals who need more than just detox to continue with a drug rehab programme or an alcohol rehab programme.

In a private rehab clinic, clients are not forced to stay for the duration of the rehab process.

However, leaving before the programme concludes is not recommended.

Usually, rehab facilities employ motivational techniques to keep clients to focus on the end-goal: successful sober living.  [5].

Out-patient programmes are better suited to individuals who have a moderate level of alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Recent developments in research have led experts to conclude that addiction is a treatable disorder [6].


Like some chronic conditions, relapse does occur in treatment.

But relapse does not mean failure, rather, it is a sign that change has happened, treatment is resuming, or there is a need to modify some treatment approaches.

Rehab clinics the best treatment programs address the needs of the person as a whole.

By treating addiction as a lifestyle disease much like diabetes or asthma, clients can approach their problem in a positive manner.

By removing negative self-judgment and treating addiction as a health problem, clients can move away from self-blame towards self-empowerment.




  1.   Care Quality Commission. (2019). Briefing: Substance misuse services. Available at:
  2.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Available at:
  3.   The Conversation. (2018). Drug rehab: what works and what to keep in mind when choosing a private treatment provider. Available at:
  4.   The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Available at:
  5.   NHS. (2018). Treatment Alcohol Misuse. Available at:
  6.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Available at: