What Is Drug Addiction?
We can say someone is addicted to drugs when it forms a major part of their day to day lives, when a physical dependency on drugs has developed, in order to function, in daily life.
Or, when seeking and using drugs becomes the priority over functional day to day life; and when life becomes unmanageable, as a result of drug use.
Understanding how drug addiction develops
Some become addicted secondary to other issues, e.g. abusing painkillers after receiving them for surgery or another medical process.
After using drugs in this way a few times, a form of positive reinforcement occurs.
This means, the individual can unconsciously begin to use the substance not only for it’s pain killing effects, but for the other feelings of euphoria it brings, or for it’s ability to help other worries or stresses in life seem less painful.
From the biological perspective, when there are no drugs present in the brain to cause this effect, other neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for emotional equilibrium are depleted, and the individual suffers withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, anger, shaking, sweating, and other physical symptoms.
People become addicted when this habituation has developed to the point where the individual needs very frequent doses of the drug in order to function on a day-to-day basis.
At this point the individual is said to be physically addicted, and continually seeks drugs to remove these feelings of withdrawal.
What’s required, is to restore balance in the natural amounts of brain chemicals the body produces, without external drugs.
Achieving this whilst minimising withdrawal symptoms, and maximising comfort levels, usually requires professional help.
Using drugs to cope
It’s easy to turn to drug use as a way to ‘feel ok’, or to bolster our self-esteem in some way.
If I’m using drugs to “feel important”, then it’s possible I have an underlying belief that “I’m not important”.
If I then work on the cause of this belief, therapeutically, so that I no longer have the belief “I’m not important”, then I no longer have the underlying reason I was turning to drugs in the first place.
In this scenario, it becomes substantially easier to release the pattern of drug use in day to day life.
Of course, this is a simplification, and long term drug abstinence and success in recovery takes much more than this.
Nevertheless, this principle runs throughout the pattern of getting better for good – understanding your drug addiction.
Physical .v. psychological addiction to drugs
On an emotional level, people become addicted to drugs for the same reasons as any other addiction – it’s doing something for them.
This means, the substance is helping them to feel a certain way – e.g. a sense of euphoria, or an ability to forget day to day stressors. In some way, every addiction solves a problem, of some kind.
At the time, during active addiction, the individual often sees it as a way to continue a behaviour or unuseful pattern in another area of life, without having to address it directly, as the substance abuse removes the emotional pain associated with facing up to the issue.
In other words, drug addiction is used as a compensation mechanism, either to gain positive feelings, that weren’t there before, or to avoid negative feelings, that were there before drug use.
As we explain below, a key component of treatment, is to understand this compensation mechanism, as it expresses itself in your life, and thereby overcome it.
Do you have a drug addiction?
How do I know if I’m addicted to drugs?
- Do you have consistent thought patterns revolving around next obtaining drugs and how to do so?
- Are you prioritising drug use, over other activities in life?
- Are you opting out of day to day activities you would previously have taken part in, as a result of drug use?
- Are you lying or making excuses to compensate for your drug use in daily life?
- Has drug use resulted in significant consequences in major areas of your life such as work, your relationship, or family?
- Are you squandering resources like money or time on drug use, that should be directed more prudently?
What Is Drug Rehab?
Admitting to drug rehab usually means attending a clinic, where you stay as an in-patient, for a period of time. This can vary for anything from 2-4 weeks or longer for the initial, primary care treatment of the addiction.
The standard program for drug treatment typically takes place in 3 stages:
Drug treatment at home
There are substantial risks and safety issues involved in detoxing from any drug use, and as a result, detoxing from drugs at home is not recommended.
In-Patient .v. Outpatient Drug Treatment
Inpatient drug treatment means staying residentially, in a clinic, for a period of (e.g.) 14-28 days. Usually, a fully supervised detox would be prescribed by a medical professional and administered by clinical staff.
Inpatient treatment usually means therapeutic care after detox, to examine and overcome the emotional elements of the addiction.
For some, outpatient drug treatment means weekly sessions with a keyworker from a local drug alcohol team.
For others, outpatient drug treatment could mean accessing a daily dose of maintenance medication prescribed by a doctor, with (e.g.) outpatient sessions of counselling or support whilst doing so.
In either case, issues can arise rapidly. Even with the best of intentions, if I attend a counselling or keywork session, and make great progress, I can be triggered by an outside event on the way home, and all the progress is lost.
Whereas, in residential treatment, you’re removed from these triggers and allowed to make emotional gains, and keep them.
Drug Rehab Treatment
Let’s be realistic – overcoming drug addiction isn’t easy. But it is possible. This is what we do, 24/7 – we understand it, inside out.
Here’s how drug rehab treatment works.
Rehab Program Overview
- Initial telephone assessment. During this, we can advise on the best detox and program options for your case personally. This will determine the costs of your stay.
- Personalised care program and plan, clearly laying out your treatment strategy
- Detox – Medically prescribed detox medication, administered over a period of days or weeks, that helps resolve cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making treatment comfortable
- Group therapy including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and the 12 step model, assists you to identify the underlying issues
- Keywork sessions with your individually assigned case manager, help strengthen the progress made in therapy, and includes 12 step work progress and goal setting
- Holistic therapies such as massage, reflexology or reiki
- Aftercare planning support, that’s individualised to you, including access to ongoing support groups
- Weekly family support groups specifically for the families of Abbeycare clients
- Optional CBT aftercare outpatient therapy, following discharge
How long does drug treatment last? Your time in a clinic can vary, for anything from 14-28 days or longer.
This will depend on a number of elements, such as your previous relationship with drugs, current intake level, physical health issues, mental health issues, and other specifics. We can assess these with you individually, when you call, to arrive at a duration of stay, and associated cost.
Drug Rehab Costs
Costs of treatment will vary, depending on what substance you’re seeking rehab for, and the duration of your stay in the clinic.
As an example typical minimum stays for e.g. opiate detox could be from 14 days, this would be a program focussed mainly upon detox elements and with less focus on therapeutic recovery.
Whereas, a 28 day program allows more time for significant therapeutic gains that can lead to long term recovery success. An overview of duration required for each substance type can be seen in our comparison table here. Please see our pricing page for more info.
How Drug Treatment Works: Detox > Therapeutic Help > Aftercare
Drug rehab treatment usually includes a detox, if you require it.
Following an initial consult, our medical team will prescribe the optimum detox for your needs, and you’ll take this medication at certain times of the day, over several days or weeks, with our help.
Your care plan lays out clearly, an agreed set of goals for your stay at Abbeycare, that we’ll help you work towards. A dedicated case manager oversees your progress, throughout your stay.
You’ll plan out together, the outcomes you want from treatment, and later, plan the aftercare support elements you’ll need for the long term. Insights from this plan can be used as a yardstick to help measure your progress in the clinic, and arrive at future supports to assist you, following treatment.
Keywork sessions like this are one-to-one, and fully personalised. You’ll usually work together like this 1-2 times per week.
Our addiction specialist therapists know addiction inside out, and will help you identify core issues of self, including beliefs, values, and patterns of behaviour, that are behind your addiction. CBT sessions usually take place around 3 times per week.
CBT sessions are delivered in a small group setting, deliberately.
Do not underestimate the power of the group. Often, it is only with the contrast of others’ experience, that you’re able to place your own in context, and truly understand it. You’re unlikely to get this kind of perspective in any outpatient setting, or attending meetings.
Working in the group setting is powerful. Multiple peers, in the same situation, give you the shared validation of your issues, but also the context and perspective that helps foster internal change, quickly.
Your peers in the clinic have shared similar experiences, and arrived at the same place of addiction. No-one is better placed to understand you. You will see yourself in them, and them in you.
Many previous clients have come to us, afraid of taking part in group, unaware that simply attending these sessions alone, is helping overcome the pattern of isolation that is central to addiction itself.
Group therapy in rehab helps reduce shame, and embrace the parts of us that need support the most. Participating in group allows an opportunity to witness that the supposedly shameful elements of addiction – the parts we thought no-one else had – are in fact shared by everyone.
In drug addiction therapy, we want to help you:
- Understand the negative consequences and dysfunction in your life, resulting from drug addiction.
- Understand the events leading to your addiction, and your part in them
- Clearly identify the reasons behind your addiction, and those enabling it (whom you thought were helping)
- Recognise and address the triggers, conditionings, and associations involved in your drug use, and thereby help prevent them in future.
12 step program
CBT is combined with the 12 step approach during therapeutic sessions in Abbeycare.
We’ve found this a particularly powerful approach. During your stay you’ll cover step 1 in depth.
Rather than overwhelming spiritual rhetoric, we combine the most practical elements of step-work, with the insights in your addiction pattern, to help you make the progress you need.
Meditation and Holistic therapies
Once a week you’ll have your choice of complementary therapy like massage, reiki, or reflexology, to augment your emotional recovery and give you a taste of supports that could contribute to long term recovery in future.
Recovering from drug addiction means working on all aspects of yourself. Weekly sessions of massage, reiki, or reflexology help balance the body, with the emotional progress you’re making, and provide a taster of self-care elements you can continue, in long-term recovery.
Aftercare planning for long term success
During your stay, we’ll help you plan out a series of supports, that will aid your long term addiction recovery and abstinence. This will include:
- Relapse prevention planning that accounts for your needs, personal circumstances, and plans for the future
- A detailed, practical plan for abstinence – what will your first day in recovery look like? Where will you be? What will you be doing? Seeing, hearing, and feeling? We’ll help you get realistic.
- A number of supports you can turn to, when stressors in life arise. This takes account of your addiction triggers, and associations.
- Supports to help you deal with the other emotional elements of staying abstinent – that might not surface to be addressed during treatment.
- Signposting to more specialist help, where appropriate. This could be specialist Mental Health support, or agencies for housing, employment, financial benefits, etc, as required.
Your aftercare plan is personal to you, and will change depending on your needs, circumstances, and progress during treatment.
We do all this in detail, deliberately – the more detailed this plan is – the easier it is for you to follow through on, after treatment.
Drug Rehab Costs
How much does a clinic stay for substance misuse cost?
Costs of treatment depend on the duration of your stay. This in turn depends on what you’re seeking help for.
The minimum stay for drug treatment at Abbeycare is 14 days and extends to 28 days and upwards.
Private clinic treatment is not the same as admitting to hospital – should you require emergency treatment please attend your nearest Emergency Department.
Always ask your GP for advice re help for substance abuse in the first instance.
Where are your centres?
We have centres in Wishaw, Lanarkshire (Abbeycare Scotland), Gloucester (Abbeycare The Hygrove) and Newmarket (Abbeycare Newmarket). Not all options are available at all clinics. Please enquire for more info.
How quickly do clinics accept admissions for drug rehab?
You can normally be admitted to treatment in 24hrs or less. For specific guidance, see our comparison table.
I’m addicted to multiple substances, do you accept such cases?
In most cases, yes. The medical team will prescribe detox medication based on your needs. The underlying issues concerning multi-substance addiction are usually similar to those in single substance addiction, and the therapeutic work will be the same.
I have underlying complex mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, can I still admit to the clinic?
Where complex physical or mental health issues arise, we can assess on an individual basis. For these more complex cases, please contact us for help.
I am prescribed high dose methadone for opiate addiction, can I admit?
Usually, yes. Please see our methadone detox information.
Will I need secondary care following a clinic stay?
Depending on individual circumstances, some will require additional secondary rehabilitation support following primary care rehabilitation.
This happens sometimes for example if the individual has a stong history of relapse, complex therapeutic needs, or our medical team recommend additional secondary care. Cases like this are assessed individually, and you can contact us for help.
How To Book
To book an admission to the clinic for drug treatment, get in touch.