Why Americans Don’t Get the Addiction Treatment They Need
Drug addiction is a pervasive issue in the U.S. causing potentially permanent physical and psychological damage. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, as of 2020, Federal Drug Control has spent $15.5 billion on substance abuse treatment and $2.1 billion on addiction prevention measures.
A disproportionate number of people suffering from substance use disorders are not receiving the care they need. Substance abuse treatment is commonly misunderstood; addiction is not a choice, it is a medical condition.
The stigma- or negative beliefs- surrounding addiction is one of the biggest barriers to treatment. Those suffering from substance use disorders (SUD) often do not seek help because they are largely ignored by society and many treatment professionals.
Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD Stop People from Getting Help
Moreover, major depression, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder are all barriers to getting substance abuse treatment. Those suffering from these conditions and a SUD have great difficulty functioning from day-to-day. Once the aforementioned conditions become debilitating, the chances for one enrolling in a certified drug addict treatment program are minimal.
Problematically, depression, psychosis, anxiety, extreme panic, mania, PTSD- and the like- typically require psychiatric and psychological treatment to resolve.
In 2017, only 4 million of 20.7 million individuals 12 and older in need of substance abuse treatment received it. As a result, many suffered fatal overdoses.
Addiction is a potentially fatal disease that is entirely treatable.
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The Negative Effects of Addiction Can Be Remedied
Treatment for addiction is absolutely necessary to achieve sobriety.
Without treatment, substance use disorders deteriorate the brain’s ability to function, the body’s overall wellbeing, and exasperates current (or developed) mental health conditions.
Co-occurring (or happening at the same time) disorders are common in people with untreated SUDs. The most commonly occurring mental health conditions diagnosed in addition to addiction often include:
- Personality disorders
(narcissistic personality disorder, bi-polar disorder, anti-personality disorder, borderline personality disorder)
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Major Depression
More than one of these mental health disorders (and innumerable conditions not listed here) may contribute to the exasperation of a SUD.
Treating Different Types of Substance Use Disorders
Drug addiction is a broad term referring to a myriad of addictive substances. The most common type of substance use disorder is cannabis.
What Is a Cannabis Use Disorder?
There is a common misconception cannabis (marijuana) is harmless, however- abusing this drug can lead to a marijuana use disorder. While it can sometimes take months or years for an addiction to develop, using cannabis over an extended period of time can have long-term side effects. For teens, in particular, marijuana causes brain development problems.
In 2016, 4 million Americans suffered from a marijuana use disorder and only 138,000 sought treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts one out of ten marijuana users will become addicted.
Substance use disorders and substance abuse are two separate entities.
One with a marijuana substance use disorder is chemically addicted to the drug; they experience withdrawal and behavioral problems when without cannabis.
Those who are substance abusers use marijuana but are not chemically dependent upon it. However, abusing marijuana may lead to chemical dependence and turn into a fully-realized substance use disorder.
Is Marijuana Addiction Real?
Marijuana Use Disorders Are Legitimate and Scientifically Proven
Despite marijuana’s generally “harmless” perception, cannabis causes delusional thinking, increased anxiety when used in excess, paranoia, and physical addiction.
Many who need treatment for marijuana addiction do not seek substance abuse treatment because of the common myth one cannot become addicted to “weed.”
This is a widespread- and inaccurate- misconception.
Marijuana is commonly referred to as a “gateway drug.” Meaning, marijuana users are more prone to experimenting with other addictive substances.
The most commonly abused substances after one’s introduction to marijuana use are plant-derived substances.
Many marijuana users tout the use of marijuana due to its medical benefits; their argument strengthened by the fact marijuana grows organically in nature. This belief carries over to the use of opium, the cocoa plant (“natural” cocaine), and the psilocybin mushroom (colloquially known as magic mushrooms).
It is possible to abuse marijuana, but not be addicted. However, one should seek drug addiction treatment before one’s substance abuse becomes a full-scale substance use disorder.
If one experiences negative side effects or unusual shifts in mood, easy to irritation, and potentially behaving erratically- they are experiencing withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms are typically when treating a substance use disorder. Withdrawal symptoms are indicative of a substance use disorder. Cannabis substance use disorder withdrawal symptoms include:
Withdrawal Symptoms of Cannabis Use
- Decrease in appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Unexplained chills
- Negative shifts in mood
- Intense cravings for marijuana
- Stomach irritability
It’s important to remember not every person suffering from a cannabis substance use disorder will present all (and in some cases any) of the aforementioned withdrawal symptoms.
Many clients present with only a handful of these symptoms– and it is just as important to seek substance abuse treatment.
Treating Opioid Substance Use Disorders
Of the 702,000 drug-related overdoses, 68 percent are attributed to opiates.
Abusing opiate based substances is extremely dangerous; opioids are highly addictive, destroys cognitive functioning, and changes the way one’s body functions on a chemical level.
Opiates are particularly addictive due to their ability to manipulate the body’s dopamine system. In short, opiates shock the body with feel-good hormones. Oftentimes people with untreated substance use disorders are attempting to self-medicate to feel normal from other undiagnosed maladies.
These conditions typically include mental health disorders that have gone undiagnosed for years. However, many people with opiate addictions often become addicted due to over-prescribed prescription opiates from licensed medical professionals.
As time passes, one’s tolerance to addictive opiates increases.
This is due to a developing resistance or “tolerance” for opiates. Tolerance refers to how much of an addictive substance one must take to experience a “satisfying high.”
The Three Classifications of Addictive Opiates
Found in opium resin of the opium poppy plant; produces morphine, codeine, and thebaine.
Made in labs using natural opiates; produces hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
Fully manmade, including fentanyl, demerol, pethidine, levorphanol, methadone, and tramadol.
Stimulant Substance Abuse Treatment (Uppers)
Stimulant substances, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs (ie: Adderall) foment full-blown substance use disorders.
These specific classifications of drugs are typically referred to as “uppers.” The name stems from the typical signs of stimulant substance abuse; including: increased energy, talkativeness, erratic behavior, uncontrollable twitching, hyperactivity, racing thoughts, increased anxiety, and nervousness.
Stimulants increase activity in your central nervous system and body adversely. Those with untreated stimulant substance use disorders often develop hyperstimulation in the brain. Maladies include increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and dangerously high body temperature.
What Are the Most Common Stimulant Drugs?
- Anabolic steroids
- Crack cocaine
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Drug Addiction Treatment for Depressant Substance Use Disorders (Downers)
Depressant substances slow the activity of the central nervous system. When under the influence of depressant substances- often called “downers”- the body begins to move slowly. In emergency cases, the body shuts down entirely; this is referred to as an overdose.
Depressants are commonly used to self medicate debilitating conditions including anxiety, insomnia, panic, and acute stress reactions. The root of many of these mental health conditions lie in untreated trauma.
Uncovering trauma and addressing the underlying causes of drug addiction is the focus of substance abuse treatment.
The Three Types of Depressant Drugs
Depressants are grouped into three drug classes:
Sleep-inducing, muscle-relaxing, behave as sedatives.
When taken in small doses, they work as downers by causing relaxation and euphoria. Some prescription brands include Mebaral, Luminal, and Nembutal.
Non-Benzodiazepine Sedative Hypnotics
Non-benzodiazepine sedatives are “safer” alternatives to benzodiazepines, as they have shorter half-lives; meaning, the duration of time the substance remains in the body is shorter than the alternative’s presence within the body. Commonly abused prescription sedatives include Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata.
Most depressants are prescribed by a doctor. However, abuse begins when an individual does not take their medication as prescribed. This may include taking higher than prescribed dosages, an intent to “get high,” and abuse of other people’s medications.
Signs of Substance Use Disorders (Also Known As Addiction)
Each addictive substance heralds its own symptoms of abuse and prolonged use.
Those who are substance abusers are not necessarily addicted to their substance of choice.
One with a substance use disorder suffers from measurable withdrawal symptoms; which is the tell of addiction.
Substance abusers may use addictive substances, but do not experience withdrawal if they cease use. However, in time drug abusers may develop fully realized SUDs.
Physical Signs of Addiction
- Dramatic weight changes (loss or gain)
- Lacking hygiene; not showering, brushing teeth, or changing clothes
- Uncommon body odors
- Dilated pupils
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Poor skin tone
- Appearing lethargic or sleep-deprived
Behavioral Signs of Addiction
- Increasingly aggressive
- Getting into legal trouble
- Spending time with new friends
- Misplaced priorities
- Encountering problems at work
- High-conflict in relationships
- Financial mismanagement
- Hiding substance use
- Inability to stop using drugs
Types of Substance Abuse Treatment
At Discovery Point Retreat (DPR), we take a physical and psychological approach to treatment. Combining medical detox and cognitive behavioral therapy is the evidence-based approach to treating addiction and attaining sobriety.
Our treatment modalities at DPR are unique and are tailored to each individual client. We understand no two cases of substance use disorders are alike and offer a variety of psychological therapies and psychiatric treatment, treating not only substance use disorders- but the underlying mental health conditions perpetuating one’s addiction.
Inpatient Medical Detox Is the First Step to Substance Abuse Treatment
Detoxification is the process of removing addictive substances from one’s body through abstinence in a clinically monitored facility.
Many eschew drug addict treatment for the fear of debilitating withdrawal symptoms, which often result in death on the streets. Well-intentioned substance abusers sometimes try to mimic inpatient detox in their own homes or hospital rooms.
Because withdrawal symptoms may cause life-threatening complications (especially those in need of treatment for an alcohol SUD), many perish in the attempt.
Depending on the substance abused, symptoms may include:
- Delirium tremens
- Intense cravings
How Long Does Inpatient Medical Detox Treatment Last?
Clients spend their first two weeks of recovery in medical detox. During this time clients principally treated for the signs of withdrawal, and may participate in light group therapy activities.
Licensed physicians and clinicians are always on hand to assist in psychological and physical disparities. Clients having a difficult time adjusting to treatment are surrounded by a trained, caring staff skilled in helping clients acclimate to treatment; while addressing psychological maladies including depression, anxiety, and rage.
Clients remain in the care of the facility for the remainder of treatment from detox to inpatient rehab. This is to ensure clients are safe and away from addictive substances to begin treatment.
What Is Residential Inpatient Addiction Treatment?
Inpatient treatment (also known as residential treatment) is the longest treatment area in the entirety of recovery. On average, clients should remain in inpatient treatment for at least 120 days. However, many settle for 90 days of treatment- which is tied to higher rates of relapse.
The longer one stays in treatment, the better one learns to control drug cravings, respond positively to negative triggers, and gains a mindful understanding of substance abuse and sobriety.
During inpatient treatment, clients should expect to participate in many themed group therapies, including gender-specific groups, age-specific groups, life skills, trauma groups, PTSD groups, groups for generalized anxiety, depression, and the like.
Inpatient treatment looks at substance use disorders in their entirety. Not one aspect of addiction is treated, our clinicians at Discovery Point Retreat combine recreational therapy with evidence-based therapy for a rounded approach to addiction medicine.
Our approach emphasizes our clients’ quality of life.
Discovery Point Retreat has a residential treatment facility at our Waxahachie and Ennis TX locations. You can ensure comfort and a safe environment within the walls of our ranch-style homes. We also have a low client-to patient ratio in our ranch-style treatment facilities. We ensure our clients receive the pinnacle of addiction medicine and emotional understanding.
Many of our clinicians are recovered persons who have overcome their addictions.
We know what it’s like.
The facility for substance abuse treatment you choose plays an integral role in the success of your recovery! Choosing the right one is critical.
Remember to inquire about:
- A full explanation of programs
- Tour availability
- If they specialize in conditions previously known
- Relapse rate
- Client satisfaction rate
- Payment options
Speak with us for full treatment services.
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