Finding the support you need outside of treatment may be tough, but you’ll find your way!
Many challenges are faced in addiction treatment by both families, loved ones, user’s and treatment professionals. While healing from addiction is up to the addict, many take comfort in knowing that healing is possible with the right means of commitment, support and treatment. If you’re in treatment, know someone in treatment or thinking about treatment, consider the challenges that you are likely to face merely a stepping stone along the path to recovery.
Probably the greatest challenge faced in addiction treatment is relapse. According to SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocols guide, “Lapses may occur. Frequently, clients are unable or unwilling to adhere to program requirements. [and] Repeated admissions and dropouts can occur.” Yet, these challenges should not prevent you from seeking help nor should they stop you from trying again.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “drug addiction should be treated like any other chronic illness, with relapse serving as a trigger for renewed intervention.” Relapse rates for those addicted to drugs are generally comparable to the relapse rates for other common diseases and chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure. While facing relapse poses a significant challenge, the best thing you can do if you relapse is to pick up the pieces and get back on the path to recovery as quickly as possible.
Often times, family members or friends are also users which can make the support that you receive while in treatment or outside of treatment negligible at best. Treatment will provide you with support from your peers in treatment as well as from the treatment staff, but if your family members or friends are also addicts you may not be receiving adequate support from them when you need it the most. According to the NIDA, “active substance use by someone living in the same place as the patient or who is part of the patient’s social support network clearly threatens [their] recovery.” Fortunately, many treatment programs are able to actively help patients identify methods of ensuring proper and adequate support from friends and family—but you must talk with your counselor or therapist about this challenge in order to receive proper help.
While in treatment for addiction, you are likely to face a number of challenges associated with your ability to feel at ease with yourself emotionally. Mental stability can make recovery a very long, difficult process. You may feel stable and committed one day, depressed, angry or miserable the next. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Drug addiction, also known as substance dependence, is a chronically relapsing disorder characterized by (1) compulsion to seek and take the drug, (2) loss of control in limiting intake, and (3) emergence of a negative emotional state (e.g., dysphoria, anxiety, irritability) when access to the drug is prevented (defined here as dependence).”
An important goal of treatment is to restore the positive emotional balance and mental health of the patient following addiction. It may take time to feel at ease, happy or otherwise comfortable without drugs but you will.
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