5 Signs Inpatient Treatment is Right for You
Drugs and alcohol have a way of taking over people’s lives without their even knowing it. What starts out as fun experimentation can quickly evolve into an out-of-control activity.
The type of drug used and the length of time a person has used can have a considerable bearing on the likelihood an addiction will take root. Once addicts reach a point where they can’t control or limit drug-using behaviors, addiction has taken a firm hold in their lives. Without needed treatment help, the effects of ongoing substance abuse will only make it that much harder to stop once a person is ready to do so.
While addiction severity can vary from person to person, certain key signs point to the need for inpatient treatment care. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as 23.5 million Americans struggled with a substance abuse problem in 2009. In spite of this large number, only 11.2 percent of those in need of help actually entered treatment.
Once the effects of substance abuse take over a person’s will and motivation, making the decision to enter treatment becomes that much harder. This is especially the case for people with long drug histories who’ve made multiple failed attempts to stop using.
Inpatient treatment programs provide intensive, round-the-clock care for people most at risk of returning to drug use. If you or someone you know has gone in and out of addiction treatment programs with little to nothing to show for your efforts, the level of care provided by inpatient treatment programs may well be required to address the issues and challenges you face in recovery.
Here are some signs that inpatient treatment is the right choice for you:
1. Withdrawal Effects
Withdrawal effects result from the chemical imbalances that form from ongoing drug abuse practices. In effect, someone who experiences withdrawal on a frequent basis has developed a physical dependency on the drug’s effects.
While different types of drugs do produce different types of withdrawal symptoms, ultimately, any form of withdrawal reflects the body’s overall state of decline as the brain loses its ability to regulate bodily functions. Inpatient treatment provides the type of medical care needed to restore the body’s health. Inpatient treatment programs also provide medication therapies that help reduce the level of discomfort experienced when withdrawal symptoms flare up.
2. Increasing Drug Consumption
Addictive substances interact with the brain’s chemical system in specific ways, gradually altering brain chemical processes over time, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. With recreational use, someone who starts out popping two pain pills a day may soon find him or herself taking five or ten pills a day within a month’s time. These increases in dosage amount result from increasing tolerance levels in the brain.
By the time a person enters an inpatient treatment program, he or she has reached a point where the brain and body easily accommodate massive amounts of drugs (or alcohol) on a daily basis. Under these conditions, the intensity of withdrawal effects addicts experience when detoxing can easily overwhelm their ability to maintain abstinence. Inpatient treatment programs provide the types of interventions needed to help addicts maintain abstinence.
3. Strong, Persistent Drug Cravings
As if the physical effects of substance abuse weren’t enough, prolonged use also opens a person up to becoming psychologically dependent on the drug’s effects. While drug cravings may seem more so like a physical dependency issue, it’s actually tied into the psychological hold drugs have once addiction sets in.
The brain chemical imbalances that take root during the course of ongoing substance abuse eventually start to affect how the brain’s reward center works. Also known as the mesolimbic pathway, the brain’s reward center determines what a person views as positive and worthwhile in his or her everyday life. This center regulates a person’s learning processes, motivation and ultimately his or her behavior from day to day.
Over time, the brain’s reward center develops a dependency on the drug’s (or alcohol’s) effects, and so identifies drug use as a powerful positive reinforcement within a person’s life. These processes drive the strong, persistent drug cravings a person experiences.
Not surprisingly, drug cravings can stay with a person long after he or she stops using, which accounts for why so many in recovery have difficulty maintaining abstinence for any length of time. Inpatient treatment care addresses these long-term effects on brain function and provides addicts with the tools needed to overcome drug cravings on a day-to-day basis.
4. Co-Occurring Conditions
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, chronic alcohol and drug addictions all but destroy brain cells as well as cells and tissues throughout the body. Over time, addicts start to develop serious medical and/or psychological conditions on top of their addiction problem. For this reason, inpatient treatment programs employ a comprehensive treatment approach when dealing with long-term addiction problems.
Conditions commonly associated with long-term drug abuse include –
- Heart disease
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders
Co-occurring conditions tend to aggravate addiction problems and vice versa. While it is possible to detox from drugs on one’s own, someone who’s developed a co-occurring condition is fighting a losing battle.
In order to ensure symptoms of a co-occurring condition don’t undermine a person’s recovery efforts, inpatient treatment programs coordinate treatment efforts to ensure a person has the best chance at a successful recovery outcome.
5. Lifestyle Influences
More than anything else, the routines and behavior patterns that develop during the course of an addiction pose the greatest challenge to overcoming an addiction problem. Long-time addicts have essentially rearranged their lives around drug-using behaviors.
This type of lifestyle brings about certain negative consequences, some of which include –
- Broken families
- Damaged relationships
- Loss of employment
- Financial problems
- Problems with the law
Inpatient treatment programs operate as highly structured environments where addicts develop the types of routines and behaviors that make a drug-free lifestyle possible. Through inpatient treatment, a person comes to understand the effects of addiction on his or her thinking and learns healthy coping behaviors for dealing with everyday stress. During the course of inpatient treatment, addicts also develop much needed relapse prevention strategies to help avoid relapse when the urge to use seems overwhelming.
As the effects of addiction grow progressively worse over time, people with long-term addiction problems stand to benefit most from the comprehensive care provided through inpatient treatment programs.