What is Drug Rehab Like?

Is there a rehabilitation process just for drug addicts?

There are not treatments that are uniquely for drug rehab.  However, there are rehab clinics that cater for a longer treatment period for drug users, and this normally categorises as primary and then moving into secondary care. There are also those drug treatment clinics that offer addiction treatment for up to six months or longer.  It is a proven fact that the longer a drug addict, particularly a heroin user, can remain in treatment the more chance they will have of a successful Recovery.

Do all addictions need a drug detox?

Not all drugs require admission to a drug rehab centre for a medically assisted detoxification, which is overseen by the clinic’s doctor and supportive team. However, if the drug you have been taking is ruining your life, the fact of being admitted to a drug rehab will break that addictive cycle and then the addictive thinking, and behaviour can start to be addressed through a daily structured programme of group therapy. Being within this safe environment allows you to be away from triggers that being at home would bring – the inevitable relapse after struggling with withdrawal symptoms – and not having any therapeutic and medical support.

Opiate detox

drug addiction rehabilitation

However, drugs such as Heroin and all codeine-based medications which are all Opiates require a medically assisted detox to avoid going through severe withdrawal symptoms. At The Haynes Clinic we admit a number of people who have been prescribed Methadone.  Methadone is a synthetic opiate that would have been prescribed as a heroin substitute by the local drug and alcohol services, as a heroin replacement. These people are now wanting to detox off Methadone and don’t want to have to wait months to get one (or to have a very slow one). They have had to turn to the private sector for help.  

Any opiate detox takes around 10 days -2 weeks and medication such as Subutex is used on a reducing scale. Subutex is also a controlled drug and has to be specifically prescribed by the doctor. The medication that is not being used is kept in a locked medication cabinet and signed out and accounted for by two people. A known and frightening fact is that should a heroin addict relapse, after they have left treatment, then they run a very high risk of overdosing as their body has been free of the drug, and the consequences of an overdose can be fatal.

How do mixed addiction rehabs work?

In addiction rehabilitation, it would not be uncommon for a drug user to be in treatment with other people that may be addicted to alcohol, eating or gambling.  The majority of drug addiction treatment is 12 Step based and there is only one word that needs to be changed so that the 12 Steps can be practised by those with any addiction.  Originally thought of and practiced by Alcoholics Anonymous the first Step states: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.” The word alcohol can be substituted, for example for Heroin or Cocaine and all the other wording in the other Steps remains the same.  There are also support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous that are linked, and they also use the 12 Step Treatment approach to Recovery.

People in drug rehab have a lot in common

By going into a residential drug rehab, you will meet people who are having similar life issues as yourself, they will also have been experiencing a downward spiral both mentally and physically directly related to their drug use. This may well be the first time being with others who are wanting to get well and to make changes to their life before it is too late.  This can create a sense of bonding within the residential treatment group. They will be participating within structured daily group therapy and will also be requested to do written work around the understanding of the 12 Step Programme.  They will also be attending the appropriate support groups.  This is very important as, by going as a group, and also having the knowledge and understanding of how the support groups work, will be an encouragement to continue attendance following discharge from treatment.

Therapy within a residential drug rehab will always produce a rollercoaster of mental and emotional highs and lows as without the presence of a drug in our system our true feelings will start to emerge. This is where the qualified therapists are there to guide and support us as our body and minds start to get well.

For those that are able to remain in addiction treatment for a minimum of 28 days then at The Haynes Clinic we offer on going, once a week in person Aftercare at the clinic.  The Haynes Clinic has people coming from all over the country, so if they are not able to attend in person (or even if they are!) then we offer Zoom meetings as an alternative means of support.  This ongoing support and the willingness to use it is another vital element on the road to Recovery.

There is no detox medication for Cocaine. In fact, the NHS provide little or no help for Cocaine users as they deem that they can just stop with light to moderate withdrawal symptoms or cravings and there is no risk to an individual’s health.  However, the use of Cocaine often goes hand in hand with alcohol.  Therefore, anyone that accesses a drug rehab for cocaine may require some form of medication for alcohol withdrawal. If they do, they will get benefit from that medication to help with the cravings for Cocaine.  

Change is not just about what happens in a drug addiction clinic

Generally, those coming into a drug rehab will have to make more life changes than those with an alcohol addiction.  For example, an alcoholic will be buying alcohol from a supermarket or off licence but someone using drugs will usually be buying them off someone they know or a dealer.  You are therefore a statistic in their business, and they don’t want you to get well and stop using drugs so one of the first things is to change your mobile phone number so you cannot be contacted. This is one of the first steps of “letting go” of the past. Some need not only to get rid of dangerous telephone contact numbers but totally change the people they mix with.

People undertaking drug rehab need to change – if nothing changes, nothing changes!