It’s hard to see what’s really happening to you when you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Often times, people in active addiction are in full-blown denial of their problem and usually, they are the last to really know that they need help.
When you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, the idea of getting help can seem really scary. You’re used to self-medicating with multiple substances and you’ve found what seems to be the perfect balance to even you out. It’s nerve-wracking to think about giving up one substance let alone two or more. But help is available and you’re not alone. Here’s what to do when you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
Struggling with Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Physical Dependence
By now, you’ve probably experienced withdrawal symptoms at some point. Maybe you’ve tried to stop drinking or using other drugs only to start feeling really ill. Or maybe you’ve noticed that you feel shaky in the morning before you get that first drink in you. These are examples of withdrawal syndrome – a set of symptoms that result from the abrupt cessation of alcohol and other drugs.
There are two serious medical conditions known as Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome and Benzo Withdrawal Syndrome and they each are very similar in their symptoms and severity. If you suddenly stop drinking and drugging while you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, you will experience symptoms such as tremors (called delirium tremens), sweats, hallucinations, seizure, fall risk, and even death.
Struggling with Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Kindling Effect
If you have experienced either of these withdrawal syndromes while you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, each subsequent bout you have becomes increasingly worse and dangerous. This is what’s known as the ‘kindling effect.’ Therefore, when you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, you actually shouldn’t try to stop all at once and without some kind of help. The reason for that is that the withdrawal from alcohol and certain other drugs like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium) is dangerous enough to cause death.
What to do when you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction
There is specialized treatment that is designed to help people in your same situation: people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The treatment consists of several phases that will first help you to stop drinking and drugging and then educate you about addiction and how to live in sobriety, without the use or even the need for alcohol and drugs.
The first phase of treatment is called a medical detox – or detox for short – and during this time, you’ll be under the care of medical professionals: nurses, doctors, therapist, and psychiatrist – all of whom will be involved in the prescribing, administering, and monitoring of your condition so that you are kept safe and comfortable as the substances leave your system. This phase of treatment last anywhere from 4 to 10 days, depending on each individual as there are differences in amount and duration of use, as well as any coexisting health problems, metabolism, and so on.
Inpatient rehabilitation – or rehab – is the next phase of treatment if you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. This part lasts the remainder of the 30 days that started upon entering treatment. During rehab, you will learn about addiction as well as healthy ways to cope with daily life without the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Outpatient intensive programs – or IOP – are generally the last phase of treatment and offer you the same opportunities for therapy but for a shorter amount of time and on designated days. Many IOPs also offer evening sessions so that, if you are returning to work after rehab, you can do so and still have the benefit of going to IOP as an added layer of support.
Remember, if you’re struggling with alcohol and drug addiction or any kind of substance abuse, there is help available. Call us toll-free today at 1-800-951-6135. We have Addiction Specialists available around the clock to answer your questions and share vital information and resources.