Some Simple Questions That Yield Lots of Information
There are a number of very disturbing statistics about substance abuse and addiction. Perhaps the saddest one of all, and also the most telling one, is that 90 percent of the people who need to be at a Denver recovery center are not getting the help they need.
The reasons for that huge disconnect are as varied as the addicts themselves. Many addicts are notoriously adept at hiding their addictions both from other people and from themselves. Sometimes, they tell the same lie so often that they believe it. Other times, the brain simply hides the injury. That’s the same reason football players with concussions usually tell their coaches that they “feel fine” and want to go back into the game.
Other times, the addict is simply not ready to quit. Or, the addict may want to quit, at least on some level, but be unable to overcome the drug’s physical addiction. In other words, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. That does not mean these individuals are weak people. It just means they are human.
Why Don’t More Addicts Seek Drug Treatment?
A look behind the numbers may provide the best reason. As many as 60 percent of addicts relapse at least once after drug rehab. If a drug treatment center failed once, many people are understandably not keen on a repeat performance. Many facilities blame the relapse on the addict, which compounds this problem. That may not be entirely incorrect. If the addict has some responsibility, the fault normally lies in a failure to pick the right Denver recovery center.
Furthermore, many addicts and families turn to drug rehab in the most desperate times. Instead of thinking things through, they rush this important decision.
At AspenRidge Recovery, we believe that a successful experience begins with an informed decision. So, we’ve put together a list of factors to consider before choosing a Colorado recovery center. For the most part, there are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions, but they all need to be asked.
What Kind of Addiction Does the Patient Have?
Many people, especially those who are unfamiliar with the process, assume that one substance abuse problem is pretty much like another one. But at our Denver recovery center, we help basically three types of addicts. All of them have very different needs.
- Alcohol: Pretty much anyone has almost unlimited access to alcohol at almost any time, whether it be from a convenience store, a “friend,” or a local bartender who does not ask questions. So, in addition to a chemical addiction, alcohol abuse is also a lifestyle problem. Generally, you cannot treat only one area. Alcohol abuse is very common, as most of the patients in Denver recovery centers struggle with this problem.
- Prescription Drugs: When actor Heath Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose in 2008, no one was terribly concerned about opioids. Today, this addiction grips the country, especially in certain areas. Like alcohol, prescription drug addiction is both a chemical and a social problem. However, especially if the addiction involves something like fentanyl (which killed singer Prince Nelson in 2016), the problem may be more chemical than social.
- Street Drugs: While there may be a social component in this category, many people who use heroin, cocaine, and other illegal street drugs started with alcohol or prescription drugs. So, the chemical addiction is very, very strong.
Carefully evaluating the nature of the problem often guides people to the proper solution and the most appropriate recovery center in Denver.
How Do You Define “Success”?
Once again, many people skip over this question. But just as there are many different definitions of “drug rehab,” there are many different definitions of success. Some of them include:
- Replacing the currently-used substance with something less dangerous, like methadone,
- Completing the entire program,
- Remaining abstinent after leaving the Colorado recovery center, and
- Getting a job, repairing a broken relationship, being healthier, or other lifestyle improvements.
In general, all these definitions are valid. Part of the answer usually lies in the type of addiction. For example, completing the entire program might be a valid way to break some alcohol addictions, or at least significantly reduce them, but that metric may be of little use in heroin addiction cases. Similarly, long-term abstinence is a worthy goal in some cases but completely unrealistic in others.
Is Inpatient or Outpatient Best?
The answer is almost always brief inpatient care, but most recovery centers in Denver know how to be creative.
Most people readily agree to inpatient care for street drug addiction, but they may balk at such an option for alcohol or painkiller addiction. But as mentioned earlier, these substance abuse problems have a strong social component. If patients spend their days at a Colorado recovery center and their nights with unscrupulous friends or at a local bar, they will almost certainly not get better. Successful therapy, almost regardless of how you define that term, has both a chemical and social component. Only inpatient therapy combines both.
For various reasons, inpatient therapy may not be a viable alternative. In cases like these, many people relocate to Denver. Such a move is truly a fresh start for both recovering addicts and their families. The weather here is great about eight months out of the year, but you will need your goulashes in the winter.
What Methods Does the Recovery Center in Colorado Use?
Once again, the answers to all these questions are complex and overlapping. Both the type of addiction and the definition of success have considerable bearing on this question.
People who have a sincere desire to quit and a limited chemical dependency often respond to 12-step programs and other psychological-based drug rehab programs. Such programs sometimes result in spontaneous remission. This term is slightly misleading, because the “spontaneous” remission may require months or years of Alcoholics Anonymous or other meetings. The bottom line here is that group therapy and other such measures can sometimes bring an addict to sobriety with little medical intervention.
Some Denver recovery centers take the opposite approach. The stated goal is not to end addiction, but to replace a heroin or morphine addiction with buprenorphine or methadone. For serious chemical addictions, that’s probably the best approach. The downside is, as stated earlier, that such a treatment center simply replaces one addiction with another. Instead of a potentially lethal drug, the person uses a dangerous one.
A comprehensive approach is usually best, especially because every addict is different. The methods that work wonders in one case will be useless in one that seems identical. In addition to therapy and medication, the recovery center in Denver that you choose should also include things like:
- Education: Some people simply do not know all the consequences of drug use, and only one resonates. For example, a crystal meth addict may care little about the psychological impacts but have second thoughts after learning its effects on teeth.
- Nutrition/Exercise: A person who has a good diet and is physically active has fewer illnesses, injuries, and other such problems. So, this individual is less inclined to self-medicate with an addictive substance.
- Career/Hobby: Though the saying is not universally true, idle hands are often the devil’s workshop. People who work full time and have constructive hobbies simply have less time to pursue their addictions.
A comprehensive interview usually gives clues as to what type of treatment is best. But, no one knows for sure what will work until the addict spends some time at a Colorado recovery center. At that point, counselors can customize the addict’s program to generate even better results. The best centers keep all options open at the outset and then narrow the plan.
Does the Alcohol Center Help Eliminate Cravings?
Eliminating the chemical addiction, as well as any contributing social circumstances, is only part of the solution. The drug treatment center should also have a way to eliminate cravings.
Alcohol is a good example. If the physical dependency goes away, the circle of friends changes, and the cravings remain, the addict will most likely relapse. The aforementioned nutrition counselling often curbs alcohol cravings. There are also some vitamin and herbal alternatives, including:
- Declinol, which is a combination of diadzin (kudzu root) and gentian (bitter herbs), and
- Bonialcohol, which is mostly magnesium.
Again, some of these supplements, and others like them, work very well, and some are less effective. Determining the extent of the problem is always the first step.
Ask specific questions about the treatment facility’s philosophy in this area and also ask about the evidence-based methods it employs.
Do Addicts Acquire Life Skills?
Depression, grief, loneliness, and other such negative emotions drive many people to substance abuse. Understanding this cause should be a major part of the Denver recovery center’s approach.
Western medicine is built around the pill. For the most part, if you have a physical illness, the doctor will prescribe a pill to cure it or at least take the edge off the symptoms. Many people naturally assume that the same is true regarding mental or emotional illness, including things like situational depression. Shaming these individuals accomplishes nothing. Rather, it’s very important that addicts learn about the resources available to address such issues.
Everyone gets sad and lonely from time to time. Addicts who know how to address these issues without self-medicating are much more likely to remain sober. So, the treatment facility should establish a framework for sobriety.
How Does the Drug Rehab Clinic Feel About Relapses?
This question is a legitimate one, because relapse is not necessarily a bad thing. The clinic’s philosophy largely dictates the approach.
Once again, these questions overlap. Relapse into alcohol dependency is serious, but not nearly as bad as shooting up heroin or something that’s possible fatal. In other words, the type of addiction often governs the seriousness of relapse. Other people, including many psychologists, believe that addiction is a chronic disease. Therefore, multiple relapses are part of the recovery process, and each new relapse should be less severe than the previous one.
Denver treatment centers which feel relapse is bad often use very aggressive methods to combat the addiction. Such an approach may or may not be in the family’s best interests. The “chronic disease” camp usually focuses more on life skills and aftercare.
At the interview, ask if the clinic feels like addiction can be overcome. The answer usually gives you insight into the methods.
Does the Clinic Offer a “Quick Fix”?
Some recovery centers in Denver do offer immediate cures, so the quick fix is not necessarily a scam. For example, there is some evidence that ibogaine can eliminate some drug addiction in as little as forty-eight hours. Aversion therapy and hypnosis centers sometimes claim similar results.
Of course, such results are very rare. Since addictions normally take years to form, the cure may take almost as long.
Always be wary of a Colorado recovery center that promises specific results in a specific time frame. But, do not dismiss the claims out of hand. Instead, ask for additional evidence. If the center really does have an instant cure for the addict in your life, the staff should back up the claim.
At AspenRidge Recovery, we empower addicts and their families to make smart choices about Denver recovery centers. We understand how much is at stake. To get the help you need and deserve, please reach out to us today.
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