Choosing a drug rehab treatment center is a decision that calls for both negative and positive emotions. Nobody wants addiction to overtake their life to the point that rehab is the necessary step. However, the decision to go to one is something to look forward to, as it is the decision to rebuild a healthy life. It is the conscious realization of a problem, and it is the first conscious step towards healing. Understanding what drug addiction entails and how it affects the user is important for healing substance abuse. As well as understanding addiction, knowing what rehabilitation is will help the patient understand what he is going through and the purpose of the treatment. Lastly, the type of rehabilitation program is of vital importance for the patient. Understanding that a rehabilitation program is as personal as the patient’s problem will certainly help to ascertain the treatment needed for the specific patient. Rehabilitation must be a positive program motivating the patient by his successes and discouraging him from relapses. To reach the stage of being in a rehab center that positively works to heal addiction, the patient and all concerned must understand three things: what addiction is, what rehabilitation is, and what treatment can and should be like.
Drug addiction is much more complex than merely ‘too much drug use’. Drug and substance dependence is beyond the control of the user – he is no longer in control and does not have much choice in the matter of continuing use. In the short term, drug use affects the brain’s reward system, flooding the brain with dopamine, otherwise termed ‘a high’. While the high is a short term effect, long term effects are to follow, which cause the addiction. When our brain’s reward system is working, proteins activate which teach us to pursue the behavior which causes us to feel so good. Naturally, this reaction is in response to food, exercise, and sex. Due to the larger amount of dopamine released due to drugs, the protein reaction is stronger than normal. As a result, drug use is quite addictive, and once the moment is reached that a person cannot control his use of drugs, this is termed addiction, or substance dependence. While willpower is important to controlling anything in one’s life, in drug addiction a lack of willpower is not to blame. Willpower is at play at the first stages of drug experimentation, but at a certain point in addiction, it loses its function. Drug addiction is an illness, and rehabilitative treatment is the only means of curing this behavior.
Rehabilitation, then, is the path that leads to an effective treatment of drug use. Research has shown that addiction is treatable. Research has not shown, and will not show, that treatment is easy. Rehabilitation is the recovery of diminished capacities due to injury or illness. The word itself comes from the latin prefix re meaning ‘again’, and root habilitar meaning ‘to inhabit’. Thus ‘rehabilitate’ literally means to inhabit yourself again – and that is the aim of rehabilitation: to return former capacities to the inflicted person. This is especially true in drug addiction. Freeing oneself from addiction is a type of homecoming to a life of control.
Rehabilitation aims at more than ending drug use. As previously mentioned, rehabilitation cannot be a punishment for drug use. It must be the gradual process of ending dependence while also rehabilitating the patient into society. This is often the most difficult aspect of rehabilitation. It is important that the patient realistically understand that the future will consist of effort to reintegrate and rejoin society. The patient is assisted by counselors throughout the treatment, but the patient himself is the main catalyst in rehabilitation. The family and friends of the patient must also go through aspects of rehabilitation, for life after rehab will not be a continual sunny day. The forecast predicts many rain clouds at first, with occasional storms down the road. The family must know how to be supportive and helpful throughout the stormy weather.
The rehab treatment center can be considered the umbrella in the stormy weathers. It cannot control the weather, but does shield and help the patient and family on their way through the tempest. While there is no one correct rehabilitation treatment, as each treatment must be tailored to the particular needs of the patient, there are means of ensuring that the rehab center chosen is one that will provide a positive environment to optimize the long term results of rehabilitation. The personal treatment for the patient must be continually checked and improved, as different steps throughout the treatment call for different measures, and each patient needs a different length of time for treatment. The personal treatment must also take into account the various problems beyond drugs which the patient faces. Drug addiction is often the result, and not the core of the problem – this core must be dug up through various therapies, counselors, and activities, which all should be readily available through the treatment center. A forced treatment is not necessarily a bad thing – again, depending on the treatment center. With a good treatment center, a person who initially will not admit to his problem or the need for a solution can be fully rehabilitated. Extremely beneficial are experiential therapies, which, through their communion with nature help the patient gradually reintegrate into life, which will eventually ease reintegration into society. A rehab treatment center must be rigid in its aims to help the patient, but cannot be rigid in its process.
Understanding what addiction is and why it happens is vital for the patient and the chosen treatment center. Once this is established, there can be a mutual respect, in lieu of distrust and judgment. The next step is to understand what rehabilitation is. It is a dedication, again, on the part of both the patient and treatment center, to heal a drug problem and, more importantly, rebuild a life – to bring the patient home in the spiritual sense. With these two concepts well understood and looked after, the patient has great chances of succeeding to overcome the addiction. The treatment center that fully understands addiction and rehabilitation will be the center that offers a full and varied program that will be created and recreated for the particular needs of its patient, and that will guide the patient not only through his addiction, but through his reintegration into life and society.