Drug Addiction Treatment: Recovery Coaching


What is Addiction?
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is an unhealthy relationship where you use more of the substance than you would like to use and continue to use despite the negative consequences. A very realistic perspective of heroin addiction is portrayed in the brilliant 1996 Film with Ewan McGregor Trainspotting. However this is just one image of drug addiction.

Alcohol dependence is often overlooked as an addiction due to it being legal and socially acceptable, something most of us indulge in from time to time. According to a survey of adults who have used one or more illicit drugs within the last year Cannabis is the drug most likely to be used followed by powder cocaine, but it seems all the attention and treatment is focused on opiates and it is important to consider the other side of the addiction coin.
Signs & Symptoms of Addiction
The medical definition of an addiction is classified by the DSMIV and the World Health Organisation ICD10. You will need to meet three or more of the following criteria to be classified as dependent:
1) Tolerance: A need to use more over time for the same desired effect.
2) Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or emotional withdrawals. Shakes, sweats, low moods, irritable.
3) Limited Control: Using more than you intended over increased periods of time.
4) Desire to cut down: Attempts to cut down or stop not being successful.
5) Significant time or energy spent using: A great deal of time spent thinking about using, getting, planning and concealing your drug or alcohol use.
6) Neglected activities: Work, family or recreational activities are neglected to use drugs or alcohol.
7) Negative Consequences: Physical or mental health is adversely effected but still continue to use.
Who is effected by addiction?
It is estimated that around 10% of any population is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction is more common than diabetes and crosses all socioeconomic boundaries teachers, plumbers and CEO's suffer with addiction it is not just limited to poorer or less educated parts of society there is a growing number of professionals in full time employment who are juggling a full time career with their hidden addiction.
It is not to be underestimated the daily struggles a person will face in the battle against the chronic relapsing qualities of addiction fluctuating between hope and setbacks. A large part of the work is to explore with people their fears of giving up and sharing tools for survival in the darkest times of their addiction. I have worked for years supporting people with addictions on an emotional roller coaster of desperation and celebration. Some make it to sobriety and feel absolutely great when they have completed treatment, for others abstinence will not be their goal but staying alive, becoming more aware and making healthier choices. Getting back the control of their life is enough to turn sadness into laughter.
Consequences of Addiction
People are often able to overlook the destruction they cause in their home, work or business in exchange for stimulating the pleasure centre in the brain which also provides temporary relief from any painful memories. The adverse consequences caused by addiction are often the focus in the treatment of addiction but the reality is there is a feel good factor which may act as a payoff to the negative consequences.
The short and long term consequences to your health from addiction can be a heart attack, respiratory failure, a coma, high blood pressure, dizziness, impotence, blurred vision, paranoia, psychosis, nausea, a hangover, depression, lung damage and vein damage the adverse health effects of addiction do not discriminate any of these may effect your health even if you are just a recreational user.


Drug addiction treatment
Opiate treatment remains the main drug for which people receive treatment for, 49% of all treatments in the UK. The majority of the drug treatment budget in the UK is spent on substitute prescribing, a cost effective medical model of providing a one size fits all treatment to the masses. It entails going to your local drug service every other week to be given a methadone prescription after a 15 min intervention about your drug consumption, which you then collect daily if on supervised consumption or perhaps weekly if unsupervised from your local chemist. Either way it can be a humiliating and very public process that is extremely inconvenient if you are in full time employment.
If you are able to take a significant break from your job a residential rehabilitation clinic in which you can also receive a detox if needed and more structured support can be useful for respite and a kick start to fighting the addiction battle. The power of being supported by someone who has survived an addiction is a very powerful tool to overcoming addiction. The Mutual aid or peer led 12 step models like Narcotics Anonymous NA, Alcoholics Anonymous AA and Cocaine Anonymous CA are well established and have meetings daily that you can drop in and out of at your convenience.
Family and friends may provide emotional, physical and financial support that is so necessary, they are the people who are often providing the additional out of hours support which is so vital to overcoming addiction, as well as taking on the burden of looking after their loved one when treatment is no longer working. These are the people who should be equipped the most to tackle addiction but are often overlooked and forgotten in the treatment of addiction.
New but increasing in popularity for drug addiction treatment is Recovery Coaching. A form of strength based support for people in active addiction or already in recovery. A Recovery Coach helps you to make decisions about what to do with your life and the part the addiction or recovery plays. It is action orientated with an emphasis on improving your present life and reaching goals for the future. Hence it does not matter where you are in your addiction you can still get the help and support you need.

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About Olumide Owaduge

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