Defining The Issue
Ultimately, dependency on a substance relates to the state of being that repeat users get from the chemical reaction the drug manifests within the body.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines drug dependence as:
“A state in which an organism functions normally only in the presence of a drug. This is manifested as a physical disturbance when the drug is removed.”
Typically this reaction is due to specific ways in which drugs signal the pleasure centers of the brain and force the release of unnatural amounts of dopamine, serotonin and other “feel good” chemicals through neurotransmitters.
At Prescott House, our approach to total-body wellness is what sets us apart from other programs. Continuing to evolve our mental health services, therapeutic treatment and the approach to holistic treatment of the condition. Overall, Prescott House finds the cause of the problem within each individual and develops a specific approach to treat it at its source rather than just hiding the symptoms from view.
Prescott House Methods
Prescott House is unique in its mixed group and individual therapy method. New patients meet with a professional to gauge their addiction and work towards a resolution. Individuals are highly encouraged to attend their group meetings. Members can share experiences and grow together with this therapy program. Addiction in any form is treated as a medical issue, not a deviant lifestyle.
While many drugs have decidedly unique effects on the body – the mind in particular – the science behind addiction and dependence is distinctly systematic in that, no matter the drug, the way in which dependence works is the same.
What starts as casual experimentation with drugs and alcohol, often turns into repeated use or even addiction.
Once you reach this stage, your body starts to depend on the drug in order to maintain baseline levels of the same naturally occurring chemicals and hormones that one left you feeling “high.” Now, these chemicals are required just to function and a cease in using often leads to painful and disorienting withdrawal effects.
The science behind drug dependency is the same regardless of the actual substance, but it’s important to understand some of the most common drugs and how they affect users outside of the addiction itself.
Bringing up the Conversation
An intervention may be necessary or just a simple sit-down conversation to bring these issues to the forefront. Each person who is struggling with this behavior is an individual who may be at a different point in their addiction than someone else. Prescott House can pinpoint their specific needs.
Let’s take a closer look at specific drugs known for their physical dependency.
Cocaine is typically sold in two forms: rock or powder. Powder cocaine is the substance that is typically snorted, smoked or injected, while rock cocaine – also known as crack cocaine – is most often smoked.
The effects of both drugs are similar, but crack is cocaine’s cheaper cousin. Mixing the drug with baking soda (or other additives) and water and then cooking it leads to a cheaper and fast-acting high that makes it affordable, readily available, and effective at producing a euphoric state and heightened sense of invincibility and increased energy levels in its users.
Benzodiazepines & Other Prescription Drugs
Benzodiazepines – or benzos – are typically pharmaceutical tranquilizers. The most familiar of this class of drugs are Valium and Xanax, both of which have legitimate prescription uses such as treatment of depression and anxiety. While users often start the course of benzos with a doctor’s prescription, abuse or continued use often leads to a difficult-to-break dependence on the drug. From there, addicts feed the need to use by purchasing it on the street or seeking additional prescriptions from healthcare professionals.
Benzos aren’t the only prescription drugs with high risks for abuse. Painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin were once taking over the nation due to the relative ease of accessing such powerful drugs by young adults and teens. Often they had to look no further than their parent’s medicine cabinet in order to find a powerful substance that led to feelings of euphoria and an overall sense of well-being.
Heroin is a drug synthesized from the poppy plant, which is most commonly grown in the Middle East, particularly Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. While it goes by many names (H, smack, horse, brown, black, tar, or dope), the drug is always a synthesized derivative of the poppy.
Ingestion methods vary, but the most common ways to use the drug are snorting it through the nostrils and shooting it via syringe directly into your bloodstream through a vein. Heroin was once thought of as a drug used by the down and out, the beatnik generation, or musicians, but now we’ve reached a full-blown epidemic in the United States due to an influx of the drug, which lowered street prices due to supply and demand principles. While prescription medication was once the drug of choice for America’s youth due to easy access to the drug via their parents or other family members, heroin has now taken over the role due to a readily available supply and a cheaper high than Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin.
Methamphetamine – also known as ice, crank, meth, or crystal – is a powdered substance that users snort, shoot, or smoke to increase energy levels and gain a full body high accompanied with a sense of euphoria. Meth has proven to have a devastating effect on the body, and is arguably the most dangerous drug in the world due to high risk of addiction and the symptoms accompanying addiction such as skin rashes, missing teeth, infection, and premature aging.
Addressing Underlying Issues or Co-Occurring Disorders
Co-occurring disorder – often referred to as Dual-Diagnosis – is the term used to describe an addicted person (whether sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other) who has an additional mental health condition that often plays a key role in their addiction. Often, addiction is merely a symptom of a deeper disorder, such as mental illness. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder for the addicted person and until the underlying mental illness is addressed, the chances for long-term recovery are greatly diminished.
Reducing the Risk of Relapse
By lengthening the stay at a treatment facility individuals are able to commit to healing and developing the tools to continue their successful new life. Research from the Principles of Drug Addiction and Treatment Guide by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, indicates that most individuals diagnosed with a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorder, need at least three consecutive months of treatment in order to significantly reduce or stop the unwanted behavior – in this case, addiction.
Group Therapy Experience
A primary focus of the program is our group therapy experience. Individuals participate in numerous structured therapy groups each week as well as working individually with a primary therapist. Promoting personal growth through our program, volunteer & service work in the local community enables individuals to therapeutically prepare themselves to get a part-time job or enroll in classes at one of our three local colleges. These schools are great for those who wish to further their education or complete thier GED program to be more prepared for the workplace.
Individuals are given written assignments that will facilitate an experience in process groups, including personal inventories of past behavior. Working together as a community, men begin to confront their unhealthy behaviors while providing each other with the support group they vitally need during the early stages of recovery.
Prescott House individuals are provided a safe environment to confront their self-destructive behaviors while nurturing their personal and emotional growth during treatment. Much of the work done here centers around cognitive behavioral restructuring. The intensive and highly structured environment allows staff the opportunity to look at the whole person and treat the causes of self-destructive behavior and not simply the symptoms.
Developed around a unique community that model, educating these men with healthy and supportive interpersonal skills fosters an entirely new lifestyle throughout recovery. It becomes clear to individuals that their old lifestyle was not working, and while changing their entire thought process can be frightening at first, the extensive process starts to sink in, sometimes taking several months to realize.
The Prescott House provides a safe environment that teaches accountability while ensuring that our recovering clients attend both individual and group therapy sessions, become involved in a 12-step program that includes working with a sponsor from the local community and learning key life skills and strategies to aid in long-term sobriety. At the Prescott House, our male-only extended care facility believes in the power of long-term care when it comes to recovery and ongoing sobriety. We are a safe place for members of the LGBTQ community and help men of all sexual preferences to grow into productive members of society.
When dealing with addiction, the bonds between the addicted person and his friends, family, and loved ones are often strained. Our daily therapy sessions help to repair these bonds and rebuild relationships by providing a safe place for the client to work on healthy boundaries. Clients will experience a family session to further strengthen boundaries and develop effective communication techniques between family members. Studies show that family issues are amongst the most dangerous to recovering individuals and are often a leading cause of relapse. By participating in these family therapy sessions the client, as well as his family and loved ones, learn healthy ways to resolve conflict, deal with past issues, use healthy boundaries, and communicate effectively with friends and loved ones.
The Emphasis on Personal Development
Physical health, personal responsibility, spiritual development, nutrition consultations, interpersonal relationship skills and boundary development are also part of the program. A special emphasis is placed on Nutritional Wellness.
An assessment will be done to help determine if each client has any potential eating wellness issues. Peripheral programs that are available in appropriate cases include neuropsychological testing and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy done with experienced local professionals.
Long-Term Treatment vs. Short Term
In the past, 30-day treatment programs were the accepted norm for inpatient substance abuse treatment. In fact, a number of treatment programs weren’t even necessarily inpatient treatment options, but simply short-term “detox” facilities. After detox, it wasn’t at all uncommon for people to go directly back to their toxic environments and maybe attend some local outpatient services for minimal support. As advances in psychotherapy and addiction science are made, evidence-based research has exposed the ineffectiveness of short-term programs for many addicted persons, or individuals struggling with substance use disorder.
Many short-term programs leave little time to address anything other than the detox, or withdrawal, part of the addiction. With addicted individuals struggling to make it through the initial weeks of sobriety, therapy sessions and wisdom imparted during these programs are not often well retained, as the mind is at a very fragile stage of its healing. Extended care treatment allows not only for brain healing and functioning to return, but also provides for the therapeutic opportunity to work with a mind cleared of addiction thought processes.