Once you are free from drugs, you have the ability to think more clearly and can educate yourself about your addiction. Learning about your addiction means gaining insight into which people, events, sensory experiences and habits trigger cravings for drugs. Most drug rehab facilities can help you explore those triggers so that you can make deliberate efforts to avoid or manage them when you transition back into your daily life.
Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
The patient's response determines the physician's next step. If the patient denies the problem, recommending joining AA will not work. Involving the family and/or suggesting a trial of abstinence is useful, and, importantly, the physician should follow up with the patient in a few weeks. The patient might be angry initially and storm out of the office, but then the patient might recall the physician's warning months or years later and stop drinking. For patients who recognize a problem and will consider referral, the cheapest (free) and most accessible option is AA.
With opiate abuse (heroin, morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin), withdrawal symptoms usually start within a matter of hours and last for several days. With stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, withdrawal may be more extensive, with cravings, depression, and anxiety lasting for several months. Withdrawal from prescription medications, such as sedatives in the benzodiazepine family (Valium, Xanax, Ativan) may require a drug taper lasting a number of weeks to clear the chemical safely from your system.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1