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Steps for Drug Rehabilitation?


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#1 HelenaCross

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 02:33 AM

Hey,

 

This is a bit of a hard question to ask, because there are a lot of solutions depending on the situation, but I will try and give you a snapshot of the circumstance in my novel.  

 

In my high fantasy novel, I have a main character addicted to a fictional drug that causes a calming effect in the body, but--if taken in a large enough dose--can be fatal. He is taking it (ingesting it in a tea) as a way to try and combat his epileptic fits (gained via a head injury) but he does not know whether this self-medication is truly effective or not. Various other methods he's tried have failed.    

 

I was wondering what exactly is done with an addict after detox as far as behavioral therapy? What are the strategies taken to try and prevent relapse? My research told that addicts are often put into group therapy and such. But when I went to research any other techniques, I couldn't find anything.

 

Any links or information would be extremely helpful.

 

Thank you!

 

- HCross  



#2 crlsarver

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 01:43 PM

To my knowledge, there is not a lot of therapy, per se, besides group and individual. Some addicts may be put on medication (non addictive medication so no Xanax or Adderall here) to help with whatever symptoms they had/are having before/after drug use. Usually these are anti-depressants, but can also be low doses of anxiety medication. They may even be started on an aspirin regimen for pain control that comes with withdrawal and beyond. In therapy, however, addicts are taught different ways of coping with their cravings. A lot of times they're told to get a hobby--things like knitting, crocheting, gardening, collecting, making music etc.--anything that is enjoyable and can distract them, but nothing that is too intense or withdraws them completely from the world around them (things like extreme sports or heavy gaming are usually frowned upon). If the addict has family that cares usually they will have a family therapy session with a mediator, maybe more than once, to talk about enabling, coping, supporting etc. They're usually taught to follow a routine and stick to it as close as possible Ex: wake up at 7, eat breakfast at 7:30, shower and get dressed at 8, eat lunch at 12...etc. One of the biggest things is keeping the addicts out of potentially triggering situations. Like, if an addict used to always get high in the mall bathrooms, don't go to the mall. If they always bought drugs on a specific street, don't go down that street. It's really about taking care of yourself first and taking small steps to branch out back to normalcy. Maybe in a year, they can walk one lap around the mall. In two years, they can spend one hour shopping there. In three years, they can used the bathroom they used to get high in. 

 

I hope this helped a little. I'm not an expert since I'm not an addict or a therapist but a close family member is an addict and my dad is a psychologist who spent years workings at a drug rehab center so I have some secondhand experience with addiction.



#3 Caligulas

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 01:46 PM

Some addicts may be put on medication (non addictive medication so no Xanax or Adderall here) to help with whatever symptoms they had/are having before/after drug use.

 

Not exactly true. Many opiate abusers going to rehab clinics get methadone which in and of itself can cause addiction issues.



#4 HelenaCross

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 12:56 AM

@crlsarver & Caligulas: Thank you! This is exactly the type of information I needed. I can adjust the scenes with my main character to reflect this information. I wanted to treat this situation--despite the fantasy setting--with a fair bit of realism as this is a sensitive topic for many.

 

HCross.     



#5 crlsarver

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 05:27 PM

Caligulas is right, my mistake. Just an idea though--that might be interesting to work into your story since a lot of addicts relapse or develop a new addiction. Maybe another thing for your MC to struggle with. Just putting my two cents in here!



#6 MacB

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 06:57 PM

Standardly after detox comes rehab. There were psychodrama sessions, groups chats, one on one therapy, family therapy and lectures. Beyond that AA/NA is standard. Methadone is a drug. Period.

MacB 8 years clean
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#7 arcangie

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 01:51 PM

When one quits there is what they call a "pink cloud" period, the euophoria of quitting.  Then a crash.  People who were seriously addicted know/think that when they quit they are always in danger of starting up again. I have heard that relapses are especially dangerous because the "addict" may ingest as much as they did when they stopped.  After quitting physical tolerance is lowered so overdose is easier.

 

I have heard that there are four main reasons to feel the need: - Think why you have the craving.

 

Lonely - call a friend and talk

Hungry - eat

Tired- sleep

can't remember the other

 

It seems many people relapse under family related stress.  Holiday times can be difficult.

 

AA has a 12 step process.  You can find books or maybe go to a meeting.  



#8 MacB

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:50 PM

Hungry Eat
Angry Call sponsor end/or make meeting. Do mini 4th or 10th.
Lonely Ibid
Tired Sleep

When one quits there is what they call a "pink cloud" period, the euphoria of quitting.  Then a crash.  People who were seriously addicted know/think that when they quit they are always in danger of starting up again. I have heard that relapses are especially dangerous because the "addict" may ingest as much as they did when they stopped.  After quitting physical tolerance is lowered so overdose is easier.
 
I have heard that there are four main reasons to feel the need: - Think why you have the craving.
 
Lonely - call a friend and talk
Hungry - eat
Tired- sleep
can't remember the other
 
It seems many people relapse under family related stress.  Holiday times can be difficult.
 
AA has a 12 step process.  You can find books or maybe go to a meeting.


Be hip to my lick. My wig may be uncool but my jive is solid.

#9 JJF1678

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 02:45 PM

People, places, things. This all needs to change if an addict wishes to remain sober. Lose the friends you partied with, avoid the places you partied and especially things like that spoon you once cooked heroin on, pictures of yourself young, carefree and partying, souvenir shot glasses from a wild week in Vegas...

 

Getting sober is extremely lonely. There is nothing harder than avoiding everything you once knew and once made you feel more alive than anything else. Now, its AA/NA meeting filled with everyone talking about their lowest moments and what it took to finally get them to rehab. Making new friends, who can't hang and relapse only to go back out and OD. Your oldest, closest friends calling you to hang out, promising they won't use in front of you and you have to tell them you can no longer be their friend. Then they resent you because you're clean and they're still stuck in that horrid vortex of active addiction.

 

But that is all week one, lol. It gets better after that. You get into a routine. You figure out how to live life without using. That you can make it through a weekend clean and sober. You find a home group - an AA/NA meeting that you decide to attend and become apart of. You get a sponsor, someone you can lean on in times of need. You find the right people to hang out with, those with years of sobriety and knowledge that can help you stay clean. You learn you can have fun doing mundane everything days like playing pool or bowling without being high.

 

You attend out-patient counseling. Discuss your life, when you started using, why, how long. Figure out your triggers, develop a plan to avoid triggers and what to do in case you feel like relapsing.

 

Now, its a few years later, you are strong in your recovery and now you speak at meetings. And you take on new sponsors of your own and become their lifeline. And you heartbreaks as you watch them struggle just like you struggled in the beginning. And you tell them it gets better, and they want to believe it, but the lure of relapse seems so much easier... 

 

Jenn

10 years sober



#10 HelenaCross

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 01:25 AM

All this information is extremely helpful, guys. Thank you! 

 

I've been making notes in my manuscript for certain scenes that contain the recovery process for the character. One of the big things he's worried about is revealing all of this to his family--currently estranged in this novel--though he has been hiding it from his wife who is with him and helping on the quest. The reason that he's been hiding it from her is that he does not feel he should worry her while on this dangerous quest and also there is a degree of shame he feels about being so dependent on this drug.

 

I haven't done the reveal to her yet nor written her reaction. At some point I want this drug to be used as a source of temptation by the villain. Like: "You tell me XYZ and I will give you a certain amount of the drug in exchange" And this is after withdrawal has set in so the temptation to accept is greater.

 

HC   



#11 JJF1678

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 10:56 AM

A lot of times the user thinks its a secret, but others know. They just might not realize its that bad. So, that's an angle you could take... He tries to tell her, but she already sees his struggle, but knows how much he needs this drug...

#12 arcangie

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 06:03 AM

 Family can be one of the main stress sources for addicts.






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