The United States is experiencing an overwhelming epidemic that many people do not discuss, give attention to, or sometimes even know exists– an epidemic of drug addiction. Despite the lack of media or general public conversations discussing this topic, there are people struggling every day, whether we know it or not. Unfortunately, there are also many people dying each day. In every calendar year, the United States experiences almost 70,000 deaths due to drug overdose, as the number of overdose deaths has been steadily rising since 1999. Almost 70% of these overdoses are due to opioids– largely heroin.
Compared to the rest of the United States, Florida has a higher rate of drug overdoses– 25.1 versus 21.7 as the national average. This makes it even more vital for Florida to offer quality addiction treatment programs for those struggling with substance abuse. Treatment centers such as Archstone Behavioral Health are here to help with those experiencing drug abuse, offering a peaceful rehab center with options such as medical detox, medication-assisted treatment, and of course many types of therapies to address triggers and prevent relapse once the official rehab program has come to an end.
How Did I Get Here? How Did My Loved One Get Here?
Many individuals do not want to admit they have a problem. It might be difficult to notice or to take seriously– until someone reaches a breaking point. After all, drug addiction does not happen overnight. People who are addicted to heroin likely did not begin with this drug, but experimented with one or several others before using heroin, often beginning at an extremely young age. During a person’s teenage years, they are much more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs, due to the brain’s limited production of dopamine (the brain’s “reward” or pleasure chemical), but a flood of it when novel experiences trigger it to release. The repeated exposure to drugs with the high release of dopamine encourages the individual to repeat the activity, thus creating habits and dependence. Heroin is more habit-forming than other drugs, due not only to changes in the brain but also an incredible amount of withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking the drug for a short period of time. Within hours, an individual begins to experience withdrawal symptoms which make it extremely difficult to stop their addiction, despite their greatest efforts.
Unfortunately, lots of individuals have become addicted to heroin by first taking prescription painkillers. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies pitched physicians and healthcare providers these pills to help with pain relief, assuring the medical community the pills were nonaddictive. Physicians began to overprescribe them, unaware that the pills would be habit-forming and eventually encourage addiction and misuse. Florida especially had an issue with the overprescribing of painkillers, as evidenced by the fact that according to the American Journal of Public Health, by 2010, “90 of the 100 doctors purchasing the most oxycodone nationwide were practicing in Florida.”
Since 2010, several laws and measures have been put in place both in Florida and nationwide to help curb the addiction epidemic. However, with the close of “pill mills,” the creation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and other limitations put in place to discourage addiction, this has also left individuals experiencing addiction unsure of where to turn. Although the limiting of these substances is good in terms of preventing more people from becoming addicted, many individuals have felt abandoned or betrayed after being prescribed a supposed nonaddictive medicine by a doctor with a license, and then being left to manage the resulting addiction on their own. As a result, this is how many have ended up with heroin addiction; heroin is cheaper and in many cases more accessible than finding prescription pain medicine now. Heroin also allows for a quicker high since it is largely injected into someone’s veins, which increases the susceptibility of addiction to the substance. It is clear that with the limiting of prescription pain medicine, treatment options are now in high need to combat addiction. Residential treatment centers and addiction treatment programs such as the ones at Archstone Behavioral Health are vital in the fight against this epidemic.
What is Next for Me? What is Next for My Loved One?
If this has been your experience or your loved one’s experience, know that you are not alone. Many other people are struggling with the same issues, but are afraid to admit these facts, whether to themselves or to others. Looking into an addiction treatment center is not a weakness, but a strength. You or your loved one did not end up with an addiction in a vacuum, but were the result of circumstances that you likely had little control over. An addiction is the result of both nature and nurture– a person’s genes they have inherited as well as their surrounding environment. Trying to assign blame to someone for their addiction is not only unhelpful in encouraging someone receive treatment in an addiction treatment center, but is also simply and largely untrue.
However, no matter how the addiction began or how many years that person has participated in drug use, it is never too late for someone to receive treatment at an addiction treatment center. It is never too late to take responsibility for one’s life and make efforts to change it. Once someone comes to a treatment center, a health professional is there every step of the way to assist the person in treatment and recovery– no matter the individual’s stage of change. Treatment services always begin with a treatment plan individualized to the patient and meeting them where they are, whether they are interested in inpatient treatment or residential treatment, medically assisted detox, and/or intensive outpatient programs.
A treatment provider is there to explain all these options and the included evidence-based treatment protocols which are used in our drug rehab programs. For example, treatment programs may include treatment of underlying mental illness through additional mental health services, group therapy, behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, or other services involved in drug treatment, depending on the individual. Addiction is a powerful beast, but can be easier to overcome in an addiction treatment center or treatment facility with a team of healthcare professionals on someone’s side.
Finding Help Begins at Archstone Behavioral Health
Reaching out for help is your first step in recovering from addiction. Substance use disorder doesn’t happen overnight; recovery also takes time. Give your brain and body time to heal. Reaching out for help is the only way for many people to regain control of their lives. Contact Archstone Behavioral Health in Lantana, FL, today at 561.631.9478 to find out more about whether our addiction treatment programs are right for you or your loved one.