The seemingly unstoppable rise of drug addiction should not discourage people from seeking treatment for themselves or for their loved ones. In the US, there is a clear drug addiction treatment process in place, with thousands of state-funded and private drug treatment facilities doing their part to make sure that process is properly implemented.

Here are some of the things that you need to know about the drug addiction treatment process.

Drug Addiction Is A Vicious Cycle

If you or a close family member are struggling with addiction, you’ve experienced this cycle first hand. There is no simple in-office treatment for drug addiction where one enters a rehabilitation center and is done when he or she checks out. Drug addiction is a chronic disorder that needs consistent care and effort to be managed. Successful treatment requires a constant desire and support system to fight relapses. One short-term treatment will never be enough.

For a complete drug addiction treatment, patients must go through a long-term process that involves several stages.

There are three main steps to drug addiction treatment

Recovery programs these days use different approaches and methods to drug addiction treatment, but most of them involve the three main steps: which are detoxification, rehabilitation, and recovery.

  1. Detoxification— Often the first step in a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program, detoxification is the stage that takes aim at the physiological aspect of drug addiction by cleansing a patient’s system of any trace of drugs.
  2. Rehabilitation—Once the patient has detoxified, he or she will move on to rehabilitation. The rehabilitation stage, which takes place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting, involves intensive therapy and one-on-one counseling sessions, with both aiming to get to the root of the patient’s drug addiction.

Rehabilitation treatments done in a safe and stress-free environment have shown to be one of the most effective strategies to allow patients to achieve the proper mindset and take an introspective look at the route of their drug addiction. A key part of rehabilitation is helping people understand what outside triggers create an urge to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. Oftentimes these triggers revolve around issues like family problems and traumatic events. Rehabilitation programs are often considered as where the real drug addiction treatment work begins.

  1. Aftercare—The end of the rehabilitation part of drug addiction treatment does not mean that the process is already done. There’s a third phase referred to as aftercare, which makes sure the patient will continue to make strides toward full recovery from drug addiction long after he or she leaves the treatment facility.

There is always the risk of relapse for any rehab patient, which is why treatment professionals do their best to equip their patients with the tools to effectively cope with the real world when they re-enter it after rehab. These aftercare tools include follow-up counseling, living in a sober living facility with other recovering addicts to help them with their transition, and enrollment in 12-step support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous.

The duration of drug addiction treatment varies

Although some drug rehab facilities offer 30-day, 60-day, 90-day or even longer rehabilitation programs, there is no set period for drug addiction treatment. Treatment professionals consider the severity of the addiction, the specific drugs abused, co-occurring mental or behavioral conditions, and the various physical, mental, cultural, spiritual, and social needs of the patient when deciding the length of treatment.

How to tell if a loved one is on drugs

Before you can make a loved one undergo treatment for drug addiction, you must be certain that he or she, indeed, has a drug problem. There are many signs that you must watch out for, including the following:

  • Bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds
  • Damaged teeth and gums
  • Slurred speech
  • Trembling or shaky hands
  • Abrupt personality changes, irritability, agitation
  • Poor performance in school or at work
  • Apparent lack of interest in personal hygiene and grooming
  • Drastic changes in friends and activities
  • Money issues, and borrowing money all the time
  • Lack of enthusiasm for anything
  • Decreased appetite and noticeable weight loss
  • Defensiveness when asked about drug use

However, you need to remember that while the above are reliable signs that someone may be addicted to drugs, they can also be symptoms of other medical conditions or social issues. Nothing less than an individual coming clean about his or her drug addiction should prompt you to help and bring the person in for drug addiction treatment.

Body Consequences of  Heroin, Cocaine & Meth


Heroin is one of the most widely-used illicit drug in the United States today, with use rising five-fold in the last decade.

The rise of heroin use is cause for worry because heroin is one of the most addictive and life altering illegal drugs in the world today. Aside from being highly addictive physically, heroin use also has many adverse effects on the human body.

Short-term effects Of Heroin

Once heroin enters the bloodstream, the user will immediately experience a “rush” or a sense of euphoria. The skin will feel warm, the mouth dry, and the extremities heavy. Eventually, the user will be in a rather confusing state of wakefulness and drowsiness, and mental functions will be clouded. On the physical side of things, the user may suffer from constipation and vomiting. It’s also expected for breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to drop.

Long-term effects

When consumed frequently and in large doses, the user will likely suffer long-term effects that include liver and kidney disease, heart problems, collapsed and scarred veins, and susceptibility to bacterial infections that lead to abscesses and other soft-tissue issues. The risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other diseases is also higher if the user opts for injections and shares needles with other users.


The effects of cocaine start within seconds of the substance hitting your blood steam, producing a short-lived high that typically lasts between five-thirty minutes. Increased levels of dopamine and serotonin resulting in a high energy, talkative, or alert state for the user. The high doesn’t come without a cost though. Cocaine use is reporter to cause people to lose touch with reality and experience symptoms of psychosis including agitation, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Besides the short-lived high produced by the drug itself, intense depression, edginess and habit-forming cravings have been shown to kick in shortly after the high wears off. Interrupted sleep patterns and eating habits are also short terms effects of the drug. People using cocaine experience a rapid increase in heart rate which puts every user at risk of a heart attack.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Due to the way cocaine interferes with the way your brain processes chemicals, users find themselves needing increased amounts of the drug just to feel normal. This quickly forms an addictive need for a user to get through even the simplest of daily routines. Cocaine takes a severe aging impact on the brain which results in long term memory problems and can lead to conditions that mimic Alzheimer’s. Users who have abused cocaine for an extended period experience are at a higher risk of developing dementia earlier in life.

Extended cocaine use also leads to effects like…

  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Infectious diseases


Meth has become one of the largest and most dangerous epidemics to hit the United States. This stimulant produces an intense but brief high when smoked, injected, or snorted. Like how cocaine works, these short but extreme highs quickly cause users to build a dependence on the drug. It’s common for users to end up going on binges for days at a time.

Short Term Effects of Meth

Meth almost immediately takes effect on the neurotransmitters of your brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, and produces an intense high from an excessive release of these chemicals. Overstimulation of these chemicals results in their own destruction and an overall decline in your dopamine levels. This boils down to users being unable to properly experience pleasure without the drug.  An instant increase in heart rate and blood pressure opens the dangers of a user experiencing a heart attack.

Long Term Effects of Meth

Meth users face long term effects on both their muscles and their brain. One of the most dangerous and long-term effects of meth is its ability to pose an increased chance of stroke because of the restriction of blood flow to the brain. A meth users brain can experience severe tissue death and potentially permanent brain damage.  Extended use of meth will also lead to cracked teeth and tooth loss from constant grinding