Addiction Treatment in Escondido, California
Escondido, California, is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. Since its incorporation in 1888, it has grown to over 150,000 residents. With its proximity to San Diego and the Mexican border, it has experienced its share of challenges with drug and alcohol abuse. And Escondido drug rehabs offer services for those suffering from chemical addiction.
About Escondido, California
The word “escondido” means hidden and may have referred to hidden water or hidden treasure. Regardless of its original meaning, Escondido is now a busy city 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. 17.7% of Escondido residents live below the poverty level and the city has a median income of $54,268. This is lower than the state’s median income of $63,783. Escondido residents are 60.4% white, 48.9% Hispanic or Latino, 6.1% Asian, and 2.5% Black or African American.
Drug Use in Escondido and San Diego County
Although California as a whole hasn’t experienced the epidemic levels of opioid abuse that have hit much of the country, there are still concerns. Fentanyl, in particular, is a concern in Escondido as well as the rest of the greater San Diego area. Fentanyl is an opioid that can be lethal, even in very small amounts. There were 33 fentanyl-related deaths in San Diego County in 2016 and five fentanyl-related deaths in Escondido since 2012. Fentanyl is sometimes blended with heroin or sold in pill form under the guise of oxycodone, and users don’t realize they’re receiving a much more potent substance until it’s too late.
Methamphetamine is also a concern for San Diego County. There was an 80% increase in methamphetamine-related deaths from 2011 to 2015, and there were 377 meth-related deaths in 2016. Roughly half of all those arrested in San Diego County in 2015 tested positive for meth. Over 12,000 people in San Diego County went to the emergency room for meth-related reasons in 2015.
Heroin is an area of concern as well, with heroin use contributing to 90 deaths in 2015. Of those who entered drug treatment in 2016, 28% did so because of heroin addiction. To help combat opioid overdoses, emergency responders in San Diego County carry Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Risk Factors for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse can affect people from all backgrounds. There are some risk factors, though, that may make you more vulnerable to becoming addicted. These include:
- The type of drug and how it’s administered. Some drugs, such as cocaine and opioids, can cause someone to become addicted very quickly. Injecting or smoking drugs can also increase the possibility of becoming addicted.
- Use at an early age. Using drugs and alcohol affects your brain chemistry, and this effect is particularly powerful in young, developing brains.
- Mental health issues. If you have an underlying mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, drugs or alcohol can provide a temporary means of coping with that issue.
- Family with addiction. There is a genetic component to addiction, so if you have close family members who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may be more vulnerable to addiction as well.
- Social pressure. When you’re young and dependent on friends for developing your sense of identity, you can be vulnerable to doing things to fit into your peer group, including abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Lack of parental supervision. If you don’t have family looking out for you, you can be more vulnerable to using drugs or alcohol.
Causes of Addiction
The reasons for becoming addicted are complicated. There may be environmental factors, such as growing up in a family where there was drug use. There may also be genetic factors. The physical reason that people become addicted to drugs or alcohol, though, is because of the profound changes these substances make to your brain.
Most drugs influence the brain’s release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is tied into the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. When you release dopamine, it reinforces the behavior that caused the release of dopamine, making you want to repeat the behavior. Drugs can release two to 10 times the amount of dopamine released doing “normal” activities such as eating. The brain also responds to the extra dopamine by producing less on its own, which leads to needing more of the substance that caused the dopamine release. This is called tolerance, and it’s why people need higher amounts of the same drug to get the same effect.
The Process of Addiction
No one intends to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Developing an addiction is a process that begins with experimentation. Experimentation is “trying out” a drug or alcohol. At this stage, use may be occasional, and the user can stop using the substance without any significant consequences. This doesn’t mean that experimentation is harmless. Since drugs and alcohol affect your judgment, you may indulge in risky behaviors while under the influence, such as driving while impaired. If you’re an expecting mother, using drugs even occasionally can harm your fetus.
The next stage is regular use, which is when using drugs or alcohol becomes a part of your regular routine. You still have control over your drug use, and could stop, but you’ve become used to having the drug as a part of your life.
After regular use, the next stage is risky use. Your use of the drug is starting to have a negative effect on your life. Your work or school performance may be suffering, and friends and family may have noticed the changes in your behavior. You may do things to obtain drugs that you wouldn’t have done in the past, such as stealing money in order to buy drugs.
The final stage is addiction. Your tolerance is increasing so you need more of your drug of choice in order to feel the same effects. You feel unable to function without drugs or alcohol, and much of your time is spent obtaining and using your substance of choice.
Regardless of the stage of addiction you or your loved one may be in, it’s important to seek help. The sooner you reach out for assistance, the easier it is to stop using. That said, even if your addiction has been going on for a long time, it’s never too late to get help. There are professionals available to help you or your loved one start on the path to recovery.
How to Tell if Someone is Using
If someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is a good chance they have a sense of shame. It’s not something to be proud of, and they may be feeling weak or embarrassed. They will need help to overcome their addiction and start on the road to recovery.
If someone needs help, they may be reluctant to ask for it. You may need to help them seek out the help they need. But how do you know someone is using drugs or alcohol? There are some signs you can look out for, which include:
- Behavioral changes. They may be more agitated or anxious than usual and may change their routines. They may suddenly become more secretive and stop spending time with family and friends.
- Changes in grooming. They may no longer take the same care and pride in their appearance that they have in the past.
- Problems at work or school. They may no longer be interested in work, school, or other hobbies they used to enjoy. They may stop going to school or work altogether.
- Financial struggles. They may suddenly need money urgently, or have trouble making ends meet.
- Physical changes. These vary depending on the substance being abused but may include weight gain or loss, change in pupil size, needle marks, or sores around the mouth or nose.
- Mental changes. Depending on the substance, they may seem groggy and unfocused or hyper-aware and agitated. Their behavior may be erratic and their moods may shift rapidly.
The Process of Getting Help
If you or your loved one needs help with drug or alcohol addiction, there are options available. The process of getting professional help can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It all starts with getting in touch with a treatment center. You may want to choose one that’s close to where you live or you may want to get away from it all and recover in new surroundings. That’s completely up to you.
Regardless of where the treatment center is located, the first step is to get in touch with them via phone, email, or chat. This begins a process called pre-intake.
Your first contact with a treatment center is with an admissions counselor. The counselor will ask some questions about you, your situation, and why you or your loved one is seeking treatment. They will provide you with information about their treatment program and you can ask questions as well. If, from the initial contact, the program seems like a good fit, then you’ll make an appointment to enter treatment.
Intake is your starting point for treatment. You will meet with members of your treatment team, which may include a case manager, a medical professional such as a doctor or nurse, and a mental health professional. Members of the treatment team will get to know you and your situation. You’ll also find out more specifics about the program or treatment center, including the daily schedule and rules for the treatment program.
Financial arrangements for treatment are also made during intake. Your treatment program can assist you with determining the best financial options for you or your loved one.
As you go through intake, you’ll meet with one or more medical professionals as well as mental health professionals. They will get to know you by doing assessments. This may involve doing standardized questionnaires that ask you about your personal and health history and experiences. It’s important to be as thorough as possible; they use the information they get from you to help develop your treatment plan. They will also ask you questions about your past and present health history. If you have any underlying mental or physical health issues, it’s important to include them in your treatment plan. The medical assessment will often include a physical exam and taking blood and urine samples. The mental health assessment may include an initial counseling session.
Once you’ve completed the intake process, including assessments, the next step is either beginning treatment, or, if you have drugs or alcohol in your system, detox.
It is challenging to stop using drugs or alcohol on your own. Although detox can be done at home, for many the safest choice is a medically supervised detox at a facility. This is due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which in some cases can be life-threatening. When you go through a medically supervised detox, there is help available 24/7. Medical staff can assist you with your withdrawal symptoms by prescribing medications.
Withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop taking drugs or alcohol after becoming dependent on them. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance you were taking, how long you were taking it, any underlying health issues, and your body and genetic makeup. Withdrawal from opioids, for example, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and anxiety. Withdrawal from alcohol can cause irritability, sweating, shaking, and in rare cases, delirium tremens, which can cause seizures.
Medications Used During Detox
When you’re going through a medically supervised detox, you may be prescribed medications to help alleviate your symptoms. Prescriptions vary depending on the drug you’re withdrawing from as well as any underlying health issues. If you’ve been taking opioids for pain, for example, the pain may resurface as you withdraw, so staff may prescribe an alternative pain reliever. Depression and anxiety are common withdrawal symptoms, and antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to help with those symptoms. Methadone is another common prescription for those withdrawing from opioids. Methadone helps reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Escondido, California Rehab - Inpatient Treatment Centers
When you’re looking into addiction treatment, there are two basic types of treatment programs: inpatient and outpatient. In an inpatient program, you live onsite. You are supervised around the clock, so there’s a high level of accountability. You are away from any family or friends that may have negatively influenced you, and you can focus exclusively on your treatment and recovery. Outpatient programs provide treatment as well, but you live at home while going through treatment.
Residential Treatment Centers
Residential treatment centers provide you with support around the clock. You live in the facility, and your meals and housing are included. Residential treatment centers can be large, small, or anything in between. Some are luxurious, with a hotel-like feel and spa quality amenities, while others are simpler, with shared housing. Some treatment centers focus on a specific type of person, such as executives, teens, or women, while others accept a wide variety of people in need of treatment.
Residential treatment centers vary in terms of what your day-to-day schedule will look like. Most include a combination of individual and group counseling as well educational programming. From there, you may have access to other therapeutic activities such as gardening, art, sports, or music.
Each treatment center has its own rules. There may be items you’re not allowed to bring with you into the facility, as well as restrictions on visitors and when you can leave the facility. Your length of stay will vary depending on your situation but could be anywhere from a couple of weeks to 30 days or more.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
If the intensity of a residential treatment center appeals to you but you don’t want to live away from home, a partial hospitalization program may be a good fit for you. In a partial hospitalization program, you attend treatment for three to five days per week for six to eight hours per day. When you’re not attending the program, you live at home, where you can see family and friends and keep up some of your regular life and routine.
The exact treatment schedule depends on the program. You may attend individual and group counseling and educational programs. You may also be able to participate in other activities like music or art therapy.
Outpatient Treatment Centers
Outpatient treatment centers provide you with the treatment you need while allowing you to still live at home. During outpatient treatment, you can continue your work or school obligations or care for family.
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Intensive outpatient programs provide you with treatment on a flexible schedule. Typically, you attend programming for 10-15 hours per week during the day or evening. The rest of the time you live at home and continue to go to work or school. Your treatment may include individual counseling, group counseling, and educational sessions to help you gain tools to stay clean and sober. Treatment sessions may take place during the day or in the evening so you can continue to go to work or school.
Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment, eventually your treatment program will end and you’ll need to re-enter the community. This can seem daunting, and you’ll need a plan for how you’ll maintain your recovery. This is called aftercare.
Your aftercare plan should include where you’ll live and what you’ll do. If you don’t have stable housing in a supportive environment, you’ll need to make arrangements for a suitable place to live. Your treatment center can assist you with this. You may want to live on your own, in a sober living house, or with supportive family or friends.
You’ll also need to decide what to do. If you’re no longer working, you may want to seek employment or go back to school. You’ll need to find new ways to occupy your time. You may want to attend support groups, volunteer, or take up new hobbies. Support groups can also help provide you with support and a sense of community, so you have a place to go and people to turn to when things are difficult.
Many of those who are recovering from addiction choose to live in sober living houses. Sober living homes are transitional, which means you stay there for a period of time while you readjust to living a drug- or alcohol-free life. Sober living homes are, first and foremost, substance free. Sober living homes have rules, which may include a curfew. You’ll need to contribute to the household by doing chores, and you may need to pay rent or utilities. You may also be required to either be employed or be actively seeking employment.
Sober living provides a safe, stable environment with people who understand what you’re going through. You’ll have housemates to turn to when things are challenging, and you know you’ll have a home that’s free from temptation.
When you’re recovering from addiction, it’s vital to have people you can turn to for help. One of the best places to find that help and support is in a support group. There are support groups that are led by other recovering addicts and support groups led by professional facilitators.
Support groups led by others in recovery are typically 12-step groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Meetings may take place in churches, hospitals, treatment centers, or at local non-profits. During a meeting, you may hear about the experiences of others and read and discuss program literature. If you feel comfortable, you can share your own experiences.
Many 12-step program members find a sponsor, which is a person who assists you with working the program steps. Typically, this person will have been recovered for a relatively long period of time.
There are also support groups led by a facilitator. The facilitator may be a social work, substance abuse counselor, or psychologist. The format varies depending on the group, and these groups may also be focused on a certain group, such as women or teens. These groups take place at hospitals, treatment centers, and at local non-profit organizations.