Addiction and Drug Abuse Treatment in Westminster, Colorado
Are you considering getting help for your drug addiction in Westminster? Or do you know a relative or close friend who is struggling with substance abuse? Fortunately, Westminster drug rehabs are here to help. We have gathered together all of the information here you’ll need on the treatment process in Westminster and throughout Colorado.
The drug epidemic that has swept across the United States over the last 20 to 30 years has destroyed many communities, left many families heartbroken, and caused a great number of individuals to suffer, caught in the vicious cycle of drug abuse and addiction. National rates of overdose deaths have skyrocketed since the 1990s, largely fueled by the dramatic increases in prescription and synthetic opioid abuse and dependency. Although opioid addiction garners the most attention from the national media and government officials at the federal level, every community is affected differently by the drug epidemic.
Many communities in the state of Colorado have suffered as a result of rising rates of drug abuse and addiction, as they have in all regions of the United States. Colorado is unique in that the drug epidemic in the state is not primarily fueled by just one or two substances, but by several. Since recreational marijuana is now legal in the state, one might expect that Colorado would have higher rates of marijuana use for non-medical purposes than other states. However, Colorado also experiences higher abuse rates of alcohol, non-medical opioids, cocaine, and other illegal drugs.
Drug Abuse in Westminster
Westminster, Colorado is a northwest suburb of Denver with a population of 112,090 people, located in Adams and Jefferson counties. The entire state suffers from much higher overdose mortality rates than the national average, and Adams County was recently listed as one of Colorado’s 12 counties with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths.
The United States national average overdose mortality rate was estimated at 14.7 per 100,000 residents in 2014. A report by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI), which relied in part on data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimated Colorado’s overdose death rate at 16.3 per 100,000 residents in the same year. That number represents a substantial increase from 2002, when the overdose mortality rate in the state was estimated at 9.7 per 100,000 residents.
Adams County, where Westminster is located, suffers even greater numbers of overdose deaths than other parts of Colorado. In 2014, fatal drug overdoses occurred at a rate of 20.2 per 100,000 Coloradans, nearly double the rate in 2002, which was estimated then at 11 per 100,000. Adams County is among the counties in the state—and in the nation—that have experienced the sharpest increases of overdose deaths over the last few years.
If you, a family member, or other loved one is suffering from addiction to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, prescription or synthetic opioids, or another substance, help is available. With the right resources and strategies, substance abuse treatment has been shown to be effective, and it is possible to escape the cycle of addiction and embark on the road to long-term recovery. You are not alone, and there are resources available in Westminster and elsewhere. Keep reading to learn about treatment options, how the recovery process works, and what to expect after deciding to get help.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
No one plans to become physically or psychologically dependent upon drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a complex brain disease that develops over time with repeated use of an addictive substance, which ultimately becomes compulsive. Most individuals suffering from addiction first encounter drugs or alcohol in social or recreational settings, or when they are given a prescription from a physician.
Continued, compulsive use of an addictive substance ultimately rewires the brain chemistry and wiring in the user. Like many diseases, addiction is progressive and tends to worsen over time as the addicted individual builds up a tolerance, and often begins to use the substance more often and in greater amounts. Typically, over time, symptoms of withdrawal begin to occur when the individual does not use the drug.
Although it can be very difficult to determine whether a family member, friend, or other loved one is developing or has developed a substance addiction—particularly if you have never suffered from addiction yourself—there are some signs and symptoms to look for.
Symptoms of drug and/or alcohol addiction may include the following:
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Red, itchy, or glassy eyes
- Itchy or red nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Brain fog
- Over- or under-activity
- Changes in weight or eating patterns
- Changes in sleeping patterns and/or excessive drowsiness or tiredness
- Changes in skin tone or skin health
- Repetitive or unusual speech patterns
- Decreased interest in social activities or events
- Unusual changes in mood, anxiety, depression, or irritability
It is important to note that not all people suffering from substance addiction will exhibit all of the above signs and symptoms. Additionally, the type and severity of symptoms experienced by addicted individuals will depend on a number of factors, including the following:
- The substance(s) to which the person is addicted
- Whether or not the person is addicted to multiple substances simultaneously
- The duration and severity of the addiction
- The person’s individual physiology and psychology
As previously discussed, repeated, long-term use of addictive substances rewires the brain and affects thinking patterns in the user. It is common for those suffering from addiction to experience feelings of fear, anger, and resistance to the idea of attending treatment. Although it is very normal to feel all of these things, treatment has been shown to be effective, and there are a variety of treatment options available. Keep reading to learn about how treatment works.
At most treatment centers, the first step of treatment is an initial drug assessment, the purpose of which is to provide addiction specialists and other treatment staff members with a thorough understanding of the new patient’s addiction. In order to develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan for each new patient, it is important that clinicians understand the patient’s physical and psychological relationship with his or her addiction.
Initial assessments typically involve a variety of procedures and tools intended to gather information about the new patient’s current and past substance use patterns, overall physical and mental health, and potential underlying causes of the addiction.
The processes and procedures involved in an initial drug assessment are likely to differ substantially from facility to facility; however, there are some standard tools and procedures commonly used during the process. Most drug assessments involve some combination of the following:
- The administration of several laboratory tests, which may include a drug and/or urine sample, a breathalyzer, and measurements of vital signs
- A comprehensive physical exam
- An interview with a staff member, clinician, or counselor
- The collection of individual and family health history information
- A comprehensive mental health examination, which may include a number of self-reported survey tools developed by psychological researchers and an interview with an addiction specialist
Especially for those who have never been to rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction before, the thought of entering treatment can be extremely anxiety-producing. Most people have concerns about what the detox process will be like, what to expect from therapy sessions, being away from home (in the case of inpatient treatment), and what to do about current responsibilities during treatment.
It is a good idea to do some preliminary research and make sure that you choose a treatment program that is right for you. Most rehabilitation centers have some basic information and a list of frequently asked questions on their websites. If you know someone who has already been through treatment, it can also be helpful to speak with them about their experiences.
In addition to anxiety about the detox and treatment process, most people also have concerns about practical and logistical issues, including the following:
- How to take time away from work or school during treatment (all employees in the United States are entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave for a serious medical condition, including substance addiction treatment)
- How children, pets, or other dependents will be cared for during treatment
- How to pay for treatment (typically, insurance will cover most or all of the costs of rehabilitation)
- Aftercare, and how to avoid relapse and stay sober after treatment
In many cases, family, friends, and/or other loved ones can help take care of many of the above concerns, and any others you may have, while you attend treatment. It is extremely important that your health and ongoing recovery are your highest priority while undergoing inpatient or outpatient treatment for addiction, and taking care of any practical concerns you may have prior to entering treatment can help you do so.
The intake process is different at each treatment facility. Each rehabilitation center has its own unique policies, regulations, and procedures that it follows when new patients arrive for treatment. Additionally, the intake process typically differs based on the type of treatment program (inpatient or outpatient) and individual factors, such as the substance(s) a new patient is addicted to, the severity and duration of the addiction, and the person’s overall physical and mental health.
Although the intake process differs based on the factors listed above and others, there are some standard processes and procedures that you may be likely to go through when you enter a treatment facility, including the following:
- You will likely go through an initial drug assessment (described previously), which may include laboratory tests, a physical exam, and self-reported surveys.
- You will be asked to read over a number of documents which detail the facility’s rules, regulations, and expectations, and sign a number of consent forms.
- It is likely that a treatment staff member will go through your belongings with you and remove any restricted items you may have brought with you to treatment. Each center has a unique list of restricted items (which may be listed on their website), but most centers restrict weapons, drugs, alcohol, unapproved prescriptions and over the counter medications, electronics, and flammable or otherwise dangerous substances.
- You will likely meet with a counselor one-on-one to discuss your physical and mental health, your substance use history and current habits, and any concerns you may have about treatment.
After all intake procedures are completed, new patients typically receive a tour of the treatment facility, generally guided by a staff member or a current patient who is approaching discharge. You will be shown your sleeping quarters, where you may have the opportunity to meet your roommate (if you have one), any communal or dining areas, and the rooms where therapy sessions and check-ups take place.
The thought of going through detox and withdrawal is one of the primary concerns that most people have prior to entering treatment. Detoxification refers to the period of time when an addicted individual initially stops using the substance on which they are dependent.
As previously discussed, addiction—particularly long-term, severe addiction—fundamentally rewires the brain and causes changes in its functioning and chemistry. The bodies of those suffering from addiction become accustomed to receiving the drug, and when they do not receive their usual dose, the brain responds by producing withdrawal symptoms.
Not everyone undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction has to go through detox. Whether or not an individual is likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal, and the severity of those potential symptoms, depend on a number of factors, including:
- The substance(s) to which the person is addicted
- The person’s level of psychological and physical dependency
- The duration of the addiction
- Whether or not the person is addicted to multiple substances
- The person’s individual biology and genetic makeup
- Co-occurring medical and mental health factors
For those who have to go through detox and withdrawal, the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms differ from person to person. Although everyone experiences detox differently and the individual withdrawal symptoms you are likely to experience greatly depend on what substance you are detoxing from, there are some common symptoms. Below is a list of withdrawal symptoms that people frequently experience during the detoxification process:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach and muscle cramps
- Dehydration and dry mouth
- Sweating and body chills
- Lack of appetite
- Body aches, pains, and muscle weakness
- Anxiety and depression
- Fatigue, drowsiness, and insomnia
Detox is only the first step of treatment. Alone, it is seldom sufficient to break the vicious cycle of addiction and lead to long-term, successful sobriety and recovery. However, successful completion of the detoxification period is strongly correlated with long-term recovery when other treatment accompanies it. There are a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment options that, following the initial detox and withdrawal process, incorporate therapy, peer support, professional supervision, and coping strategies that have been shown to be effective. Keep reading to learn about the treatment types and what to expect.
Residential or inpatient rehabilitation programs are intensive, full-time programs. Patients undergoing inpatient addiction treatment live in the treatment facility full-time, and typically only leave the center on scheduled, supervised outings. Inpatient treatment programs tend to be more expensive than other forms of treatment. These programs provide patients with an entirely drug-free, safe, and secure environment free from distractions and temptations, where patients can focus solely on recovery and getting well.
Inpatient rehabilitation typically incorporates intensive group and individual therapy, peer support exercises, coping strategies, and professional medical and mental health supervision during detox and treatment.
The duration of inpatient rehabilitation depends on a variety of factors, such as the extent of an individual’s addiction and their potential risk of relapse, and is generally determined by addiction specialists and medical professionals at the facility. Inpatient treatment typically lasts between 30 and 90 days. However, it can last much longer than that—up to 6 months or longer in certain situations—if the patient is severely addicted, does not have a support system to return to upon discharge, or if the individual is determined to be at substantial risk of relapse.
Outpatient rehabilitation allows individuals undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction to receive treatment while living at home, with family or friends, or at transitional sober living homes.
Unlike inpatient treatment, outpatient rehabilitation does not provide 24-hour professional supervision. Therefore, patients suffering from addiction who receive treatment on an outpatient basis are typically asked to submit to blood, urine, breathalyzer, or other drug tests on a regular basis and attend regular medical and mental health check-ups.
Outpatient treatment is generally not as intensive as inpatient rehabilitation, but often incorporates many of the same treatment components, including individual and group counseling sessions, behavioral therapy, support groups, coping techniques, and educational programs. Since outpatient treatment is typically less expensive and not as intensive as inpatient rehabilitation, these kinds of programs often last longer.
Although inpatient treatment is commonly recommended for those with severe and/or long-lasting addictions, outpatient treatment is often recommended to those with less severe addictions, those with limited risk of relapse, and those who cannot commit to full-time inpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment can also be a good option for individuals who have just been discharged from inpatient rehabilitation and are making the transition back to everyday life. Ongoing outpatient treatment can often provide additional support and supervision during this transition.
Aftercare and Sober Living
Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is a complex and comprehensive affair, and this process does not end after detoxification and withdrawal, or even after discharge from treatment. Addiction can fundamentally alter the brain’s wiring, chemistry, and functioning, and substantially affect thinking patterns. In most cases, these changes take longer than a few months to reverse. For many people, addiction recovery is a long-term—or even lifelong—process, and requires continuous renewal of the dedication to sober living.
For many, addiction rehabilitation aftercare is a vitally important component of overall recovery. “Aftercare” is a broad term that is used to describe any ongoing treatment or support structure that follows the initial rehabilitation and treatment period. Aftercare may involve any range of settings, treatments, and specialists or providers. Successful aftercare treatments typically incorporate a variety of treatment methods and encourage community, open communication, and healthy living.
Below are some of the aftercare options available to those who have undergone rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction:
- Ongoing outpatient treatment
- Sober living residencies
- Individual, group, family, or couples counseling
- 12 step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Local or online support groups for recovering individuals
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Pharmaceutical treatments
Aftercare has been shown to substantially reduce the likelihood that recovering individuals will relapse following initial drug or alcohol addiction treatment. The first few months following discharge from rehabilitation are of vital importance for the long-term success of the treatment. Having a well-thought-out aftercare plan can help those recovering from addiction maintain a supportive group of peers, continue the recovery process, and get the help they need during the difficult times.