Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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Addiction Treatment in Richmond, Virginia

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Richmond is a city in Virginia with a population of 220,289 and it is just 98 miles south of Washington, D.C. The city has revolutionized itself in different areas such as crafting breweries, creating eateries, localizing fashion and expressing art to make itself a popular tourist town. The city is best known as “The Capital of the South.”

More popular than that is the 400 years of history the city sits on, and the historical landmarks that sit on the ground such as St. John’s Church. Maybe that name doesn’t ring any bells but how about the words, “Give me Liberty or Give Me Death!” That speech, given by Patrick Henry was said at St. Johns Church to ignite the American Revolution. The church itself dates back to 1741. It is a historical landmark for any traveler’s bucket list.

If you live in Richmond, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Richmond, just like many other cities on the eastern coast is full of America’s proud history but that is not the only thing these cities have in common. An epidemic is creating a funnel of negativity that is corrupting the way of life for our great nation as a whole. That epidemic is called opioids. Opioids is taking over the big cities of America and taking lives along with it, every single day. Most popular in Virginia is fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioids coming in as second and third popular choices. Fatal overdoses continue to rise as well as hepatitis C, which is being tied to opioid usage. The city of Richmond had 830 cases of hepatitis C in 2016.

The epidemic is so bad that Virginia itself has declared a state of emergency where opioid addiction is concerned. The state is taking action by easing public access to drugs, easing restrictions on needle exchanges and creating a drug that reverses overdoses.

Life expectancy in the state of Virginia has dropped 2 years in a row showing the effects of the overwhelming addiction to opioids.

The reason for the drug problem in Virginia sounds similar when compared to the drug problem in other major cities. It all boils down to mental health and unemployment. There are just not enough jobs for everyone to have one. Richmond’s unemployment rate sits at 4.3 percent with a median income level of $38,266 which just isn’t enough in today’s fast-paced economy. Crime is also a factor based on mental health issues and unemployment, a 2 out of 100, 100 being the safest. That speaks volumes when it comes to the deep trouble that Richmond and it’s surrounding areas is facing.

Richmond Drug Rehabs

Drug rehabilitation can provide an answer to this epidemic sweeping across America’s big cities. Rehabilitation is a process that allows for a patient to check in to a facility, get the help they need and then check out. The process sounds easy enough but let’s talk about each step a little bit more.

Assessment

This assessment period or sometimes called an intake or pre-intake is like an interview. This step is used to help the staff at the facility to know what a patient needs. First, there will be a series of questions asked to find out more about a potential patient. This is always done before a patient is admitted because there may be a reason that certain facilities can’t admit a patient. Sometimes, doctors and psychiatrists do not believe a potential patient has an addiction problem and will refer them to an outpatient program instead. The assessment will ask all the necessary questions to find out.

The questions asked are about family medical and mental health history, drugs being used, alcohol being used, any combinations of drugs and alcohol being used together, about the social environment one has and about the history of drug use or alcoholism. These questions are all important because they will help the doctor to provide a patient with a diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to be honest and to recall anything that might help.

After a series of questions, the doctor and/or psychiatrist will complete a physical examination and some lab tests. The lab tests are to find out what sort of drugs are in the system while the physical examination is to make sure the body can withstand detoxification. In some cases, a patient doesn’t have drugs in their system, so the doctor will recommend inpatient therapy verses detoxification. However, in most cases, detox will come next.

Before detox, a patient is fully admitted to the facility which means they are issued a list of items that cannot be brought into the facility during the time they will be staying there. The list is standard across most facilities.

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • No food or drinks
  • No pornography
  • No over-the-counter medications
  • No mouthwash
  • No revealing clothing
  • No electronics

The list goes on and on but there will also be one provided once a patient has been admitted into a facility.

The assessment period also goes over financial arrangements. Generally, rehabs allow for some sort of sliding scale payment which makes it easier for people to pay for their care. Sometimes employees can check with their employers to find out what sort of benefits are offered. There are many circumstances where an employee’s insurance will pay for the entire rehabilitation process.

Detox

Detox is essential to the rehabilitation process. Without it, the mind and body will not have a chance to heal properly. Drugs and alcohol take over the body when addiction happens so the body and mind become dependent on the fix. Without that fix, the mind starts to think on its own and the body begins to heal. Both are important when thinking about the next step of rehabilitation, which is inpatient treatment.

First is detox. Detox is a struggle for a lot of patients because of the withdrawal symptoms that patients endure. Not all patients have a hard time. The severity of the symptoms changes with each patient because there are different factors to consider.

  • How long has a patient been doing drugs?
  • What sort of drugs has the patient being doing?
  • Is there a combination of drugs and alcohol being used?
  • Does the patient have any prior rehab experience?
  • Are there any mental health disorders to consider?

These questions are the deciding factor when it comes to how rough withdrawal can be but until a person has gone through it, it’s hard to say how that person will deal with it. Overall, how a person will deal is not as important as the fact that detox and withdrawal must be endured to get to inpatient care.

Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent outbursts
  • Muscle pain/tension
  • Stomach cramping
  • Drug cravings
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Shakiness/ tremors
  • Anxiety/depression/ agitation
  • Yelling or screaming outbursts
  • Runny nose
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia

These symptoms can be severe and that is why a patient is always supervised from start to finish. At times, a doctor may prescribe a medication to a patient who is having a severe withdrawal. Generally, this medication is Methadone. However, doctors try not to prescribe it because it can and has led to overdoses. Alternatively, it also helps with drug cravings for 24-36 hours so that patients can get a reprieve from all the symptoms.

Detox generally takes a few days, but people have been known to detox over a period of weeks. It really depends on some of factors stated above.

Inpatient Treatment

Now that detox is over, inpatient treatment is the next step. Sometimes, a patient will be sent to outpatient treatment instead, which is the next step.

Inpatient treatment is set-up to provide a patient with structure so that they can manage their own recovery. Patients are encouraged to participate in their own recovery and take it seriously. Each patient is provided a schedule for therapy and activities that can be completed throughout the day. Some of these activities include drawing, painting, reading, writing, yoga or even kickboxing in some facilities.

Inpatient treatment, called Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is designed around therapy-based activities that will help a person learn more about themselves and what led to their addiction. In doing so, RTC teaches patients about trigger points, little moments of panic, sadness or for some, weakness that drives a person to decide to drink or do drugs. Patients will also learn about coping skills that can be used to help with these triggers.

Coping Skills

Reading/Writing- These two coping skills are great for someone who enjoys reading and writing. However, if the patient in question who needs a coping skill isn’t one for reading and writing, this coping skill will not be useful when it comes to triggers. Alternatively, if reading and writing is something that helps, journaling about one’s feeling or reading self-help books could be a great way to help locate triggers, process them and hopefully ward them off.

Exercise/Sports-For a person who is more active, kickboxing and yoga can be two great exercises that allow for fast movement followed by slow centering to help one manage their addiction. Punching or kicking a bag is great for aggressive thoughts that are sometimes kicked up by those triggering moments.

Recreational hobbies-Bowling, billiards, sailing, etc., are all great ways to create coping skills that may be helpful when feeling triggered.

There is no real wrong way or right way to create a coping skill as long as it works to avoid those triggering feelings that lead to drugs or alcohol and they are positive. Coping skills should not hurt oneself or anyone else either.

RTC usually lasts for about 28 days although it can take longer depending on one’s ability to process and the recommendation made by the doctor and therapist. Some patients have stayed 30, 60 or even 90 days for treatment. No one can put a timetable on treatment. It’s a process that should take the time necessary.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment generally starts with Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). PHP takes place 5-7 days a week, 6 hours a day in a facility. It too focuses on therapy and helps a patient with what they will need outside of rehab such as coping skills. Outpatient care is designed to help a patient to transition from life inside of rehab to a life outside of rehab. Many patients can find the transition very intimidating and unfortunately, it can lead to a relapse. PHP can give patients the tools and techniques needed to keep moving forward in their recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is another type of outpatient therapy that is usually recommended once one has completed PHP. IOP is the last of the three because it focuses more on helping a patient to be more on their own at this point, in their recovery. It takes place 3 days a week for 3 hours a day. Group therapy and individual therapy are the focus but coping skills are still talked about. IOP is a bit of introductory phase for patients who are about to start with a support group.

Aftercare

Speaking of support groups, that is what aftercare is mostly about. Finding the support that is needed to make sure that a patient doesn’t relapse. This is most often found within a support group. However, some patients find it within friends or family members. Either way, a great support system is needed so that relapse doesn’t have the chance to happen.

There are many different types of support groups out there and many are tailored for specific people.

  • Female
  • Male
  • Religious
  • Sexual orientation
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs

If a specific type of support group is desired, there is one available.

Support groups are great for helping a person to stay on track when recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, but it is just part of the aftercare process. The aftercare process is also about keeping oneself busy. Staying busy needs to be a full-time gig during the first stages of aftercare. Getting a job, going back to school and starting new hobbies are good ways to keep busy. There are many different events that happen in Richmond alone that can keep a person busy, bowling leagues and viewing historical monuments are two great options. Staying busy is just as important as support groups but if staying busy becomes too stressful, it can lead to triggers that can lead to relapse. Therefore, events used to keep oneself busy should be fun and relaxing.

Meditation, Affirmations and Yoga

Meditation is being picked up more by rehabilitation centers and affirmations have been used by them for years. Chances are that patients will have heard about one or the other during rehab. Either way, mediation is great for a person to control their anxiety and stress with. It’s all about breathing, finding peace and calmness in this chaotic world. Affirmations are used to help build up confidence and self-esteem. It’s about being able to say a phrase every morning that one can live by for the day such as “I can do this!” or “I will do this!”  or “I am strong!” Affirmations are the very backbone that confidence is based on and confidence is a huge help when one creating themselves again. There are many that one can find online or it can be fun to create some for personal use. Either way, meditation and affirmations are key when it comes to learning how to manage stress and tension to avoid relapse. They are both truly helpful, if one takes the time to implement them both into daily life. Give it a try. I think most people will be pleasantly surprised at how much better they feel. It can truly be motivating and inspiring. Finally, yoga is also a great way to relieve stress, stay in shape and find peace with a chaotic life. Yoga is designed to help stretch the body while learning how to breathe correctly. Most people would be surprised to learn that they have been breathing wrong since birth. According to the rules of yoga, we all are making our bodies work much harder to do what they do naturally. Learning yoga can help one breathe right, to destress and to stretch out the body. All these things can help keep relapse away.

Relapse

A big fear that many people have about rehabilitation is about relapse. In fact, there are a lot of people who will not go into rehab because they are afraid of relapse, which to them means failure. People are afraid to fail.

Relapse happens when a person who is in recovery decides to drink or do drugs. It happens. There are many measures that can be taken to avoid a relapse but sometimes, relapse happens. Relapse happening isn’t as important as what comes next. What is that person going to do about relapsing? Some people relapse and stay there and begin drinking again or doing drugs again. Others choose a different approach, they go to a meeting, they tell their sponsor and they start all over again. Relapsing is much like falling down, a person can stay down on the ground or they can back up. Most parents teach their children to get up, dust themselves off and get back to playing. With relapse, that is what should be done too. It takes a lot of effort to stay clean and sober and sometimes, life gets in the way and messes with all that effort. If a person doesn’t stay in relapse, it isn’t failure. It’s just a simple step backwards.

Sober Living Houses

Fresh out of rehab can be a scary time for patients because structure is a huge part of inpatient care. When there is no more structure and one is free to fly on their own, it becomes a whole new ballgame with entirely different rules. For some, it can be too overwhelming, and many patients relapse when they return home. To avoid relapses, sober living houses have been set-up. Sober living houses are houses designed just like any other house with bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms and a common room. It is a positive environment for people fresh out of rehab to get a foot-hold on their life before returning home or before starting over again, on their own. Sober living houses has several residents living in the same house so that a social element is present. However, romantic relations are discouraged, and sexual relations are against the house rules. So is drinking, doing drugs and smoking on the premises. Rules must be followed within the house. If not, a resident can be evicted or acquire some rehab time in order to maintain their position in the house.

Sober living houses charge anywhere from $450-$750 a month and utilities usually come with that fee. However, for different areas, these houses can cost less or more per month. It is best to call ahead to find out as much information about a house as possible before signing a contract. Contracts must be signed before moving in and they state the rules that must be followed along with the fee that must be paid, monthly.

These houses are designed to provide each person leaving rehab with a fair chance of getting the most from their rehab experience. These houses can provide a good foundation for people to build from to recreate their lives and start over again.

Recovery Begins With Rehab

Opioids are claiming far too many lives for the problem to be swept under the rug. It’s affecting the generation coming up behind us and will continue to affect the generations coming up behind them. It’s time to do something about this opioid problem. It starts with awareness. People need to know about rehab, they need to know that rehab isn’t something to be afraid of. People need to be aware of what rehab can offer. Change is always scary but also provides something that stagnation cannot provide, beauty. Healing and recovery is the type of beauty that should be flaunted because it took some sweat, a little bit of blood and a lot of tears to get through it. Healing and recovery begins with rehab.

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