“I”ll go to Rehab, But NO Drugs!!”

It is funny how addicts are able to compartmentalize and justify drug use. A woman entering rehab yesterday has been drinking 2 bottles of wine a day. She got off the plane drunk but ready for recovery! (how is it that a flight attendant can continue to serve passengers even when they have clearly exceeded their limit?) this is not her first program and she has never put together any substantial “dry” time. So now standing in front of me after an evaluation which clearly indicated that there was a very significant dual diagnosis, she firmly insisted that she would not take any “drugs” (medication).

A similar scenario occurred a couple days ago when an addict using methamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol insisted that he would enter rehab only if no one tried to treat him with “drugs”. Clearly he considers his body a temple and doesn’t want to pollute it with psychotropic medications!!

All addicts, particularly those with a significant dual diagnosis, will never be guilty of having insight and clarity of thought. This creates perhaps the biggest obstacle to effective treatment. We have often referenced within the pages of this blog that poor decision making skills are universal in the world of the addict and that does not just apply to their addicted world but also to their participation in rehab. Like many lay people who feel they know best when it comes to medical decision making, despite a complete lack of training or medical competency, addicts will not put themselves in the hands of their treatment staff and let go. It is particularly important for those addicts who have failed previous treatment and self imposed efforts to achieve sobriety to put their treatment program in the hands of those who are qualified. Simply put you have to let go to regain control.

The data continues to pile up that most effective treatment regimens must include the use of psychotropic medications and even the judicious use of benzodiazepams to allow addicts to overcome their dual diagnosis and by proxy their addiction. Addicts are not the only ones who are limited by their insight to accept this fact. Sadly their are many “old school” addiction programs who haven’t gotten the memo either. They are practicing antiquated recovery techniques that simply don’t work for the majority of addicts. You don’t have to look any farther than treatment failure rates to know this to be true.

So when looking for a treatment program look for one well versed in dual diagnosis and one will to put a round peg in a round hole and a square peg in a square hole. Every addict is different and a good program individualizes treatment.

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