When Vicodin detoxification programs are complete, people have no drugs in their systems and they have a few days of sobriety under their belts. It can be a joyful time, and a hopeful time, as people may have spent months or even years trying to obtain some version of sobriety. In detoxification programs, they’re able to gain that sobriety, and it’s certainly something to be proud of. Unfortunately, the work is far from over when detoxification programs are complete. Maintaining sobriety can be difficult, unless people learn how to repair the damage the addiction has done, learn how to handle stress and disappointment in an entirely new way and build up a support group that can provide assistance during times of stress. Rehab programs are designed to provide these lessons, and they can be immensely helpful for people who need to stop abusing Vicodin once and for all.
Heading to Therapy
It’s easy to compare an addiction to Vicodin to a transient illness like a cold or the flu. Both cause temporary discomfort, and both can be extremely debilitating in the short term. Unlike a cold, however, an addiction to Vicodin rarely resolves on its own. In fact, an addiction like this might never really go away altogether. Instead, the addiction might always be lurking in the background, ready to spring back into life once more. For this reason, most addiction experts compare the problems their patients face to the problems experienced by people who have chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. People with these conditions must learn how to manage their health problems, and they must continue with this work for the rest of their lives. Addicted people must do the same.
Therapy is designed to provide addicts with a significant amount of information about the nature of addiction. Many therapists use a form of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in which people are encouraged to do a significant amount of study and homework outside of their therapy sessions, so they can truly understand why their addictions formed and how they can be controlled. Sometimes, this means that people with addictions spend time learning about the mental illnesses they have that might have led to an addiction. According to a study published in the Community Mental Health Journal, between 20 and 70 percent of people with a mental illness also have a substance abuse disorder. As this statistic makes clear, it’s common for mental illnesses and addictions to go hand in hand, and therapists can provide a significant amount of information about why this is so and what can be done about it.
Therapy involves more than simply learning about addiction in the abstract. Therapy also involves building up skills.
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, people might be asked to:
- Express the thoughts that passed by before they used drugs
- Identify the situations which cause them to crave drugs
- Discuss how they feel while on drugs
- Explain how they feel when they’re not on drugs
With this information in hand, the therapist and the addict can then come up with a series of action plans the addict can put into place to keep Vicodin abuse from occurring in the future. Perhaps the person can learn to think more positively, avoiding negative self-talk. Perhaps there are certain situations or people that are just too risky for the person to approach. Or, perhaps meditation or visualization could help the person to move through difficult times without resorting to Vicodin.
There’s no question that participating in therapy can be difficult. People in therapy are often asked to discuss things they’ve suppressed for decades, and it can be hard to even think about how life has changed since the person started taking drugs. Sometimes, people become so upset and distraught during therapy sessions that they simply refuse to participate in the future, and they head back to Vicodin addiction once more. Since therapists know that this treatment failure is a real risk, they often design specific programs that are designed to keep people engaged and involved in their treatment programs and therefore moving forward to a recovery.
Some therapists use a rewards system with their addicted patients. Each time the person attends a therapy session or produces a urine screening that is free of Vicodin, the person is given a voucher for a small prize, such as movie theater tickets or coupons for a dinner out. People who are recovering from addiction often find these prizes to be quite rewarding and motivating, and they’ll stay involved in treatment longer as a result. A study in the journal Addiction found that this technique was helpful in retaining people in treatment from an opiate addiction, and it also helped those in treatment to stay sober.
Some people also need additional therapy sessions that allow them to recover from trauma that occurred earlier in their lives. Violence can leave its marks on the mind, long after the body has healed, and some people simply need time with a therapist in order to discuss, understand and move past the terrible things that have happened to them in the past. People like this truly benefit from other types of therapy, in addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. According to a study published in JAMA, those people who received this type of therapy showed greater improvements, with the use of fewer medications, when compared to people who did not receive this type of therapy. It’s clear that this can be quite helpful for some people.
Forming a Community
In a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers asked recovering opioid addicts what was most beneficial in helping them to achieve long-term sobriety. Many reported that they felt the most benefit from the support of family and close friends. As a result of studies like this, many Vicodin rehab programs attempt to help people link up with others who are also going through an addiction issue, and most programs encourage people to repair the damage addictions have caused to their family relationships.
Therapists might ask their clients to attend group meetings in which they share their stories with other addicts, role-play lessons the therapist is attempting to teach and accept advice from other people in recovery. These sessions are firmly under the therapist’s control, so they are not free-form meetings in which people can say anything they’d like to say, but they can allow people in recovery to work on their communication skills and their ability to connect with others.
Support groups might also have a role to play, as they allow people to form tight connections on an informal basis with other people who are also in recovery from addiction. Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous are perfectly designed for people in recovery from a Vicodin addiction, as the other participants likely know all about the high this drug can cause, and the devastation an addiction like this can leave behind. People can reduce their sense of isolation in a support group meeting, and they have the opportunity to access a mentor who is farther along in the recovery process and who might be available to provide wise counsel when temptations arise.
Family therapy might prove helpful for people who have strained or tense relationships due to addiction.
These people might have difficulty:
- Communicating without anger
- Resolving old issues
- Sharing their emotions
- Trusting one another
In family therapy sessions, the members of the family come together to learn more about addictions and how the Vicodin abuse has changed the way they all relate to one another. This therapy can be amazingly helpful during the recovery process. For example, a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that those addicts who went through at least one family therapy session improved in their ability to stay abstinent, compared to people who did not get this form of therapy, and those who went through family therapy also had significant improvements in overall family functioning. If one session could be this helpful, it’s staggering to think what multiple sessions might do.
The narcotic ingredient in Vicodin can change the chemistry of the brain, and these changes can persist long after the drug abuse has stopped. While some people need medications during detoxification only, and then they move on to taking no medications at all, other people need to remain on medications for extended periods of time, as they are too tempted to relapse when the medications are removed. There are several types of drugs that can be helpful for people in recovery from Vicodin.
One medication, methadone, is typically provided orally by consulting physicians and people who need this medication often need to go to specialized clinics to take the drug each day.
The drug can fool the brain into thinking that it has access to Vicodin, but methadone doesn’t cause the same sense of euphoria or pleasure that Vicodin typically causes. Some people who take methadone do feel slightly sedated while on the drug, however, and others dislike the idea of heading to a public clinic each day to take the drug. These people might benefit from taking buprenorphine, which works in much the same way as methadone, but it can be taken in pill form at home and it rarely causes side effects.
The decision to use methadone or buprenorphine is highly individualized, and your physician will have to determine what’s right for you.
Some people do better on one medication while others seem to benefit from the alternate drug. For example, a study published in the journal Addiction found that methadone clients seemed to stay in treatment longer, although both medications seemed to do well in suppressing drug use. Studies like this can be hard to interpret, however, as researchers often use clients who have addictions to heroin when they are studying drugs like Vicodin. In a way, this makes sense as both drugs do work on the brain in a similar manner. However, people who have addictions to heroin are often taking much larger doses of opiates than people who are addicted to Vicodin, and their treatment needs might be different as a result. Including both groups in the same study might skew the results.
Vicodin addictions may be quite serious, causing intense disruptions in almost all areas of life, but as this article makes clear, there are several tools experts can use to help their patients heal from these addictions and move forward with their lives. Recovery really is possible, as long as people choose to accept the help that a rehab program provides.
If you’d like to know more about Vicodin rehab programs, and the specialized treatment we provide at Michael’s House, please contact us today at 760-548-4032. Our experts are standing by to take your call.