Addiction affects both the user and society, which means that both should be partners in the inpidual’s road to addiction recovery.
In a lot of cases, addiction involves both periods of relapse and periods of recovery. It is during relapse that support from the people around the person recovering from addiction is essential.
Furthermore, while it is the user’s task to become substance free, to maintain abstinence and to deal with relapse as quickly as possible, it is his loved ones' task to make sure that he does all this. The society, since it is also affected by addiction also has the responsibility to financially support the development and implementation of programs that prevent and treat addictions.
One of the most difficult steps in the recovery process is the beginning to stop ingesting the addictive substance. The inpidual must tolerate withdrawal symptoms and accept that craving for the substance may last a lifetime. When a chemical is stopped from a person who has become physically dependent to it, withdrawal symptoms will occur. These ranges from:
- Flu like symptoms
- Acute anxiety
- Elevated blood pressure
Seizures depending on the kind of substance abused, length of time it was taken and the dosage used.
With alcohol addiction symptoms, generally occur 6 to 48 hours after the last drink. Those addicted to short acting drugs such as heroin feel the symptoms 12 hours after the last take and may peak after 48 to 72 hours, and is usually resolved after a week. It should be remembered that withdrawal should be done under medical supervision. Furthermore, those who are experiencing it has to recognize that they have a problem and that there is no cure for addiction only a day to day respite from its active form.
A variety of treatments and treatment programs are available to those who desire freedom from addictive substances. Residential treatment facilities (including hospitals), therapeutic communities, and halfway houses exist to provide education, medical supervision and 24 hour support. The therapeutic community (TC) is a well researched and a long existing form of residential treatment. The inpidual receives treatment in a 24 hour supervised facility for one to two years. After living in a residential treatment facility or a TC, the inpidual may move to a semi supervised facility or attend outpatient programs. Self help groups are also available to provide support for continued chemical abstinence.
However hard a user tries to be physically independent from a substance, there is always a possibility of relapse. Life pressures, for one, can trigger a relapse. Relapse should be an opportunity for a person to learn more about himself and strengthen his program of recovery. It is important that family members provide continued support especially during periods of relapse.