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FAQ - Koshish Clinic


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We often boggle our mind thinking about the problem of addiction as to what it really is and if it is even possible in true terms to get rid of it. Willing Ways answers all those questions for you that may arise in your mind. Willing Ways is a state of the art facility for addiction treatment and has a history of providing its relentless services successfully since 1980 in the relevant field.

  • Does addiction treatment work?
  • Why is addiction a disease?
  • Why is addiction a “chronic” disease?
  • Does addiction have similarities to other chronic diseases?
  • How is addiction diagnosed?
  • What’s the difference between physical dependence and addiction?
  • What is withdrawal?
  • I’ve heard that it’s not safe to stop using abruptly. Why?
  • What is treatment like?
  • What is drug addiction treatment?
  • Why can’t my loved one just stop using?
  • Why can’t people use their willpower to just stop on their own?
  • How do I know if I or a loved one has an addiction?
  • How do I know if I or someone I love needs treatment?
  • How can families and friends make a difference in the life of someone needing treatment?
  • When should I get help?
  • When is detox needed?
  • What is dual diagnosis?
  • Where can family members go for information on treatment options?
  • How can I get my loved one to commit to treatment?
  • Why does my loved one make such bad decisions?
  • Why do drug-addicted persons keep using drugs?
  • How do other mental disorders coexisting with drug addiction affect drug addiction treatment?
  • My loved one seems so slow and “tired.” How long is his detox going to take?
  • How do I help someone in denial?
  • How do I confront addiction?
  • What do I do in an emergency?
  • Is the family involved?
  • What do I do in an emergency?
  • When should I visit my loved one and attend family group?
  • How available is my family member’s counselor when I have questions or need to talk about what’s going on? Or should I be contacting someone else with questions?
  • Is it important to attend the Sunday family therapy sessions?
  • When do I get the person back I once knew?
  • Once my son gets clean and sober, when will he be ready to start working and going to school again?
  • My loved one is not responding to the idea of a 12-step program. He does not believe in God or a higher power and won’t participate in a program that requires him to do so. Will meetings still help him in his recovery?
  • Does treatment work?
  • Once my son gets clean and sober, when will he be ready to start working and going to school again?
  • How effective is drug addiction treatment?
  • What if my son wants to move back home after the 100 days of residential treatment? Should I allow him to move back home?
  • What happens after the 100 days?
  • Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?
  • How long does drug addiction treatment usually last?
Does addiction treatment work?

Yes, structured treatment has very positive recovery rates, especially with family support. Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to medications that may help some people stop abusing drugs or alcohol and resume their productive lives. Combining treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. And, research is beginning to show that recovery of brain function may be possible with prolonged abstinence.

Why is addiction a disease?

More than 70 years of studies, including highly advanced brain studies, has found out that addiction is a disease. People suffering from addiction have changed brain functions. When the disease takes over, these changes in the brain eat away a person’s self-control and ability to make healthy decisions, while sending highly intense desires to take drugs. This helps explain the obsessive and negative behavior around addiction.

Why is addiction a “chronic” disease?

A chronic disease is a long-lasting illness that can be managed but not cured. Chronic diseases with similarities to addiction include type II diabetes, heart diseases, depression and asthma. The bottom line is that people suffering from addiction can’t be cured or get well after a few day stay in treatment. Getting well from addiction requires a lifelong commitment to disease management and wellness.

Does addiction have similarities to other chronic diseases?

Addiction is a chronic disease similar to other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Drug addiction shares many features with other chronic illnesses, including a tendency to run in families (heritability), an onset and course that is influenced by environmental conditions and behavior, and the ability to respond to appropriate treatment, which may include long-term lifestyle modification.

How is addiction diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with addiction, you must meet criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and used by doctors, mental health professionals and other health providers to diagnose mental health conditions.

Addiction is also referred to as “substance use disorder.” The illness is defined on a continuum from mild to severe based on the condition and criteria. Mild substance use disorder requires two to three symptoms from a list of 11.

What’s the difference between physical dependence and addiction?

Addiction is characterized by compulsive alcohol or drug use despite serious harmful consequences. As part of addiction, a person usually also experiences physical dependence. Physical dependence includes tolerance to the substance (needing more of the drug to experience the same effects) and withdrawal symptoms when they cut back or abruptly stop using. However, physical dependence can exist without addiction. It means that a person’s body has developed tolerance to a drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms.  A natural physical dependence can develop with the chronic use of many types of drugs—including many prescription drugs, even if taken as instructed.

What is withdrawal?

When someone has been heavily using drugs or alcohol and they abruptly stop or cut back, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. The intensity and length of these symptoms can change greatly depending on the substance involved, the biological make-up of the person and the severity of their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Withdrawal can sometimes be dangerous, so you should be sure to seek out help from a qualified health professional.

I’ve heard that it’s not safe to stop using abruptly. Why?

Treatment may begin with detoxification, sometimes called medical stabilization if the addict’s physical health is impaired and if stopping use causes withdrawal. Medically supervised detox in a hospital or an inpatient treatment is usually very effective and lasts 3-4 days. Ambulatory detox is also available at many outpatient treatment programs under the supervision of a physician.

What is treatment like?

Treatment options include residential treatment at a specialized center where the patient will be supported and supervised by professional staff 24/7 for up to 4 weeks.

Outpatient treatment options include day hospital (spending a full day in a program) while living at home or in an alternative living environment, or intensive outpatient programs which are 3-4 hours a day, either during the day or evening. Treatment programs in any setting involve education sessions, 1:1 and family counseling sessions, group therapy with other patients and introduction to 12-step recovery programs.

What is drug addiction treatment?

Drug treatment helps addicted individuals stop habitual, and uncontrollable drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, in many different forms, and for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not good enough. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular follow-up.

The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments changes depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use. The severity of addiction and previous efforts to stop using drugs can also influence a treatment approach.

Finally, people who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other health (including other mental health), occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed at the same time.

The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Specific needs may relate to age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, other drug use, co-existing illnesses (e.g., depression, HIV), parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse history.

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment; offer strategies for coping with drug cravings; teach ways to avoid drugs, avoid slippery places and slippery people, and prevent relapse; and help individuals deal with it if it occurs. Behavioral therapies can also help people improve communication, relationship, and parenting skills, as well as family dynamics that may act as enabling or provoking towards addictive drugs.

Many treatment programs employ both individual and group therapies. Group therapy can provide motivation and social support and help enforce behavioral contingencies i.e. possible occurrence that promote abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle. We at Willing Ways provide a combination of therapies tailored to individual needs to help and support the recovery process.

Why can’t my loved one just stop using?

About 10 percent of the population, use of alcohol and drugs affects the brain, increasing the desire to use despite destructive health, personal and/or professional consequences. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is a symptom of this disease that affects reward, memory and other circuitry in the brain.

Why can’t people use their willpower to just stop on their own?

For someone with addiction, the urge to use alcohol or drugs can be as powerful as the need for air or water. The initial decision to take drugs or drink is mostly voluntary. However, when the disease takes hold, changes in the brain eat away a person’s self-control and ability to make healthy decisions, while sending highly intense urge to take drugs.

How do I know if I or a loved one has an addiction?

An addiction is indicated when someone shows a pattern of continuing to use harmful substances or engage in compulsive behaviors (e.g. gambling, eating or sex) despite adverse consequences (e.g. legal issues, medical, social or job related problems).

How do I know if I or someone I love needs treatment?

Addiction is difficult to accept because it seems sporadic; it’s under control at times. The key indicator is continuing to use despite negative consequences. These can include physical health, as well as problems at work and in family life related to drinking alcohol or using medication excessively. As addiction progresses, the negative incidents become more frequent and more serious.

How can families and friends make a difference in the life of someone needing treatment?

Family and friends can play crucial roles in motivating individuals with drug problems to enter and stay in treatment. This can be achieved through process interventions. Family therapy can also be important, especially for teenagers. Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits.

When should I get help?

Addiction is a progressive illness. Leaving it to worsen, without help, is a course of action that we simply do not recommend. To avoid the potentially heartbreaking and traumatic consequences of addiction it is vital to secure early identification of a problem and to seek professional help as soon as possible. Don’t leave it until you, or the person you are trying to help, reaches their lowest ebb. They sooner you, or they, can get help the more effective treatment will be and the quicker it could be to reach recovery.

When is detox needed?

After a residential detox, some people choose not to participate in residential drug treatment; these people put their hard-won freedom from addiction in jeopardy. Detox is not addiction treatment, and people who used drugs or alcohol heavily enough to become physically addicted generally need the intensity of a drug rehab stay for the best chance at long-term recovery.

What is dual diagnosis?

This refers to that someone has been diagnosed with both a type of mood disorder (such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder) and drug or alcohol addiction. The person has two illnesses and must be treated for both.

Where can family members go for information on treatment options?

Freeing someone you love from alcohol and other drugs, and trying to locate appropriate treatment, especially finding a program suitable and changeable to an individual’s particular needs, can be a difficult process. Our ability to cope with anything is a function of how much we know about what we are up against. Although you have been living with alcohol and/or drug problems for some time, learning about alcohol and drug addiction is a critical first step. You cannot rely on common sense or popular myths (preaching, complaining, acting like a martyr, dumping the alcohol or drugs). Getting the facts about how alcohol and drugs affect the individual and the family is very important.

How can I get my loved one to commit to treatment?

As much as we would like to help our loved ones and alleviate our own suffering, we cannot force them into treatment except under certain legal circumstances.

Why does my loved one make such bad decisions?

For family members, addiction is often a confusing illness. Addiction is a disease of the brain that greatly impairs decision-making. Self-destruction, dishonesty and irrational behavior are all symptoms of the disease. Often times, those with the disease keep making bad choices, even when they’re losing everything. This is because the illness basically changes brain function, driving a compulsion to use drugs or alcohol. People acting this way are not bad, but very ill and need help.

Why do drug-addicted persons keep using drugs?

Nearly all addicted individuals believe at the start that they can stop using drugs on their own by their willpower only, and most try to stop without treatment. Although some people are successful, many such willpower attempts result in failure to achieve long term abstinence. Research has shown that long-term drug addiction results in changes in the brain that continues long after a person stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioral consequences, including an inability to maintain control over the impulse to use drugs despite troubling and harmful consequences—the crucial feature of addiction.

Psychological stress from work, family problems, psychiatric illness, pain associated with medical problems, social triggers (such as meeting individuals from one’s drug using past i.e. slippery people), or environmental triggers (such as encountering streets, objects, or even smells associated with drug abuse i.e. slippery places) can trigger intense cravings without the individual even being consciously aware of the triggering event. Family and friends may also be enabling and provoking an individual towards drugs and alcohol without being consciously aware of it. Any one of these factors can get in the way of continued abstinence and make relapse more likely. Nevertheless, research shows that active involvement and compliance in treatment is vital component for good outcomes and can benefit even the most severely addicted individuals.

How do other mental disorders coexisting with drug addiction affect drug addiction treatment?

Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that frequently occurs with other mental disorders. In fact, as many as 6 in 10 people with an illegal drug use disorder also suffer from another mental illness; and rates are similar for users of legal drugs—i.e., tobacco and alcohol. For these individuals, one condition becomes more difficult to treat successfully as an additional condition is also associated. Thus, patients entering treatment either for addiction or for another mental disorder should be assessed for the co-occurrence of the other condition. Research shows that treating both (or multiple) illnesses together in a structured fashion is generally the best treatment approach for these patients.

My loved one seems so slow and “tired.” How long is his detox going to take?

First off, I want to commend you for calling with your concerns, and to assure you that the willing ways team is providing your loved one with the best possible care. I can have the detox specialist working with your loved one call you and give you an update on the status of his or her care, and the specialist can answer any other questions you might have about the detoxification process.

How do I help someone in denial?

Addicts will often to great lengths to hide their problem. Whilst you may have tried to challenge their behaviour, and received an angry or defensive reaction in return, their denial and dishonesty serve to fuel their addiction further. This is when professional help can make a crucial impact. We can provide a structured intervention programme that could make a huge difference to you and your family. Please speak to us today for support and guidance.

How do I confront addiction?

The word ‘addiction’ carries a heavy stigma. It is advisable to use phrases like ‘problem’ or ‘struggle’ when approaching someone. Fostering a caring, non-accusatory and non-judgmental dialogue could help them to open up to you without becoming angry or defensive. It is important however to highlight the effects of their alcohol or drug use and give an honest assessment of how it is affecting those closest to them. An intervention can be a powerful approach to manage these types of situations.

What do I do in an emergency?

If you, or your loved one, require emergency assistance please call 042-111-111-347 to speak to the relevant emergency service immediately.

Is the family involved?

Yes. Individual sessions and a family program are available. Again, this can only occur with direct written consent from the individual.

What do I do in an emergency?

If you, or your loved one, require emergency assistance please call 042-111-111-347 to speak to the relevant emergency service immediately.

When should I visit my loved one and attend family group?

The family therapist assigned to your loved one will contact you about family group. Willing Ways can provide you with the family therapist’s e-mail and phone number so that you can contact him or her with any questions you may have.

How available is my family member’s counselor when I have questions or need to talk about what’s going on? Or should I be contacting someone else with questions?

Please feel free to always call the admissions team for any questions or concerns you might have about your family member. Our therapists typically call families once a week to update them on the client’s status and well-being. If you choose to contact the therapist, please remember that they are in therapy groups or individual sessions for most of the day. The therapists like to return calls at the end of the day, so if they don’t call back immediately you can be sure to hear from them by the end of the day.

Is it important to attend the Sunday family therapy sessions?

Yes! It is very important to attend the Sunday family therapy sessions because addiction is a family disease, and everyone—including you—is affected. I encourage you to also attend some local Al-anon meetings for further support and education on the disease of addiction.

When do I get the person back I once knew?

It’s really important to trust in the process. Clients have a lot of work that they need to do in regards to their recovery program. It’s not about just staying sober. Sometimes it takes a long time for families to see the results they are looking for. This is why Al-anon is so important for you to explore. Al-anon offers you tools and coping mechanisms that will be beneficial in many areas in your life. Your loved one is working on building a support system for herself for a lifetime of recovery, and it will help you to have your own support system.

Once my son gets clean and sober, when will he be ready to start working and going to school again?

This is a great question. Each client is different and I think it would be really helpful for you to write down all the questions you might have and then present them to your son’s family therapist.

My loved one is not responding to the idea of a 12-step program. He does not believe in God or a higher power and won’t participate in a program that requires him to do so. Will meetings still help him in his recovery?

This is probably one of the most common experiences people have when they come in for treatment, as most of our clients do not identify themselves as being religious. The purpose of a 12-step program is to find strength through a higher purpose—whatever that might be for them. Not believing in God or a higher power doesn’t mean a client won’t recover, and attending 12-step meetings will still greatly benefit your loved one. There are plenty of clients and staff members at Willing Ways that have been down this very road and can sit down with your loved one and share their experience. At Willing Ways, we meet the clients where they’re at.

Does treatment work?

Yes, structured treatment has very positive recovery rates, especially with family support. Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to medications that may help some people stop abusing drugs or alcohol and resume their productive lives. Combining treatment medications with behavioural therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. And, research is beginning to show that recovery of brain function may be possible with prolonged abstinence.

Although some addicts relapse after treatment, that doesn’t mean that the treatment has failed. Similar to treatment for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, addiction treatment involves changing deeply imbedded behaviours that are in part based on changes in the brain that have occurred during drug/alcohol use. For the addicted patient, lapses back to drug abuse indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.

Once my son gets clean and sober, when will he be ready to start working and going to school again?

This is a great question. Each client is different and I think it would be really helpful for you to write down all the questions you might have and then present them to your son’s family therapist.

How effective is drug addiction treatment?

In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that keeps record of individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.

Individual treatment results depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the suitability of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to fight addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to retake control of their lives. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely, with relapse rates similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses—such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma that also have both physiological and behavioral components.
Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many believe the treatment to be a failure. This is not the case: successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and changes as appropriate, similar to the approach taken for other chronic and long-term diseases. For the addicted patient, lapses to drug abuse do not show failure—rather, they mean that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that a different treatment is needed.

What if my son wants to move back home after the 100 days of residential treatment? Should I allow him to move back home?

No. It is very important to have a step-down program after residential treatment and is imperative for long-term sobriety. Clients who live with active addiction forget what it is like to live without drugs and alcohol. Willing Ways strongly encourages clients and family members to trust in the clinical team’s recommendations for treatment and discharge planning.

What happens after the 100 days?

Part of the process is a discharge plan. A team of people will be involved, helping make sure that the client has all the tools and resources he or she needs before being discharged.

Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?

Yes. It is cost effective. Treatment can help reduce costs of drug addiction. Drug addiction treatment has been shown to reduce associated health and social costs by far more than the cost of the treatment itself. Treatment is also much less expensive than its alternatives, such as imprisoning addicted persons.

How long does drug addiction treatment usually last?

Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at different rates, so there is no prearranged length of treatment. However, research has shown clearly that good results are dependent on adequate treatment length. Generally, for indoor or outpatient treatment, involvement for less than 100 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive results.

Treatment dropout is one of the major problems faced by treatment programs; therefore, motivational techniques that can keep patients involved will also improve results. By viewing addiction as a chronic disease and offering continuing care and monitoring, programs can be successful, but this will often require multiple episodes of treatment and readily re-admitting patients that have relapsed.

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