If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, the concept of crisis, whether personal or professional, is likely all too familiar. There is an unfortunate yet common relationship between those who abuse drugs or alcohol and those who have emergencies in their lives. These emergencies can take on a variety of forms ranging from medical emergencies such as overdose to housing emergencies such as eviction. Other issues, such as legal complications concerning themselves or their family members and economic problems due to job loss or financial mismanagement, can all be significant challenges and sources of a crisis. Crisis, while exhausting and highly stress-inducing can be an excellent time to address your or your loved one’s addictive behavior and encourage seeking treatment at an addiction treatment center like The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles.
Immediate Crisis Control
The first concern with someone who has a substance use disorder or addiction and is experiencing a state of crisis is to determine how to help mitigate the immediate danger associated with the crisis event. Some crisis situations may involve risk to the addict or the people around them, including children and other family members. For example, if the crisis involves heavy drug or alcohol use while the addicted individual has physical custody of their children, it could result in dangers for the children around health and safety. The same could hold true for the addict or others who live or spend time around them. The immediate questions you must ask if an addicted loved one is in crisis is, are they (or those around them safe)? Do they have access to a vehicle? How much and what types of substances have they consumed? Do they need to visit an emergency room or undergo immediate detox? These essential questions could inevitably mean the difference between life and death for the addict or their loved ones, depending on the level of their addiction or current state of crisis.
According to data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than sixty-seven thousand Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2018. In addition to this number, another eighty-eight thousand died from causes related to alcohol use and abuse. Also, nearly six million emergency department visits each year are attributed to drug and alcohol abuse.
If the individual in crisis needs emergency medical care, this must be your first priority. It is just as easy (and likely more effective) to discuss their addictive behavior and potential treatment options in a hospital setting as it would be in the environment that probably perpetuates their addiction.
Factors That Might Cause Crisis
In addition to possibilities related to overdose and other potential adverse scenarios, it is important to understand the factors that may induce a crisis. For example, it is not uncommon for those who struggle with substance use disorders and addiction to also suffer from other mood disorders such as anxiety and major depression. When someone suffers from two mental conditions at the same time, it is known as dual diagnosis or a co-occurring condition. If your loved one or friend suffers from major depression or another mental health condition, they may be at increased risk of suicide during a crisis event. It is essential to look for warning signs, including statements related to death, dying, violence, and aggression.
Other events that may cause crises include personal events such as a medical diagnosis, divorce, death of a loved one, or another form of trauma. Professional struggles such as job loss or economic instability can also lead to a crisis for those with substance use disorders or pre-existing mental health conditions. In these circumstances, watch for signs of extreme mood swings, changes in sleeping patterns such as excessive sleeping or insomnia, as well as an increase in the use of alcohol or drugs. Often, a personal or professional crisis will cause someone with an addictive disorder to turn to maladaptive coping strategies in an effort to dull the pain and stress they are currently experiencing. In all cases, encouraging your loved one to seek treatment at a residential treatment center such as The Hills can help to ensure their safety and healthy recovery from both the immediate crisis event and the addictive behaviors that often accompany or initiate a crisis.
After the Immediate Crisis
After the immediate danger of crisis has passed, it might be time to consider a crisis intervention. This form of intervention is essentially no different than a planned intervention. The purpose of an intervention is to show your friend or loved one how their addiction to drugs or alcohol is negatively affecting their life and the lives of those around them.
Your loved one has people they love. Friends and family play a key role in convincing someone with an addiction to seek help because, despite the pull of addiction, the addict does not want to play a part in hurting (emotionally or physically) those they love. If possible, gather together close friends and family who have the best interests of the addict in mind when considering a formal intervention. You can also reach out to a therapist or other mental health professional trained in intervention strategies for assistance. The best chance for intervention success is to ensure the process takes place before another crisis situation develops so you can ensure your loved one gets the help they need before an extremely harmful even occurs.
Treatment After Crisis
Once the initial danger of the crisis event has subsided, it is time to consider treatment for your loved ones underlying addiction or the addictive behaviors that developed as a result of the crisis event. Although the crisis may have passed, it does not mean their addiction will subside without professional addiction treatment. Often, individuals remain addicted to substances after a crisis event because they are afraid of feeling the stress and pain brought on by the crisis. In the mind of the addicted individual, alcohol and/or drugs have helped keep these emotions at bay, and should they stop using, the emotional difficulties may come flooding back. Therefore, ongoing substance use becomes an unhealthy, long-term coping mechanism.
Once a crisis event has been adequately managed, addiction treatment looks much the same as addiction treatment without a crisis situation. Your loved one may likely need to undergo detox before entering an addiction treatment program.
What is Detox?
Detox is an essential first step in many addiction treatment programs. Detox is the collection of symptoms one experiences when they suddenly stop drinking or stop using a substance. The symptoms of drug detox or alcohol detox can range from relatively minor to life-threatening. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the individual, how long they have been drinking or using, and their substance use.
Detox is the process involved when the body rids itself of drugs and alcohol. Although vital to the treatment’s success, the detox process is often accompanied by sickness and discomfort related to withdrawal. The body and brain have become accustomed to functioning with a certain amount of an addictive substance. The organs and brain have altered their function to accommodate and flush the toxic chemicals from the body. Detox and withdrawal are not often comfortable, and some potentially dangerous side effects are common. For this reason, it is highly recommended one does not detox alone. The detox process generally lasts between three and seven days. Then, your loved one can move on to seeking treatment for their addiction and mental health needs.
Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs, also known as residential treatment programs, are those in which patients live at a rehab facility such as The Hills in Los Angeles, for the duration of their treatment program. Inpatient treatment programs vary in length, with the most common period being between thirty and ninety days. Inpatient treatment programs deliver individual and intensive treatment that covers many levels of intervention. Each inpatient addiction treatment center is different from others in some form. Regardless of the differences, they all share some standard features that contribute to why inpatient treatment is so effective.
The common elements you can expect at inpatient addiction treatment could include individual therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy as well as group and family therapy sessions. In addition to the care and treatment received during the treatment program, your loved one should also expect to learn post-treatment skills to help ensure they have adequate and healthy coping strategies they can use when faced with triggering events or situations that led to crisis and addiction initially.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction related to a crisis, don’t wait to seek help. In conjunction with those related to substance abuse, the emotional difficulties associated with crisis events can lead to significant adverse and even fatal consequences. Don’t wait until a friend or a loved one (or even yourself) are in a crisis state before seeking help for a substance use disorder or addictive behavior. Instead, reach out to a trained addiction treatment facility or mental health provider for immediate help with a potential crisis situation.
At The Hills in Los Angles, we offer addiction treatment in a luxury setting, allowing our clients to achieve sobriety and long-term recovery in an environment conducive to healing. If you are curious about our facilities and programs, contact a member of admissions today for information about how we treat addiction on a personal level. There is sobriety, recovery, and a life without drugs and alcohol on the other side of addiction. Let our staff at The Hills help you start on the path to a substance-free, healthy life.