Starting drug treatment is an important step. Let's look at some of the reasons for relapse and some techniques to help.
The questions at the start of treatment can be never ending, the key worker asks a lot of questions of the client and the client in turn has a lot of question to ask the worker and of course to ask themselves.
If a person is on a methadone programme will they use heroin again?
If any drug worker could answer this question with certainty, they would be very sought after.
How people respond to the treatment is as individual as they are. There are a number of factors involved that will have an impact. When people say that they really want to come off drugs, they do mean it at the time; they are just not ready yet. Some people go in to treatment once and they no longer want to use drugs. This does not mean that they are not “triggered” to use from time to time, how they respond to the trigger, and deal with the craving makes the difference. A trigger is something that will remind the person about their drug use and set off craving. Triggers can be all types of things, the person may recognise it right away, or it may take time to creep up on them:
Not having a stable home, or relation breakdown are common events for many drug users.
Meeting people they used drugs with
Many people in treatment test themselves to see if they can be around other people using. This is addiction at work, testing too early and putting them in a situation when they may end up using.
Smell that remind them of a person’s house where they used to get high or similar to the smell of the drug.
This could be music that they listened to with friends when they used drugs with, or popular music from that period of time.
The regular booth they called the drug dealer from.
This would trigger the person if they smoked heroin using tin foil.
Not being able to sleep
It can take a person a long time to develop a healthy sleep pattern when starting treatment. Not sleeping for days or weeks can reduce a person’s ability to make sensible decisions and the desire for sleep takes over. The person has learned over the years to depend on the drug to get sleep and may resort to drugs to achieve that. Many drug services provide “sleep clinics” to help people develop a better sleep pattern and provide sleep tea to help them to relax.
Guilt for past events
Guilt is a major trigger, feeling remorse for what the person did to get money to buy drugs. This trigger is a real contradiction, they are sorry for what they did when they used drugs, so to feel better, they use more drugs. There is a reason for this. When people have been in treatment for a while, and they begin to connect with themselves again, feelings come back. When the person feels guilt, this causes the person pain. Heroin is a very effective painkiller, the person knows that and that is how they have managed pain. So the obvious thing to do is take the pain away.
Triggers can be any association with the drug and the people who used them. Because addiction is a powerful thing, the trigger will set the person off thinking about their drug use. For many people they will only remember the good time, this is called “Euphoric Recall”. Remembering the great times and forgetting all the pain it caused and the struggle of coming off drugs are all quickly forgotten if the person does not know how to manage the trigger. When a person uses a drug after they have been triggered does not mean that they are weak, this is called a lapse. If the person is honest with their worker, they can learn a lot from a lapse. Almost all of the time, the person regrets using the drug and realises that they don’t really get anything from it anymore. This can often help them in their treatment as they know that they are not really missing anything worthwhile. If a person lapses, and continues to use drugs on top of their medication (relapse), they will be asked to attend the clinic more often so they can receive more support and be monitored by the doctor. The majority of people are able to return to being stable in treatment after a period of time and additional support.
Never ending treatment? When will it ever end?
Treatment is described as a journey, because people will take different roads to recovery, some are longer and more difficult than others. Just because some people take longer, does not mean that they are weak or not doing well. Ending treatment too soon can be very dangerous and setting the person up to fail. Treatment providers will listen to the person and move forward when the person feels ready to.
When supporting a loved one through drug use and recovery, don’t forget to get some support for you. There are links provided on this page to help you find local support for you and other family members.
What can replace the busy life of drug use?
The hi team are developing this page, we are working to provide drug users, Day Programme Workers and others with fun activities to fill the spaces that drugs once filled.
Photography skills will be one of the first activity plans hi will provide. This will include links to photo sharing websites, and some armature photography skills, basically a few hints to get anyone wanting to get started going. Using a camera to capture the world as you see it can be an amazing way to spend time. The team will provide space for you to share photos, if you are running a photography workshop in a day programme, or individuals want to create a web space contact roweena@hiwecanhelp to see how far your photography vision can go.
here can I access a camera?
If you would like to start taking photos but don’t have access to a camera right away it a good idea to get a simple disposable one to start with. The disposal has come a long way and can take some decent shots. If you are going to give photography a go with one of there don’t expect a miracle, follow these steps to get the best from a cheap bit of kit,
Take your photos in good light
Try not to shoot too far away from your subject
Keep as still as you can when taking the shot
If you enjoy this outing with the camera ask your local drug treatment service if they are running day programmes that could start a course. If the service has a stock of cameras you can take part and use the hi flicker site to prompt learning.
Cameras come in all shapes and sizes and can cost anything from £15 to £5,000 and more. If your camera has more than 5 mega pixels it should be good enough to enlarge the photo to a decent size and quality.
If you want to get a project off the ground and want to discuss it contact us at hiwecanhelp.
Here is an example of what can be done. Follow the Flicker link for a tutorial in photography basicis. There is a lot more to come in this section, if you have needs, ideas or comments get in touch. Enjoy.