Friday, December 2, 2022

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Treatment in Mesa, Arizona

Mesa found just 20 miles from Phoenix is the third largest city in Arizona. Tucson being the second largest. Located in Maricopa county, Mesa has a population of 439, 041 and it is the birthplace of Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman and Boy Meets World Actress, Danielle Fishel.

Mesa is also home to the Commemorative Air Force Museum, where one can see one of the last flying B-17’s and so many great historic war planes. The Mesa Grande Cultural Park can also be found in the city where a group of Hohokan structures can be perused.

Great history and beautiful nature spots are abundant in Mesa but something else that is abundant within the city is drug addiction. Many U.S. cities are plagued with drug and/or alcohol addiction, especially cities that have a large population. Arizona has recorded that 177,000 people are addicted to illicit drugs while 418,000 people have an alcohol addiction.  Heroin and prescription drugs are the two top drugs that rehabilitation centers report. Arizona is the 6th highest state in the United States for overdose deaths.

With an employment rate of 3.9 percent and a median level income of $43,716, much of the drug addiction epidemic stems from lack of jobs and lack of education. However, genetics always play a huge role in addiction. The crime rate for Mesa is 21 out of 100 within the index, with 100 being the safest. Drug and alcohol addiction play a huge role in the crime that takes place within any city.
If you live in Mesa and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Getting Help In Mesa

While drug and alcohol addiction are a huge problem in the city of Mesa and all its surrounding areas, there is always help available. Most often, it’s just a phone call away. Drug rehabilitation is the safest approach when someone who is addicted wants help. The process should never be done alone since there are many steps that need to be done to make sure that relapse doesn’t occur.

Assessment and Intake

The first step really is to take action which has been done if one has made it the an assessment and intake step.  Taking action means standing up and saying, “I will no longer allow my addiction to define me or my life.” This doesn’t have to be said exactly as so or even in so many words. Even a simple “I need help” will suffice. The point is, admitting the need for help is always the first help to any successful recovery.

Once that has been done and a rehabilitation center has been found, an assessment is usually done. Some rehab centers mix the assessment and intake together in one smooth process. Others work a little differently and spilt the two apart. However, an assessment is generally different from an intake.

An assessment should just ask the basic information:

Name, date of birth, what drugs are being used and where they came from, how long have drugs been used, if one has even been to rehab before, the last time drugs were taken, any prescription drugs being taken, why one decided to receive help, when one first noticed there was a drug problem, etc.

It is a basic get-to-know quiz of sorts. Just to tell the rehab center the information needed so they can assess it to find out if their facility is the best place for a person’s recovery. Most often, all rehabilitation centers are equipped to help anyone suffering from an addiction that comes through their door. Therefore, there is no need to worry that one might be turned away and not helped. Even if the rehab center cannot provide help, they will always offer another facility that can.

Once the assessment has been taken, one must be admitted to the rehab center. This usually comes with its own questions, some exams and typically, financial arrangements are made as well.

An intake should ask more in-depth questions:

Family health history, mental health history, a more in-depth look at drug use, criminal history, what form so social support exists (such as being married or having children).

It is always important to be honest during the assessment period because dishonestly can lead to a misdiagnosis, which in turn leads to a treatment plan that will not be beneficial which is almost guaranteed to lead to a relapse. Honesty is the best policy.

A physical exam may be administered, vital signs are generally taken such as blood pressure and some lab tests will also be done to check for drugs within the system. This step is necessary for the doctor to assess where the patient heads to next. When lab results show no drugs in the system, there is no need for a patient to be sent to on to the next step, detoxification. However, when drugs do appear, a patient must detox before they can move on to the next step after that.

Also, before the next step happens and after a patient has been admitted, the patient will then go through a process that eliminates their personal items from being brought into the rehab center. This usually means no or limited makeup/jewelry, no pillows or bedlinens, no food/drinks, no radios/cell phones, no revealing clothing, no alcohol/drugs, no weapons, no over-the-counter medication, no mouthwash, no pornography, no herbs, etc. There are different lists of items that are no permitted depending on the drug rehabilitation center that one chooses to enter but a lot of the rules on personal items stay the same.


This step is all about ridding the body of the drugs within the system and that can really take a huge toll on someone. It can cause a patient to go through a process known as withdrawal. This means that the body wants the drugs that is no longer being supplied and when the body and mind both realize that there are no more drugs to be had, they both began to suffocate to an extent. This can cause panic, fear, anger and depression. It can also cause a series of other symptoms:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Physical pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Shakiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia

For some patients the symptoms become so bad that the doctor may prescribe a medication for the pain. However, not every patient goes through all these symptoms and some people feel very minimal effects. It is dependent more on how long a person has been on drugs, what drugs they had taken, a person’s mental health status and their pain tolerance. Each person’s experience will be different than someone else’s experience. One person’s bad withdrawal does not equal someone’s else withdrawal. Either way, fear of detox should never be a reason not to endure rehab. The process is entirely life changing and worth any of the symptoms that are felt.

There are two types of detox, inpatient and outpatient. Typically, more people go to inpatient detox because a patient needs to be monitored during that withdrawal period.

Inpatient detox sounds exactly like what it is, the patient is in the drug rehab center the entire time. Outpatient detox is rare but is used in cases that are not very severe. A patient comes into the facility for regular check-ups but otherwise can function normally in their life, at work and home.

Doctors use three different types of methods when it comes to detox. The assessment and intake will tell the doctor which method would be more beneficial to the patient.

Cold-turkey detox is used to stop all drugs, all at one time. There is no gradual release from the drug. This is usually what causes a patient to start to have withdrawal symptoms. Short-term medicated detox and long-term medicated detox simply means that when withdrawal starts to occur, if the symptoms become severe, the patient may be given medication on a short-term or long-term basis.

Medications used to lessen withdrawal symptoms include:

Methadone: alleviates withdrawal symptoms, lasts long 24-36 hours and decreases drug cravings

Buprenorphine: decreases cravings, alleviates withdrawal symptoms and had a ceiling effect, which means that medication effects plateau before overdose can happen.

Naltrexone:  helps to prevent relapse, has an extended-release injection that lasts for one month, doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms with end of use.

Acamprosate: helps to normalize brain activity, decreases the desire for alcohol, is not dependent-based.

There are many others that the doctor could choose to give a patient but the biggest problem that the medications take care of is withdrawal symptoms.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Once a patient has been cleared for the next step, they will be sent for treatment. This is the longest period of the entire rehab process. Generally speaking, inpatient treatment is chosen for the next step in the rehab process but in some instances a patient can choose outpatient treatment as long as the doctors believe that to be a viable option.

Inpatient Treatment- is for patients who are still taking drugs when they enter rehab, for extreme cases and for patients who know that they cannot win their battle against their addiction without full-time support. There are always other possible reasons as to why a doctor would choose inpatient over outpatient treatment but these are more prominent. There are short-term (5-7 days) and long-term facilities (30-90 days). On average, one usually stays at the facility for 28 days.

Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is used to define the process used to help patients recover from drug/alcohol addiction. During this period of time, there is a lot of different types of therapies that take place such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (used to define distorted thinking), Bio-Feedback Therapy (used to help patients to learn to listen to their bodies and respond before acting), Holistic Therapy (used to help define where the addiction came from), Experimental Therapy (the ability to grow, learn and create new experiences in the rehab), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (used to help patients accept their decision to stop using drugs), Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (used to help people with suicidal thoughts).

RTC is about helping patients to understand what caused their addiction (the seed that was planted) and how patients ended up where they are (the growth of that seed) and what they can now do about it (the realization that some seeds are weeds that must be pulled) and how to move on from there (planting seeds that will create beautiful flowers). RTC is a long process but necessary when it comes to healing from addiction.

Outpatient Treatment- Outpatient works differently and when a patient leaves inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment is generally the next step. However, there are many cases where a patient only needed outpatient treatment and never stayed inside an actual facility. Doctors and psychologists always assess each and every patient to find out exactly which step is needed.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) is a type of outpatient treatment that is offered to patients who either have been recommended to it by a doctor or have already completed RTC. Since PHP is an outpatient program, patients will only be at the drug rehabilitation center for 6 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. PHP covers more therapy needs while also allowing for the group therapy that will help to keep a patient on track since being released from rehab.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is typically the last type treatment that patients will go to. IOP takes places 3 days a week for 3 hours a day and is usually held at a different facility than the rehab center but can be one in the same. IOP is more focused on group therapy but individual therapy does happen too. There are even some days where family can come in and talk with a doctor about how the patient is recovering.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


Aftercare is a very important step in the rehabilitation process. Honestly, each step is important in its own way. However, aftercare could mean the difference between sobriety and relapse. Aftercare is essential to a sober life, after leaving the rehab center.

During Inpatient and Outpatient treatment, trigger points are addressed. These are little moments that affect a person so profoundly, it sends them spiraling backwards. These moments cause someone recovering from a drug addiction to relapse. Rehabilitation centers see it happen all the time. Triggers can be anything: a noise, a smell, a word, a person, a feeling, etc. It’s important to learn one’s trigger points and inpatient and outpatient therapy should have addressed those. If not, it’s important to think about moments where mood changes from okay or even happy to angry and thoughts about drinking or doing drugs pops up. These are generally times where a trigger has been pulled and it becomes important to address them while also making sure not to take drugs or use alcohol to feel better. There are many coping skills that one can use to make sure a relapse does not happen. Coping skills is something else that should also be taught during inpatient and outpatient treatment. Each person deals with their own anxiety, panic and triggers in their own ways but some coping skills are universal.

List of Coping Skills:

  • Stay busy- Find a new hobby or take up an exercise routine and stick with it.
  • Avoid people who bring down the positivity
  • Avoid anyone who is using peer pressure to get what they want, especially in the case of drugs/alcohol
  • Learn more about addiction and the cycle of addiction. This is helpful because knowledge itself, it extremely powerful.
  • Get healthy. This doesn’t mean juicing or taking up wheatgrass unless that floats one’s boat but eating healthier makes a person feel healthier and helps them to stay away from drugs/alcohol.
  • Make of list of known triggers and speak with a therapist about addressing those triggers. Some triggers can be worked out and processed so they no longer make a person angry.
  • Create joy and happiness. This can be anything from painting, to restoring old cars, to yoga, to dancing, to singing, etc. There is no limit on joy and happiness.

Learning triggers and using coping skills are two great ways to avoid a relapse but so is attending support groups. NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and AA (Alcohol Anonymous) are designed for recovering addicts to find a place of solace so that they can talk about their struggles. There is no shame in getting a little support, there is actually more strength in getting support and help then not getting it.  There are so many different types of support groups and there is seat for everyone. Many people will even give up their own seat to help someone else who needs a meeting worse than they do.

AA has a 12-step program that is used to help recovering alcoholics to stay on track. Here are the 12 steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Each of these steps are used to help recovering drug addicts and recovering alcoholics find peace in their life and to avoid a relapse. They might even be beneficial to those who do not drink or do drugs. Each one leads to a victorious path and who couldn’t use a little more of that?

Sober Living

For many patients, living sober outside of a rehab center is very hard and there are many people who cannot do it alone for fear of relapsing. Working through therapy to find out why an addiction has occurred and working through past issues that were left unresolved are just two pieces of a large pie when it comes to staying sober. For someone people, support groups and having a sponsor still isn’t enough to keep the voices of addiction away. Staying sober is a life long process, a battle that truly never ends.

Sober living homes help people to get at a foot-hold over their addiction. A sober living house is a house designed for those just out of rehab who believe that they cannot go at maintaining their sobriety alone or have been recommended by a doctor to stay in one. These houses are fully equipped with everything that a person would need such as a bed, a bathroom, a kitchen, a media room and most often, even a place for group counseling. One great thing about these houses is that they have other people who are trying to maintain their sobriety as well. Company helps when a person is struggling through something in their life. These homes are meant to provide a foundation to build off of and therefore, residents are free to come and go. Most people living in sober living houses get a job or start going to school in an effort to find an even stronger foot-hold in their lives. It is all a process and “one day at a time” works just as well in a sober living house as it does in a support group. After learning how to create positivity one day at a time, it becomes easier to create that same positivity for a week at a time and then for a month at a time and so on. Alternatively, there are always bad times in life that will make staying sober seem so much harder. Therefore, it is important to remember that staying sober is a life long struggle full of up’s and down’s. Maintaining a life long positive support system becomes the very backbone of living a full sober life.  These houses are designed with that goal in mind.

There are rules that must be followed in the house. Most often there is curfew of sorts, but some houses do not have one. There is always a rule that states that sexual relations between housemates is not allowed. There is absolutely no drugs or alcohol allowed on the premises and even smoking should be only done within marked areas. Each house has their own rules so its important to know these rules before signing a contract. Contracts are signed upon moving in and they usually state how long a resident will be able to stay. Since people are different, lengths of stay do tend to vary.  Lengths of stay are usually defined by recovery which can be discussed with a person’s doctor.

Sober living houses provide a great opportunity for a person who wants to get their life back on track.

Finding Recovery

When it comes to recovery, it’s important not to back track once therapy has uncovered the very reason why drugs filled a void that was left in someone. It’s important to acknowledge it and it’s important to process it, which is all done within inpatient treatment. Once a person has worked through this process, it becomes important to leave the past behind and only look at the future. This means no shame and no guilt. Those feelings need to be left in the past as well to create a more positive future. When the past is carried with someone who is trying to cover, it becomes to heavy and shame and guilt are even heavier burdens to carry. Addiction is a weakness that people face on many levels- game, sex, food, gambling, drugs, alcohol, etc. People fight with addiction every day from buying a dozen lottery tickets to abusing drugs. The addictions are where people turn when the world becomes to ugly to face. If drugs and alcohol are the problem, then an ugly world is the problems creator. We have to solve our ugly world before we have any hope to solve its drug addiction problem. The impact drugs are having on the next few generations coming up should be reason enough for everyone to work together to create a better structured world, that is beautiful.