Is there hope left for a shabu user?

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It is important for a recovering drug addict to have a strong support group through the process of detoxification and rehabilitation

It is important for a recovering drug addict to have a strong support group through the process of detoxification and rehabilitation

The difficult road to regain one’s health and life
In our September 7 issue, The Manila Times Lifestyle tackled “The ill effects of shabu addiction,” following the President’s constant reminder how this illegal drug “shrinks an addict’s brain.”

Today, this two-part series looks into what can still become of a shabu addict who resolves to kick the habit.

According to Sobernation.com, it is only through medical detoxification at a reputable treatment faci­lity or hospital where a user can eliminate the chemical substances of methamphetamine or shabu ingrained in the bodily system.

Withdrawal symptoms
While the withdrawal symptoms of shabu may not be as severe as other substances such as heroin or alcohol, these symptoms are highly uncomfortable and have the potential to threaten one’s life. This in turn is dependent on previously existing medical conditions, the length of time of drug use, and the presence of other drugs in the system.

Chest pains, breathing difficulties, paranoia, mood swings, weight loss, increased risk of strokes, seizures and heart attacks are expected in the detox process, and seen to last between one to two weeks. Moreover, the process can last much longer depending of the severity of symptoms.

During detox, medical staff employs a variety of methods to help minimize the symptoms associated with withdrawal and evaluate the person for any co-occurring disorders that can impact recovery.

It is absolutely critical that the person is both mentally and physically stable before entering the next phase, which is drug treatment.

Rehab center
Drug treatment allows one to overcome the underlying reasons why addiction happened in the first place. Through counseling and therapy there’s a glimmer of hope to regain quality of life and coping skills needed to pursue recovery while guarding against the triggers that lead to relapse.

Rehab centers that specialize in meth addiction allows recovery in an environment away from the temptations of home environment so focus is solely on recovery and quitting the use of the drug.

Since shabu use causes considerable damage to the brain’s cognitive and movement-coordination regions, therapies such as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and contingency management-type therapies in individual and group settings are extremely beneficial to addicts kicking the habit, since they help to identify problem behaviors and thinking, and provide incentives for positive changes.

Many drug treatment facilities offer programs that lasts 30 days, but a longer treatment program that lasts at least two months is more beneficial as many addicts experience a recurrence of withdrawal symptoms (often referred to as “the wall”) about 45 days after quitting. It’s within this period that treatment staffers are most needed to help the person work through this wall.

Recovery support
A person out of addiction on the road to wresting back lost time and opportunities is worse than a child learning to run or an elderly at the onset of second childhood, because an adult may hurt and harm when violence sets in as after-effect of withdrawal.

Rehabilitation must be immediately followed by aftercare and intensive outpatient programs that focus on relapse prevention and the continued application of the skills needed to successfully function at work, home or school.

Many aftercare programs offered by rehab centers may also offer sober living environments such as halfway houses where one can receive the support of peers in recovery. Additionally, continued participation in support groups helps recovering addicts remain centered in the recovery community as they feel helpless and isolated in their quest to break free from the substance.

There may be no total recovery from shabu addiction as the damage it caused to the brain is permanent. But the rehabilitated individual may take a different path to become a productive member of society again, like Tok Corpus, founder and executive director of Center For Christian Recovery.

Corpus confessed that he started taking drugs at the age of 10 just to be happy. For crimes he committed because of drug use, he was jailed for 20 years but lucky to be freed and got into agriculture and packaging.

Just a few months after his discharge from rehabilitation, fate would have it that he’d meet people with the same advocacy of helping those getting out of drugs, from 2000 to 2008.

By divine providence he stumbled a house in Antipolo City in February 2009 with the ominous address 777 Outlook Drive that became the office and rehabilitation center where the first enrolee signed up two weeks after opening.

Hundreds of former drug addicts (most have been shabu users) have since graduated from the rehabilitation program of CCR and have been reintegrated into society.

Posting its ideals on it website centerforchristianreco­very.org, the non-government organization says, “CCR is intended for everyone seeking recovery. We know the pain of addiction, but we also know the joy of recovery. We believe the time has come to share with all who desire what we have found. Appropriately, CCR is devoted to informing everyone struggling with addiction: ‘Just for today, you never have to use again.’”

In an interview with GMA Network, Corpus said, “I finally found the reason why I got into addiction. It happened so that I can go to the next addict and tell him, ‘All I know is this: I was there, I got out. And if I can get out, you can also get out.’”

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