Addiction Treatment

6 Signs to Have Expert Addiction Treatment

A common refrain among people who are struggling with addiction is that they “can quit whenever they want”. Some of them can’t even see the signs that they need professional addiction treatment. 

In many cases, drug and alcohol addicts are unwilling or unable to recognize that they have an addiction. They believe that while the drug is helping them in some way, they would be able to without it if they want. 

The issue, to their mind, is that the rest of the world fails to see that they are using the drugs because they are choosing to – not because they are driven by any addiction. By failing to recognize the signs of addiction, many addicts lose out on getting help in the form of expert addiction treatment.

The problem is that the further you fall into addiction, the more difficult it is to see that you have a problem. Many substances temporarily or permanently change your perceptions of the world around you, so you gradually lose the ability to maintain a sense of what is reasonable. Therefore, while it is obvious to your friends and family members that you need help, you yourself may be unable to see that.

If you are in a situation where friends and family members keep telling you to seek professional addiction treatment, you need more perspective on the subject. Take a look at the top six signs that you need expert addiction treatment.

#1 Your Physical Or Mental Health Is At Stake

Physical Health at Stake

There is a strong correlation between addiction and both physical and mental health. This relationship works both ways: there are physical and mental illnesses that can either lead to the addiction or make it more dangerous, and the addiction can result in physical and mental health conditions that were not present before.

These impacts vary greatly from one person to another, depending on age, state of health, the substances being used, and a variety of other factors.

Professional addiction treatment should be seriously considered if any of the following applies:

  • You have a pre-existing physical or mental illness that is worsening as a result of your drug or alcohol use
  • You continue to use drugs or alcohol in spite of feeling ill after ingestion
  • You have started experiencing palpitations, difficulty breathing, or blood pressure that is higher or lower than usual
  • You experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that appears to be linked to your use of drugs or alcohol
  • You have started experiencing paranoia or hallucinations of any kind
  • You have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, whether you have acted on these or not
  • Prescription medications that you use have stopped working for their intended purpose, or they have started producing side effects that were not there before

The physical and mental effects described above are top signs you need professional addiction treatment. It is important not to underestimate the risks of drug abuse to your physical and mental health. In some cases, ignoring these dangers can have fatal consequences.

#2 Your Substance Use Coincides With A Crisis

Substance Use Coincides With A Crisis

Addiction is not usually a condition that “just happens”. It is deeply rooted in context, meaning it arises as a direct result of something that is going on in your life. Examples of this include the following:

  • You have been in an accident and you have been prescribed opioid medication for pain relief
  • You are mourning the loss of a loved one
  • You have suffered a job loss or you are experiencing a financial crisis
  • You have witnessed or experienced trauma or abuse
  • You are experiencing problems in a relationship with someone significant, such as an intimate partner or a child

Dealing with any one of these things alone can be challenging. However, when you add addiction to the mix, you are dealing with more than you should be expected to without help. 

If you find yourself turning to a substance or alcohol while thinking things over, it’s one of the signs you need professional addiction treatment. Whether you’re in the USA or Canada, get expert help. 

By getting expert addiction treatment, you can be guided through the process of eliminating your reliance on the drugs you are addicted to. More importantly, you also receive support as you deal with the root cause of the addiction.

#3 Drug Use Occupies A Lot Of Your Time

Drug Use Occupies A Lot Of Your Time

If you find that you are spending a lot of time getting drugs, using drugs, or recovering from using drugs, chances are you can benefit from expert addiction treatment. Drug or alcohol use may become your main priority. It is the only thing you care about, to the exclusion of everything and everyone around you.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you’ve just discovered one of the signs you need expert addiction treatment.

  • You find it difficult to think of anything except drugs
  • You have lost interest in activities that were previously important to you
  • After using drugs, you immediately start thinking of when you can use again
  • You choose drugs over spending time with friends and family members
  • You skip work or school in order to use drugs 
  • You back out of previously agreed-on social engagements
  • You feel anxiety when you do not have access to drugs or alcohol

Related article: How To Organize An Intervention for Addiction Treatment

#4 You Behave Recklessly After Using Drugs

You Behave Recklessly After Using Drugs

Many substances, including alcohol, have the power to take away your perceptions of danger. This results in you engaging in behaviour that is risky and reckless, in spite of the potential dangers. Unfortunately, this can result in harm, not only to yourself but to someone else.

Examples of this include the following:

  • Driving a car or operating machines or tools that are potentially dangerous
  • Engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour without taking proper precautions
  • Committing an act of assault
  • Committing vandalism, breaking and entering, or any other criminal offence
  • Committing any act of self-harm or attempted suicide
  • Jumping into a body of water

These behaviours can have long-term consequences for you and the people around you. Someone may lose their life as a result of impaired driving, reckless sexual behaviour can lead to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. In the same vein, you may find yourself in trouble with the justice system after engaging in criminal activity. If you have done any of these things even once – whether or not there were long-term consequences – it’s one of the signs you should seek expert addiction treatment.

#5 You Have Tried To Quit Before

You Have Tried To Quit Before

Alternating cycles of relapse and recovery are common in addiction. If you are using drugs or alcohol after a long period of abstinence, you may be inclined to tell people, “I’ve quit once, I can do it again.” The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores the reasons for your relapse. Also, if your first attempt at quitting happened without professional help, you are unlikely to have worked on the underlying causes of the addiction. 

Addiction in itself is frequently not the problem – it is a symptom of an underlying problem, and if that problem is not resolved, the addiction will keep coming back.

Relapse does not mean you have failed, it simply means that something was not addressed during your attempt to quit. Maybe you have a physical dependence on the drug, maybe you need some help with underlying mental health issues, or perhaps you are struggling to come to terms with unresolved past trauma. Whatever the reason is, a program of professional addiction treatment can help you.

#6 You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms When You Don’t Use The Drug

Withdrawal Symptoms

As your body and mind become more dependent on drugs or alcohol, you may get to the point where you actually need the drug in order to function. Depriving your body of the substance, even for a short period of time, may result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite. 

Some people experience severe depression that puts them at risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. In some cases, withdrawal can be fatal.

The symptoms of withdrawal can be so intense that you seek out more drugs, just to make the symptoms stop. If you have reached this point, professional addiction treatment and rehab should be considered.

How To Get Expert Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a debilitating condition that can have devastating impacts on many areas of life, but with the right help, it is treatable. At 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre, we provide fully customized addiction treatment plans for each individual, based on their unique needs, circumstances and personality. 

Treatment modalities include group, individual and family therapy, art and music therapy, life coaching, yoga and meditation, fitness and nutrition counselling, and other methods. The best part is our support continues when your time in rehab is over. This comes in the form of a comprehensive aftercare program. To get started, call us at 805-601-0555.

Related article: The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation In Addiction Treatment


Benefits of Group Therapy During Addiction Treatment

Group treatment provides many benefits to those who may be in addiction treatment. People who abuse substances are more likely to remain abstinent and committed to recovery when treatment is provided in groups. Some of the benefits you tend to gain from group addiction treatments include identification, affiliation, confrontation, support, and gratification. 

Also, it has been found that group counselling is efficient at addressing anxiety, depression, denial, isolation, shame, character pathology, and temporary cognitive impairment. These factors and the benefits of group therapy sessions provide an excellent and adequate opportunity for addiction treatment.

Furthermore, group therapy immerses you into many different experiences — from expressive arts therapy and skills development to cognitive behavioural therapy groups. In simplest terms, group therapy comprises therapy sessions that focus on reducing symptoms and helping two or more individuals to recover.

Group therapy is a vital component of any comprehensive addiction treatment program. It offers clients the ability to access support and encouragement from the community surrounding them in a residential treatment facility. The natural sense humans have to assemble and to lean on people around them makes group therapy a potent tool in treating substance abuse.

If you are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, you may question the value of participating in group therapy. It may be tough enough for you to seek help and open up to a single counsellor or therapist, let alone bare your soul to a small group of people. You may worry that you will not have enough time to discuss your thoughts and ideas. For some people, they agonize over having to share personal information with perfect strangers.

However, with group therapy for addiction treatment, it’s all worth it. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of group therapy during addiction treatment. Before we proceed, let’s take a look at the definition of group therapy.

What is Group Therapy?

What is Group Therapy

Group therapy is a specific form of counselling used to treat psychological disorders, including substance abuse and addiction. Typically, it involves regular sessions where therapists work with several individuals who are being treated for the same substance abuse issue. 

Participants in group therapy treatments take turns discussing their feelings, struggles, experiences, and sobriety goals. Sometimes, these groups may be focused on a particular recovery topic. An example is how to recognize and avoid triggers. Other times, they may focus on general topics such as how to manage complicated peer, work, family or other relationships.

Related article: How To Help A Loved One In Recovery

Many people benefit from peer support in group therapy. In fact, it has been a core aspect of drug and alcohol addiction recovery for several decades, with effective results. Going forward, we’ll discuss the benefits of group therapy for addiction treatment.

Benefits of Group Therapy for Addiction Treatment

One of the most significant benefits of group therapy for addiction recovery is that it offers an avenue to bond with others. It also provides a platform to create a fictional support system for the post-treatment phase. 

Group therapy is often undertaken in conjunction with individual therapy. This is because it offers several unique benefits that are hard to achieve in a one-on-one session with a therapist. Benefits of group therapy for addiction treatment include:

You will meet people dealing with similar situations

One of the top reasons to consider group therapy is that it gives you the privilege to meet people similar to you. People who are dealing with the same addictions as you are more likely to understand you better. Meeting this category of people can help you realize you’re not alone. Some groups may even focus on a specific life event. 

A good example is the grief and loss support group where others assist people with specific mental health diagnoses. An example of such is bipolar or anxiety disorder. Usually, people find it helpful to receive not only professional support but general support too. For instance, seeing how others – with different experiences and styles – work through similar problems. 

You will be more stimulated to change

Many people have been to addiction rehab sessions ready to make a change with no approach or method. As a result, they find it challenging to figure out exactly how to get themselves to change for good. In a group therapy setting, this isn’t something to worry about. 

You’ll not only hear how people have strived hard but also how they have overcome past challenges. Ultimately, team support and encouragement can play a cheerleading role. Also, this can provide positive reinforcement as you passionately work toward your goals.

It will boost your relationship with others

group therapy boosts relationship

During group therapy, members can provide feedback on how they see you. Sometimes, they talk about their experience relating to you and how what you say makes them feel. This feedback has often proven to be supportive in boosting addiction recovery. 

However, such feedback is better appreciated when it comes in a safe and supportive environment. This will help you understand yourself and your relationships better. It will also allow you to adjust your behavioural acts to be more productive. In a therapy group, you benefit from the feedback of an individual therapist and the entire group.

You will get support from like-minded people

When going through difficult times, having other witnesses to validate your experience is significant. Generally, being able to tell your story to others can be empowering. This helps you create a narrative in which you effectively maneuver adversity and thus enhance your experience. 

A benefit of group therapy is that it offers adequate support to help you understand yourself better. Sometimes, during addiction treatment, this can make all the difference. 

It helps you become more aware of your immediate needs

Another benefit of group therapy for addiction treatment is that it helps you become aware of your own needs and feelings. More importantly, it provides a safe platform for expressing them. Our group session regularly allows members to discern how they feel during each session and talk about it.

Although many people find it difficult to know how they feel while interacting, they get better with time. Usually, it can be challenging to be self-connected when connecting with others. Nevertheless, continuous communication will help boost your connection with others.

Types of Addiction Treatment Techniques

Many options have been successful in treating drug and substance addiction, including:

  • Behavioural counselling
  • Medication
  • Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment and evaluation for accompanying mental issues including anxiety and depression
  • Long-term treatment to prevent addiction relapse


Ultimately, group therapy sessions can be a beneficial tool in helping you maintain your sobriety. You can join these sessions during the early phases of drug addiction treatment or at any point in your treatment scheme. Call 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: 6 Signs to Have Expert Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment

Why You Need Professional Addiction Treatment

When substance addiction negatively impacts your life and those around you, it is time to seek professional treatment. The good news is addiction is treatable. However, if you want to have the best chances of kicking your addictive habits, you should secure professional addiction treatment in Canada. The manner of approach to addiction treatment and recovery can determine success. This is why expert addiction services near you are highly recommended. 

Professional addiction treatment facilities are the most effective treatment method for recovering from substance abuse disorders. Asides from giving you the best chances to successfully recover from your addictive habits, addiction services offer much more. Kicking drug-use habits can be very challenging with varying health impacts. Similarly, the process of addiction treatment and recovery differs from person to person. This and much more are why you need professional addiction treatment on your journey to recovery.

However, it is not enough to decide to secure the help of addiction services. Choosing the right one will significantly boost your chances of recovery. In this article, we will give you some insight into why you need professional addiction treatment. Furthermore, we will provide you with tips on how to pick the right addiction treatment facility in Canada. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the benefits of professional addiction treatment.

Why You Need Professional Addiction Treatment 

Attempting an addiction recovery on your own can be very tasking, if not impossible. In fact, there are numerous advantages that professional addiction treatment has over stay-at-home DIY recovery. These benefits include:

You get medical services

You get medical services

When a person is trying to stop using drugs after a long period of addiction, it will often trigger withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be severe and life-threatening, depending on various factors. Therefore, you should kick drug habits in a place where you can access immediate medical attention. 

Professional addiction treatment centers in Canada have the resources to provide both initial stabilization and subsequent medical monitoring during recovery. This way, you will be as safe as possible during your treatment for addiction and your recovery.

Stable environment

The environment in which you attempt to detox and rehabilitate plays a critical role in your recovery process. You should be in a drug-free environment, away from places and people that can tempt you to use again. Additionally, being in this environment means you will be safe from people who can give you negative energy or discourage your addiction recovery efforts. 

This is especially necessary for newly recovering addicts as they are still in a fragile emotional state. Addiction services provide a safe and stable environment thereby increasing the chances of a successful recovery.


You may still be wondering why you need professional addiction treatment. Here is another point to help you on your way to choosing an addiction treatment service in Canada. The more you learn about something, the better equipped you are to handle it. 

Learning about addiction, how to overcome it, and more are some of the benefits you will enjoy in an addiction treatment center. This knowledge will help you realize that there is indeed a way to live a substance-free life. It is crucial that you learn the proper tools and equip yourself with this knowledge. That’s the way to stay on the path to total recovery.

Learning about addiction

Relapse Prevention

Addiction relapse is a significant concern among patients in recovery. According to statistics, about 60% of patients undergoing an addiction recovery will suffer a relapse at some point. A relapse can be particularly dangerous as it may lead to an overdose or other related medical problems. However, this is not to say relapse is not preventable. 

Essentially, here’s why you need professional addiction treatment. It puts you in a better position to avoid the possibility of a relapse. Addiction services have experts trained to notice the signs of impending relapse and avert it.

You get therapy and counseling

Addiction is a disease of the mind. Therefore, it may not be enough to focus only on stopping drug use. Your mental health is equally vital. Addiction treatment facilities in Canada offer more than just medical services and assistance. In addition, they carry out therapy sessions to help guide patients through the entire addiction treatment process. Furthermore, this therapeutic support will help to prepare your mind for the real world outside rehab. Having access to such services can mean the difference between a successful recovery and addiction relapse.

Peer group support

It is difficult for people who have not experienced drug addiction to understand how it feels. On the other hand, addiction treatment centers are filled with people who are going through a similar experience. Furthermore, every patient there has the same goal – to get help for their addiction. 

This means that you will have people you can relate to throughout your addiction recovery journey. 

Therefore, you will have the essential peer support that you need to get through recovery. Also, it can help to talk with people who are going through the same thing as you. This way, you can learn from their mistakes, give, and receive advice.


Our final point on why you need professional addiction treatment is this – aftercare. Aftercare refers to all the care you will receive after your treatment. That is, after you’ve left the treatment facility, you will be eligible for extra support from experts. 

Addiction services understand the need for treatment aftercare as it is critical in the transition to a clean and sober life. Whether you need a quick call when the going gets tough or medication, an addiction service near you can be of help.

Related article: Helpful Addiction Treatment Tips for the Pandemic

How to Choose a Professional Addiction Service

Now that you know why you need professional addiction treatment, the next step is to choose an excellent rehab facility. Selecting an addiction treatment center is a critical part of your recovery journey.  Not to worry, these tips will help you pick the best addiction treatment center in Canada.

  • Decide on your rehab goals and needs
  • Consult with an addiction treatment professional
  • Explore various addiction service options
  • Investigate their accreditation, licensing, and certifications
  • Find out if they have a multidisciplinary team, including psychologists and nutritionists
  • Find out the cost: Undoubtedly, you will have questions on how much addiction treatment costs. Although the cost may somewhat influence your decision, ensure that you do not trade it for quality of service. You can also explore insurance options to help you cater for the cost of addiction treatment.
  • Enroll and begin your addiction treatment and recovery journey.

In Conclusion

Your addiction treatment and recovery is too important to leave to chance. With the info above, we have been able to show you why you need professional addiction treatment. Addiction treatment services provide the best opportunity for you to build an excellent foundation for a life of recovery. Contact 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: How to Choose the Right Addiction Treatment Service



Addiction Treatment Tips

Traveling for Addiction Treatment Improves Long-Term Recovery

When an individual has made the decision to visit a rehabilitation centre for their addiction, a few questions might come to mind first including, “Where should I go?”, “Should I stay near home?” and “Would I benefit from going away?”

Oftentimes users will assume that it makes the most sense to get help in their own town. The travel time is shorter; they can still see their friends/family and they won’t have to miss school or work. However, convenience or fear isn’t always the best solution for someone fighting a drug dependency.

In fact, traveling away from home might be exactly what a user needs. If you or someone you know is deciding on a treatment center for their drug abuse, the following are some of the benefits of traveling for addiction treatment.

Related article: How To Help A Loved One In Recovery

Specialized Treatment

Not every treatment center is capable of offering all of the same tools and programs, which means some centers aren’t able to provide the specific solutions a user needs. In these cases, users will only be getting part of the treatment that would be best for them.

A drug addict who considers all of their options- including those that are far away- will be much more likely to find a center that provides exactly what they need to quit.

Away from Temptation

 It is a lot easier to fall back into old habits when you’re in a familiar place. Users who stay close to home will often be exposed to the same triggers that made them start using in the first place, including specific places, situations and groups of people.

Traveling somewhere new can expose users to the feeling of a fresh start, in a place where they’ve never been and with people they’ve never met. The experience can inspire them to stay on the right track, since this new location is a constant reminder of the decision they’ve made and how far they’ve come.


Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of people knowing about their addiction troubles. One of the benefits of traveling for addiction treatment, is that users can travel out of their town where everyone knows everything about everyone.

Instead of a user worrying about what everyone is thinking and adding to their stress, traveling away from home can help them to focus on the task at hand in a comfortable environment.

New Relationships

The opportunities for meeting new people in a new place are endless, and users will have no trouble finding people who share the same kinds of interests, personalities and future goals.

These kinds of relationships are critical for users once they’ve left treatment. Users can stay in contact with new friends online, or agree to meet a couple times a year to update each other on their progress. Users who are now drug-free might also be able to help one another to get past potential relapses, and to remind each other of everything they’ve overcome.

The benefits of traveling for addiction treatment are plenty, but there are also benefits to staying close to home. The individual admitting themselves will ultimately make the decision that suits them best, but it can be helpful to list out the pros and cons of each before choosing.

Contact 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: 8 Exercises That Can Help With Addiction Recovery

Addiction Treatment Tips

Addiction Is a Lot Like Heart Disease, So Why Are We Not Approaching It The Same Way?

Drugs – whether alcohol, cannabis, heroin, opioids or any other addictive substance – alter how the brain functions. These changes persist long after the drug’s effects are gone and even after an individual has stopped using the drug. This is possibly an explanation as to why people who abuse drugs often relapse even after years of abstinence. When experts started looking into addiction and associated behaviour back in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were perceived to lack willpower, be morally flawed and many times instead of being given the help which could’ve made a difference, they were met with stigma.

These prejudices shaped how societies responded to drug abuse and addiction. Only as of several years ago, addiction and people affected by it started receiving the attention and understanding needed and more prevention initiatives were put in place. Science definitely played a key role in all of this. In-depth research into how addictive substances act on the brain and the compulsive, incontrollable biological responses they trigger thus influencing the behaviour as well, has helped break down silos and better position authorities to effectively address the problem. Imagine that genetic factors can increase a person’s vulnerability to addiction by about 60%.

However, polls such as the one conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in 2018 continue to show there is still more work that needs to be done and more awareness raised to position addiction as a disease. It’s great that most medical authorities see addiction this way, but when it comes to the public the gap becomes more evident. For instance, 53% of Americans involved in the AP-NORC survey said they view addiction as a medical issue, but they still have concerns regarding addicts and their ulterior motives.

Less than one in five admitted to being willing to be associated with a person suffering from addiction, even more worrisome they said that this would apply whether it’s a friend, neighbour or co-worker. These heart-breaking findings should make us all think about the ramified difficulties addiction entails. Despite research, scientific advancements and more media attention than ever before, 44% of respondents think addiction to an opioid is a sign of weak willpower, a lack of discipline or a moral flaw. Even more so, a staggering 55% would be in favour of severe measurements to be taken against people who abuse drugs. Almost 90 years down the line and even with evidence staring right in our faces, there’s still a lot more convincing and educating that needs to be done.

In Canada, one in eight people have a friend or relative who has become dependent on opioids in the last five years, according to a new findings from the Angus Reid Institute. The poll which looked at over 5,000 respondents also revealed that one in five people have been themselves prescribed a powerful pain killer, putting them at risk of misuse and addiction. Similarly, nearly 5.8 million Canadians aged at least 12 years old are classified as heavy drinkers and over 47,000 deaths are attributed to substance abuse annually.

Addiction is very similar to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease for example. Both disturb the typical, healthy functioning of the underlying organ, expose the client to devastating risks, and at the same time can be prevented and treated, but if left unaddressed, they will affect the rest of the person’s life and increase the risk of early mortality.

Much like heart disease which silently kicks off during childhood and adolescence and then develops over the years, the drug use danger zone peaks between 16 and 17 years old, but it is not uncommon for 12-15 years old to experiment with at least one substance. The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey is the longest ongoing survey of young Canadians in grades 7 through 12 and one of the biggest in the world. The latest one published in 2017 has surveyed a total of 11,435 students on their past year experiences with alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs and prescription medicines.

In line with adult population figures, findings concluded that alcohol was in the lead across both male and female of all grades mentioned, with over 42% having had at least a couple of drinks. And it gets worse, among 9 to 12 graders: 14% said they drank hazardously in the past year, 16% could not recall what happened when they got drunk on at least one occasion and 8% were injured or injured someone else because of this. Probably another shocking thing to learn was that 27% of respondents said they are permitted to drink at home with their friends. These results alone should raise a lot of concern.

Research has demonstrated that the earlier a child starts to consume alcohol, the higher the chances of developing an addiction. Moreover, drinking at a young age can have irreparable health consequences, particularly due to the fact that their bodies are in the midst of development. It is important to address addiction as early as possible to minimize future risks.

Cannabis is the next drug in the top after alcohol. 19% of Canadian students report having tried it at least once between 2016 and 2017, and as result of that, 2% say they are experiencing symptoms of addiction. Another shocking discovery was that one in ten (10.6%) students polled have used opioid pain relievers and more than 9% of them have tried getting kicks from cough medication. Regarding other illicit drugs, the study focused on young Canadians’ responses in grades 9-12 and they revealed that 4% have tried magic mushrooms, 3.4% have had ecstasy (MDMA) and 2.7% have used sedatives, at least once in the run up to 2017.

As a result of all these habits, one is seven students report symptoms of a drug use problem. That is almost 110,000 young Canadians that are more or less suffering in silence in need of support, or in worse cases, they continuously put themselves in life-threatening situations. Also important to stop upon and reflect is the fact that 3,800 Canadians in grades 9-12 have been in a treatment because of their substance abuse. There are few things more shattering than imagining a child going through detox and rehab, or endangering themselves, their friends, families and communities.

Nevertheless, just like dealing with a heart condition, appropriately addressing the problem and managing the symptoms as well as working to prevent it from recurring, addiction should be approached similarly. Fortunately, drug rehabilitation in Canada is among the best in the world.

A new national survey conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction studying recovery from drug and alcohol addiction has revealed encouraging results. Conducted online and involving 855 Canadian men and women who went through recovery, the study emphasized that getting clean is much easier than many would think, with the main hurdles being in terms of lack of support, information or financial resources. More than half of participants (54% respectively 51%) said they experienced no barriers in keeping up with the recovery plan as well as avoid having a single relapse.

The latest available Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction report published in 2017 looked at addiction treatment as seen through the eyes of 150,222 unique individuals. The vast majority (92%) accessed publicly funded treatments for their substance abuse and 8% did so for a friend or a family member. Nearly 64% of Canadians who accessed recovery services were males and as expected the primary drug abuses for which they seek treatment were alcohol, cannabis, opioids and cocaine. These figures do not include private rehab services which makes the learnings even more dismaying. If we were to round them all up the numbers would reach millions and it’s not just the person who’s battling the addiction, it’s their family and close friends who also get affected in the process.

Can addiction be cured? This is a question that’s floating around many people’s minds. Exactly like a chronic disease, the aim of the treatment is to be symptom-free and go on to live healthy and productive lives. It takes medication, therapy and lifestyle changes to do it, just like you would with a heart condition. And just like that, if the treatment plan is interrupted, the symptoms will reappear.

Related article: Addiction Treatment: Here’s Why You Should Celebrate Sobriety

What numerous people fail to understand is that once a person is addicted, the drugs are not used to make them feel good, they are used to make them feel normal. Science has demonstrated that consistently using a drug, whatever it may be, leads to tolerance and severely limits a person’s capacity to feel any pleasure at all. Because the first couple of times a drug is being used it floods the brain with dopamine, over time that effect is diminished. That sadly means that not only the brain’s reward centre will be far less responsive to drugs, but also to typical activities that individuals used to enjoy prior to their drug addiction. Imagine going to a concert to see an artist which has been a lifelong dream, only to find yourself unable to focus and enjoy the experience without a stimulant.

Addiction has a chronic nature – meaning relapse is not only a possibility, but it’s likely to happen. To put things into perspective even more, the rates of relapse are comparable to the ones for other chronic illnesses. In heart disease, hypertension specifically having a relapse has a probability between 50 and 70%, resembling the ones for asthma and just a bit higher than the rates for diabetes. Just like it wouldn’t be the case for these diseases, relapse does not mean treatment failure, it just means the existing plan needs to be revisited and adjusted accordingly.

On the other hand, addiction has been known to co-exist alongside other medical conditions. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has warned that as many as 6 in 10 people living with addiction have at least one other mental health illness such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or others. It does not necessarily mean one leads to the other, it just shows how important it is to not judge based on biases and understand that many times not addressing these co-occurring issues can sabotage the entire recovery process.

In any given year, about 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health issue or an addiction problem. If we also factor in that 70% of mental illnesses have their onset during childhood and adolescence, it becomes quite obvious how fate is tempted. The more we learn about these patterns and threats, the easier it will be to tackle them.

It is a problem that concerns every single Canadian. In Ontario alone, the burden of mental illness and addiction is 1.5 times higher than all cancers altogether and over 7 times than that of all infectious diseases. Reality is it’s a crisis and as any crisis if not addressed properly and timely, the aftermath will be devastating, costly and irreversible. Even giant Google, which previously stripped rehab-related search terms from its AdWords, is now back to accepting ads from alcohol and drug addiction treatment services, under a much better supervised context. The decision will have an impact on in-person rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, and support groups. It may not seem as a huge effort, but if we think back to survey results which revealed people don’t know where to find information and how to access it, technology should be able to help.

The world finds itself at a unique point in history where we can foster the many benefits of advancements in science to improve the lives of millions. Leveraging these strengths can help lead to a more positive life and improve overall public health, not only in Canada but all around the globe. Contact 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: How to Stay Sober After Addiction Treatment