Drug and Alcohol Dependency Education at The Watershed
The Watershed’s drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility recognizes the commitment you are making and how frightening that choice can be. We promise to care for you and treat you with dignity as you heal physically, mentally and spiritually. Together we lay the groundwork for you to build your new life, and we will support you as you take charge of your future.
Our passionate and professional staff at The Watershed believes that educating our patients is essential. The disease concept of addiction is the foundation upon which each patient’s recovery is built. This concept, once learned, ensures that our graduates understand that they can never safely use again. Through the guidance of trained addiction professionals and the use of resources unique to The Watershed, our patients will discover how to use each day as a stepping stone towards lasting recovery.
“It might be something that his therapist said, and sometimes it’s the turning point for the individual…” – Dr. Milman
It’s your future. It’s your life.
What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is an illness that does not discriminate. Anyone can become a victim; it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, male or female, employed or unemployed, young or old, and of a particular race or ethnicity. There is no singular cause for this illness, but the chance of developing a substance use disorder depends partly on genetics, in the form of biological traits passed down through families.
A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress level play a major role in contributing to the use of alcohol or drugs. Researchers have found that using drugs for a long time can create changes in the brain suddenly and without warning. Once this switch mindset occurs, the person crosses an invisible line and becomes dependent on the substance.
People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a greater risk of crossing this line and becoming dependent. These changes in the brain remain long after a person stops using drugs or drinking alcohol.
“Even though you or your family member has an illness, it does not excuse the bad behavior that often accompanies it. You are not at fault for having a disease, but you are responsible for getting treatment!”
What Are the Symptoms of Substance Abuse Disorders?
One of the most important signs of substance addiction is the continued use of drugs or alcohol, despite experiencing the serious negative consequences of heavy drug or alcohol use. Many times, the addict will blame other people or circumstances for their problems instead of realizing that the difficulties result from the use of drugs or alcohol.
For example, your husband may believe he was fired from a job because his boss did not know how to run a business. Or your daughter may believe she got a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol because the police were targeting her.
Perhaps your loved one has even blamed you. Individuals with this illness are likely to believe that they drink normally or that everyone takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial, and denial is part of the illness.
Other important symptoms of substance use disorders include:
Tolerance: The physiological response to an addictive substance after extended use. The longer the drug is used, the larger the dose needed to reproduce the desired effect.
Craving: The consuming desire or urge to use alcohol or drugs. An addict will use alcohol or a drug despite negative consequences, and will feel anxious and irritable if he or she can not use them. Craving is a primary symptom of addiction.
Loss of control: Drinking more alcohol or taking more drugs than intended, or use of alcohol or drugs at a time or place he or she had not planned. A person also may try to reduce or stop drinking or using drugs many times, and fail.
Physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms: Often, when alcohol or drug use is abruptly stopped, the addict will experience withdrawal symptoms, resulting from a physical need for the substance. Withdrawal symptoms differ depending on the abused substance and the duration of consumption, but they may include nausea, sweating, shakiness and extreme anxiety. The person may try to relieve these symptoms by taking either more of the same or a similar substance.
To learn more about the symptoms of substance abuse, see our symptoms page.
Q: My friend claims there is no cure for this disease and therefore she does not need treatment. Is that true?
A: It is likely that your friend does not understand the purpose of treatment. He or she is correct to some degree; a substance use disorder is often chronic, but it IS treatable. This is also true of many other long-term illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension. Treatment for substance use disorders is designed to help people stop alcohol or drug use and remain sober and drug free. Recovery is a lifelong process. Staying in recovery is a difficult task, so your friend will need to learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Treatment can help your friend accept, manage, and live with his/her illness.
Q: How is it possible that my loved one is an addict and still has a good job?
A: It is difficult to understand how an individual dependent on alcohol or drugs can still keep a good job. Movies and television often depict the life of an addict as unemployed, unproductive, criminal, and homeless. However, many people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs do not fit this stereotype; they have jobs and live with their families. Regardless, the disease does worsen over time, and drug use is likely to increase. Without help, the individual may begin to experience more serious problems. The earlier you receive treatment, the better your chance for recovery.
Your personal recovery plan will be based on the proven methods of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy combined with the time tested 12-Step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The philosophy at The Watershed’s alcohol and drug treatment clinic is to blend continuous, intensive, structured care with the proper support system.
Each Watershed patient is introduced to an appropriate 12-Step Fellowship and given the opportunity to attend daily 12-Step Support Group meetings, both in-house and in the community. As you achieve the goals of your individual treatment plan, you will take on more responsibility and help others along the way.