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Do I Need Inpatient Care If I Am Dependent on a Drug but not Addicted?

Do I Need Inpatient Care If I Am Dependent on a Drug but not Addicted?

Someone with a drug dependency might spend a shorter time in inpatient care than an addict would, but rehab is still more successful than outpatient care. However, make your decision with an addiction specialist who can help sort through the many variables. For example, it can be difficult to diagnose your own situation, and the drug of choice is most certainly important. There are many factors to consider when determining the necessary care, but it is always important to get help and not delay.

Addiction vs. Dependence

A person can have an addiction without a physical dependency. This can occur with drugs like LSD and cocaine or behaviors like gambling and sex. Likewise, a person can develop a physical dependence on certain medications without being addicted, like to blood pressure medicines or an antiepileptic. There is considerable overlap between addition and dependence, and most patients experience both, but these are the major differences:

  • Addiction is a brain disease where a drug affects the neural reward center and causes cravings and obsessive drug-seeking behaviors despite problems
  • Dependence is a physical reliance that begins when the body develops a tolerance and demands greater quantities to feel effects

The withdrawals are a major reason that inpatient care is better for breaking a physical dependence. The detox process is difficult, but professional care reduces the discomfort and helps ensure safety.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin, opium, alcohol and prescription medications generally have the highest dependency rates. In fact, medications like Xanax, Ritalin, Valium, Ativan, Vicodin, Percodan, OxyContin and barbiturates all have high potentials for abuse. Once this happens, a reduction or cessation of dosage can lead to the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, sweating and shaking
  • Mood changes, confusion and disorientation
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Tremors, seizures and possibly even hallucinations

If someone is dependent upon a benzodiazepine like Xanax or Valium, inpatient care is essential. A rapid detox can cause extended withdrawals with more dramatic symptoms, including the potential for coma or death. Users require a tapered detox that is best administered by medical professionals.

Detox and Recovery

Inpatient care is invaluable for reducing withdrawal symptoms. When appropriate, the staff uses a tapered method with medication (possibly) to minimize discomfort and maximize safety. Likewise, if there is an addiction, the rehab doctors will recognize it and treat it. Professional treatment also helps in the following ways:

  • Determine the reasons for the original drug abuse
  • Identify and address drug-use triggers that could spark setbacks
  • Treat co-occurring mood disorders and emotional issues
  • Instill healthy new life skills through behavioral therapies
  • Keep the recovery strong with aftercare counseling and support groups

Inpatient care is also preferred to treat a dependence on non-addictive medications, but the duration of treatment is shorter than that for narcotic or alcohol dependencies. The best way to know what you really need is to talk with an addition specialist.

Drug Abuse Helpline

Our expert staff is available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline. We can discuss the warning signs for addiction and dependency as well as the differences between inpatient and outpatient care. We can even check health insurance policies for treatment coverage. Call us today to find the answers you need.