You’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean, and have only begun your journey across the world. Then, you find a crack in the hull, through which water is slowly seeping. In a jiffy, you reach for some duct tape and tape over it. Problem solved? Sure, in the moment, it seems like a feasible solution. Maybe the water stopped leaking for now, but you know very well that this “quick fix” won’t last. If this seems like wishful thinking – so is quick treatment for addiction.
Addiction is far too complex a problem to have a simple solution, and there is no “fix”, if by fix you mean a cure. Addiction is a chronic illness, so recovery is a lifelong process. Treating addiction takes time and commitment. It’s often not easy. Anyone who tries to sell you a “quick fix” is unrealistic. Anyone who claims to have been magically cured may not have had an addiction in the first place.
Why Are you Looking for a Quick Addiction Treatment?
We live in a fast-paced world, where everyone wants instant gratification and strives to make everything in life quick and easy. It’s normal. Before you get into a deep search on how to recover as fast as possible, you may want to first examine why you’re asking this question in the first place.
Addiction treatment is not an easy process. There is a good reason for that. The process of treatment is more than just detox. The majority of it is about therapy. Even after therapy, there is continuing care. If any of these parts are missing, you may be likely to relapse.
If you’re currently in treatment but losing your patience, you have to stay strong. With time and determination, you will look back at this moment and be proud of yourself for getting through it. Remembering this struggle will help you maintain your recovery.
A quick fix won’t help
If you’re looking for instant gratification, make a note that this is one of the characteristics of people with addictions. Isn’t that why we reach for drugs or alcohol in the first place?
Thinking a quick fix will help you may mean you haven’t realised the seriousness of your addiction. You didn’t just wake up one day with alcoholism, a drug addiction or other problem. There are complex reasons why you start using in the first place.
This is why therapy is so important in addiction treatment, but therapy takes time. You need to understand what pushed to you alcohol or drugs and what kept you coming back for more. In addition, addiction is often tied to an underlying condition, which will need to be treated as well for recovery to last.
Dangers of Quick Addiction Treatments
You may find treatment centres, addiction “gurus”, or supplement suppliers that promise a fast and easy way out of addiction. Certainly, they may work for some people, but are by no means a recommended way to recovery. Just because something is quick, doesn’t mean it is effective. And of course, it may also not be safe.
Rapid detox is probably what most people imagine when they think of quick cures for addiction. Invented in the 1980s, this is a process that was aimed at those with an opiate addiction. Rapid detox programmes today cater to other addictions as well. The process involves placing a patient under anaesthesia, usually in a hospital setting, while the person is being dosed with Naltrexone, which cleans off the body’s opiate receptors.
The procedure is usually advertised as a quick one, promising a clean slate in 24 hours, although some extend this over 2-3 days. It is also advertised as painless, which is often not true. While the rapid detox may remove the drug from the body, the body itself still has to go through the withdrawal process. In the case of opiates, this can be very unpleasant. There are many more problems with rapid detox programmes than that, however.
Detox is not the end, it is the beginning
First, detox by itself doesn’t work. As mentioned before, there is much more to addiction treatment than therapy. Even though detox looks like a quick addiction treatment, it is actually just the beginning of the recovery process.
Second, many rapid detoxes are not held in a proper hospital setting. An outpatient clinic is not enough for a serious procedure such as this.
Third, they may not include an aftercare aspect. A person who has completed a detox is still having cravings. If they are not entering a secondary stage of treatment, such as therapy, they are likely to relapse. However, relapse is far more dangerous in this situation. Because they have now reset their tolerance, the mistake of using again can lead to overdose.
Drugs and Supplements
There are many “all natural” supplements sold that claim to help with addiction, cravings or withdrawal symptoms. While they are helpful in certain situations, they are by no means a substitute for addiction treatment. Furthermore, many supplements are unregulated and can be harmful to consume, especially if a person is still also using illicit drugs.
Ironically, drugs themselves are being advertised or researched as potential cures. Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, has been considered for treatment of addiction, especially nicotine and alcohol. Meanwhile, on some forums, people claim other psychedelics have cured them of their depression, which helped them overcome their drug abuse problem.
Obviously, fixing a drug problem with another drug is not solving the problem. If anything, it puts a person at risk of cross-addiction.
Certain addiction treatment centres offer substitute drugs. For example, buprenorphine or methadone are often prescribed to those with an opiate dependence. Some people are misled that this is a quick fix and permanent substitute for their drug addiction. This is not the case. It is meant to be a temporary aid in the recovery process to help with withdrawal.
It is also not uncommon to see a person switch from a heroin addiction to a methadone addiction. For this reason, certain rehab centres try to avoid using substitution drugs where possible.
The Real “Quick Fix” for Addiction Treatment
You may not be able to “fix” yourself completely or do it quickly. But ultimately – it is only through hard work that you will be able to achieve an addiction free life. It will be speedier to get into recovery the right way – because if you do it the wrong way, you will fail and need to start again. Having said that, there are ways of making sure that your recovery goes smoothly, and as quickly as you can:
If you realise you have a problem and are ready to get help, don’t put it off. There’s a chance your moment of inspiration might disappear later. Not to mention, the sooner you start your road to recovery, the sooner you will get better. It is possible to be admitted to a rehab the same day.
Choose a more intensive programme
Although a residential rehab treatment programme may take at least 4-6 weeks, other forms of treatments, such as outpatient, may take even longer. A residential rehab will include detox, therapy and aftercare preparation. Sure, it may be tough for a month or so, but it will get easier after that.
Seek complementary therapies
Complementary and specialist therapies and activities, such as art, equine-assisted therapy, acupuncture, and EMDR, are well-known to assist in recovery. Being open-minded can help you deal with your addiction. Many residential rehab centres, such as Castle Craig, include complementary therapies as part of their treatment programme and patients consistently find them helpful.
Find your motivation
There is no better aid in recovery than intrinsic motivation. If you genuinely want to get better for yourself, not for someone else or from fear of potential consequences, it will greatly help you recover. With the right motivation, you will also have a better chance at avoiding relapse, which will speed up your recovery.
A Lesson to Learn
People with addiction are usually conditioned to want a quick result. Their addictive lifestyle demands this. Recovery however, is all about doing things differently. Having the maturity to accept unpalatable realities, such as that true recovery takes time and effort, may be one of the first lessons they need to learn. Recovery after all, is for life.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | October 7, 2020