Ice Archives - Hader Clinic Queensland

The Physical Effects of Ice

Crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, is a highly addictive drug that stimulates the brain and nervous system. This causes intense pleasure and clarity and many users have described the effect as possessing increased energy and feeling that they have a better ability to make good decisions.

These symptoms are the result of ice significantly increasing levels of the hormone dopamine in the body, often up to 1,000 times higher than a standard level. This is higher than any other pleasure-inducing drug or activity.

The effect ice has on the body depends on the strength of the drug, the method of administration and the quantity used. Individuals may wish to smoke the drug, which has an immediate high. Others may choose to swallow it, which may take almost half an hour for symptoms to take effect.

Ice can also cause an increased heart and breathing rate, an increased sex drive, a reduction in appetite and an increase in pupil dilation.

The effects of ice commonly last anywhere between four and 12 hours, sometimes even up to 24 hours after taking the drug. However, traces can remain in urine and blood for up to three days.

Once the effects of ice wear off, you will experience the come down, which often induces opposite feelings to your high. This may mean feeling depressed, irritable, anxious or nervous, as well as having difficulty making good decisions and concentrating. You may also get headaches, have a sudden appetite or blurred vision.

It is also common to feel tired after coming down from a high, however many users have noted they have trouble sleeping despite feelings of exhaustion. Users also often experience paranoia and hallucinations.

Ice targets the dopamine system, so regular use of ice can wear out the brain’s natural dopamine system. This means the brain will no longer be able to produce enough dopamine on its own, commonly causing feelings of depression. In order for individuals to feel more normal, they will turn to ice to raise those dopamine levels. This is one reason why ice relapse rates are significantly high.

For regular ice users, or those who use ice in higher doses, the positive effects of the high become less and less pleasurable over time. Users may only experience an increased heart and breathing rate, however other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, anxiousness, hostility, aggression or psychotic episodes may also occur during the high, as ice causes the release of noradrenaline, a brain chemical that provokes a fight or flight response.

If you take too much ice, you are at risk of overdosing and experiencing a stroke, heart failure or even seizures.

It takes up to two weeks to physically detox from ice, which is twice as long as other drugs. After this initial withdrawal period, you may experience a chronic withdrawal period that can last over a year.

You are likely dependant on a drug if you constantly need more of the drug to experience the same effect, you are having withdrawal symptoms, it is impacting your work, home or school life, or if you are spending significant amounts of time seeking, using or recovering from the drug.

If you are struggling with an addiction and looking for an approved addiction treatment provider, The Hader Clinic Queensland can help. Reach out today and create a better path for your future.

Gabrielle’s Ice Addiction Recovery Story

Gabrielle’s ice addiction led to a rollercoaster of drugs, dealing and legal issues. Following residential addiction treatment she shares her incredible story.

Hi I’m Gabrielle, I’m 29 years old, and my substance of addiction was ice. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be off the addiction rollercoaster.

You could say that I had a really good upbringing. I have one brother and had what I’d considered to be a traditional upbringing with two loving, happily married parents. I was brought up with good values and morals and was never exposed to any drugs or alcohol as a child.

I grew up in Roma, which is a small country town. There wasn’t a lot to do there and I fell into the wrong crowd. I started dating an older guy at sixteen. He was into drugs and dealing them. That’s how it all started.

Our relationship would end up lasting eight years – and it was really awful. There was a lot of violence, and he was very controlling. I didn’t have any coping strategies to deal with this behaviour.

It didn’t help that my best friend was dating his best friend – if anything it normalised our situation – didn’t everyone do this in their teens?

Because of his controlling ways, I didn’t have much of a social life. Instead, I was very focused on work. I worked for a mining company as a project coordinator.

We moved to the Sunshine Coast for a few years, and it was during this time that things got bad. My using increased, and I realised that I needed to leave to regain control of my life.

One day, outside of his knowledge, I did just that. I left in the middle of the night, changed jobs, and my phone number, and moved into a share house in Brisbane. I never saw him again.

When I did that, I thought that would be my “clean start”. However, I was beginning to realise that there was a bigger issue, which was my drug problem.

In Brisbane, the previous connections I’d established made it easy for me to move into dealing drugs. That way, I could basically use for free.

Although my drug use hadn’t escalated, my life did as a drug dealer. My priorities changed. The people around me were, shall we say, a little more serious than petty users. I started to get involved in bad things, and crime.

In 2019, my apartment got raided twice. I racked up 24 indited charges which were commercial possession, commercial supply, and everything that goes along with it.

After that, I felt like I began to fall apart. I started using a lot more to try and cope with the stress of the legal issues.

On the surface, I looked calm and controlled. I always thought that I had everything under control and that I was smart enough to be one step ahead, unlike others.

A big part of my story is that I managed to hide my addiction, and my legal problems, from my family, for the entire time.

I didn’t talk to anyone about my problems.

Instead, I dug myself deeper into a hole.

When all the legal stuff came along, I was concerned about what my lawyer and barrister were telling me – that I’d get a four year jail sentence. I was worried that if I was sent to jail, that my family would find out about my whole past.

I was carrying around my life as a one big lie. It was a massive burden.

Throughout my time in Brisbane, I struck up a relationship with another guy who became my boyfriend. We used, dealt and lived together.

My lawyer suggested that I go to rehab, stating that if I didn’t, I’d be looking at a longer jail sentence.

I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland in June 2020. My boyfriend, who was in the same legal situation, came with me.

We pretended not to be a couple.

We stayed for a week, then we left.

We started using the day we left.

However, things got way worse after that.

My partner had a psychotic episode, and tried to commit suicide by burning a house down in Brisbane.

He was admitted into the Royal Brisbane Hospital Burns Unit for several weeks. That’s the point where he realised that he needed to get help – and arranged to go back to a different rehab.

While he was in hospital, he was broken and vulnerable – and wanted my support, which I couldn’t give him – as I was still using.

Two weeks after he committed to rehab, he had changed a lot. He had surrendered to the fact that he needed help, and was now begging me to commit to stop using and to go to rehab myself.

I arranged to go back into The Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential rehab on the 2nd of August. However, as soon as I got there, I got on the ice and didn’t actually rock up there until the 6th.

I was scared and I was ashamed, I guess because I’d already been there once before, and I had left, basically saying, “thanks anyway, but I’ve got this”.

It was a case of swallowing my pride, returning, and saying, “I need help”. It was also very confronting giving up what was familiar. Using was my life.

Anyway, I went in for thirty days. It was much easier than the first time around, but difficult in that I couldn’t talk to my partner. I think there was a concern that as we left together, that if he wasn’t doing well, that I might get up and leave again.

About two weeks after I had been in there, my brother reported me missing to the police. My family had no idea that I was in rehab, my using, my convictions, anything. I’d simply dropped off the face of the Earth.

The police got in touch with the clinic – my bail had been changed so that I could attend – that’s how my family ended up finding out about my addiction.

It was pretty traumatic, but I’m grateful that they found out while I was at the rehab seeking help, rather than watching me destroy my life.

Sally, one of the counsellors at the rehab, helped me through that whole process. This was probably one of the biggest things that has happened in my life – coming clean and having to be honest.

Once I got the courage to come clean, everything became easier after that.

I ended up extending my stay at rehab for an extra thirty days. I did well with my rehab.

My partner also did really well with his rehab too.

When I came home, I did everything that I was told to do. I worked through my exit plan, I went to NA.

When it came around to my court sentencing, I was able to produce many clean drug test results, and since I got out, I have been supported by the Hader Clinic Queensland’s staff who offered to write letters of recommendation for me.

The prosecutor in the Supreme Court asked for four years and I ended up with three years suspended on immediate parole. This was due to rehab and also due to my brother writing a letter outlining the support I had from my family. That would have never happened unless I had gone to rehab.

The relationship I have with my family is great and improving as we make up for lost time. My partner and I got engaged three weeks ago. He gets along really well with my parents. It’s really nice – and I think they are grateful to have their daughter back, as I was essentially M.I.A for ten years.

I was always the child that was missing in action their whole lives. It was really sad, because there was nothing they could do except let me go.

Every time they would try and reach out to me, I’d disappear or change my phone number. I was ashamed and I couldn’t accept the fact that I was stuffing up my life either.

My partner and I go to meetings every day, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We both hold service positions for our home groups. We’ve both got great sponsors.

Every person we see congratulates us on how good we look – and how rare it is for a couple to be in addiction together to be sober together – however, it’s working well for us. We are stronger together, and happy to be the exception to the work.

I haven’t returned to work yet, however, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I know that I will have to be careful at work as my addiction can really play out there – I can literally be addicted to my job.

Therefore, I am being gentle with myself and my expectations as I’m in early recovery.

I’m very grateful to the staff, especially Jay – I felt he had my back during the whole program. I knew that I wasn’t ready to leave after thirty days. I am glad that I could extend my program. Once I accepted that I needed help, my recovery journey became easier.

I’m grateful for recovery and cannot thank The Hader Clinic Queensland enough for their support and help.

From Carnage to Recovery

Drugs initially gave Daniel peace, but his addiction soon led him down a road of carnage. Following residential addiction treatment he reflects on his ongoing recovery.

Many people believe that music and drugs go hand in hand. I’m pretty sure someone has told me along the way that Mozart was addicted to heroin. That doesn’t surprise me as both drugs and music have the power to change the way you feel, only one (music) is good for you. And the other just leads you down a road of carnage.

I’m a musician who has been producing rap music since 2011. The whole time I created music, I used.

I’m still newly recovering – as of today I’m fifty seven days’ clean. As there are many associations with drugs in doing my music, I haven’t gone back there yet. I don’t want to be triggered into a situation where I may relapse. Recovery is the most important part of my life right now.

My using started when I was eleven or twelve. I’m now thirty six. I had a great upbringing, two parents who loved both my brother and myself. My Mum worked for the XXXX brewery and I started my using lifestyle by pinching beers from the fridge at home. At thirteen I started smoking weed and would spend most weekends with my mates partying hard, getting drunk, getting stoned, or both.

Despite the drug use, I managed to graduate year twelve.

After school, the dabbling in drugs continued – as well as pot and alcohol, there were eccies (ecstasy) and speed added into the mix. At nineteen I smoked meth. I was doing a carpentry apprenticeship. I did the whole thing high on drugs.

Drugs initially gave me peace, silencing the committee in my head that saw me continually comparing myself with my brother. We had the same parents, same upbringing, yet my brother was so different from me – he ended up becoming an accountant. He can have one drink and put the cap on the bottle, whereas I’ll continue until I’m paralytic.

So… I did meth from 19 to 36 and had a son in the meantime, at 23. Things really started ramping up when I was around 28, in 2012. I was doing heaps of music and spending most of the time high.

I dropped the ball at work.

I did not pay rent.

I lost my home.

I slept on mates’ couches.

It was awful.

I decided to give up drugs cold turkey.

It didn’t work.

I moved in with a mate who was selling gear. Weirdly, at the time, I felt peace being there, even though the place was hectic with people coming and going at all hours.

I remember sitting on the couch with three pregnant girls, smoking pot.

This was all very normal to me.

I recorded my first demo mixtape in that house.

Eventually I moved out.

Lived on a couch.

Met a friend who said I could stay at her place for three weeks.

I stayed for three years.

Life was not manageable, so I went to rehab in 2015. It wasn’t a twelve-step program. I remember that a mate hung himself while I was in there. I thought, “this is it, time to be clean”.

After eight weeks of rehab, I got a job as a chippie and things seemed to be going well, until I caught a contractor smoking meth in a downstairs basement. He asked me if I wanted some.

Naturally, I relapsed.

I managed to hang on to my job and the union got me into rehab in Sydney where I learned about Narcotics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. Recovery was going well, and I felt connected to the NA community there. Plus, Sydney was a new town to me, so it created another barrier to using.

However, I had to come back to Brisbane, and without the right support around me, I relapsed again.

Thirteen months ago, I met my partner. We were both in active addiction. One of my wiser mates told me, “it’s going to get to the point where you choose each other, or you choose the drugs”.

I decided to withdraw my super on compassionate medical grounds and do rehab at The Hader Clinic Queensland. I did the thirty day program, and during that time, I surrendered to recovery. My initial impressions were that I could see where the value was, given I had paid privately. It was good to get away from the environment where I used and become involved with NA again. I have a sponsor, and I attend two meetings a day.

All of the staff had a big impact on me, especially Mark, Fran and JJ. In fact JJ and I have the same sponsor. It was great to be able to go to a meeting and see the staff there – not because they were taking us to a meeting, but rather, they were there for themselves and still focused on their recovery. It makes me realise that you don’t go to rehab and become “cured”, you’re always working on various aspects of your recovery.

I want to get back into making my music, but slowly, slowly. I want to do it in a way that doesn’t trigger wanting to use.

I’ve now been a chippie for the past fifteen years or so. I don’t want to go back to the drinking and drug culture that underlies construction either. However, I do want to give back to the area where I came from.

I have joined Mates in Construction and have put my name down to get involved in the Connector program – meaning you’re the port of call for someone in your industry that may be doing it tough. Then I’m going to do the week long “Assist” course.

It’s about me learning to do things a different way. I’m still pretty new to being clean. However, one thing I do know is that I want recovery more than anything else. And that I have support. I’m looking forward to visiting the Hader Clinic Queensland tomorrow for a check in.

If you’re serious about getting clean, get support. The Hader Clinic Queensland were brilliant and I’m looking forward to notching more time up in recovery.

There’s Always Hope If You Want Recovery

Jeff hit rock bottom before undertaking the residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment program and transitional housing program. He’s now two years clean.

Hi there – my name’s Jeff (changed name) – I’m a bit over two years’ clean. I went to rehab in November 2018 and also completed the transition housing program at the Hader Clinic Queensland. Like many addicts, I was addicted to more than one substance – in my case it was methamphetamines and alcohol being the two “majors”.

In terms of my upbringing, I had a pretty normal childhood, my family stayed together for it – I had both parents, so nothing too abstract there. I started using pot and alcohol in early high school with my schoolmates. It was more of a party thing, and what the group did to fit in. It was just what we did every now and again on weekends. It never really became any problem for my until I turned eighteen. I could now legally purchase alcohol and I started doing this quite often.

When I used at that age, I always drugged or drank to the point of passing out, there was no middle ground. I guess that was the difference between myself and the people I was hanging out with. That continued all throughout my late teens and early 20s. I got into a relationship that fell apart after a couple of years. We bought a house together and during that time my drinking and drugging just took over like wildfire. My partner could not handle this, which is fair enough too, and decided to leave.

After those events, I just started to use heavily, all day and every day. It was both heavy alcohol and drug use. By that stage I had started using meth – once every couple of weeks. Then it turned into once a week, then Thursday to Sunday, then eventually every day. I was just 22. Life at that stage was pretty sad. The first thing I’d do when I woke up was to have a drink and use. I isolated in my house all day, I had little contact with others. I drove whatever friends I still had away, and started hanging out with other users and dealers.

My family were aware that I was drinking heavily, but it wasn’t until things started getting really bad, including losing half my body weight, that they realised that I was using more than just alcohol. Along with losing weight over six to eight months of heavy meth use, I also started getting into trouble with the law. I had stopped going to work long before that. I worked in real estate and one day I simply didn’t show up. I turned to crime to support my habit – I accrued some drug related and violence related charges in that time.

I guess when I was about 23 or so, I was given the choice by the court to either go to jail, or go to rehab. I chose to go to The Hader Clinic Queensland.

I’ve actually been there twice. The first time, I got kicked out after sixty days for using. At that stage, I didn’t want to get clean. I just didn’t want to go to jail.

I got opted out for thirty days and did not return to The Hader Clinic Queensland for a year. When I got out, I started using again – just as heavy as before, for an entire year. It was almost as if I was rebelling.

After doing another year of heavy using, every aspect of my life got worse. The isolation became more pronounced, plus my habit was expensive. At my worst, I was using $1500 worth of drugs per day. It was unhealthy and unsustainable – and yes, I started getting into trouble with the wrong types of people and the law.

I think I got to the stage where I had an epiphany one evening and thought, “I can’t do this anymore”.

The funny thing with the first stint at rehab was that I believed that I used more afterwards because deep down, I now knew that there was a better way. I just wasn’t ready. Sure, using was fun for those first few days after rehab, but then it quickly turned into that hideous addictive cycle. It was no fun, in fact it felt soul destroying.

That’s when I decided that I had enough. I contacted my mother, who travelled up to my place at Airlie Beach. She helped me pack up my house and got me off to rehab. I had been planning to stay with Mum to try and get clean, but she insisted that I go to rehab.

However, before I entered rehab again, I got picked up by the police. I had an outstanding warrant for my arrest, so I got locked up on the Sunshine Coast for a week or so and then sent to rehab. Second time around was a completely different experience. When I arrived, I had no clothes and no shoes. It literally was the rock bottom for me.

I wanted recovery. I wanted to be there – which made all the difference in my experience.

I also did the Transition Housing program. I wanted the opportunity to do everything I could to promote my sobriety, any extras. It was a good opportunity and time for me to work on myself.

And here I am, two years’ clean!

The first three months in the transition house, was about learning to get back to doing things on my own. For example, waking up every day with a routine – go for a run, have breakfast, put a load of washing on. That sort of thing. I hadn’t done this for years.

The biggest key message I have to share is that you have to be real with yourself. You have to want recovery. That’s why rehab “didn’t work” first time around for me – I was continually lying to myself. I wasn’t being honest with myself about where I was at.

I think that’s what has kept me clean, continually evaluating where I’m at and what I’m feeling.

I still have a sponsor who attends NA frequently, but I don’t participate as much these days. I did a meeting once a day in rehab and twice a day in the transition house and I really didn’t do any more after that. However, I do stay in touch with my sponsor a couple of times a week, and that has worked well for me. I’ve been working with him for the last two years.

Now, I’m at university and studying computer science and mathematics, which I am loving.

One thing that I did do differently after I left rehab was that I deleted all my social media accounts and my old contacts, except for my family. Anyone that I had an association with in using drugs… well, I don’t speak to them anymore. I also got a new phone number.

I moved towns. I moved nearly 1000km south. I’m from Airlie Beach originally and it wasn’t until I had done a year clean that I went back for a visit. I enjoy fishing and boating – however, I don’t think I could have done it any earlier. It’s a small town and you run into people. I just didn’t want to have exposure to anyone from my past.

Although I don’t have cravings for drugs anymore, the hardest part of staying clean was when my mother passed away – I had been eight months’ clean at that stage, and I was devastated. That has probably been the only time that I have been intensely triggered to use. After I got through that, nothing has really come close to those feelings. I am grateful that she had been there to see me get clean and to help me – I will always have these wonderful memories.

There’s always hope if you want recovery.

Now that I’ve been clean for so long, I’ve been able to get back to doing activities that I love. For example, I love music, concerts and going to gigs and stuff. People are always drunk at these types of events. However, I can handle myself in these situations now with no problem. One reason I stopped going to meetings was that people used to tell me that it was impossible to attend these types of events in recovery. While I appreciate that it may be the case for some people, I just didn’t agree with it. Again, you have to be honest with yourself about your why. I go because I’m motivated by my love, and enjoyment of the music. I have come to realise that by not drinking that I can immerse myself fully in the music and the moment.

I own my past. I disclose it when I think it’s important.

Since I became clean, I have made two new friends. I’m dating a lovely young lady – my first foray into a relationship post rehab. I think I told her upfront on one of our first dates why I don’t drink and the reasons why. I have also made another friend at uni – I wasn’t completely honest with him straightaway. However, after a couple of weeks, we went out for a game of pool, he asked me if I’d like a drink. Again, I told him that I didn’t drink and the reasons why. I made it quite clear to them that they didn’t have to feel anxious having a drink around me – that I wasn’t going to be triggered into using. I’ve come to a deep sense of peace that drinking is something I can’t do anymore – and have no desire for either. I’m at the point where I can go out with friends, they can have a drink, and I’ll quite happily sip on a Coke.

Life is good. I am appreciative of my time at the Hader Clinic Queensland and the tools I learned to help me stay clean.

Peter’s Ice Addiction Recovery

Nearly three years ago Peter, a former army officer and ice addict, completed our residential addiction treatment program. He now shares his progress.

I am a former army officer who served three tours of Afghanistan, Rwanda and Somalia at the time of the Kibeho massacre.

Two years have passed since I shared my addiction recovery story and I wanted to give an update and further insight into my recovery journey.

Anyone can change. I believe the trick is that we must want to change.

Veterans 360 found me at a time when my life was at rock bottom. I had left my wife and kids two years’ earlier and for most of that time I had no fixed address.

I was existing, couch surfing where I could with anyone that would let me.

Finally, I became desperate enough to accept an offer of a bed from my brother. Previously, I had felt too embarrassed to accept.

Following my time in residential rehab spending a further six months in the Hader Clinic Queensland Transition Housing Program also helped me greatly. I believe the extra time helped me in my recovery.

By the time I left rehab, I was feeling strong.

My thinking around addiction changed.  The way I thought about myself changed.  After not being present for the longest time I was beginning to look forward to the future.

I mentioned previously that my wife and I rekindled our marriage after she came to visit me in the transition house.

After a few visits, she asked me if I’d like to come home.

I would be lying if I said that this was an easy transition.

A lot of things change over two years.

I was very conscious about coming home and trying not to ‘change everything’ to suit me. Plus, unbeknownst to me, my daughter’s boyfriend had also moved into our home.

I didn’t get on well with him and at all and we clashed.

There were a few awful nights where I thought I might use again, but luckily with the support of NA here in Darwin, they were able to talk me off the ledge.

Initially, I felt like I had a lot to prove but slowly, with time, my family relationships have improved and become stronger.”

Another challenge I faced was switching careers after being medically discharged from the military. It was a challenge forging a new career path while maintaining my commitment to recovery.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was really hard as a lot of our identity is tied up in our careers.

After all, I had spent most of my adult life in the military and knew nothing else.

I am luckier than most in that I receive an army pension, so I was able to take my time in deciding what I wanted to do.

Initially, I had a photography business that I started when I was medically discharged from the army, which was doing alright, however I was still using.

A fresh start was in order.

Now, I’m working with Mission Australia as a therapeutic support worker.

At first, I was hesitant about this role as I didn’t think I was strong enough. However, as I’ve recovered, I have gained the urge to help others, to “give back”, if you like.

I also enrolled into a Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs through Charles Darwin University to support my role. I feel rewarded by the job, it is giving back and I believe that I am helping.

Life these days is about juggling work, study, CrossFit, golf and time with my family. Keeping fit is important to me. I’ve even participated in some CrossFit Masters competitions.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days where my head will take me to the place of using.

Ups and downs are part of life.

They don’t disappear because you’re clean, you just have to manage life in a different (and better!) way than using drugs.

Recovery and abstinence are possible. As time goes by you get stronger and stronger.

It’s important to understand your triggers and understand that you cannot do it alone.

It’s important to ask for help, especially if you’re a man because often we try and tough it out alone. Don’t.

This is where rehab and organisations like Narcotics Anonymous help immensely.  When something goes wrong, as I mentioned, my head can still take me there and I think that I could use.

This is why it’s important to remember where you’ve come from.

If I use, I will not be able to control it and I know exactly where I will end up.

You need to have a holistic approach to recovery. My time in the army meant that fitness had to be a part of my recovery and it has helped me greatly.

Remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol means everything to me.

I still have some issues from my time in the army that I’m dealing with through the help of the DVA and counselling.  Although I have some bad days with these issues, they’d be considerably worse if I was still using.

Rehab and recovery have been hard work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m glad I have the opportunity in my role to help others who are suffering too.

I’m grateful for every day and look forward to the future.

Factors for Relapse

When thinking of addiction treatment for your loved one, the possibility that they could relapse is something you probably don’t wish to think about.

However, relapse after treatment can occur but the experience can teach addiction sufferers life-long lessons that can assist them staying clean in the long term, particularly with regards to understanding their addiction and why there is no place in a sober life for drugs or alcohol.

There are mitigating factors that may precede a relapse. Often, they can be addressed before a relapse occurs.

Some of these factors are:

Motivational level and understanding of addiction by a sufferer

Many clients who enter rehabilitation for the first time do not have an awareness of how the disease operates.

Many Hader Clinic Queensland success stories report that their initial impression of rehab was to “dry out over a few weeks” and then return to society.

For example, program graduate, Mac, says that he had “no clue” about addiction upon arrival to residential rehab for treatment.

He says, “I thought that I would go in there for ninety days, come out, and be able to drink like a ‘normal person’.

All I thought at the time was that “I drank too much”.

Now that I’ve completed the program, been in the transition house, and am in the Fellowship plus working on the “12 Steps”, that I have realised alcoholism is a disease and that I’m never going to be able to drink again.”

Understanding that addiction strengthens neural pathways the more someone uses is important.

In the early days of recovery, discipline is required to “break” those pathways using alternative positive behaviours, such as mindful exercise and journaling.

Therefore, until alternative neural pathways become further embedded in everyday behaviours, the risk is there for relapse.

Exposure to a toxic environment

Environmental factors can also drive a relapse in a susceptible individual. The addiction sufferer must realise that they need to permanently suspend communication with others that enabled their previous addictive lifestyle.

Attending AA/NA meetings and finding a new circle of friends that support recovery is vital. When a sufferer becomes disconnected from their support network, the door to relapse may be opened.

Hader Clinic Queensland Program Manager, Jay says, “addiction thrives on isolation. The opposite of addiction is connection. This support and connection is something we strongly promote.”

Sometimes, an addiction sufferer will move back into a family environment that enables using. Sometimes this will mean that in order to stay clean and sober, a sufferer may have to make difficult decisions around their family.

For example, Joe’s father offered him a beer the day he got home from rehab. Immediately Joe knew that if he was to stay clean that he needed to move away from his family.

“I moved interstate. It’s been hard. I’m looking for work. I’m attending two AA meetings a day. You never get treated like rubbish at an AA meeting”.

Failures in long term planning and management of addiction

Many people believe that once an addiction sufferer has been through a residential program, that they have been fully “cured” and are ready to go back to work, study or parenting. However, this is far from the truth.

Reintegrating into society managing potential hazards and triggers requires thought, planning, plus continual monitoring and evaluation of the sufferer to ensure they are receiving support that is individualised and optimised towards ongoing recovery.

The Hader Clinic Queensland addresses longer term recovery through the Transition Housing Program, as well as the HaderCare aftercare app, which allows a client to connect with Hader Clinic Queensland staff to receive ongoing support.

What are some warning signs of relapse?

The most obvious sign is that a sufferer begins to disconnect with the therapeutic community. They may become distant, distracted and engage in self destructive actions. If they suffer from a mental health dual diagnosis, a relapse of another mental health condition may occur, for example, an eating disorder may flare up.

If a relapse is occurring, a sufferer’s loved ones should work at holding them accountable and ensuring that their addiction is not fuelled by enabling behaviours.

While a relapse isn’t ideal, it can serve as a valuable lesson. It should also be reinforced that addiction is a disease and like all other diseases, should be treated with professionalism, empathy and compassion.

Many sufferers feel a sense of shame if a relapse occurs.

It is vitally important to highlight that a relapse may be part of the journey but isn’t necessarily the full story. The sufferer should be encouraged to move past any feelings of shame or guilt and back into treatment.

The Hader Clinic Queensland can provide help in this way.

Greg’s Addiction Recovery

Through rehab for his cocaine and ice addiction Greg finally found out who he was, finding a peace and calm in his life he didn’t know could exist.

Hello my name is Greg and I recently finished an addiction treatment program at the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I’m now 23 years old. I grew up in a great family. I had a great childhood. I went to a good school and never went without.

My parents were always willing to give me things and help me and for that, I’m very grateful. From an outsider’s point of view, it would seem like I had the perfect life. I’m very fortunate to have a family that is not only in a financial position to help me, but more importantly to me, willing to.

Although my childhood was excellent, I suffered from this innate, hard to describe feeling of “otherness” – a sense of “not belonging”.

I felt like I was on the outer all the time.

I remember being at a kid’s club a resort and sitting outside, feeling like I wasn’t part of anything.

Although it appeared that I some surface friends, I found that I never really gelled deeply with anyone, which felt lonely.

I never had a big group of friends, or a clique. Plus, I never felt adequate next to my sister, who is extroverted, good looking and popular.

All I felt was “not good enough”. I don’t think I really got over that until I got into recovery.

When I was thirteen, I realised that I was gay. I grappled with it for a while. I came out really early to my friends and while I felt like I was comfortable with it, I was heavily internalising a lot of shame about it. I hid my homosexuality from my family until I was 19 – looking back, I realise harboured insecurities about it.

In Year 11, I started drinking alcohol. From the get go, I really loved it. When I drank, it was never for the pleasure of tasting alcohol, it was for the effect. When I drank, all of that shame, all of that “not feeling good enough” just faded. I thought that I’d found my solution to killing that deep feeling of “otherness”.

Once I started using alcohol, I started lying to my family about it. The more I used it, the more dishonest I became. After school ended at 17, I started experimenting with party drugs – ecstasy, MDMA, marijuana… Again, the party drugs made me feel like I’d found my niche in life.

I thought this lifestyle was about being comfortable with myself. At this stage of my addiction, I really believed that this was the best way that I could be myself.

I equated being high and drunk as being at ease with myself. It was a huge thing for me in terms of socialising. Any event where I knew there was going to be alcohol and drugs, I’d be there. I felt that I identified with the lifestyle – it was something that I could link my personality to.

By the time I reached 19, my life was beginning to spin out of control. I was doing drugs every weekend, I was failing uni. I went and did my first detox in a private facility. I spent two months there and got clean and sober. I didn’t believe that drugs and alcohol were the problem, but rather depression and anxiety. Now, I realise that depression and anxiety were probably a side effect from all the drugs and alcohol that I was using.

Even though I got clean, I couldn’t bear the thought of not having alcohol or drugs in my life.

As soon as I got out, I started socially drinking again. Everyone thought that was sensible and that I was going to be fine. I think we all thought that I was out of the woods, so to speak.

At this stage, my social scene started to expand.

I was hanging out with several older gay men who introduced me to cocaine. That was another drug that I really identified with.

At that stage I was working in real estate, so I also tried to make cocaine part of my personality. I was the “coke head real estate agent” and at the time, I thought, “this is cool, this is what I want to be”.

So, I ran with it.

The reality was that there was an identity crisis unfolding in the background.

Then cocaine became a huge problem for me, especially combined with alcohol. There was always alcohol involved with my cocaine use.

I was really wrapped up in that scene. I started hanging out with people who were dealing drugs, with bikies. There was no limit on the supply of cocaine for me.

Things went downhill, and fast.

Over that six to twelve months, I was doing cocaine every weekend and the rest of my life was falling apart.

When I was twenty, I detoxed, stayed clean for two months and then busted really badly. It was terrible.

That precipitated what was to be my first suicide attempt.

Obviously, I wasn’t successful, my heart wasn’t really in it – I can see now that it was the drugs that were making me think that my life wasn’t worth living.

I was admitted to the RBH psych ward and then I had to go back into detox again for four weeks.

Each time I would come out of detox determined not to do drugs again. And within a month, I’d relapse. It was like a yo yo – back and forth, back and forth.

Detox again at 21 and at that point began wondering whether it would be a good idea to have a break from drugs “for a while”.

I decided to have a three month break and then work out whether I still wanted to use.

I didn’t have any real program or support around me at the time. There was nothing in this program to address my mental health.

I saw a psychologist weekly and a psychiatrist every two weeks. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I was put on a cocktail of medications to address it.

To deal with my addiction, you could say that we were taking the clinical approach.

It worked, for a little while, maybe three months.

As soon as the thoughts of clinical treatment disappeared from my mind, I started drinking again.

I was able to manageably drink on occasion but seven times out of ten, I would drink, not be able to stop, then move onto drugs. It was a rare occasion for me just to have one or two drinks and go to bed. It was more like, get drunk and then head out to score.

Just before my 21st birthday I went to London. It was a big party holiday, nonstop drinking, nonstop drugs. When I got to London, I ended up meeting a guy who offered me ice. I was so off my face on cocaine and alcohol, I didn’t have the judgment to say “no”.

When I came home, I didn’t touch it for eight months. I was drinking a lot though and still doing cocaine and party drugs.

Then I came across someone in my older circle of friends that was doing ice. I started doing ice regularly at 22 and that took over like an out of control bushfire.

If I thought cocaine addiction was bad, ice was ten times worse. It took over within a month.

My journey has been five years of getting myself into a bad stage, getting out of it and repeating the whole cycle. It was hectic. Nobody knew what was going to happen next.

When the harder drugs started, at 21, 22, the benders would just go for longer and longer.

The physical and mental consequences were worsening. I was in a dark place.

The first two times I had a bust on ice, I went into a private hospital detox.

Of course, it would only temporarily fix the problem.

It was a band-aid for the underlying issue of the disease of addiction I was suffering from, but that nobody was really addressing.

In September 2019, after four years of hell, I decided that I needed to do a longer term rehab. I knew that I needed to do something else. I had no idea about NA/AA.

I arrived at Hader Clinic Queensland’s residential rehab and was welcomed straight into a community of people who had been dealing with exactly the same issues that I had.

I felt good doing my three months’ there. I learned so much from the program.

I ‘graduated’ rehab and then decided to opt into the transition housing program. Within ten days, I had relapsed. I simply was not working the program and had underestimated what it was going to take to stay clean.

My relapse lasted eight days.

My parents, who have been through so much, simply told me that they had finally had enough and kicked me out of home.

They froze my phone and my bank accounts. I had nothing except the clothing on my back.

I walked around Brisbane for eight days, asking drug dealers if I could stay with them. It was a horrific experience.

Fortunately, it was enough for me to want to really ‘surrender’ this time. I realised that the addiction was so much more powerful than I was. This time, I wanted to get well, and I needed to get real.

I also realised that if I were to have any chance at staying well that I needed to work the program and attend AA/NA. I returned to Hader Clinic Queensland for an extra month and got clean.

Then I was allowed to come home.

That was three and a half months ago.

When I relapsed, I was hyperaware of what I’d done – I had to stay consistently high for eight days so that I would avoid feeling anything.

Living on the street for those eight days made me realise the depths that I could drop to.

I was so desperate, and it was a feeling that I never want to experience again.

When I went to Hader Clinic Queensland, I found the first couple of weeks rough and I remember wanting to leave at least twice. Initially I struggled with myself. After a few weeks I came to the realisation that I needed to do this in order for things to start working. I had to let go of my perception about what rehab was.

Eventually I connected with everyone in the rehab, plus I was able to really learn about what AA/NA was. This is what is keeping me sober today. Rehab is great for wanting to get sober, but the NA/AA program is what is keeping me that way.

All of the staff and their stories were so good to hear. It was heartening to see how much they’d changed, some from situations that were far worse than mine. There were so many parts of each story that I could identify with.

The future? I’m taking it day by day, but my plan is to head back to university, where I was studying aviation management. The good part about university is that I can reduce my course load if necessary to manage my recovery better.

Through rehab I feel like I’ve finally found out who I am. This was what I was searching for in drugs and alcohol, but have actually found in recovery. I have found a peace and calm in my life that I didn’t believe could exist. I’ve reconnected with my family. Life is good.

I am grateful to everyone at the Hader Clinic Queensland for their care and support.

Living with an Addict During COVID-19 Lockdown

Living with someone suffering from addiction can be challenging at the best of times but the current COVID-19 lockdown is likely to be compounding the difficulties you are experiencing.

It is important to realise that there is still help available to you and your loved one suffering from addiction and, if needed, you should not hesitate to seek it.

We have put together some useful information below including how to look after yourself and your loved one.

Be prepared

During lock down active addicts might:

  • Become agitated as their supply dwindles and going out to replenish it becomes more complicated
  • Experience social withdrawal as they are no longer able to see their usual circle of fellow users
  • Experience “cabin fever” as they are no longer able to maintain their usual routine
  • Use more frequently than usual to alleviate the boredom and ward of anxieties related to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Experience feelings of paranoia as conspiracy theories related to the COVID-19 pandemic are rife all over social media

Recovering addicts might:

  • Experience stronger cravings than usual, as the added stress of lockdown gets to them
  • Become anxious about losing their support system as they are no longer able to attend support groups
  • Feel overwhelmed by the disruption of their hard-won routines – especially if they are no longer able to go out to work/have temporarily lost employment due to pandemic related closures

Dealing with an addict during lockdown

Here are some useful guidelines to keep yourself safe when dealing with an addict during lockdown:

Dos

  • Make sure you have emotional support – this can come from friends, family or professional support persons
  • Remember that you cannot control your loved one’s behaviour
  • Learn about addiction as an illness
  • Set healthy boundaries (i.e. stand firm on the restrictions of lockdown, now is not the time to have gatherings at your home, even if you might have previously preferred your loved one to use their substance of choice in the safety of your premises)
  • Listen to your loved one when they are willing to talk
  • Look after yourself – eat well, get sleep, exercise, leave the house for a breather
  • Find out about addiction treatment options in your area, so you will be ready when your loved one wants to start their recovery

Don’ts

  • Don’t try to shield your loved one from the consequences of their addiction (i.e. pay their rent, buy their groceries)
  • Don’t make excuses for your loved one when they neglect their responsibilities at work, school or home
  • Don’t search the house for alcohol, drugs and paraphernalia
  • Don’t berate, lecture or nag your loved one about their substance abuse
  • Stay away from ultimatums and emotional blackmail (i.e. If you loved me, you wouldn’t do this!)
  • Don’t let your loved one draw you into endless rounds of passing the blame or justifying their behaviour
  • Don’t get into arguments when your loved one is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Don’t take your loved one’s outbursts personally and do not take on the responsibility for their condition
  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you could solve your loved one’s substance abuse problems, if only you tried hard enough

Starting addiction treatment during lockdown

Being in lockdown your loved may be more willing to undertake a residential addiction treatment program. Not only would this be beneficial to your loved one, but it will remove any immediate issues that you are facing.

If your loved one enters into addiction treatment during lockdown, it will allow you to focus on your own needs for a while, without feeling as though you are neglecting your loved one.

Enabling

The temptation to enable your loved one’s addiction, just to keep the peace during an unprecedented situation like a lockdown, can be strong.

However, once you begin to learn about the cycle of addiction, you will realise that any crisis in an addict’s life has the potential to become a turning point.

By enabling your loved one’s addiction and protecting them from the consequences of their actions, you are doing them a disservice. Yes, watching your loved one suffer is heart-breaking; but you never know which disaster may be the catalyst for permanent change.

We recommend taking the time to learn more about enabling.

Online Support

Actively seeking out online support groups ( i.e. https://thefirststop.org.au/family-support-services/) for friends and family of addicts can feel a little odd at first; after all, you’re not the one struggling with substance abuse, so you may not think that you are in need – or even deserving – of help. It’s only normal to feel a little weird about taking such a big step, but you will be surprised how much it can improve your situation.

Let’s face it: Loving an addict is hard, especially if you live together.

It’s a constant emotional strain, it often goes hand in hand with financial struggles, and the unrelenting feeling of uncertainty is incredibly draining.

Families and friends of addicts commonly experience strong feelings of helplessness, inadequacy and anxiety; they can become depressed and socially isolated under normal circumstances – but in exceptional situations like this it is absolutely essential to take steps to ensure you don’t become completely disconnected from the outside world.

Support groups, if nothing else, will prove conclusively that you are not alone.

Thousands of families and couples are impacted by addiction to drugs and/or alcohol; and even though their struggles may not be identical to yours, there are enough similarities to create common ground for discussion and mutual support.

Simply being in an environment where you don’t need to feel ashamed in some way of your situation can provide incredible relief.

Being able to openly talk about the hurdles you face every day when trying to deal with an addict’s erratic outbursts, unreliability and emotional blackmail, is a very cathartic experience.

Every time you attend a support meeting or even just talk to a support worker on the phone, you will come away stronger, saner and better able to deal with the next curve ball that comes your way.

Stay connected

Another important thing to keep in mind is that your loved one’s addiction should not bring your own life to a stop.

This is of course easier said than done in a national lockdown situation, however, social distancing does not equal a total cessation of socialising.

Even though the Queensland government has asked us to observe self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing rules, you still can

  • Go for a walk with a friend
  • Visit a friend or family member at home/have them come to your house. Two visitors are allowed on any private premises, although keeping a safe distance while you are hanging out is encouraged
  • Go and exercise on your own to clear your mind. Going for a walk/run/bike ride is not a restricted activity.
  • Call and/or video call a friend. Just because you can’t hang out at your favourite coffeeshop anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t get a take away brew, make yourself comfortable at home and have a virtual date with a friend or family member.

Where To Get Further Help And Support

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Family Drug Support – National service supporting families affected by alcohol and drugs, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – 1300 368 186
  • CounsellingOnline – Free alcohol and drug counselling online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • ADIN – Australian Drug Information Network
  • Al-Anon Support for parents and children of alcoholics – 24-hour Help Line 1300 252 666

Domestic Violence in Lockdown

Stressful situations, like the current COVID-19 crisis, often see an increase in domestic violence and when living with an addict, you fall into a higher risk category to experience this. If your loved one is showing signs of becoming violent towards you or others in your home – or if you fear they might turn to violence – it is important to know where to turn.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland government has approved substantial monetary support for Domestic Violence Support Services, so do not hesitate to contact any of the following services for help and advice:

NOTE: If your loved one is having a violent outburst and you and/or members of your household are in immediate danger, you must call 000. Queensland police takes domestic violence calls very seriously and will come to your assistance immediately.

Robyn’s Addiction Recovery Story

“That first drink was super intense, the excitement of it felt intoxicating. From that moment, I couldn’t put it down.”

I’m Robyn. I’ve just turned 24 and I’m Brisbane born and bred. I’ve spent the last twelve years working in hospitality. At the moment I’m studying to become a nurse.

My foray into active addiction started at fourteen or fifteen. There’s maybe a mental health component as when I was growing up my mother was diagnosed with Bipolar disease. She was a huge binge drinker and this was a big issue for me.

I thought that my mother’s experience would scare me off alcohol, but it wasn’t to be. That first drink was super intense, the excitement of it felt intoxicating. From that moment, I couldn’t put it down. After that, I would be trying to drink or do drugs with any chance I had.

In those teenage years there was also a lot of partying which included all of the party drugs that go with it.

I had a fairly strict upbringing. Being the eldest, I was the “test and trial” child and I felt a lot of pressure growing up. My Mum is now considered stable but she definitely had her moments along the way. She was misdiagnosed at first and ended up being on a cocktail of all the wrong drugs, which ended up in a lot of medication abuse.

At nineteen, I entered into a relationship with an abusive alcoholic. Within that relationship I was raped. This experience now gave me a valid reason to abuse drugs and alcohol. Plus, I liked it.

My alcohol abuse really took off. I added weed and party drugs in there for good measure. I abused this combination of substances for quite a while and then I was introduced to meth. This turned out to be a pretty hectic addiction, especially in the last year. I had dabbled in it previously, but nothing like this.

It would be fair to say that if it wasn’t meth, it was something else. There was always something in my system, whether it was prescription drugs or alcohol. Alcohol was always my “go to” though, it’s legal and cheap and it was accessible where ever I went.

I went to my first rehab in 2018 – because my mum gave me an ultimatum. She said, “you either go to rehab or I’m dropping you in the Valley right now”. I was even considering being homeless because I knew I would have been able to survive. Plus, I would have been able to do what I wanted for a really long time. I didn’t think my life amounted to much, there were times where I felt quite happy at the prospect of dying. I had no purpose in my life.

The rehab itself was residential and I was there for seven to eight weeks. It was a public facility, and the first week I went into transition, I relapsed. There were AA meetings, but I felt like I was just a body in the room going through the motions. There was no “12 Steps”.

I wasn’t ready mentally. I went to the rehab for my family, I wasn’t there for myself from the outset. Before rehab I was admitted into an involuntary psychiatric ward to detox as they knew that I was going to rehab.

When I was in there, I got sexually assaulted again and my family wouldn’t talk to me for a month.

I was as fragile as all hell. I knew going in there, that I would eventually have to start my “doing life” shit alone. I had felt like everybody had let me down. There was no “safety” in anybody. I didn’t have any friends that I could trust or rely upon.

After that first stint at rehabilitation I moved out of home. I realised that I could survive, even if I didn’t have a job because I was on the NewStart allowance. I realised that I was accountable to no one and that I could do as I pleased.

That year led to super heavy meth use, I was doing sex work, doing whatever by any means to survive, it was really crazy. I really don’t remember much of the past year.

I got kicked out of my apartment and decided to try and go back to public rehab because I knew I really needed help and I also knew how to use and drink in there and get away with it. It was so fucked up. At this point I really thought that I couldn’t be helped at all, doing all of this in a treatment centre whilst heavily using.

Got booted out of there eventually, and spent a couple of weeks at home.

I was at my lowest of lows. When you don’t think things can get any worse, it really does.

I tried to take my own life.

I cut my wrist with a steak knife and got sixteen stitches. I couldn’t care about the cut. All I cared about was the Fentanyl they were giving me. I was that sick.

My parents really reached out. Dad’s a shift worker for the government and he reached into his superannuation to get me into the Hader Clinic Queensland. And it’s saved my life, I really mean that.

I was really ready for rehab this time. If I hadn’t gone, there’d be a good chance that I’d be dead by now.

My parents never enabled me, ever. I always had to steal, which is probably the worst part. When I was about to go to rehab, they put me into complete lockdown. Even though we live out in the country, they wouldn’t even let me go for walks. They knew I’d simply catch an Uber into town to get a fix.

I was really contained, because as you probably know, if an addict wants something, it’s amazing the lengths they will go to in order to make it happen.

I tell myself that I can be that smart and that resourceful with my recovery these days.

I didn’t know what day I was going to be admitted to rehab, however it transpired that I was drinking the night before, probably 25-30 standard drinks, then I had some Seroquel in the morning so I could sleep it off during the day.

Then mum came home and told me to pack my bags, that I was going to Hader that day. My body was so blocked up and dehydrated I couldn’t even do a good UDS (urine drug screen) for a week and a half.

They had me on a drug reduction, but that didn’t do too much because I was a heavy benzo user as well. Otherwise, the rest of my body felt wonderful for withdrawing.

I was completely desperate. I was so happy to go to rehab.

It took me a bit to settle in which surprised me, given that I’ve been to two rehabs already.

However, on feeling more settled, I began to feel welcomed.

The biggest difference was that I was now part of a therapeutic community rather than just being another number at residential rehab.

Psych ed taught me the value of community and the fellowship in rehab taught me how to make connections with others, how to communicate and how we were going to be able to use these skills once back in the real world.

Finally, I in was also in an environment where I felt safe. It was so much safer than what I’d been exposed to previously. There was no drug use, no illicit substances. This helped me feel safe.

I learned tools to deal with challenges to my safety and stability which will happen, regardless, in the real world.

It was awesome not having a phone and the staff were completely and utterly supportive. I tried to get as much as I could out of the staff as they all have lived experience and are completely relatable. Mark, Robyn and Maria were particularly helpful to me. They were paramount to my recovery.

Even though the first couple of weeks were hazy, I feel like the switch was flipped when I went to my first meeting in Cooroy. Even though I’ve been in and out of meeting rooms, at this particular meeting I thought, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to do ninety meetings in ninety days”.

I started to look forward to doing a meeting every single day. From that first meeting I knew that “shit was changing.. right now”. I didn’t feel like “a body in the room” anymore. I wasn’t just “talking the talk”, I was now actively engaged and involved.

Since I have left rehab, I have moved back home with my parents. I am participating in the intensive outpatient program. I’m looking to extend that period out for another month. My priority is getting to a meeting, finding a home group and placing my recovery first.

My family are supporting me as well by attending Al Anon. They’re getting more understanding about addiction as a disease and discovering things about me that they just never knew. They have been very supportive.

Despite all the world uncertainty, one thing is for certain, my recovery comes first.

I cannot thank the Hader Clinic Queensland enough for saving my life.

COVID-19 & Addiction Treatment

In recent weeks and days, the world has been thrown into health and economic turmoil with the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

With businesses closing down due to either Government restrictions or lack of trade, many individuals have subsequently lost their jobs and are in precarious financial positions. Additionally, strict border control measures, both internationally and interstate, have slowed the movement of people and trade.

Health and medical services are being mobilised to prepare for the onslaught of coronavirus cases in hospitals, including intensive care units in coming weeks and months.

Access Economics estimates that current annual turnover for illicit drugs in Australia sits at $7 billion dollars. Unlike the wider economy, we have limited knowledge on how it operates, but understand that it is not immune to the disruption being wreaked by the coronavirus.

For an individual suffering from the disease of addiction, the effects of world events are amplified as both health and economic stress are compounded. These effects also mean that specialised treatment for addiction in the current climate is of escalating importance.

Here’s why you should consider treatment for you or your loved one’s addiction issues immediately.

The Effect Of A Worldwide Illicit Drug Shortage Upon Addiction Sufferers

An effect of a shortage of any commodity drives up prices and in the drug trafficking, it is no different. For addiction sufferers, it means sourcing drugs is more difficult, prices are higher and some sufferers may turn to crime and acts of violence to procure illicit substances.

Additionally, an addiction sufferer is likely to indulge in riskier behaviours to get their ‘fix’, for example, using unknown dealers and substituting other substances where the dosage window is precarious. For example, heroin users will often switch to fentanyl, however, it is difficult to titrate the correct doses and overdoses and death frequently occur as a result.

Entering into rehabilitation will reduce these risks.

The Effect Of A Coronavirus Infection Upon Addiction Sufferers

Addiction is classified by the DSM-V as a mental health disorder, however physical side effects that affect a sufferer’s long term health are commonplace. For example, clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune related health effects such as susceptibility to infection, particularly pneumonia.

Compromised immunity or other health conditions place addiction sufferers in the high risk category of patients that may become infected with coronavirus, with the known impact of the virus being particularly severe upon this population. Again, entering into rehabilitation with the goal of restoring physical and mental health substantially reduces risk.

The Effect Of Economic Impact Of Coronavirus On Addiction Sufferers

Many people are losing their jobs and other sources of income as affected businesses shut their doors due to impact of necessary measures such as social distancing and personal hygiene measures. This can put enormous strain on sufferers of addiction and their families. However, in active addiction, the substance of abuse is prioritised over the needs of the family. This has a knock on effect of creating severe family disadvantage – whereas if an addiction sufferer is in treatment, this is lessened.

The Effect Of An Overworked Hospital System Upon Addiction Sufferers

With an increased demand for hospital and medical services as a result of the spread of COVID-19, other medical emergencies, such as a drug overdose may not be able to be given their usual priority. This could prove deadly for an addiction sufferer. Attending rehabilitation or placing a loved one into rehabilitation reduces such risk.

Rehabilitation Insulates Sufferers From Stress And Teaches Appropriate Coping Mechanisms

Residential rehabilitation programs place the addiction sufferer in a safe environment where they can restore their physical and mental health. Rehabilitation teaches sufferers alternative behaviours that allow them to cope with crises and look after themselves and their families.

Rehabilitation also gives the sufferer the ability to source employment after treatment.

For families, knowing that your loved one is safe from the potentially deadly effects of this global pandemic and knowing that they’re learning tools to manage their recovery and life, can be a great source of comfort.

The Hader Clinic Queensland have put in place strict health and management procedures to ensure that client and staff safety is of the highest priority.

References: 

“Alcohol and the Immune System”. Sarkar, D. et al. “Alcohol Research Reviews”. 2015

“Modernizing Australia’s Illicit Drug Policy”. Wodak, A. Submission to House of Representatives Australia, from Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.

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