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An Overview of Substance Use and Drug Rehab in Illinois

Substance use is a problem that affects communities across the country, and people from all walks of life can find themselves addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. It’s no secret that the use of substances can have serious repercussions that affect a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their family and work life.

If you or someone you love is dealing with substance use or alcohol use disorder in Illinois, you certainly aren’t alone. This article investigates the magnitude of the problem of substance addiction among people in the Prairie State and provides a look at the options available for treatment. Learning more about your options can help you make an informed decision when choosing a rehab program in Illinois.

Drug Use Statistics in Illinois

Statistics have shown that marijuana and cocaine are among the most used drugs in the state. While marijuana is legal in Illinois, it is still associated with health problems and other issues related to substance use. In addition to causing health issues on its own, cocaine use is becoming increasingly dangerous because it is often laced with fentanyl. This has led to a recent spike in the number of cocaine-related overdoses in Illinois.

Illinois hasn’t been immune from the opioid epidemic either. In 2017, there were over 2,200 people who died of opioid overdoses. From 2019 to 2020, opioid overdoses increased by 33%, and by 2020 there were 2,944 overdose deaths in the state. Even more alarming is the fact that since 2013, there has been a 2,736% increase in opioid overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, in particular. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is often combined with heroin or compressed into tablet form. Its potency is almost 100 times that of morphine, which makes it very dangerous. In 2019, the overall age-adjusted overdose death fatality rate was 21.9 per 100,000, which ranked 24th among the states in the U.S.

While opioids have received a lot of attention recently, Illinois also has a significant methamphetamine problem. Since 2010, meth lab seizures in the United States have decreased, but more meth is entering the country from neighboring countries such as Mexico. In Illinois, over 3,300 people were arrested for methamphetamine use or sales in 2017. In 2017, the arrest rate for meth in numerous Illinois counties exceeded 165 per 100,000 people, and roughly 6.5% of residents seeking drug treatment were methamphetamine users.

Risk Factors and Consequences of Substance Use

A significant amount of research over the years has focused on examining how drug usage starts and develops. Numerous things can make a person more likely to take drugs, but it’s important to note that just because someone is at risk of developing an addiction, it doesn’t mean that they will begin using drugs or ever develop an addiction to substances. However, knowing the risk factors associated with addiction can be helpful. Such risk factors include:
• Family history of substance use disorder
• Mental health issues
• Lack of family support
• Early drug use
• Negative peer pressure

The fact that drug and alcohol addiction is more common in some families points to a genetic predisposition and may be related to the familial problems that arise when a parent or sibling is dealing with a substance use disorder. Many people with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression turn to alcohol and drugs in order to cope with the symptoms. Those who start using drugs at an early age, whether due to peer pressure or curious experimentation, are more likely to develop addiction due to the effects that drug use has on developing brains.

Physical Consequences of Drug Use

Of course, once a person develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they can develop other issues, including physical health problems. These problems can vary based on the drug, or drugs, being used, but some of the most common issues include:
• Weight loss
• High blood pressure
• Irregular heartbeats
• Organ damage

Chronic drug use affects the body differently and can have long-term changes in the user’s body. The physical effects vary from one user to another, depending on the delivery method, length of use, and dosage.

Mental and Social Effects of Drugs

The effects of drug use also extend to a person’s mental and social health. Addiction can cause a person to become withdrawn and uninterested in activities they previously enjoyed. Addiction can also cause a person to lose their job and struggle with financial issues. Those with substance use disorder may also:
• Have memory problems
• Suffer from depression or anxiety
• Steal from friends or family members
• Engage in risky behavior

When to Seek Help

If you recognize any of the above signs in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to reach out to an Illinois treatment program for help. You also want to get help if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to stop using alcohol and/or drugs and continue to use them even if it’s causing you harm. Those who experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using need professional help as well. Fortunately, there are many types of treatment and recovery programs available in Illinois.

If you are currently struggling with drug addiction, you may believe that you are the only person in the world going through this and that there is no hope for you. However, you should be aware that assistance is accessible at drug treatment programs in Illinois regardless of how far along the path of addiction you are.

Finding the right program for your needs will depend on your addiction and other factors, such as your physical and mental health. The following covers some of the options available to you.

Drug and Alcohol Detox

For many people, the first step on the road to recovery requires going through medically supervised detox. Illinois detox programs help a person achieve a substance-free state while minimizing withdrawal symptoms and monitoring overall health. Although a person with a mild substance use disorder may be able to detox without medical supervision, those with more serious conditions will want to do so under a doctor’s care.

During detox, medical doctors and addiction specialists will pay close attention to vital signs to watch for serious withdrawal symptoms. They may also prescribe medications to make the person more comfortable. This can help the person get through the worst parts of withdrawal and avoid relapse due to uncomfortable symptoms.

In addition to helping a person become substance-free, the ultimate goal of detox programs is to help prepare the person for the next stage of treatment. For most, people this will include inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment, or a combination of both.

Illinois Inpatient Treatment

For those with serious addictions, inpatient treatment offers the best long-term outcomes. This type of treatment is also ideal for those who have co-occurring physical or mental health conditions or for whom an unstable living environment may cause them to relapse. Inpatient programs require clients to stay at a facility 24/7 under the care of medical professionals and addiction specialists.

In an inpatient facility, your days will include individual and group counseling, support groups, and complementary therapies. You will examine the root causes of your addiction and receive education about how to avoid relapse and achieve long-term recovery. You may also participate in yoga, meditation, and exercise programs to boost your mental and physical health. There is no set length for inpatient treatment, but most programs last between 30 and 90 days.

Illinois Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment is a great option for clients with strong support systems at home and/or family and work responsibilities that they need to maintain while receiving treatment. Like inpatient treatment, this program includes a combination of therapy, group counseling, and substance abuse education. The main difference is that you aren’t required to stay at the facility 24/7 and can generally keep up with your normal routine.

Some people enter outpatient treatment after completing inpatient rehab, but you can also begin an outpatient program without receiving additional care. Depending on your program and your personal needs, you may attend treatment sessions once a week or multiple times a week. Your treatment provider will help you determine the treatment frequency. Many people take part in outpatient treatment while also attending community support groups.

Illinois Support Groups and Aftercare Treatment

Support groups like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are commonly used in recovery from drugs and alcohol. For many people, these groups play an important role in helping them stay sober. Both AA and NA are based around a 12-step recovery program that focuses on making amends for their drug and/or alcohol use and staying accountable for their own recovery. These groups also help recovering addicts build a community of support and assist others with similar problems, which can provide additional benefits.

Reach Out for Help Today

Regardless of the drug addiction, you are struggling with, you can find a drug rehab program in Illinois to fit your needs. It all starts with reaching out for help. You can contact a treatment provider directly or call the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances. A representative from the helpline will be able to connect you to a treatment program in your community.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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