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The Importance of Better Diagnostic Services at Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation Centers

People have been fighting about gun rights – it's been a heated topic in politics for years following the many unfortunate shootings. But recent news reveals that deaths from drug abuse outnumber deaths caused by shootings. Drug addiction isn't one-dimensional – it can have various easily treatable underlying causes. Better diagnostic services at rehab centers can pinpoint any underlying deficiencies or pathologies and allow physicians to offer more effective individualized treatment to patients.


This year the U.S. average life expectancy has dropped – which is something that hasn't happened in two decades. Experts say that it's mostly due to heart attacks and drug abuse. In fact, deaths related to opioid abuse have risen by 4 to 73 percent this year, depending on the specific drug. It's enough to make opioid-related deaths higher in number than gun-related deaths.

But researchers found that drug intervention, like rehab centers, helps prevent drug-caused deaths. They've also found that pharmacies that implement opiate buyback programs help lower the prevalence of prescription drug misuse.

Drug users are victims and not criminals. You might think all drug abusers are people who are out looking for illegal fun – but a good percentage of drug abusers were created by doctors. These are patients who're innocent – they were suffering from real pain and their doctors prescribed them medications for too long a period or without giving them instructions when or how to stop. They could be any age – from 14-year old high school athletes who've sprained their ankles to 60-year old postal office workers who've sprained their backs lifting heavy packages. These are people who are obediently following their doctors' orders and taking their medications as prescribed – which has made them addicted to their prescribed opioids.

Teens are especially susceptible to drug addiction. If they're prescribed an opioid to treat a painful injury, then become addicted – the prescription then becomes a gateway drug to harsher, illegal drugs. They tell the story of a 12-year old whose road into opioid addiction ended up killing him years later from a heroin overdose.

Addiction and drug abuse should be treated like any other disease – which is what doctors are also now trying to raise awareness about. Rehab centers should diagnose and treat drug abuse patients with blood tests, x-rays, brain imaging, and other biometrics rather than diagnose based on the traditional one-dimension description of symptoms only. These diagnostics can reveal hidden causes for cravings and addictions, like a deficiency in B vitamins caused by chronic drinking. Medline Plus says that a chronic lack of B vitamins can cause nausea, dizziness, foggy thoughts, and other neurological problems that mimic withdrawal symptoms.

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Also, habitually using nicotine products can cause vitamin C deficiency, which can cause dry and splitting hair, dry and painful skin, swollen joints, and anemia. Something as simple as a daily glass of orange juice can make withdrawal multiple times less difficult.

Most Americans also eat a Western diet, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids but lower in omega-3 fatty acids. This can lead to an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. Drug abuse can also lead to omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because of poor eating habits. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can cause numbness or pain in the extremities, vision problems, dermatitis, and other symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is a must regardless of whether a deficiency exists because researchers found that supplementing with DHA and EPA daily lowered cravings in heavy smokers – and after a month, lowered the number of times they smoked a day. They also found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation boosts psychological health and your ability to cope with stress, which is one major reason people abuse drugs.

These deficiencies can be a result of physical reactions to the drugs. For example, painkiller withdrawal can cause diarrhea and vomiting, which can both drain you of nutrients and result in these unpleasant symptoms. But a high-fiber diet can lessen these gastrointestinal symptoms.

That's why it's important to choose a rehab center that offers neuro-rehabilitative services. These offer better care and can discover underlying causes for your withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

If you're dealing with addiction – it's not your fault. Choose a rehab center that offers better diagnostic services so you can learn if there are underlying reasons for your addiction and get better care for your recovery.

Updated 3/11/2017