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Doing Time: Three to Five Years

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By February 22, 2019

Rehab in New Jersey tends to take a holistic approach which incorporates a multitude of treatment angles to help a person in treatment not only take control back from their substance use disorder, but also tackle the root causes of their addiction, if possible. Some of those root causes can be depression, anxiety, trauma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc. Addiction treatment in NJ that takes a holistic approach will take into consideration mental health along with the actual substance being abused by a patient.

For an addict of illegal substances such as heroin or methamphetamine, simply using the substance with our current War on Drugs policies still in effect puts them at risk to jail and prison time. The sentencing tends to be based on what drug is found in a person’s possession along with how much is on them at the time of arrest due to the ‘intent to distribute’ part of the law. Even if a person buys with the intent for personal use for three months, if arrested, that amount will be charged with ‘intent to distribute’ and carry with it harsher time that averages out across most states as three to five years.

However, there’s another context of three to five years on the other end of substance use disorder; it’s the average amount of time a person who’s received treatment will pass to greatly increase their likelihood of remaining in control of their chronic illness for the rest of their life.

Robert Ashford, recovery scientist at Philadelphia’s University of Sciences Substance Use Disorders Institute says, “Reaching the three to five year mark seems to be a major milestone. That benchmark can signal a reduce risk of returning to substance use because the person with addiction has had the time to develop effective coping skills, social connections and a renewed sense of self, among other healthy attributes. It doesn’t mean your recovery is finished, but it is a reason to breathe a little easier and be proud of yourself.”

Discovery InstituteRelapse prevention is part of a holistic approach to a full treatment plan, which follows a patient after they’ve left in-patient treatment. Sometimes, it comes in the form of outpatient services, other times it’s simply finding a ‘sponsor’ with which to check in and call in times of emergency or stress, an alternative to using when ‘triggered’ to use a substance. However the relapse prevention is dispensed (as it is tailored to the individual), one thing has remained constant; each year of sobriety without relapse tends to diminish the chances of relapse. People in recovery begin to have more at stake to lose as they put their abuse behind them, giving them extra motivation to remain clean and sober and face their difficulties on their own terms instead of with a medication that ultimately would unravel all they worked for.

If you or someone you know is in search of sober living in NJ, calling Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563 is the first step.


Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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