Over the last couple of decades, a wave of new drugs has come onto the marketplace which have wreaked havoc throughout the UK. Formerly known as “legal highs” prior to the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 which criminalised them, these “designer drugs” or “new psychoactive substances” (NPS) include such dangerous chemicals as mephedrone (“meow meow” or “bath salts”) which has been a factor in numerous deaths (including some very high-profile killings) and “Spice”, a synthetic “marijuana substitute” which is currently plaguing Britain’s urban areas, leaving some users in a “zombified” state and others describing it as “worse than heroin”.
At Primrose Lodge, our CQC-registered clinic in the heart of Surrey, we provide dependency treatment and round-the-clock care to people suffering from addiction to any “legal highs”. Our full-service facility, staffed by highly experienced professionals, offers holistic therapy in an attractive, peaceful setting in which NPS addicts can focus fully on their recovery away from the temptations and troubles of daily life.
Therapy is a fundamental element of the battle against addiction. At Primrose Lodge, after a patient has undergone detoxification (see below) and their system is cleansed of substances of abuse, they will be provided the therapy they need to address the root causes of their addiction. We offer a variety of therapy models – as each case of addiction is unique, there is no “one size fits all” approach to therapy and individual patients may need to investigate various approaches before finding the one that is most appropriate to their requirements – in both one-to-one and group settings, allowing each patient to explore their individual situations whilst also benefiting from the experiences and learnings of others who have bene down similar paths to addiction.
Detoxification – “detox” – is the process of cleansing a patient’s system of substances such as so-called “legal highs”. This is an inescapable element of overcoming addiction and is vital before the addict can move into therapy; however, it can be a daunting prospect because it is often accompanied by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as the addict’s body and mind become readjusted to a life without substance abuse.
If you attend Primrose Lodge, in order to ensure your safety as you go through withdrawal and to ameliorate as far as possible the worst withdrawal symptoms, we offer a medically assisted detox: our clinical medical team will provide you with therapeutic support and 24/7 care so that you are able to undergo detox as comfortably as possible, and without worrying for your safety even in the most severe case of addiction to any “legal high”. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the specific drug to which you are addicted, medication may be able to help treat some of the worst aspects of withdrawal.
The nature, extent, severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms all vary significantly as a result of factors including (but not limited to) the physiology of the addict; the specific substance of abuse; the dosages consumed; the method frequency of consumption; and the duration of the addiction. Therefore, a comprehensive withdrawal timeline applicable to all patients is simply impossible to provide.
Roughly speaking, however, withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest anywhere between an hour and a couple of days after your last dose, and will usually start in the form of intense cravings and increasingly strong feelings of irritability. Over the following couple of days withdrawal will intensify and may feature nausea, muscle spasms, sweating, anxiety attacks, wild mood swings, paranoia, hallucinations and extreme lethargy, alongside greatly disrupted sleep and dietary patterns.
Symptoms will usually peak after two or three days and will then begin to subside over the following week or so, with cravings still present but decreasing in frequency and intensity. After between ten days and two weeks, symptoms should disappear – although you are likely to feel pronounced depression throughout this period, which may well persist for some time after the other symptoms have departed. If it – or any other symptoms – lingers beyond two or three weeks, you may have developed post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which may last months or even years and will probably require therapy on an ongoing basis.
Residential rehabilitation – “rehab” – has become recognised as the most effective way to treat addiction and to secure a permanent recovery, and has saved countless lives worldwide over the past few decades since addiction treatment became a mainstream practice. Rehab sees addicts taken out from their daily circumstances (which often form a vicious circle of substance abuse) and placed in a peaceful and attractive environment highly conducive to therapeutic treatment – where they can, moreover, build up a peer group of fellow addicts with whom they can share advice and experiences for mutual benefit.
At Primrose Lodge, our standard rehab programme lasts 28 days (though in severe cases patients may wish to stay longer, and we are able to facilitate that if requested) and treats addicts physically, mentally and spiritually; only this holistic approach treats all aspects of the addiction and ensures that our patients are strengthened in all the requisite areas before continuing their recovery outside the facility.
At Primrose Lodge, each patient’s treatment programme is tailored to their individual situation and requirements; we recognise that every case is unique and our world-class staff will bring their immense collective experience to bear to help you overcome your addiction. After going through medically assisted detox, you will have access to a range of proven therapy models including:
We also offer a unique Family Recovery Programme to our patients’ spouses/partners and other loved ones; we know that addiction can often result in the neglect of family members and yet their support can be crucial in sustaining a permanent recovery, so involving them in treatment – and allowing them to begin their own healing process – can be a key element of the overall programme.
As mentioned above, rehab has long been acknowledged as the most effective form of treatment for addiction, resulting in long-term recovery and a life free of substance abuse. Some of the benefits provided by Primrose Lodge include:
Sadly teenagers and young people are no more immune to the temptations of new psychoactive substances than anyone else – indeed, some of those substances have been marketed directly to a younger customer base. However, help is at hand: at our sister centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, we provide first-rate addiction treatment to 16 to 18-year-olds – one of the few facilities in the country to do so. If a young person you know is struggling with the abuse of, or addiction to, “legal highs” get in touch so we can discuss next steps with you and get them onto the path to recovery.
Everyone who comes to Primrose Lodge for treatment is entitled to one year’s free aftercare: the process of recovery is not complete when you leave us, but is ongoing and you may require and/or desire supplementary therapy and support. We offer outpatient support via weekly sessions of one-to-one therapy; we also provide support over the phone if you are unable to make a session but still feel that you are in need of assistance. Seeking supplementary support after you leave rehab is in no way shameful – cravings can occur even years after your last dose – and if you are struggling with the temptation to relapse simply give us a call and we’ll help you stay on your feet
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New psychoactive substances (“legal highs”) are an increasingly problematic scourge in villages, towns and cities right across the UK, and while the long-term mental effects of these drugs are yet to be established, even the short-term damage caused by some of them is obviously horrendous, and visible in the form of many addicts shuffling and stumbling through their days as if struggling with serious brain damage. If you are addicted to an NPS – or worried you may be becoming so – get help immediately so you don’t run the risk of becoming such a terrible casualty.