Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sullivan
Addiction leads to homelessness. Research shows that two-thirds of people who are homeless; confess that their addiction to drugs and alcohol are the primary reason they are homeless. Many people report that their substance abuse is a result of becoming homeless and not the cause.
Most of the people that are homeless say that they are staying in their situation because of alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for many people.
But what causes them to stay on the streets? Specifically, when they know there is help out there.
If someone you love is experiencing homelessness as a result of addiction to alcohol or drugs, give us a call at (385) 327-7418. Let’s discuss treatment options and get your loved one on the road to transformation.
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Experiencing homelessness and addiction is not easy. Let us help you find the way out for yourself or a loved one.
- How Street Life Increases the Use of Substances
- Understanding Peer Pressure
- Finding a Way to Survive Financially While Homeless
- Breaking Addictions
- Mental Illness, Addiction, and Homelessness
- Treatment Options for Homeless People Struggling With Addiction
- Therapy Options for Homeless Individuals Who are Addicted
- Medication Options for Individuals Who Are Homeless and Addicted
- Paying for Rehab While Homeless
- Rejoining Society After Addiction and Homelessness
- Learn Your Options for Addiction Treatment Today
How Street Life Increases the Use of Substances
When someone becomes homeless, they will often turn to alcohol or drugs in order to deal with the stress. Self-medication is a very common factor when living on the streets.
Another common reason people will drink or take drugs is to fit into the lifestyle. Being homeless has its own lifestyle. It is common for people to dive into drugs and alcohol in order to feel like they are a part of the community. They also want a sense of belonging.
The correlation of street life and substance abuse is complicated. It provides us with a lot of additional issues to look at. Start helping those suffering from homelessness. It is important to understand the relationship between living on the streets and substance abuse.
Understanding Peer Pressure
When someone becomes homeless, they will often become distant from their relatives and friends. They will lose touch with social institutions. For example, they are not keeping in contact with school relationships. The feeling of support disappears from their life. Then, the homeless will often turn to homeless peers to fill their needs.
These needs can include:
- Education about street survival
The peer relationships found are often to learn how to survive on the streets. They will become friends with other displaced members of society to survive.
Finding a Way to Survive Financially While Homeless
Finding ways to maintain money is a very ordinary thing to see amongst the homeless. The biggest source of income for most is panhandling.
However, there are other forms of income that homeless people will often partake in:
- Drug distribution
- Trading services for money
- Getting money from their friends and family
It is clear that there need to be more economic resources available to the homeless, however, having access to these resources can influence substance abuse even more. It is uncertain why the correlation between employment and substance abuse exists, but that is what makes it difficult to stop.
Getting oneself to break an addiction is a hard task. Homeless addicts struggle even more. Motivation is often at an all-time low when someone becomes homeless.
Lack of motivation makes it difficult for anyone to accomplish anything, let alone addicts.
When someone becomes homeless, they often have higher needs than getting over their addiction. Finding food and shelter often takes a higher priority. As a result, that person’s mental health and development are not taken seriously.
Having little to no support makes these times very difficult. When they are estranged from their friends and family, any sense of support system goes away with them.
Recovering from addiction can be difficult with a support system. Take that system away, and it becomes very difficult.
Substance abuse is a big issue on the streets, and this is why most people struggle to quit their addiction and remain homeless. Moreover, many of the programs available to homeless people are abstinence-only treatments.
It has been found that abstinence-only programs are less effective than harm-reduction strategies. These programs also do not address the likelihood of relapsing.
When a person is displaced from their routine and becomes homeless, breaking addiction can seem impossible.
Mental Illness, Addiction, and Homelessness
Mental illness is often linked to homeless people suffering from substance addiction. It is often found that those who have mental illnesses while living on the street will self-medicate. This self-medication is often a starting point for addiction to a substance.
It is not impossible to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with this. Struggling with these issues separately can be difficult for anyone. Someone suffering from both is an extremely difficult burden to reconcile.
There are addiction treatment facilities all around the country that specialize in co-occuring disorders. However, you must find a facility that can help with addiction and mental illness.
It is important to note that each program out there is different. Likewise, you should know that it is okay if one facility doesn’t fit. Every person has different needs and experiences. Every facility is not the right fit for every addict. It would help if you focused on finding the right facility and program and focused on individual needs.
Treatment Options for Homeless People Struggling With Addiction
When finding the right facility, you should look at the history of the staff. Having knowledge about the unique issues that are unique to the homeless community. The facility that you are looking at should also have information about care if a relapse occurs.
Here is a list of common services a recovery center should provide in order to treat their patients to the fullest extent. They are:
- How to physically take care of yourself and your well-being
- Learning how to properly manage your money
- Assistance with maintaining relationships with friends and family
- Finding employment opportunities
- Finding education opportunities
- Helping you reconfigure daily living skills
- How to properly rejoin the community
In addition, helping and aiding an addict is what these treatments are for.
Therapy Options for Homeless Individuals Who are Addicted
If you, or a loved one, decides to go to a treatment facility center, then one of the main approaches you will see be therapy. Again, it is important to realize that every person’s needs are different. What might work for one person might not work for another.
Try taking a few different therapy sessions to find yours. Find what best works for you and stick with it. Look at different facilities and see what type of therapy they are offering.
In conclusion, finding and sticking with the right therapy sessions will be the key to your recovery. Also, keeping someone from relapsing.
Depending on the individual’s needs beliefs, some treatment facilities may offer another approach. There are some treatments out there that offer a higher-power emphasis in their therapy sessions.
Some can offer a faith-centered therapy option. There is also the option of finding a 12-step program. When it comes to programs like these, the environment must be acceptable.
It should be a sympathetic and uplifting environment. Letting people feel like they have a safe place to talk about what they need to.
Medication Options for Individuals Who Are Homeless and Addicted
Medication is offered to homeless people that suffer from substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues. Common medications that get prescribed to addicts of drugs like heroin, morphine, or hydrocodone.
For example, the meds to help are usually:
When it comes to alcohol addiction the prescriptions to help are:
To clarify, getting prescriptions for drug or alcohol abuse will not cure someone. These medications are meant to help stop withdrawal symptoms. Also, any cravings they may be experiencing. They could help prevent someone from going through a relapse.
If someone is suffering from a mental illness there are also common medications that are administered to help.
These medications can often include:
- Anti-anxiety medications
You should never take medications on your own. That is to say: find a professional who can help you figure out what medications are best suited for your needs.
Paying for Rehab While Homeless
A common concern for people that are homeless is: they are not able to afford the treatment. Because of this, the motivation to get help is often nonexistent. However; there are a couple of options available for people in this predicament.
There are programs out there that can assist you. Get the help that you need. These programs include:
Most of the time, these programs will cover most or all of the needed substance abuse treatment.
But what happens if you are not eligible for these programs? Good news! There are scholarships available that you can apply for. You can put these towards covering the treatment payments.
Rehab centers have amazing programs that help transform lives. Ready to have your or your loved one’s life transformed? Call us at (385) 327-7418!
Rejoining Society After Addiction & Homelessness
Rejoining society can be a big culture shock for most homeless addicts. It may take a long time before someone going through this is ready to rejoin their peers.
Research has shown that the longer homeless people with an addiction stay in treatment facilities, the more likely they will get clean and stay clean.
It is time to leave the facility. What happens? It is important choosing the right facility. How do you know if it is right? It has programs that will help someone get and stay on their feet.
A facility that helps someone continue with success, even post-treatment, is good. The centers that provide you with an aftercare program or utilities. These are the best type of treatment centers to attend. Becoming sober is another battle all on its own.
It is important to have the proper support system after you leave. The best centers will offer aftercare programs. Designing these programs decreases the risk of relapse for a patient that is being released.
These programs can include:
- Outpatient treatment
- One-on-one counseling
- Group therapy
- Support groups
- 12-step programs
Prepare for a battle after going through everything you just went through. Becoming homeless, an addict, getting help, and being released into society is a lot to handle. There is no embarrassment. Take the time to complete the needed treatment. Everyone is different.
Learn Your Options for Addiction Treatment Today
Remember, while it may be easy to say “go get some help” it is not easy to have the motivation. It may take some time to get to where you, or your loved one, need to be to make the changes. Do not get discouraged and do not give up. Anyone can get through this. Including you.
Recovery has transformed the lives of many people.
If you or someone you love needs help, please call (385) 327-7418. Talk to a representative today. Figure out how to start the transformation to living a new life!
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