Guardian Intensive Outpatient Program
Synthetic Drugs Rehab

Synthetic drugs, also known as designer drugs, are chemical compounds that are man made in a laboratory. According to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) synthetic drugs are created to mimic the effects of naturally occurring chemical substances and are both addictive and potentially very damaging to physical and psychological health. Despite their inherent danger, it is difficult for these chemical compounds to be effectively regulated by the Food and Drug Administration based on tactics implemented by their manufacturers (such as labeling these drugs “not for human consumption” and packaging them discreetly). Synthetic drugs are commonly abused by adolescents and young adults, seeing as they are both easily accessible and affordable. Some individuals believe that because these chemical substances can be purchased “legally,” they are safer for consumption than illicit drugs – others use these drugs because they cannot be easily detected on most standard drug tests.

There are three main types of synthetic drug: synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic stimulants and synthetic opioids. Synthetic cannabinoids include drugs like K2 and Spice, and are designed to mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Synthetic stimulants include bath salts, and contain compounds that were designed to mimic the effects of drugs like methamphetamine, LSD and cocaine. According to the Congressional Research Service, synthetic drug use dramatically increased from 2009 to 2011, and began decreasing in 2012 and 2013. However, rates of fentanyl abuse – a synthetic opioid that is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine – have been on the rise over the course of the past several years.

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The Effects of Synthetic Drug Abuse

The effects of synthetic drug abuse are entirely unpredictable, and can range from elevated body temperature to permanent psychosis. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids often include nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, extreme anxiety, hyperventilation, body tremors, hallucinations and suicidal ideation. The effects of synthetic stimulants are similar, but also frequently include severe paranoia, delusions and violent outbursts that often lead to users harming themselves and others. If you or someone you love has been abusing synthetic drugs for any length of time, seeking professional treatment is extremely important. Because the effects of these drugs are so variable, integrated clinical care is always necessary.

Our Outpatient Synthetic Drug Rehab Program 

At Guardian IOP we provide a comprehensive outpatient treatment program that helps men and women of all ages successfully overcome synthetic drug abuse. Our outpatient program is ideal for individuals who have already completed medical detox and inpatient treatment, or who have recently started experimenting with synthetic drugs and are looking to take care of the problem before it progresses. Because synthetic drug abuse has physical and psychological implications, effective treatment must offer a combination of therapeutic intervention and psychiatric services. In addition to intensive individual and group family and a personalized psychiatric evaluation, we offer the following recovery-related services:

  • Demographic-specific treatment options – Our group therapy sessions are broken down by gender and age, providing a highly focused approach to treatment and an even more individualized approach to clinical care. In addition to male and female-specific groups, we offer groups for younger adults, adults and older adults. Because synthetic drug abuse tends to primarily affect young adults, demographic-specific tracks prove to be especially beneficial.
  • Family therapy sessions and a Family Workshop – At Guardian IOP we believe in the importance of family involvement. We offer family therapy sessions as well as an intensive, three-day Family Workshop for the loved ones of our clients.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment options – Many individuals who abuse synthetic drugs for an extended period of time develop mild or moderate mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. Our dual diagnosis treatment option focuses on mental health, providing clients with the resources they need to heal from substance abuse and mental illness simultaneously.
  • Relapse Prevention Training – We teach our clients to identify and work through their personal relapse triggers, equipping them with the healthy coping mechanisms they need to maintain sobriety. They learn to identify the warning signs associated with relapse, and they are instilled with a range of tools that ultimately help them stay on the right track.
  • Lifeskills Training – As part of our comprehensive rehab program, we help our clients develop the vital life skills they need to successfully reintegrate into society. We focus on applicable skills that help them navigate the challenges of daily life, like vocational skills, saving and budgeting, healthy communication and setting and maintaining personal boundaries.
  • 12-step program education and immersion – Our outpatient rehab program focuses on 12-step involvement, educating clients on this effective method of addiction recovery and mandating daily meeting attendance and stepwork. Each week of our 8 to 10 week program focuses on a different step and principle.
  • Developing a personalized plan for continuing care – Because synthetic drugs are so psychologically addictive, having a solid aftercare plan in place is essential. Our case managers work closely with each individual client, helping them map out a plan of action once outpatient treatment concludes. Plans for continuing care generally include a continuation of daily 12-step program involvement, ongoing individual therapy and ongoing psychiatric services whenever necessary.

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Synthetic Drug Use and Outpatient Rehab

Because the consequences of synthetic drug abuse are both physically and psychologically devastating, it is highly recommended that outpatient rehab serves as a major step on a multi-phased program of clinical care – one that begins with medical detox and concludes with long-term aftercare. Synthetic drugs can take a major toll on physical and mental health over a short period of time. Even two or three weeks of consistent use can lead to severe psychological damage. However, there are some cases in which our outpatient program can serve as an effective standalone solution. These include:

  • The substance abuse disorder has not yet progressed, and the client has not experienced any significant consequences as a direct result. Maybe the client was just introduced to synthetic drugs, and used a synthetic substance consistently for less than a week – but is still unable to completely quit on his or her own. Outpatient treatment often serves as a beneficial tool in cases such as these by providing therapeutic intervention and a high level of accountability. 
  • Financial restrictions. Attending three to six months of residential drug rehab can be quite costly, especially if you or your loved one is uninsured. Outpatient treatment is an effective and affordable option for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Guardian IOP also works closely with most major national and regional health insurance providers, making our outpatient services that much more accessible to those in need.
  • The client is struggling with a mild substance abuse disorder and has personal responsibilities or obligations that cannot be neglected for months at a time. Some of our clients are the full-time caretakers of dependence, or have high-powered careers that they cannot step away from. We offer a flexible level of clinical care for clients with pre-existing obligations. It is important to keep in mind that some treatment is better than no treatment.

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    Synthetic drug abuse is unpredictable, and leaving a substance abuse disorder untreated for any length of time can result in serious and permanent consequences. Guardian IOP is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and individualized care available, treating drug addiction at its root and helping our clients and their family members develop the skills and tools needed to heal on a deep and lasting level. To learn more about our flexible, integrated and highly personalized outpatient treatment program give us a call today at (855) 517-1871, we are available to help you 24/7.