It’s not always easy for an addict to find a doctor who will be helpful. Many doctors refuse to treat addicts who are using illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and speed.
Luckily, many of these drugs don’t necessarily need medical help for withdrawals. As you will see in the next chapter, coming off heroin, methadone and many of the illegal drugs is surprisingly safe.
Barbiturates are quite another thing. These drugs can give dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and therefore coming off them should always be done with medical help.
Those who are taking tranquillisers and alcohol should have medical help on coming off – if it’s the right kind of help. The trouble is that the average family doctor doesn’t necessarily know very much about chemical dependence.
Besides, if you already have a doctor, he may be the one who is giving you the tranquillisers on which you are dependent. Good doctors are usually happy when their patients ask for help in coming off their prescribed pills, but occasionally an out-of-date doctor is reluctant to help. Some do not want to admit that the pills are doing harm, or they do not know how to manage a withdrawal schedule for their patient.
If you think your doctor comes into this category, a chat with long-standing NA or AA members may help you find a new doctor who understands drug dependence better. Treating addicts and alcoholics is still something of a speciality in medicine, rather than general knowledge.
Some addicts need treatment in hospitals and clinics. They just can’t seem to stop and stay stopped without this extra help.