Drug Addiction Treatment Methods

March 9th, 2011

Effective drug addiction treatment methods are a relatively new development in medicine.  Until the 1950’s addicts would be sent to psychiatric wards where they would not receive any treatment specific to their addiction.
After a brief detoxification, addicted and alcoholic people would be released when they were likely relapse and continue using.  It was only the development of effective drug addiction treatment methods in America that brought hope back to addicts.
Drug addiction has been shown to be a complex illness.  It has physical signs as well as behaviours that can be used to diagnose it.  The chief behavioural characteristics of this disease are compulsive drug use no matter what the consequences may be.  The addict will persistently obsess over getting drugs and compulsively using them.  Physical signs include tolerance and the presence of withdrawal symptoms if the addicted person stops using the drug.
Drug addiction has been shown to be a brain disease that affects the way the brain functions.  It affects several areas of the brain – the reward centres which govern how we experience pleasure, learning and memory, as well as our ability to control our behaviour.  Drug addiction treatment methods have evolved to include psychiatric and psychological counselling approaches to these damages.
Addiction affects many areas of life and causes damages to each of these.  Physical, mental, social, vocational, financial and spiritual areas are all negatively impacted by drug abuse.  This means that effective addictions treatment centres need to address all of these dimensions.
In order to accomplish this, drug addiction treatment methods will employ different components each of which is focused on a particular aspect of the illness.
The goal of all drug addiction treatment methods is to help the individual to gain a life that is free of the compulsion and obsession to use drugs.  Addiction is a chronic disease and so abstinence is required indefinitely.  The addict cannot attempt “controlled using” after a period of recovery and not expect the disease to reoccur.  Many addicts will require more than one treatment episode to attain recovery.
Drug addiction treatment methods can be defined on a few axes:

Inpatient or Outpatient – This sort of program determines whether a patient lives full time at the rehab or not.  Outpatient programs are suited more for high functioning people who are more in the drug abuse phase than the full blown drug addiction phase and can resist the temptation to use at home.
Short-term or long-term – This refers to the treatment length.  Short-term programs can be in-patient or out-patient and can last from a few weeks to a few months.  Long term drug addiction treatment programs can last between 90 days and over a year and are aimed at severe addictions for whom it has been shown that this treatment length is needed.
Step-down treatment – where the patient is being reintegrated to society in special halfway house or tertiary care addiction  centres.
Maintenance treatment – where the person receives an ongoing dose of a drug (e.g.: methadone) in order to try and prevent them from using a more harmful drug (e.g.: heroin).
If in stable drug addiction recovery this ‘maintenance’ can also refer to aftercare at the rehab and 12-step support groups like AA & NA.

Drug addiction treatment methods will apply certain basic principles.  Addiction is seen as a disease that affects brain function and many different areas of life.  Because of its complexity addiction treatment must be tailored for the individual and no single treatment will be best for everybody.
Contact us to find out more about what type of drug addiction treatment will work for you or your loved one.
In order to be effective drug addiction treatment methods need to attend to the individual needs of the patient.  The patient needs to remain in treatment for long enough for all aspects of their addiction to be dealt with.  Addictions counselling is one of the most commonly used and effective therapeutic methods.
Medication is an important part of helping patients through detox and can also be necessary in the maintenance phases.  This is particularly true for patients who have a dual diagnosis.
If you feel that you need help with your drug use then please contact our expert intake coordinators who are waiting for your call.  They will confidentially assess your case and provide you with independent advice as to a drug addiction treatment solution.

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