Drug Addiction Treatment
Drug addiction is a condition which is still widely stigmatised and misunderstood in society today. The effects of substance abuse and addiction are far reaching, impacting negatively on not only the addict, and all those close to them too.
Because drug addiction begins with a choice to pick up the substance, most people blame drug addicts completely for their condition and show very little empathy, which adds to the stigma and compounds the problem.
What may have begun as a bad choice can escalate into a vicious downward spiral of loss of control of the substance the person’s addicted to, until the drug addict cannot break free, but needs professional help and support to get out of the cycle.
Once addicted to drugs it becomes immensely difficult to simply ‘give up’ and it may be necessary for both professional drug addiction treatment and community support to enhance the patients’ chances of addiction recovery.
Why Do Drug Addicts Keep Using Drugs?
Most people who become addicted to drugs believe in the beginning of their using careers that they can give it up at any time. Most often they’ll attempt to give up on their own without getting professional help or enrolling in a drug addiction treatment programme.
Some may find a measure of success, however many people fail to reach long term recovery. Substance abuse which has been ongoing generally results in the brain altering to new patterns which continue even after the person stops using drugs.
The changes in the brain can result in behavioural consequences, such as a loss of control of drug use even in the face of the negative effects.
Intense cravings for drugs can be triggered from things like work related stress, family issues, mental illness (either caused by or preceding the drug use), pain caused by medical problems, associations with old friends from drug using days, and environmental reminders of drug abuse (places, smells, objects, etc.) Sometimes the individual is not even consciously aware of what triggers intense drug craving and relapse.
It is advisable for an addict to consider treatment when trying to give up drugs. Help is available and participation in treatment is beneficial to recovery, especially severely addicted people.
Once severely addicted the chances of a positive outcome are increased through long term rehabilitation.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Drug addiction treatment depends on the type of drugs being used, the length of time they have been used and the characteristics of the addicted person. The best treatment usually has a mix of treatments and services.
The purpose of the treatment is to help those who are addicted to stop using drugs and to make changes in their lifestyle which will cement their recovery.
Treatment can take place in different settings and forms and it can be done over different lengths of time. The best treatment is that which is developed individually for a person. Addiction is prone to relapse, so treatment should be long term and have follow up group support when it is completed.
Drug addiction treatment which is most effective usually combines behavioural therapies (individual and group therapy) and medication which is monitored by medical staff trained in substance abuse. Many drug addicts also suffer from other health problems and have issues to deal with regarding family, work and social problems. All of these also need to be addressed during treatment.
Different medications help to ease the patient through withdrawal of different substances. These need to be monitored by professionals as most drug addicts use more than one substance. Sometimes antidepressants or other such medications need to be administered as well.
Along with the medication, therapy is essential to help people with motivation and to teach ways to cope with cravings. Therapy also guides patients on how to avoid future drug use and prevent relapse or deal with relapse if it happens.
Therapy also deals with all the relational dynamics which the person deals with in life including family, friends and work colleagues. A combination of group therapy and individual therapy is usually effective.
Is Drug Addiction Treatment Effective?
The purpose of drug addiction treatment is for the patient to change their lifestyle of substance abuse and return to productive functioning in society. Research has shown that most people who receive long term treatment for drug addiction recover and fit back into society in an improved way.
Individual treatment, however, depends on the severity of the addiction, the appropriateness of the treatment and the relationship between the patient and the treatment centre staff. With regard to relapse, drug addiction relapse follows a similar pattern to that of other chronic disorders like diabetes, asthma and hypertension and has proven to be effective.
Drug addiction should also be seen as a chronic disorder, like diabetes, which can be managed successfully. Treatment deals with the effects of drug abuse on the brain and allows the patient to return to a productive drug-free lifestyle. Of course, relapse is always a possibility, as with most chronic disorders, however it does not mean that treatment was a failure. Successful treatment generally requires continual monitoring and modification, where necessary.
Drug addiction treatment is the best way to reach recovery and improve the lifestyles of addicts and all those close to them. The ideal scenario would be where society supports the recovering addicts and the general negative mindset of the public changes to one of understanding and empathy, seeing addiction as a chronic disorder which needs treatment.
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