What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a disease that causes long term changes in the brain that's characterized by an uncontrollable urge to seek out and use drugs despite knowledge of all the harmful consequences. The harmful habits of people suffering from drug addiction come as a result of these changes inside the brain. Drug dependency is a degenerative illness. Relapse is returning to a habit of drug use after a serious attempt to stop using.
Addiction starts when the decision to take drugs is first made. However, over time, it becomes increasingly difficult for the person not to do so. The need to obtain and consume the drug becomes a driving force. This is mainly because of the effects of long-term substance exposure on the functioning of the brain. Dependency affects regions of the brain that are involved in learning and memory; motivation and reward; and command over behaviour.
The workings of the human brain, coupled with human behaviour are altered by addiction.
Can Substance Dependency Be Treated?
There is, but it is a long journey. Since dependency is a chronic illness, individuals cannot just quit using the substances for a day or two and be cured of it. Most patients need long haul or rehashed care to quit utilizing totally and recoup their lives.
An addict in treatment must work toward the following:
- quit utilising drugs
- remain drug-free
- Resuming their responsibilities at home, workplace and community
Principles Of Effective Treatment
In light of logical research since the mid-1970s, the accompanying key standards ought to frame the premise of any compelling treatment program:
- Dependency is an intricate, but treatable illness which affects the functioning of the brain and behaviour.
- There is no particular treatment that is fitting for all.
- Easy access to rehab is of utmost importance.
- To be successful, the treatment plan should not focus on the addiction only but the whole person.
- Going through with the programme is essential.
- The most common forms of treatment are behaviour therapies like counselling.
- Medications are regularly an imperative component of treatment, particularly when consolidated with behavioural therapies.
- To make sure the user's most current requirements are met, there is a need for continuous evaluations and adjustments to the treatment regime.
- Mental illnesses associated with drug dependency need to be treated too.
- The first step during treatment involves detoxification that is overseen by medical personnel.
- For treatment to be successful, it does not need to be voluntary.
- Substance use during treatment should be observed constantly.
- A treatment programme must test a patient for hepatitis B and C, TB, HIV/AIDS and other infectious illnesses and educate the patient about things he/she can do to reduce his/her risk of these diseases.
How Is Substance Dependency Treated?
Effective treatment comprises many steps:
- detox (the process when the body cleanses itself of a substance)
- Psychological therapist
- medication (for tobacco, opioid, or alcohol addiction)
- evaluation and treatment for mental health issues like anxiety and depression that co-occur with addiction
- lifelong follow-up in an attempt to prevent relapsing
Success could be achieved through different types of care that come with customised treatment method and follow-up options.
Treatment should compromise mental and medical health services as required. Follow-up care may comprise group or family-based recuperation supportive networks.
How Is Medication Employed In Substance Dependency Treatment?
Medication can be employed to deal with withdrawal symptoms, treat co-occurring conditions and prevent a relapse.
- Withdrawal During the detoxification process, medication helps suppress the physical reactions. Detoxification is just the very first step in the process and not "treatment" in itself. A patient who does not get any additional treatment after completing a detox generally continue their substance use. As revealed by a study of treatment facilities, 80% of the cases of detoxification involved medications (SAMHSA, 2014).
- Relapse Prevention Medications can help manage cravings and help patients re-establish normal brain activity. Medication is available for the treatment of tobacco (nicotine), alcohol and opioid (prescription pain relievers and heroin) dependency. Medications that could be used in treating cannabis (marijuana) and stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) addiction are being developed by scientists at present. It's really common for addicts to use more than one drug and they will need treatment for each substance.
How Are Behavioural Therapies Used To Treat Drug Addiction?
Psychotherapy assists addicts to:
- Change their conducts and practices linked with drug usage
- Learn to exercise healthy life skills
- Continue with varying forms of treatment like medication
A patient can get treatment in several different environments using different approaches.
Outpatient behavioural treatment incorporates a wide assortment of projects for patients who visit a behavioural health counsellor on a fixed schedule. The majority of the programmes incorporate group or one-to-one substance counselling or both these forms.
These projects normally offer types of behavioural treatment, for example,
- Cognitive behavioural therapy used to help the patient identify trigger circumstances where they are most vulnerable to taking the drugs and how to avoid them and move on to overcome the addiction
- Multidimensional family therapy in which not just the patient but also his/her family is involved able to sort out a lot of things and help the whole family cope with the changes and heal together
- motivational interviewing, that makes the most of a person's willingness to alter their behaviour and start treatment
- Motivational incentives that work by positively reinforcing like rewards to help the patient's urge for drugs reduce
At first, treatment can be as intensive as multiple outpatient sessions every week. Subsequent to finishing escalated treatment, patients move to customary outpatient treatment, which meets less frequently and for decreased hours every week to help manage their recuperation.
For people with problems of high severity (plus co-occurring disorders), residential or inpatient programs will have better effects. Authorised residential treatment centre offers 24-hour organized and proper care, including safe lodging and medicinal consideration. Inpatient treatment facilities can use many therapeutic approaches and are usually working toward assisting the patient after treatment to maintain a drug free, crime free lifestyle.
The following are some examples of residential treatment settings are:
- Rigidly structured programs where patients remain inpatient for 6 to 12 months are called therapeutic communities. Everybody at the facility, whether caregivers or administrators and fellow patients play a role in the recovery of the patient helping them cope with the changes and challenges of withdrawal.
- Shorter-term residential treatment, which ordinarily concentrates on detoxification and also giving early extensive counselling and readiness for treatment in a community based setting.
- Recovery housing that offers supervised, short-term accommodation for a patient, frequently after other kinds of inpatient/residential treatment. Recovery housing can assist a person to complete the changeover to an independent life-for example, assisting him/her learn how to tackle finances or look for a job, as well as linking them to the community's support services.
Coping With Joining The Community
Habitual intake of drugs alters the normal functions of the brain, and various things can cause one to have a burning desire to take the drugs. For everyone in treatment, but especially for those in an inpatient program or prison, it's essential to learn how to recognize, avoid, and handle any triggers they may encounter after treatment.