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There are people who are able to use drugs and alcohol without ever becoming addicted, or even dependent. However, the majority of people use substances because they have certain problems in their lives, and they try to escape from these. When people use drugs in order to deal with problems, then the inevitable consequence is actually for those problems to become worse over time, as well as adding new problems, such as shame, helplessness, isolation, and depression.
If you believe you may have such a problem, or that a friend or family member does, then know that help is available. You may also benefit from learning more about drug and alcohol addiction, as this will give you a greater understanding of just how powerful the hold is that it has over people. Understanding the problem is essential in being able to resolve the problem.
Understanding Use, Abuse, and Addiction
There are many reasons as to why people experiment with drugs. For many, the first time is curiosity. They may have heard it is fun, their friends are doing it, and more. Others start to use to improve their physical fitness or because they have problems such as depression, anxiety, or stress and they feel they are better able to cope by using drugs. Not everybody who starts to use will also abuse drugs, and there isn’t a specific moment in time at which point a casual user becomes a problematic user as well.
Essentially, substance abuse and addiction is not about how much people use or how often. Rather, it is about why they started to use, and why they continue to use. The same is true with developing a drinking problem. It is also very much about what happens as a result of their use. If problems start to exist in life, including at home, at school, at work, or in relationships, then an abuse or addiction problem is likely to be present.
Why Do Some People Develop an Addiction, But Not All?
The extent to which people are vulnerable to addiction differ for each person. A lot of factors are involved here, including social environment, family, mental health, and genes. However, there are a number of known risk factors that make it more likely for someone to become addicted. These include:
• Having a family member who has an addiction
• Going through traumatic experiences, including abuse or neglect
• Having a mental illness, including anxiety and depression
• Starting to use drugs early in life
• How drugs are administered, injecting or smoking, tend to lead to addiction more quickly.
Treatment Strategy for Drug & Alcohol Addiction Rehab
The first step towards recovery is recognizing that a problem exists. Nevertheless, even people who don’t admit that they have a problem can still be helped. Admitting it, however, will make the difficult road to recovery a lot easier to travel. It is about no longer making excuses or minimizing the issue, no matter how overwhelming and frightening it may feel. Help is out there for everybody, enabling them to lead a clean, sober, happy, and healthy life.
Addiction is treatable, but it isn’t simple. Addiction is classed as a chronic illness, which means that it is about more than simply being clean for a few days and being declared “cured”. In reality, people need lengthy and often repeated interventions and care in order to truly recover. Some even suggest that someone can never be “cured” from addiction because of its chronic nature, although others disagree with that.
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment has to achieve three different things. The first is to get the patients to stop using their chosen substance. The second is for them to remain drug free. Lastly, they must learn to once again become productive in society, at work, and in their family.
Principles of Effective Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Since the 1970s, scientists have been looking at how addiction treatment is most likely to be effective. They have determined a number of key principles in addiction treatment:
1. That addiction may be complex but it can be treated
2. That the disease of addiction affects both behavior and brain function
3. That there is no one size fits all treatment solution
4. That access to treatment should be quick and easy
5. That all the needs of the patients are addressed, not just their drug use
6. That people must remain in treatment for the right length of time
7. That behavioral therapy and counseling must be offered as a treatment type
8. That medication may be used together with behavioral therapy to treat an individual
9. That a treatment plan should be regularly reviewed and changed to meet the needs of the patient
10. That mental disorders should be identified and treated
11. That the period of medically supervised detox is only the first stage of recovery
12. That people can also get help even if they don’t want to
13. That patients must be continuously monitored for drug use
14. That patients should be tested for infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS
15. That treatment should also include education in terms of risk reduction
Through the above principles, effective treatment is now known to have to go through a number of specific steps:
1. Detox, whereby the body becomes physically clean of the drug
2. Behavioral counseling, to start to heal the mind
3. Medication, particularly for alcohol, tobacco, and opioid addictions
4. Evaluation of a co-occurring mental issue and offering treatment if it is found to be present
5. Long-term after care and relapse prevention
Crucial to the success of drug and alcohol addiction treatment is that various care options are available, that the treatment is tailored to the individual, and that they receive proper aftercare. Aftercare can be either family or community based, or both.
Medication in Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment
The use of medication, for many, is seen as controversial when it comes to addiction treatment. Some feel that this only leaves a person addicted to another substance. Research has shown, however, that if properly managed and administered, they can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, manage any co-occurring disorders, and prevent relapse.