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What Is Drug Addiction?

That chronic health condition where people cannot control the way they search for and make use of drugs irrespective of the fact that this can damage their health and alter their mental state forever is called Drug addiction. These adjustments in the mind can prompt to the hurtful practices found in individuals who take drugs. Addiction to drugs is a disease that can throw people into relapse too. Relapse is a situation where the person goes back to drug use after making efforts to overcome addiction.


Addiction starts when the decision to take drugs is first made. With time, the user is unable to stop voluntarily the need to use the drug. Looking for and using the substance becomes uncontrollable. The major cause of this it how long term drug exposure alters brain activity. The parts of the brain that control reward and motivation, learning and memory, and self control are all significantly affected by addiction.

Addiction influences both behaviour and the brain.


Is Drug Addiction Treatable?

It can, however it is hard. Since dependency is a chronic illness, individuals cannot just quit using the substances for a day or two and be cured of it. For most patients, long term often repeated care is needed to help them stop using and continue on to get their lives back.


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Rehabilitation from drug use should result in the patient

  • quit utilising drugs
  • Remaining clean
  • Be a productive member of society, in the family, and at work

Principles Behind Effective Treatment

Ongoing scientific research since the 1970s has shown that the following basic principles should be the basis of any effective course of treatment

  • Though addiction is very complicated, it could heal completely, and it affects the workings of the human brain and human behaviour.
  • There is no one treatment that will work for everyone.
  • Treatment should be made available to people whenever they need it.
  • Treatment deals with more than just drug use, addressing all of the patient's needs.
  • It is extremely important to remain under treatment for a very long period of time.
  • The most common forms of treatment are behaviour therapies like counselling.
  • When medications are administered in conjunction with behavioural therapies, they form a valuable part of the treatment.
  • Treatment procedures must be measured frequently and altered to fit the patient's evolving needs.
  • Other possible mental disorders should be considered during treatment.
  • Medically assisted detoxification is just the very first step of the treatment.
  • The treatment does not rely on the volition of the patient to yield positive fruits.
  • Drug usage amid treatment must be observed constantly.
  • People who use drugs easily contact communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and others and as such, they should be tested so that their treatment can be taken into account during rehabilitation.

What Steps Are Involved In Treating Addiction?

There are several steps to effective treatment

  • detox (the process when the body cleanses itself of a substance)
  • behavioural counselling
  • Medicine (for opioid, tobacco, or liquor enslavement)
  • Diagnosis and management mental illness associated with drug addiction such as hopelessness and nervousness
  • long-term after treatment care to avoid relapse

Success could be achieved through different types of care that come with customised treatment method and follow-up options.


During the rehabilitation, both physical and psychological issues are treated. The follow-up can compromise family- or community-based recovery support systems.


How Drug Addiction Treatment Incorporates Medications?

Medication can be employed to deal with withdrawal symptoms, treat co-occurring conditions and prevent a relapse.

  • Withdrawal The withdrawal symptoms that are witnessed when detox is done could be alleviated with medications. Detoxing from the drug is not the only necessary treatment, merely the first step in the process. Patients normally go back to the use of drugs if their treatment is not continued after detoxification. As revealed by a study of treatment facilities, 80% of the cases of detoxification involved medications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Relapse Prevention Medicines used in the detoxing programme help the brain to restore to its normal functions easier and stop the desire for the drug. Medications are accessible for management of opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol dependence. Scientists are also currently developing additional medications to treat addiction to marijuana and stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamines. Individuals who utilize more than one drug, which is extremely normal, require treatment for the majority of the substances they utilise.

Behavioural Therapies - How Are They Employed To Treat Drug Dependency?

Psychotherapy assists addicts to

  • change his/her behaviour and attitude related to the substance use
  • Adopt healthier psychosocial competency
  • Continue with varying forms of treatment like medication

There are a lot of settings and approaches for patients who are seeking treatment.

Outpatient behavioural treatment comprises a big range of programmes for patients who go to a behavioural health counsellor regularly. There are therapy sessions that a patient is alone with the counsellor and others that utilise group therapy, sometimes a patient may attend both types.


Different types of behavioural therapy are dished out by these programs, and they include

  • cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs
  • multidimensional family therapy-devised for teenagers with substance dependency issues as well as their families-which looks at a series of influences on their substance abuse patterns and is created to better family functioning in general
  • Motivational interviewing, which takes full advantage of the patient's readiness to change and willingness to enter treatment
  • Motivational incentives that work by positively reinforcing like rewards to help the patient's urge for drugs reduce

Initially, a patient will receive many hours of treatment and will have to frequently attend clinical sessions if they opted for the outpatient therapies. regular outpatient treatment that involves fewer meeting hours few days of the week after the intensive treatment in the bid to ensure a sustained healing process.


For a patient with severe problems, including coexisting conditions, inpatient or residential treatment is very effective. Residential treatment facilities are licensed to offer safe housing and medical attention plus around the clock structured and intensive care. 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.


Some examples of inpatient treatment environments are

  • Therapeutic communities where patients are domiciled in a residence mostly for 6 to 12 months, undergoing programs that are streamlined. The entire community, comprising treatment employees and patients in recovery, act as essential agents of change, affecting the patient's understanding, attitude, as well as conduct linked with substance use.
  • 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, which is normally an aftermath of inpatient or residential treatment, and where patients are given limited term housing under an expert watch. Recuperation housing can help individuals make the move to a free life, for instance, helping them figure out how to manage funds or look for business and also interfacing them to bolster services in the group.

Challenges Of Re-Entry

Substance abuse alters the functioning of the brain, and several things can activate a craving for the substance within the brain. It is key for patients in treatment, particularly those treated at prison or inpatient facilities, to learn how to identify, steer clear of, and deal with triggers that they are most likely to experience after treatment.