We often boggle our mind thinking about the problem of addiction as to what it really is and if it is even possible in true terms to get rid of it. WillingWays answers all those questions for you that may arise in your mind. WillingWays is a state of the art facility for addiction treatment and has a history of providing its relentless services successfully since 1980 in the relevant field.

Does addiction treatment work?

Yes, structured treatment has very positive recovery rates, especially with family support. Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to medications that may help some people stop abusing drugs or alcohol and resume their productive lives. Combining treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. And, research is beginning to show that recovery of brain function may be possible with prolonged abstinence.

Why is addiction a disease?

More than 70 years of studies, including highly advanced brain studies, has found out that addiction is a disease. People suffering from addiction have changed brain functions. When the disease takes over, these changes in the brain eat away a person’s self-control and ability to make healthy decisions, while sending highly intense desires to take drugs. This helps explain the obsessive and negative behavior around addiction.

Why is addiction a “chronic” disease?

A chronic disease is a long-lasting illness that can be managed but not cured. Chronic diseases with similarities to addiction include type II diabetes, heart diseases, depression and asthma. The bottom line is that people suffering from addiction can’t be cured or get well after a few day stay in treatment. Getting well from addiction requires a lifelong commitment to disease management and wellness.

Does addiction have similarities to other chronic diseases?

Addiction is a chronic disease similar to other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Drug addiction shares many features with other chronic illnesses, including a tendency to run in families (heritability), an onset and course that is influenced by environmental conditions and behavior, and the ability to respond to appropriate treatment, which may include long-term lifestyle modification.

How is addiction diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with addiction, you must meet criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and used by doctors, mental health professionals and other health providers to diagnose mental health conditions.

Addiction is also referred to as “substance use disorder.” The illness is defined on a continuum from mild to severe based on the condition and criteria. Mild substance use disorder requires two to three symptoms from a list of 11.

What’s the difference between physical dependence and addiction?

Addiction is characterized by compulsive alcohol or drug use despite serious harmful consequences. As part of addiction, a person usually also experiences physical dependence. Physical dependence includes tolerance to the substance (needing more of the drug to experience the same effects) and withdrawal symptoms when they cut back or abruptly stop using.

However, physical dependence can exist without addiction. It means that a person’s body has developed tolerance to a drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms.  A natural physical dependence can develop with the chronic use of many types of drugs—including many prescription drugs, even if taken as instructed.

What is withdrawal?

When someone has been heavily using drugs or alcohol and they abruptly stop or cut back, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. The intensity and length of these symptoms can change greatly depending on the substance involved, the biological make-up of the person and the severity of their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Withdrawal can sometimes be dangerous, so you should be sure to seek out help from a qualified health professional.

I’ve heard that it’s not safe to stop using abruptly. Why?

Treatment may begin with detoxification, sometimes called medical stabilization if the addict’s physical health is impaired and if stopping use causes withdrawal. Medically supervised detox in a hospital or an inpatient treatment is usually very effective and lasts 3-4 days. Ambulatory detox is also available at many outpatient treatment programs under the supervision of a physician.

What is treatment like?

Treatment options include residential treatment at a specialized center where the patient will be supported and supervised by professional staff 24/7 for up to 4 weeks.

Outpatient treatment options include day hospital (spending a full day in a program) while living at home or in an alternative living environment, or intensive outpatient programs which are 3-4 hours a day, either during the day or evening. Treatment programs in any setting involve education sessions, 1:1 and family counseling sessions, group therapy with other patients and introduction to 12-step recovery programs.

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