What is drug addiction treatment?

Drug treatment helps addicted individuals stop habitual, and uncontrollable drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, in many different forms, and for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, short-term, one-time treatment is usually not good enough. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular follow-up.

The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments changes depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use. The severity of addiction and previous efforts to stop using drugs can also influence a treatment approach.

Finally, people who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other health (including other mental health), occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed at the same time.

The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Specific needs may relate to age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, other drug use, co-existing illnesses (e.g., depression, HIV), parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse history.

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment; offer strategies for coping with drug cravings; teach ways to avoid drugs, avoid slippery places and slippery people, and prevent relapse; and help individuals deal with it if it occurs. Behavioral therapies can also help people improve communication, relationship, and parenting skills, as well as family dynamics that may act as enabling or provoking towards addictive drugs.

Many treatment programs employ both individual and group therapies. Group therapy can provide motivation and social support and help enforce behavioral contingencies i.e. possible occurrence that promotes abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle. We at Willing Ways provide a combination of therapies tailored to individual needs to help and support the recovery process.

Why can’t my loved one just stop using?

About 10 percent of the population, use of alcohol and drugs affects the brain, increasing the desire to use despite destructive health, personal and/or professional consequences. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is a symptom of this disease that affects reward, memory and other circuitry in the brain.

Why can’t people use their willpower to just stop on their own?

For someone with an addiction, the urge to use alcohol or drugs can be as powerful as the need for air or water. The initial decision to take drugs or drink is mostly voluntary. However, when the disease takes hold, changes in the brain eat away a person’s self-control and ability to make healthy decisions, while sending highly intense urge to take drugs.

How do I know if I or a loved one has an addiction?

An addiction is indicated when someone shows a pattern of continuing to use harmful substances or engage in compulsive behaviors (e.g. gambling, eating or sex) despite adverse consequences (e.g. legal issues, medical, social or job-related problems).

How do I know if I or someone I love needs treatment?

Addiction is difficult to accept because it seems sporadic; it’s under control at times. The key indicator is continuing to use despite negative consequences. These can include physical health, as well as problems at work and in family life related to drinking alcohol or using medication excessively. As addiction progresses, negative incidents become more frequent and more serious.

How can families and friends make a difference in the life of someone needing treatment?

Family and friends can play crucial roles in motivating individuals with drug problems to enter and stay in treatment. This can be achieved through process interventions. Family therapy can also be important, especially for teenagers. Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits.

When should I get help?

Addiction is a progressive illness. Leaving it to worsen, without help, is a course of action that we simply do not recommend. To avoid the potentially heartbreaking and traumatic consequences of addiction it is vital to secure early identification of a problem and to seek professional help as soon as possible. Don’t leave it until you, or the person you are trying to help reaches their lowest ebb. The sooner you, or they, can get help the more effective treatment will be and the quicker it could be to reach recovery.

When is detox needed?

After a residential detox, some people choose not to participate in residential drug treatment; these people put their hard-won freedom from addiction in jeopardy. Detox is not addiction treatment, and people who used drugs or alcohol heavily enough to become physically addicted generally need the intensity of a drug rehab stay for the best chance at long-term recovery.

What is a dual diagnosis?

This refers to that someone has been diagnosed with both a type of mood disorder (such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder) and drug or alcohol addiction. The person has two illnesses and must be treated for both.

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