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Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a complex disease, and for millions of addicts worldwide, the numerous drug addiction treatment methodologies can be difficult to sift through without a general undertsanding of the nature of drug addiction itself.

Drug Addiction - Resources and Treatment Information

Drug addiction is an insidious and non discriminatory disease that takes thousands of lives every year.  It is defined as a condition characterized by compulsive drug intake, and craving and seeking drugs regardless of negative consequences associated with drug abuse.  Thousands of crimes, including DUI’s, thefts, assaults, and murders have been linked to drug addiction due to the psychomimetic nature of drugs and the uncontrollability of behavior while under the influence of drugs.  Although it is a growing problem in our society, drug addiction is a major social dilemma that many try to ignore due to hopelessness of addiction.  The fact is that drug addiction is a complicated brain disease and is treatable through hard work with the help of caring professionals in treatment centers worldwide.  Many people erroneously believe that drug addiction is a lapse in moral character, but it does not discriminate with who it affects.  While it does take an individual to make a choice to first use drugs, addiction can affect anyone, of any background, social status, or age.  Drug addiction is a complex disorder that can destroy virtually every aspect of an individual's stability in the family, at work, and in the community.  There are many different factors to consider with drug addiction.  Many drug addicts suffer from addiction because of the painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped suddenly without medical assistance from a qualified treatment center.  Drug addiction is also caused because some drugs have a higher addictive potential than others in many people due to as a result of many factors; speed of elimination from the body, biochemical make-up, level of “instant gratification” they produce, and severity of physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms.  The affects of addiction are vicious because they severely damage the brain areas that people need to think lucidly, act with good judgment and make productive decisions for themselves and their loved ones.  Recovery from drug addiction is a hard, long road, spanning the rest of the drug addict’s life and more often than not requires the drug addict to attend treatment centers multiple times during their addiction.  The reason drug addiction is characterized as a brain disease is because once the drug is introduced to the system, the addict’s brain adapts to the presence of that drug and make acclimates accordingly, no longer using it’s natural means to produce the same feelings that drugs induce so rapidly.  Drug addiction is a challenge to overcome in large part because it takes time for the brain to be “re-trained” to function properly without the presence of the drugs it had depended on for the length of the addiction.

The Disease of Addiction

Addiction is a disease that will crush self-esteem, jeopardize the accomplishments of goals, and cost a drug addict more money than is fathomable.  In most all drug addict’s stories will be the discussion of how quickly finances became unmanageable due to the constant need for the addict to be high. Not only will drug addiction negatively affect these parts of life, but also careers will be lost due to the drugs taking over the addict’s entire thought process, and eventually taking his/her life.  Addiction begins with the voluntary use of drugs, and spirals out of control from there. There is no determining who will become addicted to drugs and who will be able to use drugs “recreationally”, however addiction is such a debilitating disease that the choice of whether or not to take the risk could mean life or death.  Addiction is not limited to illegal street drugs like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines.  Drug addicts these days come with an array of addictions, such as painkillers, anti-depressants, glue, and tranquilizers (benzodiazepines).  Some of these addictions have proven to be the most dangerous, as it is not just a psychological addiction, but also a physical addiction, and therefore requiring the assistance of qualified medical staff for the process of detox either in a hospital or an addiction treatment center.  Addiction is not a one-time, quick fix type of disease and unfortunately there is no “magic pill” to cure this growing problem. Part of the recovery process from addiction is relapse, making it much harder on the drug addict and his family.  Addiction’s most powerful characteristic is that it des not allow the addict to recognize that they are addicted to drugs/alcohol.  Addiction will convince the addict that they “need” the substance to function, with an endless supply of excuses for the addictive behavior.  
 Many times in treatment centers, therapists will focus on “triggers”, or things in an addict’s life that increase the urge for them to use drugs again.  By focusing on these areas, many treatment centers are able to identify the factors that are more likely to cause a relapse and suggest ways the addict can avoid those situations. Addiction treatment is a life-long process and treatment centers are only the beginning, laying the groundwork for recovery.  One of the many things addicts learn in rehab programs is that their addiction has split them into two separate beings.  One person is the addict, constantly looking for reasons to use again and seek drugs.  The other being is the real person, desperately struggling to be free of addiction and regain control of his or her life.  It is a hard road, but with dedication, support of friends, family and treatment programs, recovery is possible for drug addiction. 

Drug Addiction Treatment

Treatment for drug addiction is complicated depending on the drugs being abused, the individual seeking treatment, and the length of time of the addictive behaviors.  For these reasons, each addict receiving treatment for their addiction requires several components in their recovery process.
With the growing demand for treatment centers, many options are available to addicts depending on their individual needs. Treatment for drug addiction is available in inpatient, outpatient, residential settings, as well as aftercare in sober living homes.  Drug abuse and addiction are most commonly treated in treatment centers, also known as rehabs by a variety of providers, including certified drug addiction therapists, psychiatrists and other medical staff. For many addicts, co-occurring mental health disorders also require treatment known as dual diagnosis.  This kind of addiction treatment focuses not only on the addiction, but also on any other mental health issues the addict may be struggling with.  Dual diagnosis is becoming more and more widely demanded and available these days.  The goal of addiction treatment centers is to first get the addict to understand that they do have a disease which has taken over their lives.  Treatment center staff members work with the addict to understand his/her addiction and therefore, better diagnose and reduce the symptoms.  Once the addiction can be properly diagnosed, a “blueprint” is drawn for the most affective ways the addict can overcome his/her addiction and lead a promising, productive, and drug-free life once released from the treatment center.  Research has proven that in many addicts, addiction is not the cause, rather a result of underlying issues (dual diagnosis).  Most commonly, these issues include lack of trust, anxiety, depression, and stress, all of which are addressed using various exercises and techniques.  Drug addictions present our society with a perilous quandary as many people fail to understand the nature of addiction, whether they are the addict, family of an addict, or have had no contact at all with any aspect of addiction.  With the help of committed professionals in treatment centers and the support of family and friends, many addicts are able to abstain from their addictive behaviors and regain control of their lives. Addiction can be instantaneous for many people, but for most all addicts, the path to recovery takes the rest of their lives, strong will and dedication, and in many cases, repeated admissions to treatment centers.

Addiction to Drugs

Whether illegal or prescription, drugs have a tendency to produce a feeling of peace and of power, the main source of their addictive nature. Drugs are usually classified based on their pharmacology and affect on the user for different symptoms.  Drugs include prescription medications, illegal drugs, and alcohol, as all of these things are mind-altering substances, producing the euphoric feeling (high) that makes them addictive.  Many individuals fall under the grip of drug addiction to escape reality or artificially produce feelings of pleasure and the illusion of a stress free environment.  Different drugs affect each individual differently, depending on many factors, many of which are unknown to the user at the time of abuse. This variable is one of the things that makes drug addiction so dangerous.  No individual can know prior to taking drugs, what kind of affect it will have on them.  Some users can use drugs periodically and never become addicted, while others are instant drug addicts with the first use of a drug.  Drug addiction is characterized as a dependency on a drug for “normal” functionality.  This dependency can come in many forms; physical, emotional, and psychologically.  The types of treatments available for drug addiction varies greatly with the increase in demand as well as the wide array of drug addictions that plague our society.

Drug Addiction Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation centers are only the beginning step to recovery for drug addicts. One of the most successful methods proven in recovery is support groups which can be found in an addict’s recovery throughout the treatment and after-care process.  Treatment centers are comprised of support groups through the therapists, other addicts looking to regain control of their lives, medical staff and Alcohols Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups. Substance-abuse treatment (or rehabilitation") centers offer a wide array of rehab programs including residential treatment programs for the severely addicted, outpatient treatment programs for those in need of less intensive treatment, inpatient treatment for addicts in need of more medical attention to their addiction, and sober living homes for all addicts in recovery once they have completed their program in a treatment center.  Drug and alcohol rehab places it’s focus on abstinence and self esteem in living a drug free life, reducing the addict’s need to “escape reality” by using drugs or alcohol.  Drug addiction treatment varies by intensity and length of stay, but most addicts with a serious drug addiction are advised to spend at least 30 days in an addiction treatment center.  More severe drug addiction issues are better addressed through long-term rehab programs, lasting 60 – 120 days.  Whether the individual’s drug addiction requires detox, long-term care, residential drug rehab or outpatient drug counseling, the decision to get help is the first and most important step.  Next is the commitment to understand the addiction and learn to live a drug-free life. 

Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction - AOD

A great deal has been researched and written about alcoholism and drug addiction over the last two decades, which has produced many disputes as to the legitimacy of studies which suggest that addiction is a disease.  Alcohol is included in the classification of drugs that produce an illusion of well-being and power.  However, alcohol is one of the most dangerous of all drugs abused in our society today.  Alcoholism is affects millions of people worldwide and is associated with thousands of vehicular injuries and deaths yearly.  Alcoholism is associated with 25% of all hospital admissions from alcohol poisoning after having too much to drink for the liver to process.  Drugs are a primarily suspect in domestic violence, but alcohol is often the worst of all domestic violence cases.  Alcoholics quickly lose control of themselves and their inhibitions, turning many violent and careless, where they would otherwise be responsible, docile beings.   Drug abuse and alcoholism affects every aspect of the alcoholic/addict’s life, including family, career, legal status, ad health.  Like drug addiction, alcoholism can also be treated through rehab programs and after-care methods. Because alcoholism is a physical addiction, alcoholics must first go through detox in a medical setting where the alcoholic can be monitored.  Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely severe, causing seizures, convulsions, heart failure, and sometimes death.  This is why alcoholics face the most perilous of addictions.  Finding treatment for alcoholism takes the same path as drug addiction treatment.  Most rehab centers that treat drug addiction also treat alcoholism and provide dual diagnosis treatments for those suffering from mental health issues as well as addiction.  With the plethora of addictions we have seen in our society, alcohol is by far the most widespread and dangerous. Finding help for alcoholism and drug addiction is a daunting task, as there are so many options for treatment.

Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

In the search for alcoholism and drug addiction treatment centers, there are many choices available.  Many rehabs offer outpatient as well as inpatient treatment programs at many different philosophies and lengths of care.  It is very common to find rehab centers that base their model around the 12-step program and attending meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous.  This is a very popular method of treatment, however not appropriate for all alcoholics and drug addicts.  The more treatment options a rehab center has to offer to an addict/alcoholic, the better, especially if the addict has relapsed after attending treatment in the past. For addicts with less severe addictions, it may be feasible to attend outpatient treatment programs, where they will be able to maintain their daily duties and return home at the end of the day.  Although drug addiction and alcoholism are debilitating diseases, sobriety has been realized for many addicts with the help of support and addiction treatment programs.  Drug addiction rehab centers generally use modern medical advancements to ensure a safe and effective detox and recovery.  It is preferable for addicts to look for an addiction respectable treatment center that is private, and will take steps to ensure that the addict is not made to feel like a statistic or just another source of income .  When a drug addict/alcoholic finally sees how his/her life has become unmanageable due to the abuse of drugs/alcohol and is willing to receive help from an addiction treatment center, it is imperative to take that opportunity to get them into a rehab program that will work best with the addict to help him/her overcome their addiction. Treatment centers can be private or government-funded with sliding scale payment plans, payment assistance, or completely free of charge, so it is also important to do the research to find the rehab center that is best suited for individual financial situations.

Drug addiction is a disease and most often a battle that cannot be won independent of professional help.  Drug addiction and alcoholism can affect virtually anyone, of any class, color or creed, and any individual who makes the mistake of believing that rehab is for some other person of a different class or social standing is treading in very dangerous water.  Contrary to fact, some people without understanding of this horrible disease believe that it is merely the result of a lack of will or defect of character.  Addiction is a disease and it strikes individuals and family members with a furious vengeance with no regard for quality of character, career success, or relationship strength.  The treatment for drug addiction is an ongoing debate within the treatment community, but the true key to addiction rehabilitation is the addict’s drive and determination to stick with it and not only want, but need to have a drug/alcohol free life. Do not be fooled about who attends rehab or what problems treatment centers aim to help individuals overcome.  Addiction treatment programs help addicts with a wide array of addictions spanning anywhere from illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines to prescription drugs like XANAX, Oxycodone, Percoset, and Valium.  Not only are drugs and alcohol addictive, but certain behaviors can make lives unmanageable as well.  Treatment programs have helped numerous people overcome sex addictions, gambling addictions, and eating disorders.  No matter what the resulting behavior, treatment programs are widely available to assist people from all walks of life to regain control over their lives and identify the underlying problems which lead to their addiction.   When all is said and done, after researching the plethora of treatment options available these days, the path to recovery is ultimately in the hands of the addict and his/her will and drive to be productive members of society and be the person they want to be, and not the addict the drugs force them to be.
For more help or information about addiction and addiction treatment programs, please feel free to explore our links, fill out our free confidential addiction assessment form, or call us.  We understand that addiction is a very difficult thing to go through and it is a daunting task to find the right kind of help for each individual.  We're here to help.

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