Addiction is a devastating health condition even though it is treatable; it is an illness which affects the brain function and behavior by making alterations in the brain structures and functions which then results into changes running long after recovery from the drug addiction. This may explain why recovering drug addicts are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and notwithstanding the potentially devastating consequences.
Due to its complexity, there is no single treatment which is applicable for everyone. Amalgamating various treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s specific problems and needs is critical to their eventual success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and to the society.
Treatment should be accessible because an addict may not be keen about entering treatment, maximizing on the readily available services the moment people are ready for treatment is critical. Potential patients can be lost if treatment is not readily accessible. As with other chronic diseases, the earlier treatment is administered the better.
Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just their drug addictions. To be realistic treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any related medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age and gender.
The duration of treatment will depend on the individual’s needs and the level of their addiction. Studies has established that drug addicts require at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use however the best recovery is realized with longer durations of treatment. Recovery from drug addiction is often a long term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse can occur and should signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted. Because individuals often leave treatment prematurely, programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.
Individual or group counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment. Behavioral therapies vary in their focus and may involve addressing a patient’s motivation to change, providing incentives for abstinence, building skills to resist drug use, replacing drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, improving solution finding skills, and facilitating better interpersonal relationships. Also, participation in group therapy and other peer support programs during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.
Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies. For example, methadone and buprenorphine are effective in helping heroin addicts or other opioids stabilize their lives and reduce their illicit drug use. Naltrexone is also an effective medication for some opioid-addicted individuals and some patients with alcohol dependence. Other medications for alcohol dependence include acamprosate, disulfiram, and topiramate. For people addicted to nicotine, a nicotine replacement product (like patches, gum, or lozenges) or an oral medication (such as bupropion or varenicline) can be an effective component of treatment when part of a comprehensive behavioral treatment program.
An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs. A patient may require varying combinations of services and treatment components during the course of treatment and recovery. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may require medication, medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation, and/or social and legal services. For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs.
Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders. Because drug abuse and addiction both of which are mental disorders—often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s). And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all), including the use of medications as appropriate.
Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse. Although medically assisted detoxification can safely manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal and, for some, can pave the way for effective long-term addiction treatment, detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicted individuals achieve long-term abstinence. Thus, patients should be encouraged to continue drug treatment following detoxification. Motivational enhancement and incentive strategies, begun at initial patient intake, can improve treatment engagement.
Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Sanctions or enticements from family, employment settings or the criminal justice system can significantly increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.
Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur. Knowing their drug use is being monitored can be a powerful incentive for patients and can help them withstand urges to use drugs. Monitoring also provides an early indication of a return to drug use, signaling a possible need to adjust an individual’s treatment plan to better meet his or her needs.
Treatment programs should assess patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling to help patients modify or change behaviors that place them at risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases. Typically, drug abuse treatment addresses some of the drug-related behaviors that put people at risk of infectious diseases. Targeted counseling specifically focused on reducing infectious disease risk can help patients further reduce or avoid substance-related and other high-risk behaviors. Counseling can also help those who are already infected to manage their illness. Moreover, engaging in substance abuse treatment can facilitate adherence to other medical treatments. Patients may be reluctant to accept screening for HIV (and other infectious diseases); therefore, it is incumbent upon treatment providers to encourage and support HIV screening and inform patients that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has proven effective in combating HIV including among drug abusing populations.
Finally these are just a few notable principals of helping yourself be free from drug addiction however it will be necessary that you seek professional advice from the experts like doctor Dalal Akoury who has been in the addiction discipline for over two decades helping people the world over. Doctor Akoury also founded AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center where together with her team of experts are focusing on Neuroendocrine Restoration (NER) to reinstate normality through realization of the oneness of Spirit, Mind, and Body, Unifying the threesome into ONE.