Drug Treatment
clock_iconAugust 26, 2020 clock_icon5 min read

Drug treatment aims to help addicted people stop compulsive drug use and seeking. Drug treatment may occur in different settings, may take various forms, and last for different lengths of time. Due to drug addiction is considered to be a chronic disorder, which is characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For most of the people, this treatment must be a long-term process involving regular monitoring, and as well as multiple interventions.

Treating Addiction

There are a number of evidence-based approaches to treating addiction. Drug treatment can involve behavioral therapy, for example, medications, contingency management or cognitive-behavioral therapy, and also their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will differ according to the individual needs of the patients, as well as, often, on the types of drugs, they have been using.

Treatment Medications

Treatment medications, (buprenorphine, methadone, and also naltrexone) including a new long-acting formulation, are available for individuals addicted to opioids, while nicotine preparations such as patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray and the medications varenicline and bupropion are available for individuals addicted to tobacco.

Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are medications available for treating alcohol dependence, which in general co-occurs with other drug addictions, including addiction to prescription medications.
Drug addiction treatment can include:

  • Medications
  • behavioral therapies
  • Medications and behavioral therapies’ combination.

drug addiction treatment

Treatments for prescription drug abuse tend to be similar to those for illicit drugs that affect the same brain systems. For example, buprenorphine used to treat heroin addiction, can also be used to treat addiction to opioid pain medications. Addiction to prescription stimulants, which affect the same brain systems as illicit stimulants like cocaine, can be treated with behavioral therapies, as there are not yet medications for treating addiction to these types of drugs.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to take part in drug treatment, offer strategies to cope with drug cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and also help other people deal with relapse if it happens. Behavioral therapies can help people improve communication, relationship, as well as parenting skills and family dynamics.

Many treatment programs employ both group and individual therapies. Group therapy can provide social reinforcement and help enforce behavioral contingencies that promote abstinence and a non-drug-using lifestyle. Some of the more established behavioral treatments, such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are also being adapted for group settings to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Particularly in adolescents, there can also be a danger of unintended harmful (also called iatrogenic) effects of group treatment. Sometimes group members, especially groups of highly delinquent youth, can reinforce drug use and thereby derail the purpose of the therapy. Thus, trained counselors should be aware of and monitor for such effects.

Specific Therapies Used

A variety of treatment modalities may be employed in any of the aforementioned drug abuse treatment settings.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapy has been shown to be effective in treating substance abuse issues. CBT helps the individual to manage their thought patterns, essentially controlling negative thought patterns that may lead to substance abuse or other destructive behavior. Oftentimes, patients discover how to identify triggers that cause them to use drugs, learning to better respond to them without turning to substance abuse.

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)

MET is another therapy often employed in drug abuse treatment. With MET, a therapist helps a patient to tap into their personal motivations to resist drug use. MET has been shown to be effective in engaging recovering individuals in treatment.

In addition to individual and group therapy, recovering addicts benefit from family therapy. Since family members often serve as the core support system for recovering individuals once they exit a rehab program, it’s imperative that family members are able to understand the process of recovery so they can best serve as sources of encouragement and support. Family therapy can also be used to address underlying familial issues that may have contributed to the substance abuse issue and repair relationships that were damaged due to addiction.

Twelve-step programs

For example, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous are considered excellent ways to extend and complement the skills learned during a professional treatment program. However, for most people, these programs do not provide all of the components needed for a successful recovery. If you would like to attend a comprehensive program to eliminate your substance abuse problem, there are programs all over the country that may be right for you.

Other Health Problems

People who are addicted to drugs quite often suffer from other health problems, such as depression, and HIV,  as well as occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed concurrently. The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Psychoactive medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications, may be critical for treatment success when patients have co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. In addition, most people with severe addiction abuse multiple drugs and require treatment for all substances abused.

Drug Addiction Diagnosing

Diagnosing a drug addiction does not solely depend on determining the physical manifestations of the drug addict. Instead, medical professionals use a series of both physical and behavioral diagnostic criteria to determine if you have an addiction. These criteria include (but are not limited to):

  • Inability to cease using drugs.
  • Inability to meet family, work, or social obligations because of drug use.
  • A great deal of time is spent obtaining drugs, using them, and recovering from them.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when drug use is stopped.
  • Physical tolerance to the effects of the drug have developed.
  • Compulsive use of the drug, even when harmful consequences are recognized.

A person does not have to meet all of these points to have an addiction. For example, some drugs do not create physical tolerance or withdrawal symptoms. Also, addiction does not always result in a loss of employment, etc. Everyone's addiction will look slightly different.

How West Valley Detox Can Help

Here in West Valley Detox clinic, we are ready to discuss research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction. If you are looking for treatment, you can contact us or call 818-302-0036.

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