Drug and Alcohol Treatments
Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease. It tricks the brain into thinking that drugs are essential despite negative consequences. Addiction compels individuals to go to great lengths to acquire their drugs of abuse.
In 2013, more than half of new illicit drug users were under 18 years of age, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While initial drug use is voluntary and typically begins with experimentation, repeated use can affect a person’s self-control, inducing cravings. These cravings often drive an ongoing addiction.
Illicit drug use has been on the rise since 2002.
According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, 10.2 percent of the American population were past month users of illicit drugs, with marijuana and prescription opioid misuse leading the charts.
Illicit drugs comprise opioids, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens and cannabis.
The term opioids describes natural opiates, such as morphine, and synthetic drugs made from opium. These drugs are used medically as pain relievers. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other organs in the body, reducing an individual’s perception of pain. Opioids include heroin and opium as well as prescription medications such as fentanyl, oxycodone and methadone.
Some commonly abused opioids include:
Given the high potential for abuse of opioids, prolonged misuse of heroin or prescription drugs may lead to an opioid use disorder.
SIGNS OF AN OPIOID ADDICTION
Nearly 2.5 million Americans 12 or older suffered from an opioid use disorder in 2014, per ASAM. Opioid addiction may weaken an individual’s immune system, and it causes gastrointestinal issues that can lead to malnutrition.
Some symptoms of an opioid addiction include:
- Constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
- Respiratory depression
In some cases, opioid users will experience withdrawal symptoms. These include nausea, sleeplessness, restlessness, pain and drug cravings.
As the most common addiction in America, alcoholism has many available treatments and methods for recovery.
Overcoming an alcohol addiction starts with a qualified treatment center that can help address underlying and co-occurring disorders. Because of alcohol’s prevalence throughout our culture, recovering alcoholics are constantly bombarded with triggers. Treatment centers have to be equipped to help the recovering user find effective ways to manage triggers and cravings.
The First Step of Recovery from Alcohol
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol Addiction Medications
One of the benefits of inpatient treatment is medical management of the physical aspects of addiction. Using prescription drugs in combination with treatment boosts the recovery success rate to 50 percent.
Medications can be used to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal in order to avoid relapse, or to create a negative physical reaction to alcohol that helps eliminate the desire to drink. Common drugs used in alcohol detox and recovery include:
- Acamprosate – Used to reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Naltrexone – Used to reduce cravings for alcohol as well as its pleasurable effects.
- Disulfiram – Causes severe negative effects when alcohol is consumed.
Inpatient Rehabilitation for Alcoholism
Inpatient treatment is a good choice for anyone who wants to focus completely on recovery without the stress or distractions of work, school, or social obligations. It allows for a thorough immersion in the recovery process and may be a good choice for people who have tried other treatments unsuccessfully.
Inpatient treatment for alcohol rehabilitation may last anywhere from 30 days to six months or longer — recovery times depend on the needs of the individual.
Treatments at inpatient centers may include behavioral therapies, the most popular of which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These therapies encourage participants to change the way they react to stressful external stimuli (like failing a test or losing a job) by promoting healthy ways of coping. Many centers also offer group and individual counseling, experiential therapies and training on proper nutrition and health.
Ongoing Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
After rehab, the best thing you can do to overcome your alcohol addiction is to find support for ongoing recovery. Whether you seek out the company of other recovering addicts or find support in your personal networks, it is imperative that you share your struggles with other people.
Ask for friends and family to support you in the recovery process; chances are, they’ll be proud of you for taking control of your life again. External support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which originated the 12-step program and now has approximately 2 million members. The 12 steps emphasize the participant’s ability to submit to a “higher power” to ask for help. The higher power doesn’t have to be rooted in religion, though that is the case for many. Others look for a “higher power” within.