Scientists have discovered that individuals with an alcohol and/or drug addiction have a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. The concept of addiction as a brain disease is related to the compulsiveness and self-harm combined with an end result which can be devastating. Treatments have been updated to reflect this view and have shown great success as a result. Sobriety in the long-term is possible with a combination of rehabilitation therapy and long-term aftercare.
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Rehabilitation drug treatment is characterized by a combination of medical and psychological therapies:
Medical detox is a process that eases addicts through withdrawal using a combination of monitoring and medication. Addicts are monitored as their bodies process the last of the addictive substances in their bodies. This prevents the risk of damage to major organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart. Medication may be used to make withdrawal more comfortable for patients who experience adverse side effects.
Rehabilitation therapy follows detox and addresses the mental aspects of addiction. Individual and group therapy helps the addict work through emotional traumas that caused or resulted from their substance abuse. Addicts are taught how to cope with negative feelings and thoughts without using drugs or alcohol. During a stay at a residential treatment center, patients can focus completely on their recovery.
Aftercare therapy can include group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery. Aftercare seeks to teach addicts how to rebuild their lives with a more positive outlook and how to maintain their sobriety in the long term. Continued therapy and attending meetings has been proven to greatly reduce the risk of addicts relapsing, especially in the first 90 days after treatment ends.
Intervention is a method where friends or family aim to help a person break their addiction cycle by bringing to the person's attention signs and symptoms of substance abuse. Because people who struggle with substance abuse may not be able to acknowledge their own addictions, intervention helps a person better understand what changes he or she has experienced as a result of substance abuse.
Intervention basics include outlining the behaviors where a person's substance abuse has affected the person or others. Those conducting intervention should also provide a route where a person can seek care for substance abuse.
Informal interventions are those that are not necessarily planned or structure. They can be as simple as sitting down with a person over coffee to discuss the person's addiction. A formal addiction has a more structured pattern and involves scheduling a meeting with the person to discuss his or her addiction.
The most important thing is to get the addict into drug treatment no matter what.
Various approaches to drug treatment intervention exist. These include: