Recovery from Drug Addiction
People who have addictive personalities make poor decisions and often misinterpret the motives or intentions of others by continual drug use. Drugs contain substances that disrupt or impair the way the cells in the nerves receive, transmit and process messages. Therefore, drugs can cause an impairment in one of two ways:
- By mimicking the natural chemical messengers in the brain; or
- By excessively stimulating the brain's "reward circuitry".
Addiction to drugs is preventable. Community-based programs that focus on prevention can be helpful in reducing the effects of drug abuse. Because young people are the most vulnerable to taking drugs, education and outreach programs in a community can be helpful in reaching out to young people and giving them an understanding of the consequences of taking drugs.
Because drug addiction, itself, has varied dimensions, each which can disrupt various parts of a person’s life, therapy is not a simple undertaking. That is why drug rehab is crucial to those patients who want to climb back into a life that is free of drug abuse or alcohol use. Because drug abuse is a chronic condition, a cure cannot be realized in a few days’ time. Patients entering drug rehab programs generally need repetitive care so they can reach a goal of sustained abstinence and recovery.
Every aspect of a person’s care is addressed during drug addiction treatment or drug rehab therapy. Community resources, such as mental health services and family-based recovery programs, are often utilized during the recovery process as well. Besides preventing further abuse problems, medications, in a drug rehab program can be used for withdrawal as well as during recovery.
When used for withdrawal or detox purposes, medicines assist in suppressing related symptomatology. However, patients need to keep in mind that detoxification, when medically assisted, is not a treatment in and of itself, but a part of therapy. Research shows that patients who undergo medically assisted detoxification will still continue to abuse drugs if they do not follow up with an integrated treatment regimen of care.
Medications used for therapy are designed to re-establish the normal functioning of the brain, lessen cravings and prevent a relapse. Therefore, medicines that are used in drug addiction treatment programs are helpful in suppressing the use of opioids (morphine and heroin), alcohol, cannabis (marijuana), tobacco (nicotine) and stimulants (methamphetamine or cocaine).
For instance, methadone and buprenorphine are often prescribed to treat opiate drug addiction in the recovery process. These drugs, which act on the same areas of the brain, as morphine or heroin, suppress the symptoms of withdrawal and lessen cravings. Medications used for opioid suppression enable a patient to become more receptive to the idea of behavioral therapy.
Behavior therapy enables patients in recovery to modify their behavior and enhance their life skills so they can manage through stressful situations. They are also educated about the environmental triggers that may cause them to follow another cycle of drug addiction and abuse. Popular treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy.