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Drug addiction is an incredibly complex illness. It typically comes with an intense and sometimes, uncontrollable craving for drugs that goes along with the compulsive seeking and using of drugs that continues even in the awareness of its destructive and dire consequences. Addiction affects the brain circuits of the individual, in particular those that have to do with reward and motivation, memory and learning, as well as behavioral control. It is precisely because of these effects that addiction is considered a brain disease according to a Denver rehab Specialist.

Some people are more susceptible to getting addicted than others. It depends on factors such as genetic makeup, exposure to drugs, age as well as other environmental influences. When a person takes drugs, the effects of long-term exposure on brain function are that it ends up affecting his/her ability to choose. Eventually, finding and consuming the drug becomes a compulsion, which is often beyond the person’s willpower and the self-control.


Addiction and Treatment

The good news about addiction is that it can be treated. Drugs that are often abused change the brain’s function and structure and results in changes long after the person has stopped using the drug. This explains why those who abuse drugs risk relapse even after long periods without using the drugs. No single treatment is appropriate for all the people who get addicted to drugs. Treatment depends on the type of drug as well as the characteristics of patient.

Matching the treatments, interventions as well as the services to an individual’s specific problems as well as his/her needs is critical to the individual’s return to workplace, family and society. Since individuals addicted to drugs are usually uncertain in undergoing treatment, taking advantage of services which are available by the time the people are ready for treatment is very important. Potential patients could be lost if treatment is not available right away or readily accessible. Like other chronic diseases, the earlier treatment is offered during the process of the disease, the better the chances of successful treatment.

Effective treatment focuses not just on the person’s drug abuse but also on the person’s many needs. Treatment addresses any psychological, medical, vocational, social as well as legal problems. The treatment should also be appropriate to the person’s gender, age, culture and ethnicity. Receiving treatment for a sufficient amount of time is very important. The right duration of treatment for an individual depends on the kind and degree of his or her needs and problems. According to research many individuals battling addiction require a minimum of 3 months of treatment to either reduce or stop drug use. The best results come after longer periods of treatment.

Drug addiction recovery is a long-term process and constantly requires many episodes of treatment. Like other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse could happen and marks the need for treatment adjustment and reinstatement. A lot of individuals prematurely leave treatment, which is why treatment programs should include strategies that engage and keep patients staying in treatment.


Types of Treatment

The most common type of treatment is behavioral therapy. This includes family, individual or group counseling. Behavioral therapies come in many types and differ in their focus. Such therapies may involve addressing the patient’s motivation to change, building skills to be resistant to use of drugs, incentives for abstinence, replacement of drug-using activities with rewarding and constructive activities, improvement of problem-solving skills and assistance in improving interpersonal relationships. Participating in peer support programs and group therapy during as well as following treatment could help in maintaining the drug abstinence.

Medication is another effective treatment for drug addiction and is especially very effective when combined with behavioral therapies and counselling. For example, buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone (including a new long-acting formulation) are very effective in aiding individuals who are addicted to heroin or other opioids. Such medications help stabilize their lives and also reduce illicit drug use. Acamprosate, naltrexone and disulfram are medications approved for dependence on alcohol. For people who are addicted to nicotine, a replacement product for nicotine such as gum, patches, lozenges or nasal spray or an oral medication like varenicline or buproprion could be an effective part of treatment if integrated in a comprehensive behavioral treatment program.

The treatment plan of a person that’s addicted to drugs should be evaluated regularly and changed as needed to make sure that it caters to his or her changing needs. The patient might need different combinations of treatment and services elements in the course of the recovery and treatment. In addition to psychotherapy or counselling, a patient might require medical services, medication, family therapy, vocational rehabilitation, parenting instruction and/or legal and social services. For a lot of patients, a constant care approach gives the best results, with the intensity of the treatment changing depending on the needs of the person. It is also important that a lot of drug-addicted individuals also have mental disorders but this is a completely different issue.