Addiction is a chronic, oftentimes, relapsing mental health disorder that leads to obsessive drug seeking behavior and usage, regardless of the deleterious effects on the user and those around them. For most people, the initial impulse to take drugs is deliberate, however, over time, changes that take place in the brain test a user’s willpower and hinder their ability to resist the urge to use drugs. People start experimenting with drugs due to varied reasons. Some start using these out of inquisitiveness, because of peer pressure, to have a good time, ease anxiety or depression, or improve performance at school, work or sports.
It is important to understand that drug use does lead to addiction inevitably. There is no particular level of use at which drug use graduates to complicated from casual. Addiction or drug use has less to do with the amount of the substance used or the frequency at which it is used, and more to do with the repercussions of drug use. Irrespective of how little or how often one is consuming, if the drug use is causing problems in one’s life, at school, work, home, in relationships, in finances, etc., it is likely that one is struggling with drug abuse or drug addiction.
A lot of people fail to understand how or why some people become addicted to drugs. It is generally assumed that people abusing drugs have a weak willpower or lack moral ethics and that they could simply stop using one day through determination. In truth, drug addiction is a complex brain disorder and quitting necessitates much more than a will of steel or good intent.
Just like other chronic and debilitating disorders, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, drug recovery too can be managed with success. Similar to other chronic disorders, it is not rare for a person to relapse and start using drugs again. However, relapse does not indicate that an individual failed or a treatment failed, it simply means that the drug addiction treatment should be re-established or modified to meet the individual’s requirement so that they can achieve long-lasting recovery.
Drugs are chemical substances and when these chemicals are introduced into the body, via injecting, smoking, eating, or inhaling, they hit the communication system of the brain and interfere with the way nerve cells function – in receiving, sending, or processing – information. Different drugs work differently because of distinct chemical structures. The drugs might work in two ways in the brain, they might either mimic the natural chemical messengers of the brain or overstimulate the reward circuit of the brain.
Drugs like heroin and marijuana have chemical structures that imitate the structure of a neurotransmitter found naturally in our bodies. These drugs can dupe the receptors, bind with them and thus, activate the nerve cells. Since they do not work in the same way as the neurotransmitters, they end up sending abnormal messages through the brain which can get challenging for the brain as well as the body to process.
On the other hand, drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine propel nerve cells to release excessive amount of dopamine, a natural neurotransmitter, or inhibit the normal recycling of dopamine. As a consequence, intensified messages are produced in the brain disrupting the channels of communication.
Until recently, it was assumed that the feeling of high or euphoria experienced during drug use was caused solely by the dopamine rush, however, now it has been understood that the process is more multifaceted. A majority of drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, nicotine, and others, target the reward circuit which is an integral part of the limbic system. Typically, the reward circuit responds to pleasurable activities by releasing dopamine, which in turn, encourages other parts of the brain to repeat those activities.
This system is eventually controlled by drugs because of which high amounts of dopamine are released, initially in response to the drug and gradually to triggers associated with drug use like the presence of people with whom a person used a drug or being at a place where a person abused a drug. Since the brain remembers, it produces an intense urge to seek and use the drug again. Therefore, dopamine is not responsible for causing the rush of feelings, however, it fortifies the yearning to use drugs.
The brain reinforces that healthy activities like eating, traveling, etc., are repeated. This kick starts the reward circuit because of which when drugs are abused, people tend to use them again and again. Followed by repeated use, the brain starts fine-tuning to the dopamine surges because of which the number of dopamine receptors may reduce or less amount of dopamine may be produced in the brain. This drastically reduces the feelings of pleasure making the person feel depressed and they are unable to derive pleasure from things that appeased them before. Dopamine fuels the brain to repeat the pleasurable activity because of which a person needs increased quantities of the drug to feel normal. This effect is known as tolerance. Repeated use of drugs can get toxic and kill neurons. Prolonged use may eventually produce catastrophic changes in the brain circuits and neurons which may persist even after the person has stopped drug use.
There are multiple risk factors that may contribute to drug use. Some of the common and serious risk factors are:
Drug addiction treatment is possible, however, it is not simple. This is because addiction is a chronic disease and people cannot simply stop drug use for a couple of days and get cured. A majority of patients require long-term care from a certified behavioral health center to achieve complete drug recovery. A drug addiction treatment program must help an individual stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and be productive in family, at work, and in the community setting.
The components of an effective substance abuse treatment include:
These are used for the management of withdrawal symptoms, treatment of co-occurring disorders, and prevention of relapse.
Withdrawal symptoms– Withdrawal symptoms can be managed with the use of medication during a detoxification process. Detoxification is not the treatment, rather a preliminary step where it helps the body rid of unwanted drugs and toxins accumulated with years of drug use, at the same time. Further, the body is fortified with essential nutrients and minerals. It has been observed that patients who do not opt for the ensuing drug addiction treatment after detoxification, relapse sooner.
Co-occurring conditions – Many medications are available for the treatment of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression that co-occur with an addiction and maybe contribute to drug addiction.
Relapse prevention – Medications are used to help patients re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings helping in the prevention of relapse. Currently, medications are available for the treatment of alcohol, tobacco, and opioid addiction. However, researchers are developing novel medications for the treatment of cannabis and stimulant addiction. People indulging in polysubstance abuse need simultaneous treatment for all the drugs that they use.
Behavioral therapies help patients change their behaviors and attitudes pertaining to drug use, learn healthy life skills and receive medication for the treatment of their addiction alongside therapy.
The different settings available for substance abuse treatment are:
Outpatient behavioral treatment – In an outpatient setting, admission to the facility is not required. A patient visits the facility for the treatment that comprises a variety of programs involving individual or group counseling or both. Patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), multidimensional family therapy, motivational interviewing, and motivational incentives.
Inpatient or residential treatment – Inpatient or residential treatment can be highly effective for the treatment of individuals with severe problems, including co-occurring disorders. Licensed residential treatment facilities offer round-the-clock structured care including medical supervision and safe housing. A variety of treatment approaches may be used by the residential treatment facility to help an individual achieve drug recovery.
Invictus Health Group delivers a complete spectrum of drug addiction treatment for various sectors of the human population including adolescents, young adults, adult men and women, the elderly, and the LGBT community. Treatments are tailored based on individual needs after a comprehensive evaluation at admission and throughout participation in the program. We believe that all our patients are unique because of which even our customized treatment plans are individualized. These are modified based on the severity of the addiction, presence of co-occurring mental health disorder, unique needs, and the medical history of the person being treated.
At Invictus Health Group, we strive to explore the underlying causes of addiction and identify the specific needs of patients. Our treatment plans are individualized and are geared towards people experiencing difficulty due to addiction, trauma, and other unresolved issues including previous unsuccessful substance abuse treatment at a behavioral health center.
We understand that even when people may be suffering from the same addictions, they would have a unique story to tell and a distinct history to share. This in turn means that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for all. At Invictus Health Group, customized plans are designed and administered, based on an individual’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs, ensuring lasting recovery. We use evidence-backed innovative therapies and our skilled staff endeavors to see our patients achieve drug recovery successfully.
Oftentimes, the family of a patient also experiences intense emotional suffering due to the behavior of their loved one. Over time, these disappointments, hurts, and betrayals may start building up. Each family member has their own way of reacting and they may feel angry, hurt, guilty, helpless, etc. Our program is structured in such a way that it educates the family and helps them recognize their role in the healing and recovery process of their loved one.
At Invictus Health Group, the drug recovery program requires the involvement of the entire family as drug abuse affects not only the individual afflicted but the entire family. It is crucial that a family is involved during a recovery process and for that we have set schedules for family visits, workshops, lectures, etc., at our facility. We offer a safe space for the entire family to effectively communicate and heal. Our ultimate goal is to help a patient integrate back into their family and the assurance of familial support so that the individual’s recovery can be lasting.
Irrespective of the harrowing effects of drug addiction, it is possible to recover completely and our treatment programs are crafted with that belief in mind. Addiction is a chronic and progressive neurobiological disorder with social, spiritual, and psychological implications. An inpatient or an outpatient treatment is critical for the management and as like other chronic ailments, long-term treatment is a necessity. Followed by the substance abuse treatment program, a continuing care program should also be offered. Enrolling for this provides extensive support system and a comprehensive network of care for the patients.
For more information about our customized programs, treatment modalities, and levels of care, call our 24/7 helpline (866) 548-0190. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.
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