Treating addiction can be a very daunting task, most people who do not complete a drug rehab program, usually don’t stay sober for long.
About 29.5 million people worldwide suffer from substance use disorders, with opioid misuse being the most dangerous, according to a 2017 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). Addiction is more prevalent than most people think and can afflict anyone at any time. A recent census places the number of Americans with a substance use disorder to be at least 24 million.
Addiction cuts across every stratum of society, affecting men and women, young and old, educated and uneducated. No one seems to be immune from the recent drug scourge engulfing the U.S and the global society. Combined with the difficulty it brings, addiction also brings along stigmatization – both of the addicts and their family members. However, addiction is a complex disorder, often misunderstood.
It is important to have a firm understanding of this subject in order to get addicts and alcoholics the help they need to recover.
The science behind addiction
In previous decades, addiction was regarded as a moral weakness on the part of the addict or alcoholic. Hence, the emphasis was on punishing the addict rather than getting them the care needed to restore them to a healthy state of mind and body.
Substance Use Disorder is a complex disease, says NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Breaking free from drug addiction takes more than strong will power or good intentions. Drugs change the brain’s chemistry, making it very challenging for those intending to quit to do so. Numerous scientific evidence point to the fact that addiction is a brain disease.
For most people, starting out with drugs is a conscious voluntary action. With repeated use, however, certain chemical reactions are triggered in the brain – impairing the abuser’s self-control and willpower to cope with their urges to engage in drug abuse. This change in the brain’s functioning can be long-lasting, causing abusers to return to drug use even after many years of recovery.
As pointed out by NIDA, most drugs impact the brain’s reward system, eliciting a euphoric feeling along with releasing the neurochemical dopamine. Under normal functioning, the brain’s reward system motivates an individual to repeat actions needed for survival, such as eating and enjoying social activities.
Drug misuse, on the other hand, causes the addict to associate these pleasurable feelings with drug use, hence destructive behaviors are being reinforced unconsciously. Over a period of continuous use, the brain develops a tolerance to addictive substances and will require more of these substances to achieve the same level of high.
A combination of factors influences an individual’s risk of addiction. No two individuals respond to drugs and alcohol in the same way. An individual with more risk factors is more predisposed to addiction than one with fewer factors. Scientific evidence shows that the following factors play a role in determining whether an individual will become addicted or not:
- Stage of the individual’s development
With more light being shed on how addiction affects the brain, researchers now have a better grip on the subject and have fortunately been able to come up with various treatment approaches designed to assist addicts to recover from substance abuse and become productive once again.
Is It Possible To Treat Addiction Successfully?
Yes. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) believe that substance use disorder is a treatable, chronic disorder of the brain that can be healed with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. An intervention approach involving behavioral therapy and medication is known as medication-assisted treatment.
Drug rehab is not a cure for addiction. It is a treatment approach, aimed at helping the addict achieve the following:
- Stop his compulsive, destructive behavior
- Permanently abstain from drugs
- Improve their relationships
- Improve their mental wellbeing
- Become a productive member of society once again
It is to be noted that addiction is different for everyone. No single approach works for two different individuals. Drug rehab programs must be tailored to meet the addict’s drug misuse pattern, medical, social and environmental circumstances.
The good news is that addiction is both treatable and preventable. A number of studies have indicated that addiction can be successfully managed and that addicts, who are committed to a treatment program, can achieve long-term recovery.
For any drug rehab program to be successful in treating drug addiction, it has to be based on the following principles:
- Recognize addiction as a complex but treatable disorder affecting an individual’s brain function and behavior
- No one treatment approach is effective for everyone
- The key to recovery is quick and easy access to treatment
- Effective treatment should pay attention to a patient’s other needs and not just their drug use
- For rehab to be effective, it doesn’t necessarily have to stem from a voluntary action on the part of the patient
- Medically-managed detoxification is not a treatment in itself, but only a first stage of treatment
- Remaining in treating long enough is a crucial aspect of recovery
- Treatment programs must be reviewed periodically and conformed to meet an addicts needs
Are Drug Rehabs Effective In Treating Addiction?
According to a NIDA study involving a community of addicts in recovery, the majority of individuals being monitored over a prolonged period of stay in addiction treatment were able to:
- Reduce drug use (by 40 to 60%)
- Reduce criminal activities (by up to 50%)
- Return back to their employment (by up to 40%)
- Resume normal social and psychological functioning
Individuals who received methadone treatment were shown to have improved participation in behavioral therapy and also exhibited a reduced tendency to engage in criminal behavior and drug use. Like all other chronic health disorders, addiction can be successfully managed through appropriate drug rehab care.
The success rate for any individual will depend to a large extent to the level of addiction, the duration of addiction and the appropriateness of the particular treatment program.
Similar to other chronic disorders, addicts can experience a relapse. Does experiencing relapse mean a treatment program failed? Not necessarily. A relapse on the part of a patient could be an indication that the program needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted to meet the current circumstance of the addict.
Would Rehab Work for Me?
There is a general consensus among researchers that drug rehab produces varying success rates with substance use disorder. As already stated, your successful recovery from drug addiction will depend on a number of factors such as the substance of abuse, the length of addiction and your individual commitment to your drug rehab program.
Each year, thousands of families make the conscious decision to seek rehab care for a loved one with an addiction. There is overwhelming evidence that these individuals gradually regain sobriety and return back to the life they previously enjoyed.
Each year, Recreate Life Counseling helps pull hundreds of hundreds of individuals and families out of the despair of drug addiction. Lasting recovery is within reach.
If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with addiction to alcohol, benzos or opiates, know that lasting help is available. We have a number of treatment programs customized to meet your needs and lifestyle. You can beat addiction permanently and recreate the future you desire. Contact us right now to find out which treatment option is available to you. Compassionate care is only a phone call away.