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Defining Drug Addiction

Substance dependency is a chronic illness that is identified by uncontrollable substance seeking and use, regardless of the harmful effects and alterations in the brain that can be permanent. These adjustments in the mind can prompt to the hurtful practices found in individuals who take drugs. Addiction to drugs is a disease that can throw people into relapse too. Relapsing is when a person starts to use drugs again after he/she attempted to quit.


Using drugs out of one's volition is the road that leads to drug addiction. With time, the user is unable to stop voluntarily the need to use the drug. The desire to search for and make use of drugs will now rely on a very huge urge. The increased length of time that the person's brain relies on drugs to function is the cause of this. Dependency affects regions of the brain that are involved in learning and memory; motivation and reward; and command over behaviour.

Dependency is an illness that affects behaviour and the brain.


Can Drug Addiction Be Treated?

It isn't easy, but, yes, drug addiction is treatable. It is not possible for people to overcome drug addiction simply by abstaining from drug use for some days, because drug addiction is chronic. To come back to their old lives and overcome drug addiction totally, many addicts will require repeated or prolonged care periods.


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The addicts must be assisted to achieve certain things through the treatment for addiction, and they include

  • Stopping to require using the drug
  • stay drug free
  • be a productive member at work, in society and in the family

Essentials Of Successful Treatment

Ongoing scientific research since the 1970s has shown that the following basic principles should be the basis of any effective course of treatment

  • Though a complex brain altering illness, drug dependency can be successfully treated.
  • There is no particular treatment that is fitting for all.
  • Individuals must be able to access treatment quickly.
  • The entire needs of the patient, not only drug use issues, should be delivered by a good treatment plan.
  • Adhering to treatment sufficiently long is critical.
  • The most frequently used forms of treatment are counselling and other behavioural therapies.
  • Together with psychological treatment, pharmaceutical drugs are also administered.
  • Treatment procedures must be measured frequently and altered to fit the patient's evolving needs.
  • Treatment ought to address other conceivable mental problems.
  • Therapeutically helped detoxification is just the primary phase of treatment.
  • Involuntary treatment for addiction can also be effective.
  • When in treatment, possible drug use must be constantly monitored.
  • Patients in treatment should be tested for a variety of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis and also receive education about how to reduce the risk of getting thee illnesses.

What Steps Are Involved In Treating Addiction?

Effective treatment comprises many steps

  • medical detoxification, when the body physically rids itself of the drug
  • behavioural counselling
  • medication for addictions to opioids, tobacco, or alcohol
  • assessment and treatment for any co-occurring mental health concerns like anxiety and depression
  • Avoiding relapse by providing long term follow up care

A scope of care with a custom-made treatment program and follow-up choices can be pivotal for achievement.


Treatment should compromise mental and medical health services as required. Family or community based recovery support systems are some of the things involved in a follow-up care.


How Are Medications Used In Drug Addiction Treatment?

Administered under professional supervision, prescription medicines are used to help the patient ease into a life without the effects of the drug, stop cravings and manage associated ailments.

  • Withdrawal During the detoxification process, medication helps suppress the physical reactions. Detoxification is not in itself "treatment," rather just the initial phase all the while. Patients normally go back to the use of drugs if their treatment is not continued after detoxification. According to one study of treatment centres, medications were utilised in close to 80 per cent of detoxifications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Relapse Prevention The cravings for drugs can be lowered and normal brain functions restored in the patients with the help of medications. Medications are accessible for management of opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol dependence. Scientists are also currently developing additional medications to treat addiction to marijuana and stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamines. Individuals who utilize more than one drug, which is extremely normal, require treatment for the majority of the substances they utilise.

How Are Behavioural Therapies Used To Treat Drug Addiction?

Behavioural therapies assist a patient to

  • Change their conducts and practices linked with drug usage
  • increase wholesome life skills
  • Continue with varying forms of treatment like medication

Patients can get treatment in a wide range of settings with different approaches.

Outpatient behavioural treatment involves different programs designed for patients with an organised calendar of regular meetings with a counsellor for behavioural health. The greater parts of the projects include individual or group drug advising, or both.


These programmes usually provide types of behavioural therapy like

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy used to help the patient identify trigger circumstances where they are most vulnerable to taking the drugs and how to avoid them and move on to overcome the addiction
  • Multidimensional family therapy, which is for teenage addicts and their families to understand all of the factors influencing the patterns of drug abuse and works on improving the family's ability to function
  • Motivational meeting, which capitalizes on individual's' status to change their conduct and enter treatment
  • Motivational incentives, which uses positive reinforcement to encourage continued abstinence

At first, treatment can be as intensive as multiple outpatient sessions every week. After the intensive treatment is complete, patients move on to regular outpatient treatment to help maintain their recovery by continuing to meet weekly but for fewer hours.


Residential/inpatient treatment can also be extremely successful, particularly for patients with more serious issues (including co-occurring conditions). 24-hour planned and organised care system, coupled with proper medical care and safe housing are given in residential treatment facilities that are licensed. Private treatment offices may utilize an assortment of remedial methodologies and they are for the most part gone for helping the patient carry on a drug free and crime free way of life after treatment.


The following are some examples of residential treatment settings are

  • A therapeutic community that is a very structured programme in which a patient stays at a residence, usually for 6 months to a year. The entire community, comprising treatment employees and patients in recovery, act as essential agents of change, affecting the patient's understanding, attitude, as well as conduct linked with substance use.
  • Also available are short blood cleansing programmes offered at the residential facilities to rid the body of drugs and set the foundation for a longer treatment programme.
  • Recovery housing, which is normally an aftermath of inpatient or residential treatment, and where patients are given limited term housing under an expert watch. People can move onto independent life through recovery housing - it assists them for example to learn financial management or job hunting, while linking them to community based support groups.

Problems Of Re-Admission

Habitual intake of drugs alters the normal functions of the brain, and various things can cause one to have a burning desire to take the drugs. For everyone in treatment, but especially for those in an inpatient program or prison, it's essential to learn how to recognize, avoid, and handle any triggers they may encounter after treatment.