According to ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine), addiction is a chronic disease that negatively affects the brain’s motivation, memory functions, and reward mechanisms. A person battling addiction is likely to have uncontrollable cravings to use a substance or engage in problematic behaviors and habits. In many cases, the compulsion is so powerful that they often begin to neglect other areas of their life to fulfill the insatiable desire to use.

Types of Addictions

In most cases, addiction infers substance abuse disorder that requires treatment. However, addiction can manipulate itself into many forms, including problematic behaviors such as gambling, retail shopping, internet overuse, and unhealthy sexual habits.

Addiction is identified when a person is no longer willing or able to abstain from the said behaviors, practices, or substance(s) in question. This, of course, becomes taxing for their mental and physical health over time.

For years the perpetuated myth of “addiction is a choice” ran mainstream; thankfully, with the destigmatization of substance abuse and increase in openness to discuss personal struggles, we can see that addiction is, in fact, not a choice at all.

While some individuals are more likely to have a propensity for abuse than others, it is safe to say that truly anyone can develop an addiction or what seems to be an almost unbreakable dependence. A few of the most common dependencies are

  • Tobacco or nicotine
  • Alcohol, often requiring inpatient alcoholism treatment
  • Marijuana, LSD, and other illicit/non-illicit drugs
  • Inhalants like oven cleaners, aerosol products, spray paints, etc.
  • Anxiety medication like benzodiazepines
  • Opioids
  • Painkillers
  • Cocaine, Heroin, and other drugs

In a way, it may be easier to believe that behavioral addictions are not as dangerous or as threatening as substance abuse dependence- unfortunately, this is not true. With both behavioral and substance abuse, negative consequences often reign supreme and wreak havoc on the lives of those that they touch. Common addiction-related behaviors and habits are as follows

  • Excessive lifting or exercise
  • Gambling
  • Playing video games
  • Sex addiction
  • Shopping
  • Addiction to media/internet

Signs That Your Addiction Needs Treatment

There comes a point in the journey of those suffering from substance abuse where they feel as though they’ve gone too far, lost control, or are simply unable to stop by their own accord. The most common warning signs of addiction and immediate need for treatment are as follows:

  • Inability to control or stay away from the problematic behavior and/or substance
  • Ignoring relationships, work commitments
  • Decreased socialization
  • Indulging in risky behaviors like sharing needles
  • Physical symptoms include losing weight, appearing zoned out, and needing a higher dose to achieve the same effects
  • Personality changes like anger and violence

These are just some symptoms. The degree to which a person will experience or exhibit signs will depend on what they are addicted to, how long they’ve been battling addiction, and their individual personality.

What Are The Treatment Options for Addiction?

Detoxification

Before a treatment program can begin, it is imperative to complete the initial detox. The concept is to totally rid the boy of the remaining substances and start anew. Here at SJRP, there are specialized drug detox programs available.

This first step in the recovery process will put you on the path towards success for your entire treatment program. During the detox and withdrawal phase, the patient will be monitored 24/7 under the care of highly trained doctors and medical staff, and more so in the presence of co-occurring disorders or advanced cases of misuse. Oftentimes, medication can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms. MAT becomes necessary when there is a diagnosis of more than one addiction at hand.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

One of the most integral aspects of addiction therapy is counseling and behavioral treatment therapy. This phase usually comes right after the detoxification is completed. Therapy can occur in individual or group sessions, and when deemed necessary and appropriate, it may involve family members. Each client has different needs and desired outcomes from their sessions and the structure will vary based on the guidance of the counselors.

The most commonly integrated forms of therapy are:

  • CBT short for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT focuses on recognizing and working on negative ways of thinking that are causing SUD.
  • Multidimensional family therapy focuses on improving family relations, functioning, and dynamics around the person suffering from the substance disorder.
  • Motivational interviewing encourages a person to commit to a healthy lifestyle and a willingness to make necessary changes.
  • Motivational incentive therapy uses rewards to instill positive reinforcements.

Rehabilitation Programs

Addiction rehab programs are long-term programs that are designed to treat addictive behaviors and substance issues effectively. They maintain a focus on abstinence from substance use issues before resuming a regular social, family, and professional life.

These programs are conducted by fully licensed facilities that provide structured 24/7 care within a safe environment. Residents will receive all of the necessary supplies, help, and medical intervention that they need.

  • Short-term Residential Rehab Program – This typically includes detox and intense counseling to prepare the individual to commit to long-term recovery.
  • Therapeutic communities – Anyone seeking a long-term program should enroll in a therapeutic community where they can reside for anywhere between 6-12 months. Onsite staff help individuals with their recovery efforts. A long-term addiction treatment program is best for people battling more intense and severe forms of addiction. The staff and community are the key factors that encourage recovery and healthy attitude changes to live a drug-free life.
  • Recovery Housing – You can stay at a recovery house after successfully going through treatment. It prepares you for the final stages of recovery before transitioning back into normal life. Stays are typically short and supervised, requiring you to take on shared household responsibilities. This gives you a sense of new and independent life; one without drugs and addiction. Most recovery houses offer help with finding work, handling finances, and establishing a sense of connection with reality.

Medications

In many cases, doctors will prescribe medication during the detox phase. However, it is possible to continue medication-assisted treatment long-term to manage possible complications that may ensue later on. It depends on the person, their medical history, and their propensity for future setbacks. Long-term medications can reduce, manage and prevent relapses from occurring. Some of the most frequently prescribed medications are:

  • Naltrexone – blocks opioid receptors in the brain responsible for euphoria and reward mechanisms.
  • Acamprosate – is used to manage withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and restlessness.
  • Antabuse or Disulfiram – this medication disrupts how alcohol breaks down and leads to unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed.

Bottom Line

If you or someone you know is battling substance abuse, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Recovery is for everyone, and here at SJRP we are ready to help you reach your goals and find freedom from addiction.