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Published On: Fri, May 12th, 2017

The Different Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

Finding the most suitable treatment approach for drug addiction victims is an overwhelming task for both addicts and their family members. The task in itself may seem impossibly to achieve. Some patients take years in trial and error systems moving from one treatment approach to another trying to break away from the addiction menace. In addition, most addicts who attempt to walk the path alone often encounter lots of challenges, including compulsion very hard if not impossible to overcome.

It is important to note that some of the drugs and substances abused by patients can cause permanent damage to their brains, some of their body organs, or eventually lead to death. After having started treatment, most of the addicts continue with their consumption of the illicit drugs, something that further complicates their recovery process.

Choosing the best treatment program is a challenging aspect of the recovery process of any addict. Patients should also know that no single approach is universally applicable to all addicts. As a result, medics advise both the kin and the addicts to commit their energy and resources in choosing the most suitable treatment approach based on their special circumstances and preference.

The treatment methods can be classified into two; medication and behavioral treatment plans.

Public domain photo/Psychonaught

Medication approach

Scientists have developed drugs and medically proven methodologies to manage and handle withdrawal symptoms. This is a route most take when the patient has heavily relied on drugs previously and is strongly addicted. This method not only requires the used if strong medication to help with withdrawal symptoms but works hand in hand with other treatment aspects such as moral support from family members, classes, and a change in their environment. Methadone and Buprenorphine are two medications used to help addicts regain their normal brain operation. They are very useful in preventing relapse and diminishing drug cravings.

Before the drugs are administered to an addict, doctors first establish the level of addiction and the damage the drugs have caused to a patient. However, the medication is never used to replace traditional behavioral therapy. In some cases, you will find doctors at the rehabilitation centers encouraging the use of natural elements to help the recovery process. Such natural means include meditation and acupuncture.

It is important to note that medical treatment plays two roles during the recovery of an addict; detox and treatment. Basically, medication helps suppress withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses and the craving for drugs. A common addiction, heroine, would include the use of methadone and buprenorphine among other drugs.

The medications help suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings by targeting brain parts affected by the drugs. It is important to note that patients with severe addiction challenges will require additional medication and other techniques to treat all drugs abused.

For alcohol addicts, the FDA has approved naltrexone and disulfiram as the most appropriate medications for treating the vice. Naltrexone is known for blocking brain receptors related to craving and pleasure, thus reducing relapse and heavy drinking. Additionally, Acamprosate is used to mitigate long lasting withdrawal symptoms, which could include insomnia and anxiety.  Disulfiram is commonly associated with treating chronic alcoholism, but it results in unpleasant effects such as nausea, blurred vision, and mild headaches.

Behavioral Treatment

Behavioral therapy is helpful to patients in the long run. A common approach is helping addicts through active engagement to change common habits. As a result, patients develop a better attitude towards the treatment and outlook as well as behavior in life. The patients eventually leave behaviors associated with drug abuse, thus preventing them from going back to drugs in the future. Even though this approach might sound more effective, it is the most difficult to start as individuals must have some degree of commitment to want to change.

Behavioral treatment techniques are often used to enhance the effectiveness of medication and help the patients stay in the treatment program longer. Behavioral treatment in most cases is used for outpatient addicts who are not deep in their addiction.

Author: Charlie Brown

DFID—UK Dept. or International Development from Flickr Creative Commons.

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Herrnhut says:

    Joseph Prince on TBN help many type of addictions effortlessly by Gospel in so many countries.

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