Drug addiction is actually one of the complex illnesses categorized by intense and uncontrollable drug craving (See Causes), as well as compulsive drug use that leads to devastating consequences. Addiction in that case is a brain disease, which affects multiple brain circuits – including those circuits involved in learning and memory, inhibitory control over behavior, as well as reward and motivation. Since drug addiction disrupts several aspects of a person’s life and comes with so many dimensions, drug addiction treatment isn’t simple, as it may seem. In that regard, here are some effective treatment approaches to drug abuse and addiction.
Behavioral Drug Addiction Treatments
Behavioral approaches for drug-addiction help addicts modify their attitudes, engage in an effective treatment process, improve their healthy life skills and also modify any behavior related to drug abuse. This type of drug addiction treatment can also help improve the effectiveness of addiction medications and help patients stay in treatment process longer. There are several different settings used to deliver various behavioral approaches. Here are some of them:
• Residential drug addiction treatment programs – These programs are one of the most effective treatments for addiction, especially for patients with more severe problems.
• Outpatient behavioral treatment – This encompasses several different programs for those who visit a rehab center at regular intervals. Most of these programs involve group or individual drug counseling. Other behavioral treatment forms offered by some programs of outpatient behavioral treatment include-
• Motivational incentives, also known as contingency management uses positive reinforcement to discourage drug abuse and addiction.
• Multi-dimensional family therapy – this was specifically created for adolescents suffering from drug abuse addiction.
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy – this seeks to help addicts recognize cope with and avoid any situation that might lead to abusing drugs.
Medication is actually the most effective way for drug addiction treatment. It is used to help with various aspects of this treatment process. Medications are used to diminish cravings and prevent relapse as well as help reestablish normal functioning of the brain. Today, there are medications for tobacco (nicotine), alcohol addiction, and opioids (morphine, heroin). Research is also being done to develop medications for treating stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine and even for cannabis addiction. However, most patients with more severe drug addiction problems are poly-drug users and they will therefore need treatment for every substance, which they use.
In addition, medications for drug addiction help to suppress withdrawal symptoms, especially during detoxification. Though, medically assisted detoxification isn’t itself the actual treatment, it’s just the initial step in the process of drug addiction treatment. Usually, most addicts who undergo medically-assisted withdrawal procedures, but don’t receive any further effective treatment, show patterns of drug abuse similar to those addicts who never received any addiction treatment.
Concisely, treatment of drug addiction within the criminal justice system can also help in fighting against this psychological illness. It can be effective in preventing the addict from returning to their previous criminal behavior, especially when the treatment continues as the individual transitions back into the society.
Lastly, drug addiction is a very complex, but treatable illness, which affects behavior and brain function. It’s also important to know that no single treatment is absolutely appropriate for every individual addict and the effective one should attend to multiple needs of the patient, not just his/her drug abuse.