Changes in the brain that support physical and psychological dependency on mind-altering substances are the direct cause of addiction, but those changes do not occur at random. Addiction experts believe drug addiction emerges from an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, although one factor or the other may be strong enough to make a person vulnerable to addiction in some instances. Overcome Any Addiction: Dopamine Receptor Repair & Addiction Healing (sound therapy)
Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes powerful physical and psychological cravings for mind-altering substances, including illegal intoxicants like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and PCP. Many people also become addicted to misused prescription drugs, or to chemical substances not manufactured for human consumption (inhalants), to party drugs (ecstasy), hallucinogens like LSD, or to marijuana, which despite its benign reputation is the most widely abused illicit drug.
Ongoing support and aftercare are essential to this type of sustained, long-term recovery. Many drug abuse rehab centers feature robust aftercare programs, including ongoing individual therapy sessions on a periodic basis, group therapy meetings, and alumni events. Oftentimes, alumni are also encouraged to get involved in their own recovery community by participating in 12-step meetings or residing in a sober living home. If recovering addicts have people they can turn to for support when they are tempted to relapse, they are more likely to stand strong and resist the urge to use again. Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers ► What You Don't Know
One of many recovery methods are 12-step recovery programs, with prominent examples including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Drug Addicts Anonymous and Pills Anonymous. They are commonly known and used for a variety of addictions for the individual addicted and the family of the individual. Substance-abuse rehabilitation (rehab) centers offer a residential treatment program for some of the more seriously addicted, in order to isolate the patient from drugs and interactions with other users and dealers. Outpatient clinics usually offer a combination of individual counseling and group counseling. Frequently, a physician or psychiatrist will prescribe medications in order to help patients cope with the side effects of their addiction. Medications can help immensely with anxiety and insomnia, can treat underlying mental disorders (cf. self-medication hypothesis, Khantzian 1997) such as depression, and can help reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptomology when withdrawing from physiologically addictive drugs. Some examples are using benzodiazepines for alcohol detoxification, which prevents delirium tremens and complications; using a slow taper of benzodiazepines or a taper of phenobarbital, sometimes including another antiepileptic agent such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or valproate, for withdrawal from barbiturates or benzodiazepines; using drugs such as baclofen to reduce cravings and propensity for relapse amongst addicts to any drug, especially effective in stimulant users, and alcoholics (in which it is nearly as effective as benzodiazepines in preventing complications); using clonidine, an alpha-agonist, and loperamide for opioid detoxification, for first-time users or those who wish to attempt an abstinence-based recovery (90% of opioid users relapse to active addiction within eight months or are multiple relapse patients); or replacing an opioid that is interfering with or destructive to a user's life, such as illicitly-obtained heroin, dilaudid, or oxycodone, with an opioid that can be administered legally, reduces or eliminates drug cravings, and does not produce a high, such as methadone or buprenorphine – opioid replacement therapy – which is the gold standard for treatment of opioid dependence in developed countries, reducing the risk and cost to both user and society more effectively than any other treatment modality (for opioid dependence), and shows the best short-term and long-term gains for the user, with the greatest longevity, least risk of fatality, greatest quality of life, and lowest risk of relapse and legal issues including arrest and incarceration. A Cure for Alcoholism? -- The Doctors
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In