Dangerous behaviors common among alcoholics include impaired judgment and coordination, falling asleep at the wheel, falling asleep with lit cigarettes, aggressive outbursts, drinking to the point of vomiting, hangover, or alcohol poisoning — and these are just the ones most alcoholics experience in the course of their disease. All of these behaviors will eventually hit the system, in the form of health care costs, criminal justice costs, motor vehicle crash costs, and workplace productivity
Many chronic conditions such as arthritis or diabetes carry a risk of recurrence, even after years of successful medical management. In a similar way, there will always be a possibility of relapse for those in recovery.1 However, finding a reputable treatment program that utilizes evidence-based treatment (and staying in treatment long enough—NIDA recommends at least 3 months) gives people a head start on sobriety and gives them the tools they'll need to prevent relapse.2
You’ll want to be thorough while searching for the substance abuse treatment program that is right for you. Not all rehabs are equal, so it’s important that you know what you’re looking for. Not everyone will benefit from the same type of rehab so some priorities may depend on the individual’s preferences, but some standard things to look for include:
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.
As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that causes dangerous physical effects such as rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. Cocaine is extremely addictive due to its short half-life and method of action. It keeps a steady stream of dopamine in the brain while users are high, preventing further dopamine production and closing down dopamine receptors. When withdrawal sets in, the brain starts to crave the lost dopamine the drug once provided, making it extremely hard to recover from.10
Drug rehabilitation is sometimes part of the criminal justice system. People convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, and those convicted of driving while intoxicated are sometimes required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. There are a great number of ways to address an alternative sentence in a drug possession or DUI case; increasingly, American courts are willing to explore outside-the-box methods for delivering this service. There have been lawsuits filed, and won, regarding the requirement of attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step meetings as being inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, mandating separation of church and state.
An additional cognitively-based model of substance abuse recovery has been offered by Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy and championed in his 1993 book Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse. This therapy rests upon the assumption addicted individuals possess core beliefs, often not accessible to immediate consciousness (unless the patient is also depressed). These core beliefs, such as "I am undesirable," activate a system of addictive beliefs that result in imagined anticipatory benefits of substance use and, consequentially, craving. Once craving has been activated, permissive beliefs ("I can handle getting high just this one more time") are facilitated. Once a permissive set of beliefs have been activated, then the individual will activate drug-seeking and drug-ingesting behaviors. The cognitive therapist's job is to uncover this underlying system of beliefs, analyze it with the patient, and thereby demonstrate its dysfunctional. As with any cognitive-behavioral therapy, homework assignments and behavioral exercises serve to solidify what is learned and discussed during treatment.
The way it works is when people normally drink alcohol, endorphins are released into the brain, and this reinforces the behavior of drinking alcohol. Revia and Vivitrol block the feel-good endorphins. Much like when Pavlov's dogs were presented with food when a bell was rung, these dogs became conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell alone. However, when these dogs continued to be presented with the ringing bell and no food, the salivating stopped.
Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
Internationally, the U.S. and Eastern Europe are the countries with the highest substance abuse disorder occurrence (5-6%). Africa, Asia, and the Middle East were countries with the lowest worldwide occurrence (1-2%). Across the globe, those that tended to have a higher prevalence of substance dependence were in their twenties, unemployed, and men. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports on substance dependence/abuse rates in various population demographics across the U.S. When surveying populations based on race and ethnicity in those ages 12 and older, it was observed that American Indian/Alaskan Natives were among the highest rates and Asians were among the lowest rates in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1