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Drug Treatment Recommendations:

About Addiction Many people view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem. Parents, teens, older adults, and other members of the community tend to characterize people who take drugs as morally weak or as having criminal tendencies. They believe that drug abusers and addicts should be able to stop taking drugs if they are willing to change their behavior. Addiction does begin with drug abuse when an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs, but addiction is not just "a lot of drug use." Recent scientific research provides overwhelming evidence that not only do drugs interfere with normal brain functioning creating powerful addictive feelings of pleasure, but they also have long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. At some point, changes occur in the brain that can turn drug abuse into addiction, a chronic, relapsing illness. Those addicted to drugs suffer from a compulsive drug craving and usage and cannot quit by themselves. Treatment is necessary to end this compulsive behavior. A Drug can be defined as any substance that affects the function of living cells, used in medicine to diagnose, cure, prevent the occurrence of diseases and disorders, and prolong the life of patients with incurable conditions. Drug Abuse or Addiction is characterized by taking more than the recommended dose of prescription drugs such as barbiturates without medical supervision, or using illegal or controlled substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or other similar mind altering substances. Drug abuse can cause a wide variety of adverse physical reactions. Long-term drug use may damage the heart, liver, and brain. Drug abusers may suffer from malnutrition if they habitually forget to eat, cannot afford to buy food, or eat foods lacking the proper vitamins and minerals. Individuals who abuse injectable drugs risk contracting infections such as hepatitis and HIV from dirty needles or needles shared with other infected abusers. One of the most dangerous effects of illegal drug use is the potential for overdosing—that is, taking too large or too strong a dose for the body’s systems to handle. A drug overdose may cause an individual to lose consciousness and to breathe inadequately. Without treatment, an individual may die from a drug overdose. Drug Treatment Recommendations & Addiction Referrals Detoxification For many addicts the thought of withdraw brings fear and anxiety to an already emotional situation. For this reason safe and comfortable medical withdraw is often times the first step in starting a positive program of recovery. First impressions are important and setting a tone of care and comfort is recommended. Once withdraw is completed the next step of removing the residual effects of long term drug and alcohol abuse is a major factor in reducing relapse tendencies and insuring the maximum benefits are realized from the rest of the treatment. If an addict is still craving drugs and experiencing the "dulling" of their mind and senses the effectiveness of treatment is very much compromised. That is why in our addiction referrals we highly recommend detoxification prior to inpatient residential treatment. The Importance of Length of Stay There are direct correlations to length of stay in addiction treatment and long term sobriety. The chances of an addict achieving sobriety and maintaining a lifestyle to support sobriety greatly increase when long term inpatient care is the treatment of choice. That is why in our drug treatment recommendations we encourage places with options for an extended length of stay. Most addictions are not born overnight. They develop over years into patterns of addictive behavior. These patterns must be broken. This coupled with treating the bio-physical aspects of addiction and the emotional aspects of addiction take time. In general, the more treatment received or longer term of stay will better the results for affective long-term sobriety. Many patients require other services as well, such as medical and mental health services and HIV prevention services. Patients who stay in treatment longer than 3 months usually have better outcomes than those who stay less time. Patient’s who go through medically assisted withdrawal to minimize discomfort but do not receive any further treatment, perform about the same in terms of their drug use as those who were never treated. Over the last 25 years, studies have shown that treatment works to reduce drug intake and crimes committed by drug-dependent people. Researchers also have found that drug abusers who have been through treatment are more likely to have jobs. The ultimate goal of our addiction referral services and the subsequent drug abuse treatment is to enable the patient to achieve lasting abstinence, but the immediate goals are to reduce drug use, improve the patient's ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications of drug abuse. Family Support and Relationship Repair Addiction is a family affliction. Although the addict is solely responsible for his past behavior successful long term recovery is directly dependent on the ability to repair and rebuild the relationships once so dear to all involved. The family is the support group for the future and relationship repair should be a central focus in any treatment. Most addicts haven't the ability to effectively begin this process and will need guidance and methodology to insure lasting success. Co-occurring Disorders Just as the field of treatment for substance use and mental disorders has evolved to become more precise, so too has the terminology used to describe people with both substance use and mental disorders. The term co-occurring disorders replaces the terms dual disorder or dual diagnosis. These latter terms, though used commonly to refer to the combination of substance use and mental disorders, are confusing in that they also refer to other combinations of disorders (such as mental disorders and mental retardation). Furthermore, the terms suggest that there are only two disorders occurring at the same time, when in fact there may be more. Clients said to have co-occurring disorders have one or more disorders relating to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs of abuse as well as one or more mental disorders. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders occurs when at least one disorder of each type can be established independent of the other and is not simply a cluster of symptoms resulting from the one disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please contact our addiction referral staff for drug treatment recommendations that meet your specific needs.

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