What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a behavioral disorder that involves uncontrollable drug seeking and use. Additionally, addiction affects three main areas of health: biological, psychological, and social. Changes in the brain can lead to harmful outcomes for people who abuse drugs and can impact all three aspects of overall health. Presently, SUD is known as a chronic relapsing disorder, which means that those who suffer from addiction will relapse fully if they begin using again — even after a period of abstinence.
Understanding addiction is an important part of recovery. At Tree House Recovery, we specialize in helping those suffering from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Our programs are designed to help our clients heal on all three levels.
Addiction starts with the voluntary act of taking drugs. After continued use, addiction occurs when a person becomes physically and mentally dependent on the substance. Then drug-seeking and abuse become a compulsion. This is due to the physical and chemical changes in parts of the brain involved in motivation and reward, learning and memory, and impulse control.
Can Addiction Be Treated?
Addiction is a treatable disorder. However, those with a substance use disorder may be aware of their problem but cannot stop on their own. This is because of the effects drugs have on the brain, known as neuroadaptation. Put simply, drug abuse rewires the brain’s reward system to equate drug use with survival. Fortunately, a quality addiction program and the support of family and friends can be effective in helping someone recover from addiction.
Our Approach to Addiction Treatment
Effective treatment for addiction is available. First, accepting there is an issue with addiction is necessary. You can’t fix what doesn’t exist. Also, there must be a desire to change the behavior. Interventions can lead to successful entry into treatment. However, self-motivated action is always ideal when it comes to entering a recovery program.
Second, stabilizing in a medical detox/residential program is often beneficial. A medical professional will conduct a formal assessment of symptoms to identify the extent of the substance use disorder. This helps to ensure a safe detox and treatment plan. The detox/residential level of care aids in getting a person stable for receiving comprehensive therapy needed in the next phase of treatment. Medications are often used to prevent seizures, control drug cravings, and lessen symptoms of withdrawal. Reducing these symptoms helps to prevent relapses during this time.
Third, therapy will be needed. Because SUDs typically affect many aspects of a person’s health, a multi-pronged approach of coordinated therapies creates the most effective result. To that end, a combination of individual, group, and fitness/lifestyle therapy is most effective. To put it another way, repairing the biological, mental, and social damage caused by addiction is essential. The best treatment approaches address an individual’s unique situation and any co-occurring problems to optimize health for lasting recovery.
For example, one-on-one therapy can help individuals with SUD better understand their motivations and behaviors as they develop a healthy sense of self. In addition, fitness therapy helps to normalize biology, relieve stress, and create a healthy lifestyle. And group therapy aids in building strong peer support networks and communication skills.
Everyone’s recovery journey is unique. Recovery typically requires aftercare strategies beyond detox and intensive treatment. These may include:
- Family program
- Outpatient holistic care
- Structured, drug-free environments (sober houses)
- Support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery)
- Support groups for family members (Al-Anon or Nar-Anon Family Groups)Allf