Frequently asked questions about addictions and their treatments

Although many questions may exist about the process of treating an addiction, and our entire website has useful information on this topic, here you can find the most frequently asked questions that people seeking help to overcome an addiction have sent us.

What is drug rehabilitation?

Drug addiction can be described as a harmful disease that can hamper the development of an individual. This is because the individual develops bad habits of overusing dangerous substances that can be harmful to their health. These addictions are known to instill fear of stopping the use of drugs in the mind of the addict.

It has been proven that many young people get caught up in the bad habits of drug use in the hope that they are able to overcome a depression, caused by financial problems, or loneliness. They have instilled the myth in their minds that drug use can help alleviate their problems. These addicts do not realize the harmful effects that attract the consumption of these substances.

Therefore, in such a case, it would be advisable for the addict to visit drug rehabilitation clinics, which can be of great help to people who are in dire need of a recovery treatment. These centers provide the necessary medication, therapies and counseling services to help people overcome drug addiction. In most cases, the counselors in these centers usually prefer to use a natural healing approach along with special care and attention.

The main objective of drug rehabilitation is to help people who suffer from this problem to be able to meet their friends, family, relatives, the outside world, and themselves. And, also, understand the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

Therefore, if you are suffering from a drug-related addiction you must visit a rehabilitation center near you in order to receive drug rehabilitation services.

How effective is the drug addiction treatment?

In addition to stopping drug use, the goal of treatment is to return the person to a productive functioning in the family, the workplace and the community.

Measures of overall efficacy include levels of criminal behavior, family functioning, employability and health. In general, the treatment of addiction is as effective as the treatment of other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

According to several studies, treatment reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and significantly decreases criminal activity during and after treatment. For example, a study on the treatment of drug addicted offenders showed that arrests for violent and non-violent crimes were reduced by 40 percent or more.

Methadone treatment has been shown to reduce criminal behavior by up to 50 percent. Research shows that drug addiction treatment reduces the risk of HIV infection and that HIV prevention interventions are much less expensive than treatment of HIV-related diseases. Treatment can improve job prospects up to 40 percent after treatment.

Although these rates of effectiveness exist, in general, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the components of the treatment and related services that are used to address these problems, and the degree of active participation of the patient in the treatment process.

The relapse rates of drug addicts resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. The treatment allows people to counteract the powerful disruptive effects of brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.

The chronic nature of addiction means that relapse is not only possible but also likely, relapse rates being similar to those of other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma (see image, “Rate comparison of relapse between drug addiction and other chronic diseases “) – which also create physiological and behavioral changes.

Unfortunately, when a relapse occurs, many people consider it a treatment failure. This is not the case: the success of the treatment for addiction typically depends on a continuous evaluation and modifications of its components according to each patient, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases.

For example, when a patient is receiving active treatment for hypertension and the symptoms are diminished, the treatment is considered successful, even though the symptoms may reappear when treatment is interrupted. For an addicted person, relapse does not indicate failure, it only means that the treatment has to be reinstated or adjusted, or that an alternative treatment is necessary.

How long does drug treatment usually last?

Individuals progress through treatment for drug addiction at different rates, so there is no predetermined duration of treatment. However, studies have unequivocally demonstrated that the best results are achieved when the duration of treatment is adapted to each patient. In general, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited efficacy, and treatment that lasts much longer is recommended to achieve and maintain positive results. For methadone treatment, 12 months are considered to be necessary as a minimum, and some opioid-dependent individuals continue to use methadone treatment for many years.

The best results are achieved when the duration of treatment is adapted to each patient.

Abandonment of treatment is one of the main problems facing drug rehabilitation programs, so motivational techniques that can keep patients to participate will also improve or worsen the results. Seeing addiction as a chronic disease and providing ongoing care, programs can be successful, but this often requires several cycles of treatment.

To find out exactly how much a person should undergo rehabilitation it is better to contact a drug rehab clinic.

What helps drug addicts continue treatment?

Good results often depend on the person’s permanence long enough in a treatment program to get all the benefits of rehabilitation, strategies to keep a person in a program are of vital importance.

Whether the patient remains in the treatment depends on factors associated with the individual and the program. Individual factors related to commitment and retention include the motivation to change the habits of drug use, the degree of support from family and friends, and if there is, pressure to remain in treatment from the criminal justice system, health services Child protection, employers or family.

If a patient remains in the treatment depends on the factors associated with the individual and the program.

Within the program, counselors are able to establish a positive and therapeutic relationship with the patient. The counselor should ensure that a treatment plan is established and followed so that the individual knows what to expect during the treatment. Medical, psychiatric and social services must be available.

Since some of the individual problems (such as severe mental illness, severe cocaine abuse, etc.) increase the likelihood of a patient’s dropout, intensive treatment with a complex range of components may be necessary to retain patients who They have these problems. Then, the rehabilitation service provider must ensure the transition from continued care to the end of the patient’s treatment.

Why do people addicted to drugs still use drugs?

Almost all addicted people believe in the beginning that they can stop using drugs for themselves, and most try to stop them without treatment. Although some people succeed, many attempts result in the inability to achieve long-term withdrawal. Research has shown that changes in the brain as a result of long-term drug abuse persist long after a person stops using the drugs. These changes created by the drug in brain functions can have many consequences on behavior (such as the inability to exercise control over the urge to use drugs despite the adverse consequences that appear, a determining characteristic of addiction)

Significant changes in brain functions due to long-term drug use may persist long after the person stops using drugs.

Understanding that addiction has a fundamental biological component can help explain the difficulty of achieving and maintaining abstinence without treatment. Psychological stress at work, family problems, psychiatric illnesses, pain associated with medical problems, social relationships (such as talking to individuals with whom a person used drugs in the past), or environmental cues (such as objects or even associated odors) with drug abuse) can trigger intense cravings without the individual being aware of the cause. Any of these factors can make it difficult to achieve sustained abstinence and make relapse more likely. 

Why can’t drug addicts stop drugs on their own?

Almost all drug addicts believe at first that they can stop using drugs for themselves and most try to stop drugs without treatment. However, most of these attempts result in the inability to achieve long-term abstinence.

Studies have shown that long-term drug use makes significant changes in brain function that persist long after the individual stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioral consequences, including the compulsion to use drugs despite adverse consequences, the defining characteristic of addiction.

Understanding that addiction has such an important biological component can help explain the difficulty of achieving and maintaining abstinence without treating an individual. Psychological stress from work or family problems, social cues, or the environment (for example, streets, objects or even odors associated with drug use) can interact with biological factors to prevent sustained abstinence from being reached and They make a relapse more likely.

Studies indicate that even severely addicted people can actively participate in treatment and that active participation is essential for good results.

How can friends and family help a drug addict?

Family and friends can play a fundamental role in motivating people with drug problems to enter and stay in drug rehabilitation programs. Family therapy can also be important, especially for teenagers. The participation of a family member or partner in an individual’s treatment program can reinforce and extend the benefits of treatment.

Can a person be addicted to medications prescribed by a doctor?

Yes. People who abuse prescription medications, taking them in a manner or a dose that is not prescribed, or taking prescription medications for someone other than risk addiction and other serious health consequences. Such drugs include opioid analgesics, stimulants used to treat ADHD, and benzodiazepines to treat anxiety or sleep disorders. In fact, in 2010, an estimated 2.4 million people over the age of 12 meet criteria for abuse or dependence on prescription drugs, the second most common use of illicit drugs after marijuana. To minimize these risks, A doctor (or other prescribing medical provider) should evaluate patients for past or current substance abuse problems and evaluate their family history of substance abuse or addiction before prescribing a psychoactive medication and monitoring the patients to whom These drugs are prescribed. Doctors should also inform patients about the potential risks so that they can follow their doctor’s instructions carefully, safeguard their medications, and dispose of them properly.

Is the use of medications during rehabilitation the substitution of one addiction for another?

No. As used in maintenance treatment, methadone and methadol are not heroin substitutes. They are safe and effective medications for opioid addiction that are administered orally in regular, fixed doses. Its pharmacological effects are different from those of heroin.

The heroin smoked, injected, etc. produces a brief period of euphoria that passes very quickly. The individual experiences an intense desire to use more heroin to restore euphoria. The euphoria cycle and the desire for more euphoria after the sensation disappears, is repeated several times a day and becomes an addiction.

These characteristics of heroin use are the result of the rapid appearance of the effects of the drug and the short duration of action in the brain. A person who uses heroin several times a day subjects their brain and body to rapid fluctuations, as opioid effects appear and disappear. These fluctuations can disrupt a number of important body functions.

Methadone and LAAM act much more gradually than heroin, and as a result, patients stabilized with these medications do not experience any euphoria. In addition, the effect of both medications disappears much slower than heroin, so the brain and body are not exposed to fluctuations. Maintenance treatment with methadone or LAAM greatly reduces the desire for heroin.

If a person takes the appropriate dose of methadone (once a day) or LAAM (several times a week), when taking heroin, the euphoric effects are significantly blocked. According to studies, patients undergoing maintenance treatment do not suffer from medical abnormalities and behavioral destabilization as a result of rapid fluctuations caused by heroin.

What are the special needs of adolescents with substance use disorders?

Teenagers addicted to drugs have special needs due to their neurocognitive immaturity and the stage of psychosocial development in which they are. Research has shown that the brain undergoes a prolonged process of development and improvement, from birth to early adulthood. Throughout this period of development, the actions of a young person, go from being more impulsive to being more reasonable and thoughtful. In fact, areas of the brain related to aspects of behavior, such as decision making, judgment, planning and self-control, undergo a period of rapid development during adolescence and adulthood, therefore, a Proper treatment should take this into account.

Drug abuse among teenagers is also often associated with other mental health problems that occur at the same time. For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and behavioral problems, as well as depressive and anxiety disorders.

Teenagers are also particularly sensitive to social cues, from groups of friends and family that are highly influential during this time. Therefore, the treatments that facilitate parental involvement, integrate other activities in which adolescents participate (for example, school or athletics) and recognize the importance of relationships with peers/friends/family, are among the most effective .

Likewise, they are an integral part of drug rehabilitation for adolescents, the need for thorough evaluations, access to treatment, case management and family support services that are appropriate in terms of development, culture and sex.

Medications for substance abuse among adolescents in certain cases may be helpful. Currently, the only drugs approved for addiction for people under 18 are nicotine patches, chewing gum and anti-tobacco pills. Buprenorphine, a medication for the treatment of opioid addiction that should be prescribed by specialized doctors, has not been approved by the state to be used for teenagers, but recent research suggests that it might be effective for young people who have At least 16 years. Studies are being conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of this and other medications for opioids, nicotine and alcohol dependence.

What are the specific needs of pregnant women with substance use disorders?

The use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy exposes not only the woman but also her fetus to dangerous substances and potentially long-term effects may occur for exposed children. Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of fetal death, infant mortality, sudden infant death syndrome, premature birth, respiratory problems, fetal growth retardation and low birth weight. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in the development of fetal problems, which are characterized by low birth weight and lasting cognitive and behavioral problems.

Prenatal use of some medications, such as opioids, can cause a withdrawal syndrome in the newborn is called neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Babies with SAN have an increased risk of seizures, respiratory problems, feeding difficulties, low birth weight and may even die.

Studies have established the value of evidence-based treatments for pregnant women (and their children), including medications. For example, although there are no recommended medications for the treatment of opioid dependence for pregnant women, methadone maintenance combined with prenatal care and a comprehensive drug rehabilitation program can improve many of the negative outcomes associated with drug abuse. No treatment. However, newborns exposed to methadone during pregnancy still require treatment for withdrawal symptoms.

Recently, it has been shown that another medication for opioid dependence, buprenorphine, produces fewer SAN symptoms in babies than methadone, resulting in less hospitalization time for babies.

Are there specific treatments for drug addiction in old age?

With the aging of people, the composition of the general population is changing dramatically with respect to the number of elderly adults. This change, together with a greater history of drug use for life (from the previous old generations), the different cultural norms and general attitudes about drug use and the increase in the availability of psychotherapeutic drugs, is already leading to a increased use of drugs by older adults and may increase substance use problems in this population.

While substance abuse in older adults often goes unnoticed and therefore untreated, research indicates that currently available addiction treatment programs can be as effective for them as for younger adults.

How does treatment for addiction affect other mental disorders concurrent with drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that occurs frequently with other mental disorders. In fact, no less than 6 out of 10 people with a substance abuse disorder also suffer from another mental illness, and the rates are similar for licit drug users, that is, tobacco and alcohol. For these people, a condition becomes more difficult to treat successfully as an additional condition is intertwined. Therefore, people who initiate a treatment, whether for a substance use disorder or other mental disorder should be evaluated for the concurrence of the other condition.

Research indicates that the treatment of both (or multiple) diseases at the same time in an integrated manner is generally the best treatment approach for these patients.

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