This helpline is intended to provide you with options for treatment and to give an overview of what is available to help you.
Drug addiction, with its accompanying compulsion to use, is a complex disease which persists even when harmful effects are apparent. Addiction is a brain disease affecting multiple brain circuits including those involved in reward and motivation, learning, memory and control over behavior.
Because addiction affects so many areas of a person’s life, treatment typically incorporates many components each targeted to a specific symptom and its consequences. The goal of treatment is to help a person stop using drugs or alcohol, maintain a substance free lifestyle and become a functional person within the family group, at work and in society. Most people with addiction require long-term or repeated care to achieve sustained sobriety and a healthy lifestyle.
Detox is the first step and is often mistaken for treatment as in, “I went to detox.” Detox without subsequent treatment will not prevent a person from future substance abuse. Treatment cannot begin until detox is accomplished. The detox process is difficult and withdrawal symptoms can be severe, so it is best accomplished in a residential setting under medical supervision. The goal is to rid the body of the addictive substance and, at the discretion of the clinician, substitute drugs may be used to ease withdrawal symptoms until the body is drug free and the patient is ready for treatment.
Therapy in treatment
Therapy can be a hugely helpful part of a person’s treatment. One of the best forms of therapy for those struggling with substance abuse in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT can be done one-on-one with a clinician or as part of a group supervised by a clinician. CBT teaches a patient to replace negative thoughts with positive ones by redirecting old recurring thoughts into new channels that lead to a healthier outcome. Patients also learn how to cope with drug cravings and develop strategies to avoid drugs and prevent relapse. Subjects for discussion will include a person’s job, any legal difficulties and most importantly, relationships with family and friends.
Principles of effective treatment
A competent treatment center will check for any underlying condition which may accompany addiction. Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol suffer from a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety and such disorders must be treated concurrently with addiction in order to achieve a successful outcome. Some patients do quite well utilizing outpatient treatment only, while others benefit from a residential program which allows them to focus fully on treatment while away from any temptation.
- Individualized treatment
- Treatment of multiple needs
- Adequate treatment period
- Medication, if prescribed
- Continual assessment of status
- Underlying conditions treated
- General medical examination
Medications can be used to restore normal brain function, prevent relapse and reduce cravings. Currently there are medications for opioids – heroin and morphine — and alcohol addiction. Others are being developed for stimulants – cocaine and methamphetamine. Many people with severe addiction problems abuse more than one drug and will require treatment for all substances abused. Some of the medications used regularly to ease withdrawal include the following:
- Methadone – helpful in treatment of withdrawal symptoms for opiates and alcohol
- Buprenorphine – used to help ease withdrawal from opioids
- Topiramate – currently undergoing clinical trials and showing encouraging results for the treatment of alcohol dependence
- Acamprosate – used to help reduce symptoms of withdrawal such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and dysphoria
A combination of medication and CBT is an effective treatment for addiction. Some patients do well with therapy alone, while others require both treatments concurrently.
Therapeutic communities or extended care facilities are useful for patients with severe problems. These are highly structured programs in which patients reside for a period of six to twelve months. Treatment staff and those in recovery are used to influence a patient’s attitudes, perceptions and behaviors associated with drug use. Patients may include those with long addiction histories, involvement in criminal activities and/or seriously impaired social functioning. The focus of the therapeutic community is to resocialize the patient to a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle.
Following recovery, self-help support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can provide further and continued support and encouragement to remain drug and alcohol free. Such groups decrease the sense of shame and isolation which can lead to relapse.
Find help today!
The Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline is a valuable resource to those in need of drug addiction treatment. We provide not only information regarding drug addiction but are also able to help our clients find the treatment they need to get them back on track and drug free again.
If you would like further information or have questions, please to speak with a member of our team over the phone to get started on your recovery today.