No matter how widespread drug addiction is in this country, many people still have significant misconceptions about drug addiction, especially opiate addiction, and what it takes to get sober and stay sober. Unfortunately, many people assume that addiction is a choice and therefore overcoming addiction is as simple as making a different choice, but that idea is far from reality. Here’s why drug addiction requires professional help to overcome.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is dependence on medication or other drugs. Alcohol and nicotine are legal substances but are also considered drugs. When someone is addicted, they’re not able to control their drug use and may continue using the drug despite the physical, psychological or emotional harm it causes them and those around them. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. A person may really want to quit but find they can’t do it on their own. This is very common. Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment, and the law.
What does it take to beat a drug addiction?
There is no one answer when it comes to how to overcome a drug addiction. Research shows that combining treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. However, treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient’s drug use patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric, and social problems. A professional health and recovery center is one that can create customized treatments resulting in long-term success in sobriety. Since addiction can impact so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment must address the needs of the whole person to be successful. The best programs for drug addiction integrate a variety of rehabilitative services into their comprehensive treatment programs. Addiction treatment professionals will utilize treatments for meeting the specific medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal needs of their patients to nurture their recovery from addiction.
Can a person overcome addiction on their own?
While it is possible for someone to overcome a drug addiction on their own, there are several factors that make it difficult, if not dangerous to attempt to do so. First, drug addiction is based on several factors, ranging from emotional to genetic to social factors, so understanding what caused the addiction in the first place, or triggers drug use, is important in overcoming addiction. Second, depending on the type and severity of the addiction, trying to treat an addiction on your own can be very dangerous. For those addicted to substances like alcohol, opiate painkillers, heroin or benzodiazepines, the initial detox process can be intense and should be done under medical supervision. Under the strict supervision of experienced medical and addiction treatment personnel, the medical detox process will allow you to withdraw gradually from the substances you are abusing and do so in a manner which minimizes the dangers of the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you quit taking substances. Anyone who wants to get off a dependence on alcohol or drugs should only pursue detox through a licensed facility where the process is monitored and supervised by medical professionals.
Drug treatment is more than stopping drug use
Drug treatment professionals understand that drug addiction treatment starts when drug usage stops, but there is so much more involved than simply stopping use. Many issues cause drug use and stopping drug use does not make those issues go away. Drug treatment professionals look at all aspects of the addiction, and work with patients not only to get sober but to stay sober. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the relapse rate for drug addiction is 40% to 60%. It recommends a treatment program that begins with medical detoxification followed by behavioral therapy and relapse prevention. That may involve individual, group or family counseling among other approaches. Detox alone is not an effective treatment for addiction.
Understanding the cause of addiction, what kinds of treatments are needed, and the dangers of going it alone illustrate why drug addiction requires professional help to overcome.