What About Addiction Treatment

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One main function of Treatment is providing "Tools", or skills to help resist the "craving" for the drug-of-choice. In the end, though, helping the addict return to normal functioning in society can be the most important and difficult part of the recovery process. Being an addict ruins a person's life, and it takes a lot of patience to regain the ability to work as a responsible employee, function as a family member, and just generally being a productive member of society! If, as is often true, an addict took drugs because of life failures, we can not put them back into that failure situation unprepared, and expect them not to use drugs again!

There is a widespread mistrust among the public and many politicians regarding the effectiveness of
a society is defined by how it deals with difficult problems!

Are we going to continue with the kind of thinking that spawned "Leper" colonies to isolate the victims of that disease? We need to bring the same standards to treatment of addiction that we apply to other "chronic, but treatable disorders". It often takes months to bring diabetes or high blood pressure into a manageable state. Cancer and many other diseases can take years and unbelievable amounts of effort and money to control, but we do it anyway. It's difficult to achieve complete abstinence, because the brain has been so changed by the drugs, but the pressures that bring on many addictions are still out there and addicts fear them.

So many different things are responsible for different people resorting to drugs to cope; that it only follows that various diversified treatments can be more or less effective for different individuals. Matching treatments to individuals is imperative to be able to expect good results. We bought to bring the same standards to treating drug abuse that we apply to any other disorder. There is no cookie cutter treatment for any chronic disorder. One may try several medications, each over a nominal period of time, before bringing blood pressure under control. It can take weeks, or even months, but we do not give up until we find the right one. How many times have we heard a doctor a doctor, in regard to antibiotics, say "take all of the pills, even if you get to feeling better before they're all gone"? That's what we have to do with the treatment for drug addiction. Treatment is like taking a certain amount of pills. The behaviors that are changed in treatment change the brain (remember, we can significantly modify the brain and pills can do the same thing, for example, taking anti-depressants). So we have to treat people long enough for the treatment to be effective, with long-lasting results.


This is large based on lack of understanding, because relapse rates are so high. Acceptance of a more realistic set of expectations is what's needed to advance the approval and backing of the whole treatment concept. In other chronic disorders (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc) we do not give up on people because they have a relapse, we give them more or even increased treatment. Thinking that most people should achieve total absence in one treatment episode is not realistic. Once we realize and accept that addiction is a relapsing disorder we can reduce the drug use and lengthen the time between relapses. Then, by getting people to quickly return to some form of treatment, we can absolutely achieve the goal of total abstinence. When viewed and applied in this manner treatment can be, and is, very effective. It's just simply, often, a long, difficult process, but the goal is achievable. This is a proven fact. Patience and understanding are difficult because the symptoms and effects of addiction are so harmful to people who have any direct involvement with an addict! As with cancer, depression, and other major disorders, it's very difficult to achieve complete success on the first try. The bottom line is that there are a tremendous number of people suffering from addiction, in our society. Do we just throw them away?

How are we going to approach this problem? It is complex!

Addiction has spread so broadly and so rapidly that many people hate addicts and are blinded by this. This is because addiction has such far-reaching effects on the non-addicts which society they share. Treating addicts as criminals has failed to achieve any acceptable positive result, because it's the wrong approach. Criminality is most often a result of addiction, not the cause. Until we see addiction as a health problem, families will continue to suffer, and our society will not heal. Most of the prisons could and should be replaced by treatment programs and outpatient counseling clinics.

It only follows, that a complex problem may require complex solutions to succeed in solving that problem! Right? Science knows more about addiction than we would ever have thought possible in the past. We know that addiction is a complex phenomenon, involving physiology (bodily health), psychology (the brain and nervous system), and sociology (public and professional attitudes and beliefs) in many combinations. Treatment professionals know this and have a wide range of approaches available and in use currently. John Q. Public, including policy makers and politicians, need to know what science and treatment professionals know, at some level. You need to understand this, especially if you have an addict in your life. Addiction is a complex disease that will not be conquered by intuition or ideology. Once we understand this; science will then be able to achieve results like they have with schizophrenia, depression, diabetes, heart disease and others.

Source by David R Carroll