Medical Help - Drug Addiction

There is medical help available to those suffering with an addiction. This includes people who are specially trained in the area of drug addiction and those who cover a general range of conditions, for example your GP.

Your GP

Your family doctor is often the first port of call for people with an addiction and can provide you with help and advice. He/she will be familiar with this problem and can suggest some or all of the following:

  • Drug replacement, for example methadone for heroin addiction
  • Counselling
  • Rehab clinics and centres
  • Therapists such as hypnotherapists, psychotherapists etc

They can also check your general health, provide you with further information and monitor your progress.

For most of us if we have a medical problem then our GP is who we visit first of all and drug addiction is no different. He or she will not be judgemental or criticise you about your habit but is there to help you break your addiction.

Community drugs teams

These form part of mental health services in the UK. They are comprised of a range of people which includes mental health nurses, counsellors and other professionals. They offer help and advice to anyone affected by an addiction - which includes the addict, their family and/or friends. They will also conduct an assessment of the level of addiction and use this and other information to devise a treatment plan for the individual.

These teams are based in various locations around the UK and offer a variety of treatment plans which include:

  • Counselling
  • Needle exchange
  • Detox
  • Psychological therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Drug replacement therapy
  • Referral to a rehab unit
  • Referral to a social care agency

These services will vary between teams but they all aim to start someone on a programme of treatment as soon as possible. During this programme, the addict will meet other professionals such as social workers, specialist drug advisors and doctors.

They can also help with other related issue such as employment, housing and general health issues.

Drug addiction has a wide reach and affects all areas of an addict’s life. This includes their home life, job, relationships and health. The consequences of this include unemployment, marriage or relationship breakdown, homelessness and crime.

Many drug addicts turn to crime to pay for their habit and these community teams will have someone (or a group) trained in drug related crime who can help and advice offenders.

Mental health nurses will be involved in these teams and are best placed to advise younger addicts such as those affected by alcohol or substance abuse. They can advise the families of those affected by addiction or act as a liaison point between the addict, their family and the medical profession.

These nurses can administer medication if needed, advise about treatment plans, explain the various forms of treatment and provide counselling. They can also help someone get their life back to normal in such matters as appearance and personal hygiene and relationships with others.

These are invaluable sources of help and many people who have recovered from an addiction state that they made the difference between success and failure.


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