Treatments - Drug Addiction

There are a variety of treatment options available for drug addiction. These range from acupuncture and counselling through to rehab and detox.

Every addict responds differently to treatment so it is important to find a course of treatment which is tailored to your individual requirements. What works for one person may not be ideal for you.

The biggest problem with addiction recovery is that of relapse. People with an addiction experience cravings or withdrawal symptoms if they are denied their drug of choice. These symptoms are so strong and unpleasant that many people end up taking a drug in order to ease these symptoms.

Drug addiction takes over your life: it controls your every waking moment to the extent that the only thing that matters in your life is your addiction. It is a compulsive form of behaviour and many addicts become selfish and obsessed with satisfying their need for their drug.

The problem is that someone has developed a tolerance to a drug, for example, heroin and requires every increasing amounts in order to achieve the same effects, namely a ‘high’  or ‘buzz’. Their bodies (and minds) have adapted to the effects of the drug so larger doses are taken. These larger doses also block any withdrawal symptoms.

Stopping an addiction

This is not an easy thing to do but once you have decided upon it then you need to follow a course of treatment.

One option is to abstain from using a substance and all other things connected with it. This means not taking the drug, removing yourself from an environment where there is likely to be temptation and changing your circle of friends if necessary.

Abstinence is discussed in more detail in this section.

Another reason to stop an addiction is that of poor health or from the fact that their drug habit is negating the effects of any medication they are taking.

Many women who smoke and then decide to start a family will give up smoking due to the harmful effects it has upon the developing foetus. The effects of smoking on the newborn baby are well documented and this is often the trigger to give up.

We have discussed stopping an addiction but the important aspect here is that of finding a suitable treatment. Your GP may be able to help you decide upon a course of treatment or a community drugs team.

So what treatment is available?

Drug addiction treatments include:

Drug replacement therapy such as methadone treatment is a popular option for people with a heroin addiction. Another equally good option is nicotine replacements.

They work by allowing the addict to gradually reduce their dependence on a substance without the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

A substance like methadone is very similar to heroin so people who take this experience lesser effects than with heroin but are able to gradually wean themselves off their addiction.

Nicotine replacement therapy appears to work well for heavy smokers but it does require a great deal of willpower and self-discipline to do so.

This also applies to methadone treatment. The risk with this is that methadone itself is a highly addictive substance and heroin addicts have ended up becoming dependent on that instead. This form of treatment needs to be monitored on a regular basis by a trained professional.

Find out more about the various treatments for drug addiction… 


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