When you or a loved one is fighting an addiction to drugs or alcohol it can seem like a hopeless experience at times. It is comforting to know that wherever you live in Canada or North America you can find a rehabilitation facility that has empathetic counsellors to help you through the process of recovering from your addiction and resuming your life as it was prior to the addiction taking it over.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that is caused by the uncontrollable urge for a controlled substance which results in undesirable consequences that may have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and personal relationships. Addiction is a disease that is created by changes in the brain that first begins when the person starts taking the drug willingly. After a period of time passes, the person no longer has the choice of whether or not they want to take the drug, the addiction starts to take over and it becomes an uncontrollable need for the person to have the drug they are craving.
Addiction affects the basal forebrain, which is the area in the frontal lobe of the brain that controls learning and memory. Motivational salience is about how something that you desire stands out when with other things that aren’t as desirable; for a drug addict, their drug of choice is the motivational salience. Depending on how strongly this salience motivates a person determines just how far they will go to get it.
Can Drug Addiction be treated and cured?
Like any other chronic disease, drug addiction can be treated and cured; but only if the person afflicted wants to be treated and cured. A person who has an addiction must realize that because the addiction did not happen in a day, it is going to take some time for the treatment to start working. When seeking treatment for an addiction, the person needs to take the following steps:
- Have the desire to stop using the drug and then to make an honest effort to stop using it.
- Remain drug-free; eliminate people and other stimuli that you relate to the drug from your life;
- Become a productive member of your family, society, and your work; focus on something—anything that keeps your mind from craving the drug;
Effective treatments for addiction
In order for drug addiction treatment to be effective the following must be present:
- The addicted person needs to have an empathetic counsellor, or someone they can trust available to talk to;
- Medication and medical equipment needs to be available to help fight the effects of withdrawal;
- Any mental health issues such as depression and anxiety must be evaluated and treated as well as the addiction, mental health issues can be the underlying cause of an addiction;
- A plan needs to be in place for following up with the addicted person in order to prevent their relapse;
When treating a person for an addiction, the most important thing to remember during the treatment process is that the whole person needs to be treated, not just the addiction. These means that drug abuse is not only a physical condition, the mental and emotional issues a person is struggling with needs to be address as well because often it is these issues that caused the addiction in the first place.