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What's substance Dependency?

Substance dependency is a chronic illness that is identified by uncontrollable substance seeking and use, regardless of the harmful effects and alterations in the brain that can be permanent. Some of those who use drugs develop some dangerous behaviours due to these alterations in the functioning of their brain. It's also easy to relapse back into drug addiction. Relapse is a situation where the person goes back to drug use after making efforts to overcome addiction.


The road to substance dependency starts with voluntarily using substances. However, as time passes, an individual's ability to decide not to use drugs weakens. The need to obtain and consume the drug becomes a driving force. This unrelenting craving results from the effects of the drug on the brain over time. The parts of the brain messed up by the drug dependency are the ones dealing with recompense and inspiration, knowledge and recollection, and responsible actions.

The workings of the human brain, coupled with human behaviour are altered by addiction.


Is Drug Addiction Treatable?

There is, but it is a long journey. Drug dependency is a long-time illness from which it is not possible to quit at will and remain clean. To come back to their old lives and overcome drug addiction totally, many addicts will require repeated or prolonged care periods.


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Rehabilitation from drug use should result in the patient

  • desist from drug use
  • Remaining drug-free
  • Resuming their responsibilities at home, workplace and community

Standards Of Effective Treatment

According to scientific research conducted since the mid-1970s, the essential principles listed below should be the foundation of all successful treatment programmes

  • Dependency is an intricate, but treatable illness which affects the functioning of the brain and behaviour.
  • No exclusive treatment is correct for everybody.
  • Individuals need fast access to treatment.
  • Successful treatment looks at all the needs of the patient, not simply his/her substance use.
  • Going through with the programme is essential.
  • The most common forms of treatment are behaviour therapies like counselling.
  • When medications are administered in conjunction with behavioural therapies, they form a valuable part of the treatment.
  • As the patient's needs change, the treatment plan must be adapted to fit the requirements.
  • Mental illnesses associated with drug dependency need to be treated too.
  • Therapeutically helped detoxification is just the primary phase of treatment.
  • For treatment to be successful, it does not need to be voluntary.
  • During treatments, the use of drugs by the patient must be properly observed.
  • People who use drugs easily contact communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and others and as such, they should be tested so that their treatment can be taken into account during rehabilitation.

How Drug Dependency Is Treated?

There are several steps to effective treatment

  • detox (the process when the body cleanses itself of a substance)
  • Psychological therapist
  • medication (for tobacco, opioid, or alcohol addiction)
  • assessment and treatment for co-happening psychological well-being issues, for example, depression and anxiety
  • Avoiding relapse by providing long term follow up care

Great results can be realised with the customised medical care plan and support services.


Treatment should compromise mental and medical health services as required. Follow-up care may comprise group or family-based recuperation supportive networks.


How Is Drug Addiction Treated With Medication?

The treatment of co-occurring health issues, avoidance of relapse and amelioration of the withdrawal symptoms are some of the cases where medications are needed.

  • Withdrawal The withdrawal symptoms that are witnessed when detox is done could be alleviated with medications. Detoxification is not in itself "treatment," rather just the initial phase all the while. A patient who does not get any additional treatment after completing a detox generally continue their substance use. According to a study, 80% of detoxifications used medications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Preventing Relapse The cravings for drugs can be lowered and normal brain functions restored in the patients with the help of medications. Alcohol addiction, tobacco (nicotine) and opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers) have medications for their treatments. Drugs that can counter the effects of enhancing (uppers) like (cocaine, crystal meth) and cannabis (marijuana) are being developed by scientists. Users of multi drugs to fully recover must be treated for each one.

How Drug Addiction Is Treated Using Behavioural Therapies

Behavioural treatments aid patients

  • Change their conducts and practices linked with drug usage
  • develop life skills that are healthy
  • Keep going with other forms of treatment, like medication and support groups

Patients can get treatment in a wide range of settings with different approaches.

Outpatient behavioural treatment involves different programs designed for patients with an organised calendar of regular meetings with a counsellor for behavioural health. The greater parts of the projects include individual or group drug advising, or both.


Other forms of behavioural therapy available in these program include

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy, which teaches patients how to recognize, avoid, and deal with any situation that will make them more likely to use drugs
  • multidimensional family therapy - designed for teenagers suffering drug addiction and their relatives - which considers several factors that contribute to their drug addiction, with the intention of affecting the functioning of the family in a positive manner
  • Motivational interviewing has been used to prepare a patient to accept their problem and wants to change their actions by seeking help
  • Motivational impetuses (possibility management), which utilizes uplifting feedback to support restraint from medications

At first, treatment can be as intensive as multiple outpatient sessions every week. After the completion of the in-depth treatment, a patient moves to frequent outpatient treatment, which does not meet as regularly and for fewer hours every week to assist with maintaining his/her recovery.


For people with problems of high severity (plus co-occurring disorders), residential or inpatient programs will have better effects. 24-hour planned and organised care system, coupled with proper medical care and safe housing are given in residential treatment facilities that are licensed. Inpatient treatment facilities can use many therapeutic approaches and are usually working toward assisting the patient after treatment to maintain a drug free, crime free lifestyle.


Some examples of inpatient treatment environments are

  • A therapeutic community that is a very structured programme in which a patient stays at a residence, usually for 6 months to a year. The whole group, including treatment staff and those in recuperation, approach as key specialists of progress, affecting the patient's states of mind, comprehension and practices related with drug utilisation.
  • Shorter-term residential treatment, where detoxification is done and the patient prepared for community based treatment through preliminary intensive counselling.
  • Recovery housing that offers supervised, short-term accommodation for a patient, frequently after other kinds of inpatient/residential treatment. People can move onto independent life through recovery housing - it assists them for example to learn financial management or job hunting, while linking them to community based support groups.

Challenges Of Re-Entry

Substance abuse alters the functioning of the brain, and several things can activate a craving for the substance within the brain. It's basic for those in treatment, particularly those treated at an inpatient centre or jail, to figure out how to identify, ignore and adapt to triggers they are probably going to be presented to after treatment.