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What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a disease that causes long term changes in the brain that's characterized by an uncontrollable urge to seek out and use drugs despite knowledge of all the harmful consequences. 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.


Using drugs out of one's volition is the road that leads to drug addiction. With time, the user is unable to stop voluntarily the need to use the drug. Looking for and using the substance becomes uncontrollable. The major cause of this it how long term drug exposure alters brain activity. The parts of the brain that control reward and motivation, learning and memory, and self control are all significantly affected by addiction.

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


Can Substance Dependency Be Treated?

It isn't easy, but, yes, drug addiction is treatable. Since addiction is a chronic ailment, individuals can't just quit utilizing drugs for a couple days and be treated. Most users require repeated or long-term care to quit using it altogether and get their lives back.


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Dependency treatment must assist the individual to achieve the following

  • Stopping to require using the drug
  • stay drug free
  • be a productive member at work, in society and in the family

Principles Of Effective Treatment

These values have been observed since some scientific research was done in the mid-70s as the foundation for a successful recovery plan

  • Dependency is an intricate, but treatable illness which affects the functioning of the brain and behaviour.
  • There is no one treatment that will work for everyone.
  • Treatment needs to be readily available.
  • To be successful, the treatment plan should not focus on the addiction only but the whole person.
  • It's important to remain in treatment long enough.
  • Psychological and other behaviour remedies are used in treating the habit.
  • Medications are regularly an imperative component of treatment, particularly when consolidated with behavioural therapies.
  • A treatment plan must be evaluated frequently and adapted to suit the changing requirements of the patient.
  • Treatment ought to address other conceivable mental problems.
  • Therapeutically helped detoxification is just the primary phase of treatment.
  • Treatment doesn't require being voluntary to be successful.
  • Medical personnel must supervise any medications taken during the rehab period.
  • 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

  • detoxification (the process through which drug is expelled from the body)
  • Therapy or counselling
  • medication (for tobacco, opioid, or alcohol addiction)
  • Making sure that coexisting mental health issues like depression or anxiety are evaluated and treated
  • Avoiding relapse by providing long term follow up care

A scope of care with a custom-made treatment program and follow-up choices can be pivotal for achievement.


Depending on the level of need, mental health services should be added to the medical aspect of any treatment. Often, community or family based recovery groups or support systems are used as part of follow up care.


How Are Meds Utilised As A Part Of Drug Compulsion Treatment?

Medication can be employed to deal with withdrawal symptoms, treat co-occurring conditions and prevent a relapse.

  • Withdrawal Medicines help in decreasing withdrawal side effects amidst detoxification. Detoxification is just the very first step in the process and not "treatment" in itself. Patients who only go through detoxification and don't have any additional treatment typically relapse back into drug use. According to one study of treatment centres, medications were utilised in close to 80 per cent of detoxifications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Relapse Prevention Patients can utilize medicines to help rebuild normal brain functioning and reduce desires. There are medications for the treatment of addictions to alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, and opioids, such as heroin or prescription pain pills. Researchers are creating different solutions to manage stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) and cannabis (marijuana) dependence A person who uses more than one substance, which is really typical, require treatment for every substance he/she uses.

How Drug Addiction Is Treated Using Behavioural Therapies

Behavioural therapies assist a patient to

  • Change their behaviour toward and the way the think about their drug use
  • Learn to exercise healthy life skills
  • carry on with other kinds of treatment, like medication

There are a lot of settings and approaches for patients who are seeking treatment.

In an outpatient treatment programme, the recovering addict attends therapy sessions on appointed times. Individual and group therapy, or a combination of both are involved in most treatment programs.


These programmes usually provide types of behavioural therapy like

  • cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps patients perceive, dodge and adapt to the circumstances in which they are destined to utilise drugs
  • Multidimensional family therapy, which is for teenage addicts and their families to understand all of the factors influencing the patterns of drug abuse and works on improving the family's ability to function
  • Motivational interviewing, which takes full advantage of the patient's readiness to change and willingness to enter treatment
  • motivational incentives (contingency management), where abstinence from drugs is rewarded and motivated with positive reinforcements

Initially, a patient will receive many hours of treatment and will have to frequently attend clinical sessions if they opted for the outpatient therapies. regular outpatient treatment that involves fewer meeting hours few days of the week after the intensive treatment in the bid to ensure a sustained healing process.


For people with problems of high severity (plus co-occurring disorders), residential or inpatient programs will have better effects. The around the clock care available at residential rehabilitation centres includes safe boarding facilities and close monitoring of patients. At the inpatient rehab centres, various treatment procedures are employed all for the benefit of the patient to help them attain a drug-free life void of crime.


The following are some examples of residential treatment settings are

  • In the period it takes for the patient to recover, usually six to twelve months, the patient becomes a member of the community at the therapeutic facility. 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, which ordinarily concentrates on detoxification and also giving early extensive counselling and readiness for treatment in a community based setting.
  • Recovery housing that offers supervised, short-term accommodation for a patient, frequently after other kinds of inpatient/residential treatment. Recovery housing can assist a person to complete the changeover to an independent life-for example, assisting him/her learn how to tackle finances or look for a job, as well as linking them to the community's support services.

Challenges Of Re-Entering Society

Because drug abuse changes the way the brain functions, a lot of things can trigger drug cravings. For everyone in treatment, but especially for those in an inpatient program or prison, it's essential to learn how to recognize, avoid, and handle any triggers they may encounter after treatment.