Friday, June 14, 2024

How To Combat Drug Addiction

How Are Substance Use Disorders Categorized

How to help combat addiction through the holidays

NIDA uses the term addiction to describe compulsive drug seeking despite negative consequences. However, addiction is not a specific diagnosis in the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a diagnostic manual for clinicians that contains descriptions and symptoms of all mental disorders classified by the American Psychiatric Association .

In 2013, APA updated the DSM, replacing the categories of substance abuse and substance dependence with a single category: substance use disorder, with three subclassificationsmild, moderate, and severe. The symptoms associated with a substance use disorder fall into four major groupings: impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria .

The new DSM describes a problematic pattern of use of an intoxicating substance leading to clinically significant impairment or distress with 10 or 11 diagnostic criteria occurring within a 12-month period. Those who have two or three criteria are considered to have a mild disorder, four or five is considered “moderate,” and six or more symptoms, “severe.” The diagnostic criteria are as follows:

  • The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
  • Why Do People With Substance Use Disorder Need More And More Drugs Over Time

    People feel intoxicated after using drugs of abuse. Over time, the brain is changed by drugs of abuse. The brain becomes desensitized to the drug of abuse so that more of the drug must be used to produce the same effect.

    As the person consumes more, drugs start to take over the persons life. One may stop enjoying other aspects of life. For many people, social, family and work obligations fall to the side. The person with SUD starts to feel like somethings wrong if he or she isnt under the influence of the substance. They may become consumed with the need to recapture that original feeling.

    What Are The Signs That Someone Has A Drug Problem

    Signs that someone has a drug problem include:

    • Changing friends a lot
    • Spending a lot of time alone
    • Losing interest in favorite things
    • Not taking care of themselves – for example, not taking showers, changing clothes, or brushing their teeth
    • Being really tired and sad
    • Eating more or eating less than usual
    • Being very energetic, talking fast, or saying things that don’t make sense
    • Being in a bad mood
    • Quickly changing between feeling bad and feeling good
    • Sleeping at strange hours
    • Having problems at work or at school
    • Having problems in personal or family relationships

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    Coping With Withdrawal Symptoms

    Withdrawal symptoms can be a difficult aspect of overcoming addiction, both for substance and behavioral addictions. With substance addictions, the physiological aspects of withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, feeling like a bad flu, or can even be life-threatening. For this reason, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor about the best way and the best place to quit a substance.

    Fortunately, most of the acute symptoms of withdrawal pass within a week or two of quitting. However, some people who quit an addiction find that certain withdrawal symptoms seem to go on and on. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and it can go on for weeks, months, or even years in some cases.

    The risk of dying from an overdose is extremely high if you have been through withdrawal, as your tolerance of the drug will be much lower than it was before you quit. Make sure you have someone with you if you decide to use again.

    In addition, addictions can sometimes mask underlying mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and even psychosis. If you are feeling blue or agitated, or you are concerned that the world or other people seem strange or upsetting since you quit, talk with your doctor. There are effective treatments for these problems that are much more effective than addictive substances and behaviors.

    Who Should Be Included At An Intervention

    Guidance &  Counseling / Substance Abuse &  Prevention

    Depending on the situation, interventions can include the following people:

    • The person with the substance use disorder
    • Friends and family
    • A therapist
    • A professional interventionist

    The Association of Intervention Specialists , Family First Interventions, and the Network of Independent Interventionists are three organizations of professional interventionists.

    You may also want to consider if anyone in the list of friends and family should not be included. Examples are if a person is dealing with their own addiction and may not be able to maintain sobriety, is overly self-motivated or self-involved, or has a strained relationship with the person the intervention is for.

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    How Does Nida Use The Terms Drug Use Misuse And Addiction

    Drug use refers to any scope of use of illegal drugs: heroin use, cocaine use, tobacco use. Drug misuse is used to distinguish improper or unhealthy use from use of a medication as prescribed or alcohol in moderation. These include the repeated use of drugs to produce pleasure, alleviate stress, and/or alter or avoid reality. It also includes using prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed or using someone elses prescription. Addiction refers to substance use disorders at the severe end of the spectrum and is characterized by a persons inability to control the impulse to use drugs even when there are negative consequences. These behavioral changes are also accompanied by changes in brain function, especially in the brains natural inhibition and reward centers. NIDAs use of the term addiction corresponds roughly to the DSM definition of substance use disorder. The DSM does not use the term addiction.

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    Why Is Adolescence A Critical Time For Preventing Drug Addiction

    As noted previously, early use of drugs increases a person’s chances of becoming addicted. Remember, drugs change the brainand this can lead to addiction and other serious problems. So, preventing early use of drugs or alcohol may go a long way in reducing these risks.

    Risk of drug use increases greatly during times of transition. For an adult, a divorce or loss of a job may increase the risk of drug use. For a teenager, risky times include moving, family divorce, or changing schools.35 When children advance from elementary through middle school, they face new and challenging social, family, and academic situations. Often during this period, children are exposed to substances such as cigarettes and alcohol for the first time. When they enter high school, teens may encounter greater availability of drugs, drug use by older teens, and social activities where drugs are used. When individuals leave high school and live more independently, either in college or as an employed adult, they may find themselves exposed to drug use while separated from the protective structure provided by family and school.

    Because the brain is still developing, using drugs at this age has more potential to disrupt brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control.12

    Admit There Is A Problem


    The hardest part to recovery is admitting you have an addiction. Substance use disorders affect the brain causing it to look for excuses and justifications to keep using.

    Admitting a problem shows you have the courage to face your addiction and its underlying causes.

    There are several places to turn to for help however, having a solid support system is essential in any treatment approach you choose. If you are not ready to turn to friends or family, consider talking to a therapist, doctor, or rehab facility.

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    Principles Of Effective Treatment

    Based on scientific research since the mid-1970s, the following key principles should form the basis of any effective treatment program:

    • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
    • No single treatment is right for everyone.
    • People need to have quick access to treatment.
    • Effective treatment addresses all of the patients needs, not just his or her drug use.
    • Staying in treatment long enough is critical.
    • Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
    • Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies.
    • Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patients changing needs.
    • Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
    • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment.
    • Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective.
    • Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
    • Treatment programs should test patients for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as teach them about steps they can take to reduce their risk of these illnesses.

    How To Reduce Or Quit Drugs

    Many different services are available to help you or someone you know quit drugs.

    • Listen

    Its never too late to quit using drugs.

    Reducing or quitting drugs can improve your life in many ways. It can:

    • improve your physical and mental wellbeing
    • reduce your risk of permanent damage to vital organs and death
    • improve your relationships with friends and family
    • help you reconnect with your emotions
    • increase your energy
    • improve your appearance
    • save you money.

    Recovered addicts say that theyve never felt better after quitting drugs, although this can take time. Knowing why you want to quit drugs can help you to stay motivated during the withdrawal process.

    Recommended Reading: How To Help An Addict Recover At Home

    Looking For A Place To Start

    Reach out to a treatment provider for free today.

    Educational Tools

    There are government agencies, community leaders, and school personnel that attempt to teach children about living a drug-free life. Much of this is to prevent teen drug abuse before teens reach adulthood or go into the âreal world.â As a result of these educational tools, teen drug abuse has significantly decreased from previous decades.

    Educating teens on the effects of drug abuse is important. There are presently various educational programs in place for this very reason, including universal, selective, and indicated programs. Universal programs function to teach social, personal, and drug resistance techniques on a weekly basis. Selective programs are interventions for teens who may be more at risk and have unstable home lives or other risk factors. Indicated educational programs are geared toward teens showing problematic behavior.

    Break free from addiction.

    Get Busy And Find Things In Your Life You Love

    How to Prevent Teen Drug Abuse

    Find something that you love and passionate about, and motivates you to stay healthy, and mentally and emotionally in shape. It could be a sport, artistic endeavor, traveling, or personal relationship.

    Boredom or feeling bored is a dangerous emotion for people. It can lead to feelings of anger, depression, irritability and unhealthy behaviors such as drinking and smoking.

    Hobbies are a good way to unwind and relax. The dangers of stress are well documented and hobbies are an effective outlet for this. Finding interesting things to do is a wonderful way to give life a purpose. If you deeply care about the things you love and gives your life a sense of purpose, you are less likely to sabotage them by experimenting with illicit drugs

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    Distract Yourself From Taking Drugs

    When you want to avoid something uncomfortable like drug use, you desire to distract yourself from doing it. If drug use has become a pattern for you for a while now, you feel like stopping but you cant which is an addiction. You can try distracting yourself by shifting your attention. Its healthier to acknowledge and let go of these negative feeling.

    However, you should transform the distraction into a healthy distraction, rather than into an unhealthy one. Some distractions such as eating junks or taking alcohol are considered unhealthy. Healthy distractions include taking a walk, reading a book, eating a fruit and such. Choosing productive distractions, show that you respect and care for your body.

    Where To Get Help For Drugs

    A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.

    They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.

    If you’re not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.

    Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.

    If you’re having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.

    Read Also: How To Stop Addictive Behavior

    Is It Possible To Treat Addiction

    Yes, addiction and substance use disorders are treatable. Like other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as asthma or heart disease, addiction isnt curable but it can be successfully managed through proper treatment. Addiction has a relapse rate similar to other chronic diseases for example, the relapse rate for asthma or high blood pressure is 50-70%, while addiction has a relapse rate of around 40-60%. Addiction relapse is considered to be a normal part of the recovery process relapse does not mean that treatment has failed, but can mean that your treatment plan or treatment methods need to be re- evaluated.10

    Effective treatment plans benefit from being individualized and constantly adjusted to your changing needstaking into account all of your biological, psychological, and social considerations. Your plan may involve a continuum of care, starting from the moment you enter detox, which focuses on treating withdrawal and helping you become medically stable. Once youve completed detox, youll be ready to transition to additional rehabilitation. Though treatment lengths vary, research supports relatively longer periods of treatment for optimal treatment outcomes. As a formal treatment program comes to an end, youll then move on to aftercare, which is designed to promote lifelong sobriety.5,8,13,14

    Come To Reality With Your Addiction And Decide To Take Action

    How To Stop Drug Addiction On Your Own?

    In many cases, drug addiction happens as a result of trauma in your life. However, there are many other cases when it happens almost by accident. An example of this is athletes who get addicted to painkillers. Either way, the first step to coming out of an addiction is facing the truth.

    It can be easy to tell yourself that you dont have a real problem or that its not causing any damage, but these lies actually deepen your addiction. Admitting that there is a problem and being willing to reach out for help is the first step to recovery. It takes courage and strength to admit this to yourself and to anyone else, so dont diminish the importance of this first step.

    Here are a few more tips to help you come to terms with your addiction.

    Reflect on How Drugs Impacted Your Life

    Think about the first time you tried drugs and what you were feeling. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Have I seen my family recently?
    • Have I seen my friends recently?
    • Does my drug use make me feel shame or guilt?
    • Have I broken the law because of these habits?
    • Have I tried to stop and failed?
    • Are these habits taking my life in a direction that I want?

    You cant outsmart your addiction. But these questions can help you think about the difference between the life that you want to have and the life that you will have because of drugs.

    Think About the Positive Changes When You Quit

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    Can Addiction Come Back

    Substance use disorder is a relapsing disease. People who are in recovery from this disease have a higher chance of using drugs again. Recurrence can happen even years after you last took drugs.

    Because of the possibility of relapse, you need ongoing treatment. Your healthcare provider should review your treatment plan with you and change it based on your changing needs. If you have a problem with prescription drugs, including opioids, inform your healthcare providers. They can help you find other options to manage pain.

    Is Treatment For Substance Use Disorders Available In Rural Areas

    States with proportionally large rural populations have greater shortages of mental health providers and fewer facilities to provide treatment services. Although family doctors, psychologists, social workers, and pastors may be available in rural areas to deliver basic substance use services or social support, facilities available in rural areas that provide comprehensive substance use treatment services are limited. A 2019 study found that on top of the usual barriers to healthcare access for rural people, such as travel time and cost of care, there was a lack of treatment programs available in rural areas and a negative perception of treatment for substance use disorder among rural providers.

    According to the 2014 Substance Use & Misuse article, Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment in Rural and Urban Communities: Counselor Perspectives, rural areas lack not just basic treatment services but also supplemental services necessary for positive outcomes. Detoxification services, for example, provide the initial treatment for patients to minimize any medical or physical harm caused by substance use. The vast majority of rural residents live in counties that do not have detox services, reports Few and Far Away: Detoxification Services in Rural Areas. Often, local law enforcement or emergency departments provide the initial detox services.

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    Substance Use Risk Factors

    Although many people use drugs and alcohol, not all of them end up being addicted. However, as the statistics above indicate, a good number of substance users end up being emotionally and physically attached to the drugs. Just like in other diseases, there are drug addiction risk factors and these include

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