How Might Substance Use Disorder Affect Me
Drugs affect the brain, especially the reward center of the brain.
Humans are biologically motivated to seek rewards. Often, these rewards come from healthy behaviors. When you spend time with a loved one or eat a delicious meal, your body releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel pleasure. It becomes a cycle: You seek out these experiences because they reward you with good feelings.
Drugs of abuse send massive surges of dopamine through the brain, too. But instead of feeling motivated to do the things you need to survive , such massive dopamine levels can lead to damaging changes that change thoughts, feelings and behavior. That can create an unhealthy drive to seek pleasure from the drug and less from more healthy pleasurable experiences. The cycle revolves around seeking and consuming drugs to get that pleasurable feeling.
Addiction to drugs changes the brain over time. It affects how the brain works and even the brains structure. Thats why healthcare providers consider substance use disorder a brain disease.
The first use of a drug is a choice. But addiction can develop, creating a very dangerous condition. Drugs affect your decision-making ability, including the decision to stop drug use.
You may be aware theres a problem but unable to stop. With addiction, stopping drug use can be physically uncomfortable. It can make you sick and even become life-threatening.
How Are Behavioral Therapies Used To Treat Drug Addiction
Behavioral therapies help patients:
- modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use
- increase healthy life skills
- persist with other forms of treatment, such as medication
Patients can receive treatment in many different settings with various approaches.
Outpatient behavioral treatment includes a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a behavioral health counselor on a regular schedule. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling, or both. These programs typically offer forms of behavioral therapy such as:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs
- multidimensional family therapydeveloped for adolescents with drug abuse problems as well as their familieswhich addresses a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning
- motivational interviewing, which makes the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment
- motivational incentives , which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs
See Your Specialist Alcohol And Other Drugs Service Or Local Doctor
Its important to talk to your specialist alcohol and other drugs service or doctor about reducing or quitting drugs. They can help you get appropriate help and support.
It takes courage for someone to admit they may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Recognising you might have an issue and asking for help is an important first step to making a change.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services, you can call the Alcohol and Other Drug hotline on 1800 250 015. It will automatically direct you to the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in your state and territory. These local alcohol and other drug telephone services offer support, information, counselling and referral to services. You can also visit a specialist alcohol and other drugs service or doctor directly.
If youve become addicted or dependent on drugs, it might be dangerous to quit on your own. Your AOD specialist or doctor can refer you to treatment such as detox, medication and counselling to help you manage withdrawal symptoms.
Remember, conversations with these services are private and confidential.
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Can You Treat Drug Addiction From Home
If you are struggling with drug addiction, you may have considered trying at-home addiction treatment. Before attempting an at-home detox, there are some things you should know. Several factors can affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms as well as your health and safety as you detox from a substance.
At Midwest Center at Youngstown, we understand that you may prefer detoxing in the comfort and familiar surroundings of your own home. We want to make sure that you are safe and comfortable as you go through withdrawal. Our outpatient addiction treatment programs include support and encouragement so you can remain in your home surrounded by your loved ones as you detox from drugs or alcohol. Call us today at to learn more about how our treatment programs can support your at-home addiction recovery.
How Can Therapy Treat A Psychological Addiction
Therapy can treat a psychological addiction in several different ways. These include:
- Behavioral modification: By helping people to recognize triggers and situations that are likely to cause cravings or drug-seeking behaviors, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can transform behaviors and help maintain abstinence from the drug.
- Relationship management: Family therapy and interpersonal therapy can help a person strengthen relationships and build support systems, resolving some emotional issues that may have contributed to drug use, thereby making it easier to avoid triggers.
- Managing co-occurring disorders: Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or phobias, can sometimes contribute to the reasons a person abuses drugs. Working with a therapist to manage these conditions can lessen their influence over the persons perceived need to abuse the substance.
- Peer self-help groups: Participating in 12-Step programs and similar group support and education models during and after treatment provides motivation, confidence, and a sense of community that can keep a person committed to treatment.
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How Are Medications And Devices Used In Drug Addiction Treatment
Medications and devices can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.
Withdrawal. Medications and devices can help suppress withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Detoxification is not in itself “treatment,” but only the first step in the process. Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use. One study of treatment facilities found that medications were used in almost 80 percent of detoxifications . In November 2017, the Food and Drug Administration granted a new indication to an electronic stimulation device, NSS-2 Bridge, for use in helping reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. This device is placed behind the ear and sends electrical pulses to stimulate certain brain nerves. Also, in May 2018, the FDA approved lofexidine, a non-opioid medicine designed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Relapse prevention. Patients can use medications to help re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings. Medications are available for treatment of opioid , tobacco , and alcohol addiction. Scientists are developing other medications to treat stimulant and cannabis addiction. People who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all of the substances they use.
What Are Treatments For Drug Addiction
There are many options that have been successful in treating drug addiction, including:
- behavioral counseling
- medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
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Benefits Of Inpatient Treatment
Perhaps the most meaningful demonstration is the experience of people who have tried both at-home detox and inpatient treatment programs.
In a study published in BMC Psychiatry, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with patients who had tried various means of overcoming benzo addictions and who discussed their own perceptions of the ways in which different forms of treatment worked for them.5
Most of the people involved in the study had tried abruptly stopping use at home and found the withdrawal symptoms challenging to deal with and hard to predict. In addition, the duration of symptoms was longer than they expected. Trying to manage on their own, they struggled and were most likely to relapse.
On the other hand, they generally agreed that inpatient treatment was safer and more comfortable. They also felt that a longer time in treatment was more sufficient than short-term programs in helping them recover.
For those who are struggling with addictions to alcohol or benzos, at-home detox can seem easier and more comfortable.
The reality is that abruptly stopping use of these substances can be dangerous for the reasons described above, while the often unexpected nature of withdrawal symptoms makes at-home detox less comfortable than detox in an inpatient treatment program.
How To Drug Detox At Home
The first part of overcoming a drug addiction is to quit taking drugs and wait for all traces of chemicals to leave your system. This is known as a drug detox and most people complete this process in a dedicated facility where experienced staff are on hand to supervise and monitor their progress. But what if you dont want to detox in a dedicated facility? If you are thinking about how to perform an addiction detox at home, we discuss this in the following paragraphs.
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Take Our Am I A Drug Addict Self
Take our free, 5-minute Am I A Drug Addict? self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with drug addiction. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
Side effects of drug withdrawal may include insomnia, depression, irritability, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nightmares, muscle aches, back and joint pain, tremors, restlessness, cravings, depression, anxiety, agitation, seizures, irregular heart rate, high or low blood pressure, respiratory distress, sweating, fever, cold and clammy skin, dilated pupils, tingling in the extremities, mental confusion, short-term memory issues, trouble concentrating, paranoia, delirium, hallucinations, excitability, watery eyes, bouts of crying, runny nose, shakiness, suicidal thoughts, pain sensitivity, disorientation, muscle weakness, and appetite fluctuations.
Whether youve struggled with cocaine, marijuana, heroin, opioid, or other types of substance dependence, withdrawal is a process we can help you navigate. Receiving professional help can keep you comfortable and safe. At American Addiction Centers, we provide medical detox, treatment, and ongoing care in a safe, supportive environment. Call one of our admission navigators at
Avoid Supporting The Addiction Financially
This is also a form of enabling and rears its head in different ways.
When a drug-addicted family member asks you for money, has you pay their bills, or even lives in your home rent-free, this may be enabling their addiction.
Your loved one may give many reasons why they are asking you for money, but unfortunately, all paths likely lead to supporting the drug abuse financially.
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Is It Safe To Do An At
People may wish to detox at home on their own for several reasons. They may prefer to have privacy while they detox from drugs. They are concerned about taking time off from work or family responsibilities or are worried about a stigma associated with getting help from an addiction treatment center. Regardless of the reason, it may not be a good idea to attempt a self-detox at home. Here are some of the downfalls of trying to quit addiction on your own:
- It may not be safe to quit cold turkey without proper supervision. Several factors can affect your withdrawal experience, including the type of drug you were using, how long you used it, how much you were using, any co-occurring mental health conditions, and your overall state of health. Symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable, like headache and fatigue, to extremely painful or even fatal, such as vomiting, hallucinations, convulsions, suicidal thoughts, and coma.
- It can be much less effective than professional treatment. Because of the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms, many people end up relapsing just to relieve themselves of the discomfort.
- It is not conducive to lasting recovery. Even if you do manage to get through the withdrawal symptoms on your own, it will be extremely difficult to maintain sobriety unless you address contributing factors such as your home and work environment, relationships, stress, and co-occurring mental health conditions.
Relapse Rates For Addiction Resemble Those Of Other Chronic Diseases Such As Diabetes Hypertension And Asthma
Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addictions powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely, with symptom recurrence rates similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnessessuch as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma that also have both physiological and behavioral components.
Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many deem treatment a failure. This is not the case: Successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification as appropriate, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases. For example, when a patient is receiving active treatment for hypertension and symptoms decrease, treatment is deemed successful, even though symptoms may recur when treatment is discontinued. For the addicted individual, lapses to drug abuse do not indicate failurerather, they signify that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed .
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Ways To Reduce Or Quit Drugs
There is no treatment that works for everyone. Just as drugs affect each person differently, treatment needs to be individual. Its important to find a program that works for you.
Treatment options range from counselling through to hospital care it depends on which drugs are involved and how serious your dependence or addiction is. They include:
- going cold turkey you stop taking drugs suddenly, with no outside help or support
- counselling and lifestyle changes individual or group therapy can help you learn to cope without drugs. This can be successful if your drug use has been mild. Peer support groups are often run by recovered addicts their personal experience can be helpful to others
- detoxification you stop taking drugs and have medical treatment while your body clears the drug from your system
- rehabilitation this is a longer term treatment where you stay in a hospital or clinic, or at home. It also involves psychological treatment to help you deal with issues that may have contributed to your drug use
If you have mental health issues your treatment will need to address that at the same time for your overall treatment to be effective.
What Does Residential Care Offer That Outpatient Does Not
For people who present a high risk of relapsing to drug use after detox, residential care can be an important next step. Residential care provides isolation from sources of the substance in case the temptation to use becomes uncontrollable, along with 24-hour supervision and support to help control cravings. Sometimes, medications can be provided to ease those cravings, and in residential treatment, this medication can be managed at any time to fine-tune the dosage for the maximum benefit. Medical supervision also ensures that these medications are not abused during treatment, if abuse potential is likely.
People who are at high risk of relapse include those who:
- Are genetically predisposed to addiction
- Have been through treatment for substance abuse previously
- Relapsed previously
- Were addicted to or abusing the substance habitually for an extended period of time
- Have co-occurring mental health disorders that may increase drug-seeking behavior
- Have easy access to the substance at home or through existing or unavoidable social networks
Similar to residential care for alcoholism treatment, another benefit of residential care for drug use disorders is fulltime focus on recovery without distraction.
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Alvarado Parkway Institute Can Help You Overcome Drug Addiction
For over thirty-five years, Alvarado Parkway Institute has provided addiction recovery services to the San Diego community. Our intensive outpatient programs for chemical dependency are scientifically designed to help break the cycle of addiction. With support from our dedicated team of health professionals, you can achieve long-lasting sobriety and a healthy, happy life. Call us at and get on the road to recovery today.
Addiction Rehab At Home
Addiction Treatment and Recovery From the Comfort and Privacy of Your Own Home
Catalyst Recovery offers the first and only fully at-home addiction recovery program nationally accredited by the Joint Commission. Our approach overcomes the most common challenges of conventional treatment while empowering individuals with the resources for long-term recovery.
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Offer Support But Do Not Enable
Enabling a family members addiction comes in many forms some of which you may not think are enabling, but are.
It is important to recognize the behaviors and actions you and your family are carrying out that allow your drug-addicted loved one to remain in this destructive state.
Enabling can be anything from letting the addicted family member live in your home and abuse substances or carry on with these behaviors while there, or it could be something as simple as making excuses for the person.
Denying someone you love basic care or dignity may seem like a very cruel act. But it takes a lot of love to understand your enabling behavior and take steps to stop it. In the end, these actions can help your loved one on the road to recovery.
Just as important as recognizing enabling behavior is an understanding that now is not the time for blame. Now is the time for action.