Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. People with addiction (serve substance use disorder have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, gambling, sex, shopping to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems. Yet a number of effective treatments are available and people can recover from addiction and lead normal, productive lives. The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.
People don’t plan to get addicted to drugs, but when they first take a drug, they might like how it makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drugs. However, the drug can change the brain. Those who used drugs, in the beginning, to feel good now may need to take drugs just to feel normal. They may also seek and take drugs even if it causes problems for themselves and their loved ones. Some people may even take higher doses of drugs or more them. These are signs of addiction, and it can quickly take over a person’s life.
For some people with severe addictions, taking drugs can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction can replace all the things the person used to enjoy. Some people who are addicted may do almost anything- lying, stealing- to keep talking the drug.
Addiction is also an illness, just as heart disease and cancer are illnesses. Addiction is not simply a weakness. It does not mean someone is a bad person. People from all backgrounds (poor/rich, went to college/ didn’t finish school, and so on) can get an addiction. Addiction can happen to anyone and at any age, but the chances are higher when a person starts drug use when they’re young.
Types of Addiction
Types of addiction range from everyday drugs like alcohol and cocaine to behaviors like gambling and stealing. Some types of addiction are specified in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) while others are more controversial and have been identified by some addiction professionals.
The types of addiction seen with drugs used are defined in the DSM-IV-TR but it uses the terms substance abuse and substance dependency. Neither equates to addiction directly but rather, refers to the harmful use of substance. Addiction is both psychological and behavioral. Addictions are characterized by craving, compulsion, and an inability to stop using the drug and lifestyle dysfunction due to drug use. Behavioral addictions are those not involving a substance. This type of addiction can be an impulsive control disorder as defined in the DSM-IV-TR or an addiction identified by an addiction professional. Behavioral addictions outside of the DSM-IV-TR are controversial and many don’t feel they meet the requirement of being an official addiction.
List of Addictions to Substances
Substance use disorders in the DSM-IV-TR provide a list of addiction relating to the following substance:
- Opioids (like heroin)
- Prescription Drugs (sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics like sleeping pills and tranquilizers)
- Cannabis (Marijuana)
- Other unspecified substance
List of Addiction- Behavioural
It has been suggested one type of addictions is a behavioral addiction. The following is a list of behaviors that have been noted to be an addiction. The following is a list of behavior that have been noted to be addictive.
- Food (Eating)
- Pornography (attaining, viewing)
- Using computers/the internet
- Playing video games.
- Spiritual Obsession (as opposed to religious devotion)
- Pain (Seeking)
Symptoms of Addiction
A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, sleepiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign. The signs and symptoms of substance dependence vary according to the individual, the substance they are addicted to, their family history (genetics), and personal circumstances.
Physical symptoms of Addiction
- Over-active or Under-active (depending on the drugs)
- Repetitive speech patterns.
- Dilated pupils, red eyes.
- Excessive sniffing and runny nose (not attributable to a cold)
- Looking pale or undernourished
- Clothes do not fit the same.
- Weight loss
- Change in eating habits.
- Unusual odors or body odor due to lack of personal hygiene.
Behavioral Symptoms Of Addiction
- Missing work/school
- Work/school problems.
- Missing important engagement
- Isolating /secretive about activities.
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Legal problems
- Relationship/marital problems.
- Financial problems
- Conversations dominated by using or drug/alcohol-related topics.
Emotional Symptoms of Addiction
- Inability to deal with stress
- Loss of interest in activities/people that used to be part of their lives
- Confused easily
- Rationalizing- offering alibis, excuses, justifications, or other explanations for their using behavior.
- Minimization- Admitting superficially to the problems but not admitting to the seriousness or full scope of the behavior or consequences
- Blaming- Placing the blame for the behavior of someone else event.
- Diversion- Changing the subject to avoid discussing the topic.
Treatments Of Addiction
There are many treatment options available for people struggling with an addiction. For many individuals, the first step towards recovery is acknowledging their personal struggle with substance dependence. The next step is finding a treatment program that can help restore their overall health, well being, and happiness.
There are countless treatment options a person can choose from. For example, some people with severe forms of addiction enter a detox program before transitioning into rehab. Others may choose to begin recovery at an inpatient or outpatient facility. After treatment, it is recommended to continue reinforcing the lessons learned in rehab by attending support groups and therapy sessions.
The treatment program is different for each individual and can be customized based on their unique needs and situations. The most effective types of treatment programs ensure that individuals in recovery are actively involved every step of the way.
Inpatient Rehabs offer structured treatment programs designed to address all facets of an individuals addiction. During inpatient rehab, patients reside in a substance-free facility and receive around-the-clock medical care and therapeutic support. Inpatient rehabs are the best option for individuals battling chronic addiction, as well as those who suffer from a co-occurring mental or behavioral disorder.
Outpatient Rehabs are another form of comprehensive addiction care. These programs offer many kinds of effective treatments and therapies as inpatient rehabs. However, outpatient rehabs allow patients to live at home during the recovery process. Patients can continue working and caring for their families while attending scheduled treatment sessions throughout the week. It’s important to keep in mind that outpatient rehabs do not take place in a residential facility; therefore, patients are at greater risk of encountering triggers that challenge their sobriety. Because of this, outpatient rehabs are most suited for individuals with mild forms of addiction and a committed, disciplined approach to recovery.
Drugs and Alcohol Detox
Detoxification helps people safely withdraw from their from drugs or alcohol until it is no longer present in their system. It is often the first step in treating individuals recovering from moderate t serve forms of addiction. In some cases, detoxing from certain drugs require medication-assisted therapy to help ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Medications prescribed during detox are often tapering down until the patient is no longer physically dependent on addictive substances.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes operate as a bridge between an inpatient treatment center and the return to normal life. These are a great option for people in recovery who need additional time reinforcing what was learned in rehab. Sober living homes help people in recovery strengthen their new healthy habits while still residing in the comfort of a structured environment.
Addiction Treatment Medications
During detox and throughout treatment, patients may be prescribed medications to help with the recovery process. These medications are used for a variety of purposes, including managing withdrawal symptoms, reducing cravings, or treating co-occurring disorders. Medications for addiction treatment have the most effective results when taken in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment program.
Some people prefer a more spiritual approach to their recovery. Faith-based rehab centers provide specialized programs and facilities that center around faith. Within this type of rehab program, people in recovery can surround themselves with like-minded individuals who are looking for guidance from a higher power to stay strong in the journey ahead.
Therapies to treat Addiction
Therapies used in addiction treatment are based on an individual’s health and substance abuse patterns. Options for therapy include an array of individual or group therapy sessions, which are typically organized by addiction counselors.
Biofeedback is a form of drug-free therapy that helps people in recovery understand their body’s involuntary processes. During a biofeedback session, a therapist places electronic sensors on a patient’s skin to monitor their brain activity. After reviewing brain wave patterns, the therapist can recommend a range of psychological techniques that can be used to help overcome addiction.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to help people in recovery uncover problematic thoughts or feelings that may compromise their sobriety or contribute to a relapse. This form of therapy is used useful in treating co-occurring conditions, such as bipolar disorder.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
During dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), serve mental health illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorders are treated in conjunction with a substance use disorder. This therapy aims to improve self-esteem, provide stress-management skills, and encourage individuals in recovery to remove triggers from their life.
Experiential therapy utilizes non-traditional treatment methods to help recovering addicts overcome repressed feelings and emotions that may have contributed to their addiction. Common types of this therapy include outdoor recreational activities, such as rock-climbing.
Within holistic therapy, the focus is on the individual’s overall well-being, while also treating physical symptoms of withdrawal. Holistic therapies may include yoga, acupuncture, and art therapy, and guided meditation.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is used to help individuals in recovery learn how to change any negative thoughts and behaviors attached to their addiction. This type of therapy frequently used to treat people in substance abuse recovery who have co-occurring conditions, such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psychodynamic therapy helps individuals explore their emotions to uncover how their subconscious thoughts relate to their addiction. This helps to identify the underlying cause of substance use. By working closely with therapists to acknowledge these deep-seated feelings, individuals are much more prepared to identify and avoid temptations during their ongoing recovery.
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