1. Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment

From About Wiki, for About.com

As many as 10% of Americans 12 years and older are addicted to drugs or alcohol. With treatment, recovery is possible. Rehabilitation centers have a typical success rate of up to 20%. A few boast a 75% rate.

Still, there are many obstacles to getting treatment and staying sober or drug-free.

How Addiction Treatment Works

There are two stages to addiction treatment:

  • Withdrawal: Detoxification (abstaining from the substance) lasts three to seven days for alcohol and drugs. The worst symptoms come after stopping alcohol (anxiety, shaking, irritability, fatigue, depression) and heroin (restlessness, bone and muscle pain, vomiting, insomnia).
  • Ongoing therapy: Whether individual or group, therapy may be needed for several months or even a lifetime to continue to avoid using the substance.

Medications Used for Addiction Treatment

Several medications can help addicts cope with the physical problems of withdrawal:

  • Methadone and LAAM: Narcotic pain relievers used to reduce symptoms from the withdrawal of heroin or other narcotics without producing a "high." Must only be used under a doctor's supervision.
  • Disulfiram, naltrexone and acamprosate: These oral medications each work differently to help with alcohol withdrawal. Disulfiram (Antabuse) causes sickness after drinking alcohol, naltrexone (Depade or long-acting Vivitrol) reduces cravings, and acamprosate (Campral) reduces anxiety and insomnia brought on by abstinence.
  • Ibogaine: Not approved by the FDA, Ibogaine has been shown to stop the craving for alcohol in rodents. Side effects include hallucinations and nerve cell toxicity.

Scientists at the University of Buffalo have produced a nanoparticle that can turn off a gene that plays a part in the addiction process. It's not known when their discovery might become another tool in helping people overcome addictions.

Why Recovery from Addiction Is So Difficult

Science has eradicated the old way of thinking about addiction as a weakness. Drugs (including alcohol) actually change the way the brain looks and functions, so much so that addiction is now referred to as a brain disease. The way drugs interfere with dopamine, the brain's "feel good" chemical, requiring a user to consume more and more to get the same effect.

These changes render a person unable to control their cravings for the drug, seeking it out and using it recklessly. This compulsion overrides the need to hold on to family, jobs and positions in society.

Long-term group and/or individual therapy is crucial for the brain to learn new patterns, but there is no cure and relapse is common. One of the most successful interventions is behavioral therapy, in which patients learn to think differently about their surroundings. For example, an addict can learn to recognize the people and circumstances leading to the use of addictive substances and avoid these triggers.

Active treatment for drug addiction must continue for at least 90 days and may continue for a year.

Successful Addiction Treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all addiction recovery program. People can recover from alcohol or drug addiction in a residential program, as an outpatient or -- rarely, depending on the substance -- on their own.

Keeping a patient in their recovery program for the prescribed period is the most important element for a successful outcome. There are several factors that improve the chances of recovery:

  • Motivation: Are they committed to changing their life?
  • Support: Do they have the secure backing of many friends and family members?
  • Outside pressure: Are they fulfilling the terms of a judge’s sentence or meeting requirements of child protection services or an employer?

Building a good relationship with a therapist, taking care of other mental health issues (besides the addiction) and having the financial means to continue treatment are also critical to recovery.

Many, many people have found support through groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other 12-step programs.

Addiction Treatment and the Law

When someone is arrested and tried on charges of possessing or selling illegal substances, or commits a crime while under the influence of a drug, judges will sometimes order treatment as part or all of the sentence.

Research shows that court-ordered treatment is just as effective as treatment provided to an individual who enters rehabilitation of his or her own volition.

Cost of Addiction Treatment

Costs vary, but inpatient drug rehabilitation programs charge an average of $7,000 per month. Most health insurance covers some, but not all costs.

In 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act began to pave the way for more insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse. The act requires insurance policies covering 50 or more employees to set lifetime and annual dollar limits at the same rates for mental health and substance abuse as it does for physical health. It allows higher costs for deductibles and co-pays, and stricter limits on the number of visits and other factors in treatment of addiction.

In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act addressed those inequities. Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, all policies must demonstrate complete parity (equality) between benefits for physical and mental health.

Related Addiction Treatment Resources

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About.com Alcoholism: Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal [6]

About.com Alcoholism: Getting Help for Drug Addiction [7]

About.com Alcoholism: Addiction is 'Brain Disease' [8]

About.com Alcoholism: Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Addiction [9]

About.com Alcoholism: How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment? [10]

About.com Borderline Personality: Dopamine [11]

About.com Alcoholism: What is Withdrawal? [12]

About.com Alcoholism: Components of Effective Treatment Programs [13]

About.com Alcoholism: Getting Help for Drug Addiction [14]

About.com Alcoholism: Controversial Drug Cuts Alcohol Consumption [15]

About.com Addictions: Addiction Treatment [16]

About.com Alcoholism: Is the Use of Medications Replacing One Drug Addiction With Another? [17]

About.com Alcoholism: How Long Does Drug Addiction Treatment Last? [18]

About.com Addictions: Residential Treatment Programs For Addictions [19]

About.com Alcoholism: What Helps People Stay in Treatment? [20]

About.com AIDS/HIV: Suboxone Treatment [21]

About.com Alcoholism: Treatment of Alcoholism [22]

About.com Alcoholism: Components of Effective Treatment Programs [23]

About.com Alcoholism: Why Can't Drug Addicts Quit on Their Own? [24]

The Addiction Recovery Guide: Addiction is a Brain Disease [25]

Addiction Withdrawal: Drug Withdrawal [26]

Alcoholics Anonymous: Official Site [27]

Department of Health and Human Services: Mental Health Parity Act [28]

Drug and Alcohol Rehabs: How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost? [29]

Drug-Rehabs: Drug Rehab Programs [30]

Drug Rehabs.org: Official Site [31]

Drugs.com: Methadone [32]

Faces and Voices of Recovery: Addiction Guide [33]

Gatehouse Academy: The Success Rate of Court-Ordered Rehab [34]

Mayo Clinic: Drug Addiction: Treatments and Drugs [35]

Medical News Today: Court-ordered Drug Treatment Reduces Offending [36]

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide [37]

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Alcoholism [38]

National Institute on Drug Abuse: The Essence of Drug Addiction [39]

Narcotics Anonymous: Official Site [40]

PhysOrg.com: To Fight Drug Addiction, Researchers Target the Brain with Nanoparticles [41]

Recovery Connection: Addiction Prevention Campaign [42]

Scripts Rehab: Prescription Drug Withdrawal [43]

U.S. Department of Labor: The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) [44]

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