The Science of Drug Addiction

In a the body of a drug addict, regular physiological processes, such as eating or sex, that are normally rewarding are often bypassed for the more intense response elicited by use of the drug to which the person is addicted. As the brain acclimates to the changes brought about by introducing an addictive substance into its normal functioning, the drug becomes necessary to maintain the new level of homeostasis. If the drug isn’t taken, uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms follow, along with cravings so intense that the use is inevitably resumed.

Addiction is a medical disorder that is chronic in nature and defined by the inability to manage the impulse to drink and/or get high no matter how negatively the use of these substances impacts the person’s life. Physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms when without the drug of choice, plus psychological dependence upon the drug or drugs defined by cravings, add up to an addiction disorder diagnosis. Even a genuine desire to stop using drugs or drinking is not enough to manage the disorder; rather, once addiction has set in, medical treatment including detox, medication, and a range of long-term therapies as well as aftercare support are recommended for long-term healing.

Our Drug Rehab Program

Each person has their own medical and psychological issues outside of their addiction (including other addictions), and all of these need to be taken into account before determining the best treatment strategy. Treatment strategies may differ, but our drug addiction services all start with a detailed, in-person interview with patients and family members to take these matters into account, and to help plan the best course of treatment. Most of our patients are best served by an in-patient course of treatment, but for out-patient care may be appropriate for those who are medically stable, and have an adequate, supportive living situation.

Our Drug Treatment

SAMHSA defines addiction, abuse, and use to any illicit substance very specifically. “Use” of drugs and alcohol includes any alcohol or drug ingestion by any means with the intent to relax and socialize with others on a recreational level. The amount used may not seem to be harmful and may not ultimately lead to dependence upon the substance of choice, it may still put the individual in harm’s way if recreational drug or alcohol use leads to unsafe choices or situations while the person is under the influence. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), however, has identified a process they call the stages of change that can mark the path a person takes from first use of drugs and alcohol to full-blown addiction. Again, different people will spend different amounts of time in each stage, and depending upon the impact of their drug use on their health, their loved ones, and their ability to function, different types of treatment services may be valuable at any point along the way. Contact us today!

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