A person suffering from substance abuse can overcome his or her problem through appropriate support and treatment. With the emergence of many new and novel treatment approaches to overcome substance abuse, it is now possible for people to overcome the problem more easily than before. By understanding and learning the science behind addiction, a person can help his or her family member, friend, etc. overcoming dependence on drugs and alcohol.
As per the latest statistics of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 21 million Americans aged 12 and above required substance abuse treatment in 2016. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that nearly 114 people die every day due to the drug overdose in the U.S. Moreover, around 6,748 people receive treatment in emergency departments (ED) each day for abuse and misuse of drugs.
Besides the awareness about the magnitude of the problems, one should know the science surrounding drug abuse, which impairs the functioning of various vital organs like the brain, kidney, heart, stomach and liver. Anyone concerned about his or her loved one addicted to drugs and alcohol should be aware that addiction occurs due to the increase the level of dopamine (neurotransmitter) in the brain, which is responsible for surging pleasurable effects associated with the substance.
Drugs and other substances stimulate the synthesis of dopamine that overpowers the ability to experience pleasure and lowers the brain’s ability to produce its own dopamine. Therefore, people battling substance abuse are prone to develop depressive symptoms and poor cognitive skills related to decision-making, memory, etc. Loved ones of people suffering from substance abuse must learn to deal with their problem through a holistic approach.
Role of medications and behavioral therapies in overcoming substance abuse
One can treat substance abuse using a combination of medications and behavioral therapies. Generally, medicines help patients suffering from substance abuse to stay in treatment, and avoid relapse. Some of the ways medicines and behavioral therapies help in treating substance abuse are as follows:
- Preventing relapse – The most common trigger for a relapse is the exposure to drugs and stressors linked to drug experience like place, people, things, etc. The medicines help patients to sustain recovery by interfering with these risk factors responsible for triggering a relapse.
- Treating withdrawal – When an individual stops using drugs, he or she tends to experience a range of symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, sleeplessness and restlessness. During the treatment, patients are given medicines to reduce the above-mentioned symptoms to make it easier for them to stop drug abuse.
- Staying in treatment – Some medicines are given to make the brain adapt steadily to the absence of drugs of choice. These medicines act slowly to stop cravings for drugs and have a calming effect on the body, helping patients to concentrate on counseling and other psychotherapies.
- Behavioral therapies – A behavioral treatment program plays a pivotal role in modifying the drug-seeking attitude and behavior of a person indulging in different types of substances. Additionally, they increase life skills to manage stressful situations and environmental cues that can trigger an intense craving for drugs. These therapies enhance the effectiveness of medicines and help people to remain in treatment for a longer period. Some of the behavioral therapies like contingency management uses positive reinforcement like rewards or privileges to motivate patients to attend counseling sessions, remaining drug-free and taking prescribed medicines. Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients recognize and cope with the situations that triggers the use of drugs.
Seek treatment to recover from substance abuse
The treatment for substance abuse has come a long way as the knowledge of the science behind substance abuse and associated psychiatric disorders has now made it easier to fight addiction. Therefore, the new developments in the field of mental health help a person to overcome substance abuse more easily and effectively. Rather than keeping their fears and inhibitions limited to themselves, people suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) must seek help by taking to a loved one or an expert.
If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders like any kind of mental illness, contact the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline to know about the dual diagnosis treatment centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1736 or chat online to get information about the state-of-the-art rehabs in California.