Posts tagged with ‘addiction recovery’

27 jul

Different Approaches to Ending Drug Addiction

RobertCordrayThe problem of how to end drug addiction is as old as the human race, with many varied and complex solutions put forward over the years attempting to deal with it. However, this range of approaches generally fall into three main categories:

Prohibition

The most common and widely used means of dealing with drug addiction is to pass laws that prohibit the sale or use of addictive substances. Prohibition is accompanied by penalties that are designed to punish those who use or sell drugs, with the penalties generally more severe for sellers than users.

Advantages of Prohibition

Making addictive drugs against the law makes it more difficult to obtain them. The penalties associated with using and selling drugs also discourage people who might be tempted to experiment with addictive drugs, but who refrain because of fear of the consequences of getting caught.

Disadvantages of Prohibition

Some people argue that prohibition is actually ineffective, pointing to how the problem persists no matter how much resources are devoted to law enforcement. Critics also argue that the resources spent on prohibition would be better spent on more serious crimes.

Legalization

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the prohibitionists are those who favor the legalization of addictive drugs. Supporters of legalization argue that much of the harm done by drug addiction is created by the fact that drugs are illegal, driving them underground where they cannot be regulated or controlled. Legalization supporters argue that drug addiction can never really be eliminated from society, so the best society can do is monitor and control it by making drugs legal.

Advantages of Legalization

The chief advantage of legalization would be that the effort and money that is currently devoted to policing drug activity could be redirected to other uses. It would also make using drugs safer by bringing drug use out of the underground economy and into the open where it could be regulated for safety and dosage.

Disadvantages of Legalization

Critics of legalization suggest that the total number of users of addictive drugs would only increase if drugs were to become more easily available. They fear that a legalized environment would actually encourage drug use through advertising or other promotional techniques commonly used by suppliers of legal products.

Recovery

A third approach is provided by those who feel that the focus should not be on prohibiting or legalizing drugs, but on addiction recovery services that would allow addicts to recover and resume normal lives. Supporters of the recovery approach believe that the best way to deal with drug dealing is to eliminate their customers by ending their addictive behavior.

Advantages of Recovery

Recovery saves lives by ending the destructive cycle of addiction before it ruins or ends the life of the addict. It also deprives drug dealers of customers, thereby lessening the problems that are associated with prohibition without encouraging drug use as feared by those opposing legalization.

Disadvantages of Recovery

Unfortunately, there is no agreed upon means for how to recover from drug addiction. Successful treatment usually requires techniques that are geared to the needs of the specific individual, which can make it time consuming and expensive. It is also not always clear what to do when the addict simply doesn’t want to stop using drugs.

The Hybrid Method

In the end, no one has all the insights into how to end drug addiction. That is why most societies use a hybrid approach employing all three approaches – some prohibition and law enforcement, semi-legalization of the less harmful drugs, and recovery services for those who seek them. The hope is that over time, this combination approach will work to control and eventually end drug addiction.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on July 27th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

20 jul

Taking the Steps to Addiction Recovery

RobertCordrayDual diagnosis treatment is a relatively new development in mental health care and addiction recovery. Until recently, clinicians treated mental illness as a separate condition from drug or alcohol addiction. When the conditions overlapped in a dual diagnosis, mental health treatment came only after addiction rehab. This was known as “sequential treatment.”

The Problem with Sequential Treatment

Sequential treatment was the norm as recent as a decade ago. Until then, most clinicians subscribed to a division between mental health treatment and addiction recovery. This meant that people with a dual diagnosis were excluded from one treatment area until they were stable in the other. For example, a depressed alcoholic could not receive therapy for depression until he went through detox and rehab.

Since addictions often stem from psychiatric disorders, people with a dual diagnosis need different types of therapy. When research showed that sequential treatment led to high rates of addiction relapse, its popularity diminished. Today, dual diagnosis treatment centers combine successful aspects of mental health care with substance abuse treatment. The clinicians have credentials and training in co-occurring disorders.

The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), only 12 percent of the four million Americans with a dual diagnosis in 2002 were treated for both conditions. Today, many rehab centers offer personalized treatment services for those with dual conditions. Nevertheless, finding the right program is a challenge.

Rehab centers that offer parallel services increase recovery chances. They offer supportive therapies that bolster self-esteem and build self-confidence. The most effective treatments bring spouses and other family members into therapy for individual and group counseling.

Many addicts feel immense relief when they receive a dual diagnosis, especially if they lived with an undiagnosed condition for a long time. If they suffered with long-term depression, severe mood swings, painful flashbacks, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts, giving their condition a name can give them hope. A properly trained rehab team can help them can help them recover from mental illness while they battle their addictions.

Dual Diagnosis Therapy Options

People who meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis are classified when they enter treatment. They generally suffer with a condition such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as well as alcoholism, drug addiction or another addictive disorder. The most effective treatment considers both conditions.

No single treatment works for everyone with a dual diagnosis. There are many mental health disorders, and the relationship between mental illness and addiction is complicated. Individual recovery plans address specific disorders as well as personal histories of addictive behaviors.

Residential Treatment

People with severe mental illness or heavy drug or alcohol use may benefit from residential treatment programs. This type of therapy offers intensive, 24-hour care and monitoring. It is especially helpful for those who experience psychotic episodes or suicidal thoughts.

Outpatient Treatment

Addicts who are physically and mentally stable may benefit from outpatient treatment, where they can live at home and go to work during their rehabilitation. Because of the minimal supervision, outpatient therapy requires a high level of dedication to recovery to prevent relapse.

Pharmacological Therapy

Pharmacological therapy is usually a key component of dual diagnosis treatment. People with mental illness usually require medications to stabilize their moods, reduce anxiety and prevent flashbacks or hallucinations. While psychiatric medications are often discouraged in substance abuse treatment programs, dual diagnosis patients can benefit from pharmacotherapy during rehab.

Family Counseling

Family counseling is an important part of addiction recovery. This type of therapy educates spouses, children and siblings about addiction and mental health. As they begin to understand their loved one’s condition, they are more likely to provide support for recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is also essential to the recovery process. Peer support groups and 12-step programs are available for addicts, friends and loved ones. Group sessions remind those with drug and alcohol addictions that they are not alone in their struggles.

Most people benefit from a combination of treatment therapies. Getting their lives back on track requires help and hope, and dual diagnosis treatment provides both. Relying on members of their treatment team as well as their loved ones can make rehabilitation easier and more effective.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on July 20th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,