Drug treatment used to include a brutal detox period followed by ineffective therapies, but science and research has opened up new doors for those with addiction. Long term drug rehab allows patients to slowly and painlessly overcome their addictions in order to become productive individuals.
Today’s Addiction Treatments Compared to Past Methods
Society used to see drug and alcohol addiction as a moral issue. Treatments used to include imprisonment, being sentenced to an asylum, and prayer. These methods did not work in the majority of the cases. They lacked the ability to confront the scientific reasoning for addiction.
Today’s treatment programs, like the ones offered at the Ohio Addiction Recovery Center, realize that addiction is a disease of the brain. Modern programs for recovery are based on scientific studies, and treatments are customized to each individual’s needs. They usually involve some combination of behavioral therapy and drug therapy. One of the benefits of long term treatment is that 40 to 70% of the people that complete these programs remain drug and alcohol free.
When someone with an addiction suddenly stops, they can experience a painful withdrawal period. Past treatments thought this was simply a necessary part of the process, but it is now understood that there is no reason to suffer. To prevent the symptoms of withdrawal, medications are used. Support groups, counseling, and other types of therapy are also used.
To remain drug free, one needs to learn how to think and behave differently. Therapy includes talking about your experiences, managing problems without drugs, and identifying and correcting problematic behavior. Patients also learn to correct patterns of thought that are harmful, recognize a drug craving, and manage high risk situations properly.
The Controversy over Modern Treatments
There is plenty of controversy over modern treatments that include the use of drugs. The drugs being used to help people through detox have intoxicating effects of their own. Patients may require long term treatment over many years with these replacement drugs. Many people ask if this isn’t simply replacing one addiction for another, but scientist do not look at it in this way.
Naltrexone blocks one’s opiate receptors. Without the ability to get pleasure from an opiate, their cravings are reduced. Disulfiram is used to treat alcoholism by causing the patient to vomit and have headaches after drinking. LAAM and Methadone effect the same receptors that heroin does, but with less intense highs and lows. Acamprosate is also effective for alcoholism as it lowers one’s irritability and decreasing the pleasurable effects of drinking while Buprenorphine/naloxone stops cravings and blocks opiate effects.
Treating Prisoners for Addiction
When an addict finds themselves in the criminal justice system, treatment becomes a complicated matter. Law enforcement is left wondering exactly how they should administer treatments. The answer is found in the drug court approach.
Addicts charged with minor crimes are dealt with by drug courts. Rather than being sent to jail, these people are required to plead guilty, agree to a treatment plan, submit to regular drug tests, and report back to the judge for a minimum of one year. If they fail to complete any of these requirements, they will face jail time. On the other hand, if they complete all of the requests, their charges are dropped.
In the past, doctors were willing to try just about anything to treat addiction. Even if the idea seemed crazy, they felt it was worth a shot. LSD was used during the 1950’s and 1960’s to treat alcoholism and similar addictions. This idea was abandoned once the hallucinogenic drugs themselves became illegal.
Today a similar type of therapy exists that uses ibogaine to treat heroin addiction. This drug comes from an African root used in religious ceremonies to allow one to visit with ancestors that have passed on. This is illegal in the United States, but there are 20 to 30 ibogaine therapy centers worldwide. Adding to the controversy is the fact that this alternative drug can harm the heart, resulting in death.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, take comfort in knowing there are many safe and pain free treatments available. With a little hard work, proper medication, and counselling, those with addiction can turn their lives around and go on to lead full and productive lives.