Substance abuse is multi-dimensional and disruptive to many areas of an individual’s life and well-being; as a result drug addiction treatment incorporates many distinct components, each directed toward a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Despite beginning as a voluntary choice, addictive behavior is characterized by compulsive, at times uncontrollable drug craving which persists in the face of extremely negative consequences. Prolonged drug exposure has damaging effect on the brain, altering an individual’s learning, memory, motivation receptors and inhibitory control, compromising any ability to self-regulate. The chronic nature of the disease and complex form of chemical dependency mean one cannot simply stop using drugs, most require a degree of medically monitored care to safely detoxify the body and mind. Depending on the addict’s substance of choice and psychological stability, treatments may vary in how to achieve sustained abstinence.
The Role of Therapy in Drug Addiction Treatment
Treatment for drug addiction must help the individual stop using drugs, guide them in the direction of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. Even after detox, when physical dependence is cured, psychological and social factors are often powerful stimuli which put addicts at high risk for relapse without a good program. A program after treatment can consist of self-help groups, aftercare and/or therapy paired with the motivation to practice continued use of the direction found in treatment for managing craving or impulse to use. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, psychotherapy and other approaches will all ultimately promote sobriety as well as treating other mental health conditions contributing to drug abuse. The goal of therapy, treating mental and emotional health as well as chemical dependence is to bring an addict back to a productive, functioning place in the family, at work, and in society once again. The choices a recovering addict makes after treatment will set the stage, so to speak, for the degree of freedom from substance abuse and its effects he/she would like to achieve.
The Steps after Treatment from Addiction
The role of a drug addiction treatment program is to aid an addict in physically weaning themselves from abused substances and prepare them for leading a sober life. Staying sober in the caring and nurturing walls of a treatment facility can be unproblematic for many, but the challenge of confronting life on life’s terms again rests with the individual. This is why it’s so important that an addict truly accept they have lost control of their ability to regulate substance use, and possess sincere motivation to stop. No one need be alone in recovery, and a strong support system in sobriety will certainly be worth its weight in gold to recovering addict struggling in a difficult moment; but ultimately the decision to continue to seek help and stay sober is an independent one. Drug addiction is something which, unfortunately, is never cured; no length of sobriety will render someone incapable of relapse. What treatment offers are the tools necessary for addict to live without the need of a crutch, and the ability to navigate life with a self-generated strength and freedom.