Yes. Addiction can be treated successfully. There has been significant scientific research over the years in the field of addiction and its treatment. This has led to the development of evidence-based interventions in substance use disorders that helps people stop abusing alcohol and other drugs and resume sober, productive lives.
Addiction is a chronic illness. That means it is incurable; however it is treatable. Like other incurable diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, it can be managed successfully. Treatment helps the affected person to counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behaviour of the addict. If treatment is adhered to, the addict can regain control and achieve balance in their lives.
Not really. The disease of addiction is chronic. Thant means that a relapse is likely at any time – just as a relapse is likely in other chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma or heart disease. These diseases also have physical and behaviourial components. Treatment involves changing thinking and behaviour patterns. Therefore a relapse does not mean treatment has failed. It only means that the treatment has to be reviewed or reinforced.
Research indicates that a combination of medications and behavioural therapy is the most effective treatment method. Community support groups are also important in maintaining recovery.
Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment. This helps in stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and prevent relapse.
Withdrawal management – When an individual first stops using drugs or alcohol, he or she may experience a variety of uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms. Certain medications are designed to reduce these symptoms, and make this stage easier.
Staying in Treatment – Some medications may be used during treatment to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the abused drug. These medications help in minimizing cravings, thereby helping the addict to focus on counselling and psychotherapeutic inputs.
Preventing Relapse – Addiction experts have identified that certain triggers such as stress and cues linked to the individual’s drug and alcohol using experience cause a person to get into a relapse mode. Medications are being developed to counter such triggers and help the person sustain his or her recovery.