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Solutions to Drug addiction.


Drug abuse can be a painful experience for the person who has the problem, and for family and friends who may feel helpless in the face of the disease. But there are things you can do if you know or suspect that someone close to you has a drug problem.

Certain drugs can change the structure and inner workings of the brain. With repeated use, they affect a person’s self-control and interfere with the ability to resist the urge to take the drug. Not being able to stop taking a drug even though you know it’s harmful is the hallmark of addiction.

A drug doesn’t have to be illegal to cause this effect. People can become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, or even prescription drugs when they use them in ways other than prescribed or use someone else’s prescription.

People are particularly vulnerable to using drugs when going through major life transitions. For adults, this might mean during a divorce or after losing a job. For children and teens, this can mean changing schools or other major upheavals in their lives.

But kids may experiment with drug use for many different reasons. It could be a greater availability of drugs in a school with older students, or it could be that social activities are changing, or that they are trying to deal with stress. Parents may need to pay more attention to their children during these periods.

The teenage years are a critical time to prevent drug use. Trying drugs as a teenager increases your chance of developing substance use disorders. The earlier the age of first use, the higher the risk of later addiction. But addiction also happens to adults. Adults are at increased risk of addiction when they encounter prescription pain-relieving drugs after a surgery or because of a chronic pain problem. People with a history of addiction should be particularly careful with opioid pain relievers and make sure to tell their doctors about past drug use.

There are many signs that may indicate a loved one is having a problem with drugs. They might lose interest in things that they used to enjoy or start to isolate themselves. Teens’ grades may drop. They may start skipping classes.

They may appear irritable, sedated, or disheveled . Parents may also come across drug paraphernalia, such as water pipes or needles, or notice a strange smell.Once drug use progresses, it becomes less of a social thing and more of a compulsive thing—which means the person spends a lot of time using drugs.

If a loved one is using drugs, encourage them to talk to their primary care doctor. It can be easier to have this conversation with a doctor than a family member. Not all drug treatment requires long stays in residential treatment centers. For someone in the early stages of a substance use problem, a conversation with a doctor or another professional may be enough to get them the help they need. Doctors can help the person think about their drug use, understand the risk for addiction, and come up with a plan for change.

Substance use disorder can often be treated on an outpatient basis. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to treat. Substance use disorder is a complicated disease. Drugs can cause changes in the brain that make it extremely difficult to quit without medical help.

For certain substances, it can be dangerous to stop the drug without medical intervention. Some people may need to be in a hospital for a short time for detoxification, when the drug leaves their body. This can help keep them as safe and comfortable as possible. Patients should talk with their doctors about medications that treat addiction to alcohol or opioids, such as heroin and prescription pain relievers.

Recovering from a substance use disorder requires retraining the brain. A person who’s been addicted to drugs will have to relearn all sorts of things, from what to do when they’re bored to who to hang out with. You have to learn ways to deal with triggers, learn about negative peers, learn about relapse, learn coping skills.

There are 3 primary ways to deal with addiction.

1- Handle the physical addiction first.

Before any counseling can be done with an addict, the physical addiction needs to be addressed. First, an addict needs to get through the acute withdrawal from the drug they have been using. After the initial detox, there is more work to be done.

Most people believe once the withdrawals go away, a person is no longer physically addicted to drugs, which is not true. The way the human body works is that toxins, whether they be drugs, medications, environmental toxins, food preservatives, etc., get sequestered into the fatty tissue so they cannot harm the rest of the body. After using drugs for years, a person builds up large amounts of drug residues and metabolites in their fatty tissue. When that person tries to get sober, they still feel the effects of having taken drugs for a long time since they are stored in their body.

This causes a person to feel physically and mentally unwell, have anxiety, depression, low energy, insomnia and most troubling, severe drug cravings. Whenever an addict quits drugs, those drugs still lodged in their fat cells are unleashed back into their system anytime they burn fat, which is basically every time their heart rate increases. When those released residues hit the brain, they commonly cause tremendous cravings.

In other modalities of drug rehabilitation, this physical and mental/emotional discomfort is called PAWS or “post-acute withdrawal syndrome.” Despite what some treatment centers state, it is completely avoidable. The solution is to find a program with a strategy for removing these drug residues, allowing an addict to be freed from the physical effects of having taken drugs which also restores their physical health and relieves them of cravings.

2- Life skills

One thing most addicts lack is the ability to deal with life and life’s problems without the use of drugs. At one point or another, the drug or alcohol solved a problem, something that otherwise seemed unsolvable. This solution “makes the problem go away” even if only temporarily. When the same problem comes up again, the person who continues to solve it using drugs or alcohol as an escape is on their way to being an addict. And at the end of the day when it is the heroin or alcohol they use for comfort, they have succumbed to their addiction.

Those who do not develop an addiction learn valuable life skills as they solve those inevitable life problems. They learn about who to surround themselves with in order to be as happy and successful as possible. They learn the tools they need to be a success in life and they take responsibility for the decisions they make along the way.

Addicts don’t have the luxury of knowing (or if they do know, they do not apply) these important skills. While they might have picked up some life skills here and there, they go out the window almost immediately… especially if doing the right thing gets in the way of their being able to get high.

Giving an addict life skills is extremely important when attempting to solve an addiction. Remember, the only life skills an addict uses on a daily basis are lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating and whatever else they have to do to get their fix. Those are their life skills, even though they are completely destructive. Addicts, after being relieved of their physical addiction, need to be taught how to live life again as a constructive member of society. Without these skills, all that’s created is a drug-free person who is lost in the sea of life, floating through a storm with no way to deal with it.

3- Intensive one on one counseling.

One thing overlooked in certain types of treatment is the necessity for intensive one-on-one counseling. Some treatment centers offer very little one-on-one counseling and put an emphasis on group therapy. Group therapy is conducted in a large room with a group of addicts. The group is run by a counselor and participants are expected to discuss their inner-most secrets, problems and insecurities in the middle of a large group.
The problem with this is many addicts deal with shameful and sometimes embarrassing situations and circumstances many of them don’t feel comfortable discussing in private counseling and especially in the middle of a large group. This results in an addict never fully opening up and dealing with their issues.

Emphasis needs to be placed on one-on-one counseling, not group therapy. The objective of the counseling should be to get to the core root of a person’s addiction and help them to figure out why drugs or alcohol became a solution to their problems. After a person’s real, core issues are handled, they no longer have a problem that needs to be solved by using drugs. The counselor helps them to deal with their issue(s) so the addict finally resolves them and can move forward in life.

A big part of the counseling is having a person who has first-hand experience with addiction to counsel the addict. Addicts are more likely to listen to someone who has actually been through addiction, knows what it feels like to shoot dope, but also knows what it takes to get clean and stay clean, rather than a counselor who read about addiction in a textbook, took a course, and passed a state licensure exam yet who has no real reality on addiction.

Addiction is a huge societal problem our world is currently facing. The opiate epidemic is out of control and better forms of drug addiction treatment are necessary to combat this growing problem. There are tried and true means of dealing with addiction that have been around for a long time, but with the growing numbers of addicts, the high concentration of strong drugs, and methadone clinics bursting at the seams with new patients, alternatives to the traditional way of dealing with addiction have become a necessity.

The best way to solve an addiction is a multi-pronged approach which includes handling the physical addiction, giving the addict the life skills they need to deal with life and life’s problems effectively, and utilizing one-on-one counseling as a means of getting to the root cause of a person’s addiction and helping to fully handle it so they can lead long, productive lives.

A substance use problem is a chronic disease that requires lifestyle adjustments and long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Even relapse can be a normal part of the process—not a sign of failure, but a sign that the treatment needs to be adjusted. With good care, people who have substance use disorders can live healthy, productive lives.

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