NOTE: This fact sheet discusses research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction. Unless learning the language of addi
NOTE: This fact sheet discusses research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction. Unless learning the language of addiction counseling pdf specified, NIDA publications and videos are available for your use and may be reproduced in their entirety without permission from NIDA. Department of Health and Human Services.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Silhouette of a man standing in a dark tunnel.
The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
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Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior. Can drug addiction be treated? Yes, but it’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives. Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
No single treatment is right for everyone. People need to have quick access to treatment. Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use. Staying in treatment long enough is critical. Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment. Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies. Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
Treatment should address other possible mental disorders. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment. Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously. AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as teach them about steps they can take to reduce their risk of these illnesses.
What are treatments for drug addiction? A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
How are medications used in drug addiction treatment? Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions. Medications help suppress withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Detoxification is not in itself “treatment,” but only the first step in the process.
Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use. NSS-2 Bridge, for use in helping reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. This device is placed behind the ear and sends electrical pulses to stimulate certain brain nerves. Patients can use medications to help re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings. People who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all of the substances they use. Acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings.