Archive for November, 2009
There may be numerous methods of treating drug addiction, but the basic goal remains the same — to help individuals kick the habit off and get it completely out of their system. Since drug addiction is a disorder that results from drug usage over an extended period of time, it would be a bit much to expect for positive results from only a single treatment. Therefore, treatment is also a long-term, ongoing process. This is done in order to prevent relapse, which can render the time and money spent for treatment utterly worthless.
The methods utilized in treating drug addiction vary, and this can range from behavioral therapy to medication prescription. Behavioral therapy, for instance, aims to target the patient’s reasons for drug use, which are usually grounded on social context. Methods such as counseling, contingency management, and social analyses are often used in this kind of therapy, and the intensity of each session can also vary in proportion to the severity of the patient’s case.
On the other hand, medication prescription is a method utilized in order to find substitutes for the drug. For instance, those addicted to nicotine are offered medications such as gums, patches, and lozenges, which contain chemicals that mimic the nicotine’s effect of the body minus its adverse effects.
Of course, the effectiveness of these treatments also depends on factors such as proper monitoring and intervention measures. After all, it would be pointless to undergo treatment if the patient is going to revert to using drugs afterwards.
While there are speculations and educated guesses made regarding the possible causes of drug abuse, there is no single concrete reason for people to become drug abusers. Drug abuse is brought about by many factors, all of which drive individuals to seek out the comfort and relief that they believe can help them forget about the real world, if only momentarily.
Since the incidence drug abuse is common among adolescents, one possible cause can be peer pressure. For teenagers, it can be especially hard to resist the lure of drug use when other people in the immediate vicinity have tried it too. Being clean would be, in some cases where drug use is the norm, tantamount to being “uncool”, and teenagers would rather risk the damage brought about by drugs than being labeled that way.
The speculation that drug abuse is hereditary cannot be ruled out, especially if the user’s family has an extensive history of reported drug use. Those with families with a history of drug addiction are more susceptible to abusing drugs.
While there are a lot more possible reasons why drug abuse starts among individuals, looking at the social and genetic factors of this activity can help us better understand its nature. Aside from that, knowing the origins of drug abuse can also aid in choosing which treatment methods are most appropriate for those who want to go through with rehabilitation.
Knowing the individual’s origin in drug use can also help anticipate possible modes of behavior as well, which is important if you suspect that your loved one is taking drugs. By understanding the causes of drug abuse, it also becomes easier to intervene and possibly end his or her habit.
Why do people seek the thrill of using drugs? What is the one thing that keeps them coming back for more? While we may look for a lot of reasons to answer the questions, they all go back to a single source — the desire to escape from stress. So another question is raised: What kind of stress can lead to drug use?
One type of stress that can lead to drug use is extreme physical stress. Those that feel tired all the time may choose to take stimulants such as meth to artificially boost their system. This is often done in order to keep with another kind of stress that plagues them.
Work stress is one of the most notorious kinds of stresses that contribute to the incidences of drug use. While some choose to take stimulants to keep up with their workload, others choose to take depressants as a way of escaping the sense of being burdened too much.
Emotional stress is also another thing to consider when talking about drug use. Oftentimes, depression gives way to a lot of different things and can make people do crazy things, and taking drugs is one of them. Those who use drugs seek ways to relieve themselves of uncomfortable feelings, such as being overly excited through stimulant use, being apathetic because of depressant use, or fabricating an entirely new world through hallucinogen use.
Looking at these three types of stresses, it is not hard to imagine why people use drugs. Seeking an escape is one of the most basic of instincts that nature has provided, although attributing the answer to drug use may not be the wisest thing to do. New ways of combating stress must be found to prevent drug use, which is an activity that is already stressful in itself.
These days, many teenagers have found their way to drugs. Perhaps it can be said that mass media played a significant role in influencing the drug use of teenagers today, but that is beside the point here. However, looking at how adolescents begin this habit is a matter that must definitely be looked into.
So, how does teenage drug use usually begin? To answer this properly, let us look at the user in question: the teenager. Remember that teenagers are known for being headstrong, sometimes rebellious, and that they experiment in a lot of different things in order to establish their identity in the world. However, not all of these experiences are necessarily good, and some lose themselves because of it.
In establishing this sense of identity, teenagers look to their peers as their reference groups and they look up to them in order to define for themselves what being “cool” means, even if these same peers are known drug users.
Here, contact between the adolescent and the peer group can influence him to participate in drug use. He would then proceed to try rather than risk being labeled as “uncool”, a label that he would much prefer not to have for the length of his adolescent life.
Of course, the more the teenager gets into drug use, the harder it is to get out. The negative effects would include physical changes, mental instability, as well as adverse behavior. And the sad thing about it is that his peer group will not support him emotionally if he has fallen too far down the path of addiction.
In this way, peer pressure is also a factor that can determine the teenager’s drug use, especially since it is during this stage that the sense of self-identity is nurtured. If you’re also a teenager who is pressured by your friends to do it, think for a moment — Are you really willing to throw your life away this easily, merely based on not wanting to be labeled “uncool” if you don’t smoke pot, or sniff coke? Think about it, and better think hard.
Most of those who have never tried drugs often say that they will never do drugs for any reason. Well, sometimes this iron-clad will can sometimes falter, especially during times of great emotional crisis, since this can lead you to do drugs out of the desire to escape reality. While we have heard stories about how people’s lives have fallen because of drug use, there are those who have struggled and eventually won the battle against addiction.
These success stories have one thing in common — regret. Those who have recovered from their drug addiction regret doing it in the first place, since they have been made aware of the damage that it brought to their body as well as their social lives. The sense of shame that this gives them gives them the motivation to try and fight the tide of addiction.
Of course, treatment is sometimes too hard a process for some, and most patients tend to give up halfway, thinking that the craving is too powerful to fight. However, one way of winning this battle is to look at the lives of other drug addicts. How are they faring in their lives? Did drugs actually help them become better people? Did the circumstances change after they used drugs? Reflecting upon these questions can help the person see their own situation for themselves, and also constitute part of the drive to recover from addiction.
In most cases, this battle can take years, and many lose hope as months and years pass by. But the important thing to remember about drug recovery is to stay motivated, and look at the life ahead, as well as the possible life wasted if one chooses to stick with drugs. Too much can be sacrificed because of it, and oftentimes it is never worth the exchange.
So think about this — your friend, after spending years using drugs in your home, has finally seen the error of his ways and relented and now agrees to undergo treatment. You cheer, you go wild, and you celebrate. Finally, you think, everything’s going to be all right after all. But before you pop open that bottle of champagne, you should know that drug addiction treatment is a long process, which requires a lot of support from both you and other groups trying to recover as well.
So how long does the treatment last? While the treatment’s length is dependent on the time spent being addicted, the standard length stands at more than 3 months in order for it to be considered effective. For other types of addiction as well as for cases of prolonged addiction, it may take at least a year (12 months) to be effective – and that’s just the minimum.
Why does it take so long? It is because while treatment aims to combat the individual’s dependence on the drug, it also aims to prevent one thing — relapse. One single relapse can destroy the time, money and effort spent before, during and after treatment. It won’t matter if the treatment is reputed to be the best if the patient is going to go back to using drugs anyway.
The individual’s motivation is also put into the list of factors that determine the length of treatment. If he or she is half-hearted during treatment, there is a chance that he can drop out of the program midway, and you, as the caring friend/family member that you are, would have to start the process all over again from scratch.