Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes powerful physical and psychological cravings for mind-altering substances, including illegal intoxicants like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and PCP. Many people also become addicted to misused prescription drugs, or to chemical substances not manufactured for human consumption (inhalants), to party drugs (ecstasy), hallucinogens like LSD, or to marijuana, which despite its benign reputation is the most widely abused illicit drug.
Even now, many people assume that drug addiction is caused by a failure of willpower or by weak character. But the medical community now recognizes that addiction is a brain disease, not a character flaw. The repeated use of drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, or prescription opiates causes profound changes in the structure and function of the brain. These substances interfere with the way your brain processes and responds to neurotransmitters, chemicals that control emotion, energy levels, pain response, judgment, sleep patterns, and metabolism.
Drug rehabilitation, commonly referred to as “drug rehab,” is the process of treatment for dependency on drugs. The purpose of drug rehab is to release a person from the grips of substance abuse. These individuals often seek treatment when their substance use has become compulsive and out of control, and the negative side effects aren’t enough to deter their decisions. There are hundreds of drug rehabilitation centers all over the country designed to help men, women and adolescents struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both.
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in 1994 for the treatment of alcoholism; however, it is currently prescribed for the treatment of opioid addiction. Sold in oral or injectable forms (ReVia and Vivitrol), naltrexone can help block the effects of opioids on the brain, making it less pleasurable to use these powerful drugs. Naltrexone is prescribed for opiate users who have been through the withdrawal phase and who are motivated to stick to a recovery program.
Current clinical research suggests that marijuana use can have long-lasting effects on learning and memory, especially for users who start in adolescence, when the brain is still developing. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice states that approximately 9 percent of individuals who try marijuana become dependent on the drug, compared to 15 percent of cocaine users and 24 percent of heroin users. However, because marijuana is more readily available than these other illicit drugs, marijuana addiction has become more widespread, and marijuana detox programs have become more common.
Biological factors that can affect a person's risk of addiction include their genes, stage of development, and even gender or ethnicity. Scientists estimate that genes, including the effects environmental factors have on a person's gene expression, called epigenetics, account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's risk of addiction.27 Also, teens and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug use and addiction than others.28
Research the history of the Treatment Center or facility. What is their success rate? Can you find any medical recommendations for them online from members of the established rehab or medical community? How long has the Center been in operation? Is their leadership on solid ground? Are there any signs of financial corruption associated with the Center that is readily visible on the Internet? It is your responsibility to dig for this information. If you cannot find any information about a given Treatment Center online or at your local library, move on to the next Center on your list! 3 Stages of Drug Alcohol Rehab-How It Works