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Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug. Kevin's Struggle with Alcohol | True Stories of Addiction | Detox to Rehab
Treatment is sometimes intensive at first, where patients attend multiple outpatient sessions each week. After completing intensive treatment, patients transition to regular outpatient treatment, which meets less often and for fewer hours per week to help sustain their recovery. In September 2017, the FDA permitted marketing of the first mobile application, reSET®, to help treat substance use disorders. This application is intended to be used with outpatient treatment to treat alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulant substance use disorders. In December 2018, the FDA cleared a mobile medical application, reSET®, to help treat opioid use disorders. This application is a prescription cognitive behavioral therapy and should be used in conjunction with treatment that includes buprenorphine and contingency management. Read more about reSET® in this FDA News Release.
For all the popularity of alcohol, everyone knows at least one person who has struggled with alcoholism. And there have been hundreds of cases of celebrities, politicians, and other public figures getting treatment for an alcohol habit that got out of hand. We hear a lot about words like “rehab,” “detox,” and “therapy” when it comes to alcohol treatment, but what does all of that entail? How does it help someone get clean and stay clean? And what does this mean for you, or someone you know, who is fighting a battle against the temptation to keep drinking?
Co-occurring conditions require specialised treatments that can safely address both aspects of a dual diagnosis. Doctors and therapists work to create effective but flexible treatment plans that account for both conditions without treating one at the expense of the other. The delicate balance necessary to achieve a positive outcome suggests that residential treatment is the better option for dealing with dual diagnosis scenarios.
Genetics make up about 50% of the risk for alcohol dependence, but they by no means tell the whole story. Genetic history is often hard to distinguish, but if parents are regular heavy drinkers, or they drink to reduce stress and depression, it is likely that their children will grow up believing that these behaviours are normal and possibly harmless. But environmental influence doesn’t come only from the home; peer pressure from friends, colleagues and partners can also encourage new and difficult patterns of drinking which can lead to dependency or co-dependency.