Drug addiction is a disease of the body and brain. Also called substance use disorder, drug addiction triggers uncontrollable behaviors and renders a person unable to control their use of medication, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs—whether they are legal or not. Addictive substances such as nicotine, alcohol, opioid medications, and marijuana are considered drugs just as much as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Once you are addicted to a substance, you will feel compelled to use it, regardless of the damage that use does to your body, your brain, and your life.
Scientific research since 1970 shows that effective treatment addresses the multiple needs of the patient rather than treating addiction alone. In addition, medically assisted drug detoxification or alcohol detoxification alone is ineffective as a treatment for addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends detoxification followed by both medication (where applicable) and behavioral therapy, followed by relapse prevention. According to NIDA, effective treatment must address medical and mental health services as well as follow-up options, such as community or family-based recovery support systems. Whatever the methodology, patient motivation is an important factor in treatment success.
“Residential rehab” and “inpatient rehab” are two phrases often used interchangeably, as they both follow medical detox, and accommodate the physical and psychological needs of individuals in recovery. They also both involve full-time treatment at a rehab facility, allowing for 24-hour monitoring. However, one major difference between the two forms of treatment is the length of the program.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Addiction can result from a variety of factors and catalysts, including genetic predisposition, circumstances, environment, trauma and mental health disorders. While addiction often starts with drug abuse, it is not an indication of a person’s moral status or stability. In fact, many addictions spring from prescription drug use or casual use of legal substances.
Stimulants, such as tobacco, cocaine or prescription amphetamines, stimulate the brain and nervous system, causing increased alertness. Depressants, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, slow activity in the brain and nervous system, causing relaxation. Hallucinogens, such as LSD and PCP, drastically disrupt the way the brain and nervous system communicate, causing hallucinations. Rehab: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)