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.
Addiction is a complex but treatable condition. It is characterized by compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use that persists even if the user is aware of severe adverse consequences. For some people, addiction becomes chronic, with periodic relapses even after long periods of abstinence. As a chronic, relapsing disease, addiction may require continued treatments to increase the intervals between relapses and diminish their intensity. While some with substance issues recover and lead fulfilling lives, others require ongoing additional support. The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to enable an individual to manage their substance misuse; for some this may mean abstinence. Immediate goals are often to reduce substance abuse, improve the patient's ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications of substance abuse and their addiction; this is called "harm reduction".
Individual counseling sessions – These are one-on-one meetings with an addiction treatment counselor. Issues and events that may have contributed toward alcoholism are explored. Patients learn about alcoholism as a disease. They also learn what can trigger addictive thinking and behavior. Vital coping skills are practiced. Healthy routines are developed. They come to understand that an alcohol-free lifestyle takes discipline and dedication.
Dependence is defined as an adaptive state that develops in response to repeated drug administration, and is unmasked during withdrawal, which occurs when drug taking stops. Dependence from long-term drug use may have both a somatic component, manifested by physical symptoms, and an emotional–motivation component, manifested by dysphoria. While physical dependence and withdrawal occur with some drugs of abuse (opiates, ethanol), these phenomena are not useful in the diagnosis of addiction because they do not occur with other drugs of abuse (cocaine, amphetamine) and can occur with many drugs that are not abused (propranolol, clonidine).
The best alcohol addiction treatment programmes combine detox with rehab therapies and follow-up with aftercare services. This is the kind of addiction treatment you need if you are suffering from alcoholism. It is a treatment that is administered with the knowledge that what you are suffering from is a chronic illness rather than just a lack of willpower.
People who misuse alcohol are often addicted to the act of drinking, as much as the alcohol itself. For that reason, you may need to learn skills and coping mechanisms to help you avoid alcohol once you leave a treatment center or return to familiar environments where the urge to drink may be stronger. Your doctor may refer you to a counselor or other treatment program to help you learn those skills and coping strategies. Recovery Group Therapy for Drug & Alcohol counseling in South Orange County, CA
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)