Can addiction be treated?

Yes. Addiction can be treated successfully. There has been significant scientific research over the years in the field of addiction and its treatment. This has led to the development of evidence-based interventions in substance use disorders that helps people stop abusing alcohol and other drugs and resume sober, productive lives.

Is there a cure for addiction?

Addiction is a chronic illness. That means it is incurable; however it is treatable. Like other incurable diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, it can be managed successfully. Treatment helps the affected person to counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behaviour of the addict. If treatment is adhered to, the addict can regain control and achieve balance in their lives.

Does a relapse mean that addiction treatment has failed?

Not really. The disease of addiction is chronic. Thant means that a relapse is likely at any time. Just as a relapse is likely in other chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma or heart disease. These diseases also have physical and behaviourial components. Treatment involves changing thinking and behaviour patterns. Therefore a relapse does not mean treatment has failed. It only means that the treatment has to be reviewed or reinforced.

What are the main elements of effective addiction treatment?

Research indicates that a combination of medications and behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment method. Community support groups are also important in maintaining recovery.

How can medications help in drug addiction treatment?

Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment. This helps in stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and prevent relapse.

Withdrawal management - When an individual first stops using drugs or alcohol, he or she may experience a variety of uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms. Certain medications are designed to reduce these symptoms, and make this stage easier.

Staying in Treatment - Some medications may be used during treatment to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the abused drug. These medications help in minimizing cravings, thereby helping the addict to focus on counselling and psychotherapeutic inputs.

Preventing Relapse – Addiction experts have identified that certain triggers such as stress and cues linked to the individual’s drug and alcohol using experience cause a person to get into a relapse mode. Medications are being developed to counter such triggers and help the person sustain his or her recovery.

How does behavioral therapy work in addiction treatment?

Behaviourial therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) helps in modifying attitudes, enhance life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental factors that may trigger craving and lead to relapse. Behavioral therapies can also complement the effectiveness of medications and help people remain in treatment longer.

Since addiction affects all areas of the person, treatment must address the whole person, including his social, ethical and spiritual areas.

What about the duration of treatment?

Since addiction is a chronic condition, recovery is a lifelong process. Actually, treatment may be viewed as a continual process of relapse prevention. However, when the individual starts the treatment process, he may be in an outpatient or residential setting. This intense period is crucial in initiating a sustainable treatment.

Rehabs have differing durations. Earlier, most rehabs had six to nine month duration in USA. However, since insurance companies now cover only 28 days, many facilities have adapted to this period. In UK, the huge pressure on the national health services has created a ‘detox-oriented’ short stay regimen.

However, research has indicated that a minimum of three months (90 days) is required to effectively manage withdrawals, provide therapies and prepare the addict to enter a new life. The ‘Gold Standard’ of 90 days is increasingly advocated throughout the world, even in the United States by leading rehabs such as the Hazelden Betty Ford. In cases of dual diagnosis – when the addict has a co-occurring psychiatric condition - the duration may be extended.

What is the best model of addiction treatment?

The most effective treatment programs need to help the addict get into recovery from a life that has been dominated by the obsessions and compulsive behaviours of active addiction. The addict has been living a life that is a never-ending cycle of chasing his or her drug of choice and completely ignoring family, work and health. To be successful, treatment should address all these areas.

Moreover, good rehabs also provide support to the families of the addict or alcoholic. Since addiction affects not just the individual but all those around him, appropriate education and counselling should be provided to the family members. This helps in repairing the damages caused to others and goes a long way in rebuilding broken relationships. Family support is also found to be useful in minimizing the chances of relapse.

Therefore, the best treatments incorporate a variety of therapeutic services into an integrated model. This then is individualized to suit the person in recovery. The treatment is aimed to addressing all affected areas of an addict’s life – physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual.

Hope Trust rehab in India offers an integrated model that has proven to be most effective in treatment of drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling and dual diagnosis. It incorporates a menu of services that include medications, cognitive therapy, Yoga, meditation, 12 Step principles and family support. This aids the overall recovery of the person from a medical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual perspective.

Since inception in 2002, the evidence-based treatment provided at Hope Trust has been helpful to clients from all over the world.