What is the scientific cause of addiction?
Advances in research point towards a biological transition from choice to illness. Large amounts over a protracted period lead to changes in the way the brain function. Similar to how long term nutrition/exercise choices can lead to the way in which the pancreas functions, resulting in diabetes – one of the fastest growing health problems in this country. A similar choice that progress to illness.
What happens in the family of an addict? Do families get treatment too?
It is impossible for family/partners not to be impacted by an alcohol/drug dependent person in their life. Similarly, unemployment/financial crisis/Alzheimers disease – family’s are interconnected systems where a single part impacts, to greater or lesser degrees, the other parts.
In addictions, the behaviors necessary to support an addiction or are the result of an addiction are very divisive to the fundamentals of family systems
Does treatment for addiction really work? What are the scientific results?
We know that whether it’s an addiction medication (Naltrexone, Acamprosate, Antabuse, Buprenorphine, or Methadone), counseling (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Stages of change), or support groups like AA (limited research) – people get better with addiction treatment.
Unfortunately, most treatment programs don’t include the elements that we know help with treatment. In i360, the key elements of recovery are woven into a very comprehensive treatment plan (medications, therapy, family therapy/education, support groups, physical evaluation, nutrition and physical training, work/college transition assistance).
Are there easier and harder addictions to treat?
The hardest addiction is the one you have. For some, stopping alcohol is easy but crack is hard. For some, cocaine is easy but alcohol is hard. For some, alcohol was easy but tobacco is hard.
With regard to use and withdrawal, the route of administration and intensity of the high can impact withdrawal or termination. For instance, injecting heroine is far more intense a high than snorting heroine.
We have a medicine to treat almost everything. What are the latest medical treatments for addiction?
In general medicine, we don’t have many medications that “cure” diseases. We have a number of medications that treat and control symptoms of diseases. We have medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression. We also have medications that help treat the symptoms of addiction.
Unfortunately, the general public as well as many in the treatment community has been slow to utilize new anti-addiction medications (even though they are not addictive medications).
Advances in treatment and research have changed our understanding of the illness and the way we approach treatment. We know that the combination of medications and counseling provides individuals with the best opportunity to repair the physical, emotional, and behavioral damage caused by addiction.