The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) points out that changes take place in the brain of an addicted person. The addictive substance affects the brain functions and changes them, possibly forever. That is why detoxification is only the first step in treating addiction. People will continue to have a craving for their addiction and need other treatments and support to stay clean. They must also become aware of the types of things that can trigger addictive behavior, according to NIDA. These include:
* things like stress or family problems
* social cues such as meeting people with whom they shared addictive behavior
* environmental factors such as sights, sounds and even smells associated with the addiction
Treatments of Addiction
There is no one treatment for everyone. Even while a person is undergoing detoxification it's important for other parts of the treatment to begin. There may be underlying medical or mental problems such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder that needs to be addressed if the person is to remain clean. There may be legal or vocational issues that have to be resolved for someone to move on with their lives. There is also a need to establish a support structure for the person. Most alcohol treatment programs have a component that includes Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug programs are also adding support group components as well. Other behavioral therapies are also used to give addicts coping skills to deal with their addictions. Treatment however must be ongoing. Just getting clean doesn't solve the problem. Ongoing treatment is important. Many patients leave treatment prematurely and suffer serious relapses.
Research continues into the how's and why's of addiction. The hereditary implications are continuing to be investigated with more and more evidence that certain people have genes that make them susceptible to addictive behavior. There is also research into brain chemistry as a cause.
Treatments are constantly being worked on looking for new and better treatments for individuals including new medications that could help.
It is agreed though that the one best way to avoid addiction is to never start. Drug dependency starts with that first hit. Nicotine dependency starts with that first cigarette. Alcoholism starts with that first drink.