Drug Abuse and Addiction

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Prognosis and Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to advances in drug abuse treatment that help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives. Addiction need not be a life sentence. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction's powerful disruptive effects on brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.

Research shows that combining treatment medications, where available and necessary, with psychotherapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches must be tailored to address each patient's drug abuse patterns and drug-related medical, psychiatric, and social problems.

Those who have a drug abuse/chemical dependency problem need first, to realize and admit that they have a problem for which they need help. As with any chronic disease, the affected person needs to understand what is going on in their body. They need to learn how to manage the dependency condition so as to maintain a state of remission, and to then approach life with new coping skills.

Psychotherapy can help to engage people in drug abuse treatment, modifying their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse and increasing their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse. Moreover, psychotherapy can enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people remain in treatment longer. Psychotherapy may be done on an individual, group, or family basis, depending on the needs of the individual, but should be done in combination with other supports, such as Narcotics Anonymous or physician care.

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