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Addiction and drug abuse – Part 1: Helping a person with drug addiction

Addiction and drug abuse – Part 1: Helping a person with drug addiction

01-02 | CDAH Team

It is a common notion that people addicted to substances can get away from drugs if they are willing to change their habit. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Addiction is a disease that alters the brain and replaces old priorities with drug seeking behavior.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease accompanied by compulsive drug seeking and use. It is considered a brain disease because drugs have the ability to change the structure and the functioning of the brain. Sometimes such modifications of the brain can have long-term effects that are generally harmful and can give rise to self-destructive behavior.

Various studies have explained how drugs can affect the brain. This information is vital because it has successfully helped those in need of treatment and made it possible for them to overcome their drug habit and lead fulfilling lives. As the frequency of drug abuse increases, certain regions of the brain that control functions like self-control, anxiety and stress receptors get affected. Drugs can also change the balance of chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine in the body that control pleasure centers, moods, alertness and adrenaline, respectively.

Helping a loved one overcome addiction

It is a difficult task to convince a loved one to stop abusing drugs. A comprehensive treatment is required to start the journey to recovery. Most people with drug addiction often struggle to accept and acknowledge their predicament. It is advisable that friends and families should be a part of the intervention. Here are some steps to make a treatment successful:

  • Draw a plan: One can create a planning group comprising family members and friends after consulting a certified counselor, addiction specialist, psychologist, mental health counselor, social worker or an interventionist, to help create an effective intervention plan.
  • Collect information: Group members can find out the extent of addiction and research on the sustainable treatment programs available. They can make arrangements to induct the loved one into a specific treatment program. They should also be aware of the symptoms accompanying the various addictions.
  • Organize the intervention team: The members of the team should choose a date to start the treatment. They should rehearse the message to be conveyed and should be present at the facility to show their love and support.
  • Prepare for various scenarios: Every member should be prepared about how they will react, depending on the loved one’s reply. For instance, everybody should be prepared mentally to command the loved one to move away from the substance.
  • Execute the plan: The loved one should be guided to the meeting point and every member should await his/her turn and communicate the concerns and feelings to the loved one. One should present the treatment options and ask the loved one to accept it immediately. It is important to maintain a positive atmosphere during the intervention session.
  • Follow up: This can include offering support to the loved one throughout the counseling, recovery and therapy sessions. Such support systems are critical so that the loved one can adhere to the treatment plan and avoid relapse.

Path to recovery

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, it is important to seek professional help. Contact the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline to locate the best drug addiction treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-218-7546 or chat online to know about the best addiction treatment centers in Colorado.

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