No one is immune to developing a drug addiction, whether the addiction involves illegal drugs or medication originally prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition.
Drug addicts are often stereotyped as criminals who chose to live on the street rather than earn a living and be upstanding citizens, but the stark truth is that drug addiction affects individuals from all walks of life—from the librarian who works in your local library to the principle of the elementary school just around the corner from where you live.
Drug addiction is a disease of the brain, not of a person’s character or inability to resist getting high. When the brain of an addict is continuously subjected to drugs that severely disrupting normal, neurotransmitter levels, the person experiencing these changes is no longer able to resist the brain’s demand for excessive amounts of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. This overstimulation of the brain’s “reward circuit” is responsible for the intense cravings that drive addicts to do things they would never do if not for their drug addiction.
Treating Drug Addictions
GOODEN CENTER provides safe and effective drug addiction treatment plans designed to address addictions to illegal and prescription drugs. For example, a heroin addiction may be treated by implementing the following strategies:
Initial detoxification that includes close medical supervision, counseling and addressing the patient’s unique psychological and emotional needs
Providing the patient with medications to assist in the detoxification process. A combination opiate antagonist and agonist such as naloxone and buprenorphine promotes simultaneous blockage and activation of opoid receptors which reduces cravings and the risk of relapse
Residential or outpatient treatment plans are established that incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy, rational-emotive therapy or psychotherapy as well as options for the patient to attempt 12-step programs and holistic therapies
In addition, GOODEN CENTER also administers psychoeducation, neuroscience testing and life skills training to enhance a patient’s ability to cope with specific triggers that could cause them to relapse. All aspects of drug addiction therapy seek to find out what kind of stressful situations or self-defeating thoughts compel a patient to reach for a pill, the needle or pipe.
Once these triggers are identified, counselors then teach patients how to constructively manage and process painful, unpleasant feelings associated with unexpectedly encountering people that upset them, with memories of traumatic experiences or with experiencing the simple act of living day to day without using drugs.
Treating a Methamphetamine Addiction
Sometimes even tougher to treat than a heroin addiction is a methamphetamine addiction. “Meth” is a potent stimulant that targets the central nervous system by interfering with normal neurotransmitter release, specifically dopamine.
Primarily responsible for controlling the pleasure/reward centers in the brain, dopamine also influences emotion, movement and sensation-seeking impulses. Treating a meth addiction is complex and problematic, demanding the support of professional therapists working at GOODEN CENTER who have specialized knowledge and experience in dealing with meth addictions.
Although a standard pharmaceutical treatment plan does not exist for a methamphetamine addiction, effective interventions involving cognitive behavioral therapy, improving coping skills and an intense focus on the modification of distorted thinking patterns and self-esteem issues are integrated in patient treatment strategies.
Because many meth users are erroneously labeled as being schizophrenic, the need to completely detoxify a patient before providing mental health therapy is vital for ensuring the patient receives the appropriate psychiatric services.
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