More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Three Approaches to Treating Addiction by Dr. Bob Weathers
Drugs are built to interfere with those messages, causing the release of too many neurotransmitters for the wrong behavior—taking drugs. This causes a huge spike in pleasure for a destructive activity that eclipses normally pleasant activities needed for survival. Drug use also prevents normal reuptake of these brain chemicals, throwing off the entire process and your natural balance, altering your mood. Soon, all that matters is to produce that flood of neurotransmitters again—and due to the addiction, there’s just one way to do that: drug use.
Having made the decision to reach out for help in overcoming addiction, you may feel overwhelmed by the variety of options available to you – and, of course, choosing the right rehab is absolutely crucial. You need a facility that will best suit your particular needs and wants – but how will you know what those are, when you have never been through this process before?
Within the framework of the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), substance dependence is redefined as a drug addiction, and can be diagnosed without the occurrence of a withdrawal syndrome.[6] It was described accordingly: "When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders."[7] In the DSM-5 (released in 2013), substance abuse and substance dependence have been merged into the category of substance use disorders and they no longer exist as individual diagnosis.[8]
Internationally, the U.S. and Eastern Europe are the countries with the highest substance abuse disorder occurrence (5-6%). Africa, Asia, and the Middle East were countries with the lowest worldwide occurrence (1-2%). Across the globe, those that tended to have a higher prevalence of substance dependence were in their twenties, unemployed, and men.[42] The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports on substance dependence/abuse rates in various population demographics across the U.S. When surveying populations based on race and ethnicity in those ages 12 and older, it was observed that American Indian/Alaskan Natives were among the highest rates and Asians were among the lowest rates in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups.[43]
Treatments and attitudes toward addiction vary widely among different countries. In the US and developing countries, the goal of commissioners of treatment for drug dependence is generally total abstinence from all drugs. Other countries, particularly in Europe, argue the aims of treatment for drug dependence are more complex, with treatment aims including reduction in use to the point that drug use no longer interferes with normal activities such as work and family commitments; shifting the addict away from more dangerous routes of drug administration such as injecting to safer routes such as oral administration; reduction in crime committed by drug addicts; and treatment of other comorbid conditions such as AIDS, hepatitis and mental health disorders. These kinds of outcomes can be achieved without eliminating drug use completely. Drug treatment programs in Europe often report more favorable outcomes than those in the US because the criteria for measuring success are functional rather than abstinence-based.[24][25][26] The supporters of programs with total abstinence from drugs as a goal believe that enabling further drug use means prolonged drug use and risks an increase in addiction and complications from addiction.[27]

People who may benefit especially from secondary care include those who have completed treatment at rehab but do not yet feel physically or mentally prepared to reintegrate fully into day-to-day life with all its attendant stresses and pressures. Secondary care facilities are not typically as strictly monitored and secure as rehab itself, but those living on site at such a facility need to abide by certain rules – most importantly, staying clean and sober for the duration of their stay.

Repeat the focusing with each part of your body that experiences the craving. Describe to yourself the changes that occur in the sensations. Notice how the urge comes and goes. Many people, when they urge surf, notice that after a few minutes the craving has vanished. The purpose of this exercise, however, is not to make the craving go away but to experience the craving in a new way. If you practice urge surfing, you will become familiar with your cravings and learn how to ride them out until they go away naturally.


The official diagnosis of drug addiction by the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (2000), which makes distinctions between drug use, abuse, and substance dependence, is flawed. First, diagnosis of drug use versus abuse can be arbitrary and reflect cultural norms, not medical phenomena. Second, the term substance dependence implies that dependence is the primary pharmacologic phenomenon underlying addiction, which is likely not true, as tolerance, sensitization, and learning and memory also play central roles. It is ironic and unfortunate that the Manual avoids use of the term addiction, which provides the best description of the clinical syndrome.
SMART Recovery was founded by Joe Gerstein in 1994 by basing REBT as a foundation. It gives importance to the human agency in overcoming addiction and focuses on self-empowerment and self-reliance.[32] It does not subscribe to disease theory and powerlessness.[33] The group meetings involve open discussions, questioning decisions and forming corrective measures through assertive exercises. It does not involve a lifetime membership concept, but people can opt to attend meetings, and choose not to after gaining recovery. Objectives of the SMART Recovery programs are:[34]
If you live in a very rural area and or do not have the ability to attend traditional support groups, online support groups may prove to be incredibly beneficial for you. Nearly all of the support groups that offer in-person meetings also offer online meetings. These meetings are almost always completely free of charge and offer fellowship, support, encouragement, and advice from recovering alcoholics who used to be in the same exact position you are in now. If anyone can give you helpful advice, it's them.
Ask for friends and family to support you in the recovery process; chances are, they’ll be proud of you for taking control of your life again. External support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which originated the 12-step program and now has approximately 2 million members. The 12 steps emphasize the participant’s ability to submit to a “higher power” to ask for help. The higher power doesn’t have to be rooted in religion, though that is the case for many. Others look for a “higher power” within.
Constantly evolving, Gateway Foundation uses evidence-based practices and leading experts to develop customized treatment plans for every patient. Drawing from proven research and a legacy of innovation, we deliver the best possible outcomes—advancing the recovery of thousands of patients and families every year. Gateway Foundation Treatment Centers provides:
High Success Rates. Most drug rehabs keep track of the recidivism, or relapse, rates of their patients and the most effective programs keep in close contact with clients as much as possible after they are graduated from treatment. The success rates for different drugs and situations can help patients compare the efficacy of different theories behind addiction treatment.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that there is no hard, fast rule on how long it takes for an individual to become dependent on drugs or develop a drug addiction. The length of time can depend on the type of drug you’re using, the amount of the drug you take, and whether you abuse a combination of drugs (including alcohol). Other factors, like your physical and psychological health, can also influence drug dependence. Certain drugs, like cocaine, meth, heroin, and prescription drugs in the benzodiazepine family, are known to cause physical and psychological dependence very quickly. For some users, the signs of drug tolerance and physical dependence can develop after only a few uses, while others may take weeks or months to become addicted.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)
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