Most people today have a generalized idea about addiction. They understand that there are far too many addicts in the world.  But, the majority of Americans don’t spend much time thinking about the subject, unless a family member becomes addicted. At that point, they want answers about what to do for their loved one.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about addiction that may prove helpful to someone who needs addiction treatment.

FAQ #1: Why Can’t Addicts Just Stop Using?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as:

“A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.  Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations.  This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

“The power of external cues to trigger craving and drug use, as well as to increase the frequency of engagement in other potentially addictive behaviors, is also a charateristic of addiction.”

When a person first begins using an addictive substance, they believe they can quit any time, and that they can control the behavior.  However, after repeated use, the drug induces changes in brain function. The person then loses their ability to exert control over their drug use, even if adverse consequences have occurred.  It’s important to remember that no one intends to become an addict.  

FAQ #2:  Can a Person Become Addicted to Prescribed Medications?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about addiction.  Many people mistakenly think prescription painkillers are safe. But, in truth, opioid addiction is the leading cause of preventable death in the nation today.  Last year, 70,237 people died from drug overdoses. Of those, more than 17,000 involved prescription opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Prescription drug abuse and addiction are not always deliberate.  Some individuals develop a physical dependency that leads to addiction, even when taking the medications as directed.   Or, they often combine medications with other substances such as alcohol. marijuana, or other prescription drugs to enhance the effects.  Furthermore, prescription painkillers are popular with people who want to get high because they are so readily available.  These two scenarios have created an opioid addiction crisis that has reached epidemic proportions today. 

FAQ #3:  Is It Possible to Detox Without Professional Help?

A person will seek more of their drug of choice when withdrawal symptoms begin. Withdrawals can be dangerous in cases of prolonged addiction. Depending on the drug involved, a person can experience symptoms such as high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, respiratory depression, hallucinations, seizures, or coma.  Anyone ready to give up drugs should seek professional detox to ensure a safe and effective process.

FAQ #4:  Aren’t All Rehab Programs the Same?

Absolutely not.  Addiction treatment programs today provide a wide range of treatment approaches and options.  These programs are as diverse as the people who come for treatment. Some facilities treat specific addictions.  Others are equipped to handle poly-drug addictions or co-occurring disorders.  Also, some facilities offer inpatient treatment, while others provide outpatient programs.

Treatment programs are available that offer considerations for age, gender, sexual orientation, health issues, economic status, religious preferences, and more.  No one is forced to undergo treatment in a program that doesn’t fit their needs.

FAQ #5:  Does Relapse Mean the Program Didn’t Work?

Recent statistics show that more than 85% of individuals relapse following addiction treatment.  In many of these cases, the individuals left rehab before completing the program. In other cases, the person failed to follow-up with an aftercare program. Nevertheless, these numbers don’t mean rehab failed. Nor do they indicate that the individual failed. When relapse happens, it means the person needs to do a little more work.  Many rehabs will allow patients to return to the program if they’ve relapsed.

Everyone responds to treatment differently.  We need to also look at the positive results.  Many rehab patients return to society as a sober, contributing member of their families and communities without relapsing at all.  

The National Institutes of Health researched relapse rates and found that only about one-third of alcoholics in the first year of recovery remain abstinent.  However, the success rate increases to more than 50 percent after the one-year mark. The Institute of Behavioral Research at Texas Christian University found that 23.5 percent of cocaine users were using again within one year of treatment.  

Find More Frequently Asked Questions About Addiction

Are you or a loved one seeking treatment for addiction?  If so, you can get answers to more of the most frequently asked questions about addiction by contacting us today.  One of our knowledgeable representatives will be happy to assist you in any way.

Resources: – Definition of Addiction – Overdose Death Rates

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