How Addiction Treatment Programs Change Lives
Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease which the NIDA describes “as a complex disorder that can involve virtually every aspect of an individual’s functioning—in the family, at work and school, and in the community.” Once a person becomes addicted to a substance such as alcohol or drugs, their lives become vicious cycles of cravings, searches, intoxications, and withdrawals that keep them from living a healthy, satisfying, and productive life.
In order for any recovery to be successful, the addict’s life must change. Addiction treatment programs are tasked with helping them to do so by addressing the complex interplays of physical, psychological, emotional, social, environmental, and other variables that affect the addict’s ability to stop using drugs or alcohol and remain abstinent. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines the term “recovery” as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
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Improving Health and Wellness
Addiction takes its toll on the person’s health in various ways with identifiable signs and symptoms that affect various organ systems. Dependence inevitably leads to withdrawals when the person stops using the substance and underlying health problems can steer a person toward using a substance to avoid unwanted or problematic conditions.
Addiction treatment programs improve the addict’s health by helping them to detox from substances in a safe, controlled manner that eliminates the distress of withdrawals promoting entry to treatment for long-term abstinence. At the same time, the addiction treatment programs change lives by focusing on the improvements of co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions that have been caused or are exacerbated by the addiction.
Living a Self-Directed Life
Learning to cope with addiction, identifying and avoiding “triggers” that perpetuate substance abuse and getting the appropriate help, when and where needed is crucial to a successful recovery outcome. According to the SAMHSA, “Because substance use often impacts multiple aspects of an individual’s life, clients often enter treatment with housing issues, employment problems, and damaged family or social relationships.”
Addiction treatment programs help addicts live a self-directed life by combining education, guidance, and support with counseling, behavioral therapies, and resources or referrals to agencies that help them to address their many psychosocial needs so they can be in control and not the substance.
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Striving to Reach Full Potentials
Altered brain functions and neurotransmitter disruptions can cause a wide range of physical, psychological, and emotional upheavals or impairments that reduce the person’s “normal” functioning capacity while inhibiting motivations and goals. Addiction treatment programs change lives by helping addicts to restructure their lives without substance abuse so they can strive to reach their full potentials.
According to the SAMHSA, purpose is one of four dimensions of recovery which includes; heath, home, purpose, and community. Purpose is “participating in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.”