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Getting Help - Treatment

Explaining Drug Addiction

Drug dependence is an unrelenting illness that presents in obsessive, or out of control drive to access the drug at any cost even when one is aware of the danger and long lasting harm effects on their brain. Some of those who use drugs develop some dangerous behaviours due to these alterations in the functioning of their brain. Drug dependency is a degenerative illness. Relapse is returning to a habit of drug use after a serious attempt to stop using.


Addiction starts when the decision to take drugs is first made. With time, the user is unable to stop voluntarily the need to use the drug. The desire to search for and make use of drugs will now rely on a very huge urge. This is mainly because of the effects of long-term substance exposure on the functioning of the brain. The parts of the brain that control reward and motivation, learning and memory, and self control are all significantly affected by addiction.

Addiction influences both behaviour and the brain.


Is There Treatment For Drug Dependency?

It isn't easy, but, yes, drug addiction is treatable. Since dependency is a chronic illness, individuals cannot just quit using the substances for a day or two and be cured of it. Most patients need long haul or rehashed care to quit utilizing totally and recoup their lives.


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An addict in treatment must work toward the following:

  • Stopping to require using the drug
  • stay drug free
  • be a productive member at work, in society and in the family

Principles Of Effective Treatment

According to scientific research conducted since the mid-1970s, the essential principles listed below should be the foundation of all successful treatment programmes:

  • Though addiction is very complicated, it could heal completely, and it affects the workings of the human brain and human behaviour.
  • There is no one treatment that will work for everyone.
  • Easy access to rehab is of utmost importance.
  • Successful treatment looks at all the needs of the patient, not simply his/her substance use.
  • It is extremely important to remain under treatment for a very long period of time.
  • The most common forms of treatment are behaviour therapies like counselling.
  • A crucial part of treatment is medication, particularly when combined with behavioural therapy.
  • To make sure the user's most current requirements are met, there is a need for continuous evaluations and adjustments to the treatment regime.
  • Treatment ought to address other conceivable mental problems.
  • Therapeutically helped detoxification is just the primary phase of treatment.
  • The treatment does not rely on the volition of the patient to yield positive fruits.
  • Drug usage amid treatment must be observed constantly.
  • The treatment programs must ensure that patients are tested for tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious ailments, while they should also be informed about the best way to avoid contacting those.

How Is Drug Addiction Treated?

Effective treatment consists of several steps:

  • detoxification (the process through which drug is expelled from the body)
  • Behavioural advising
  • medication for addictions to opioids, tobacco, or alcohol
  • evaluation and treatment for mental health issues like anxiety and depression that co-occur with addiction
  • Avoiding relapse by providing long term follow up care

A variety of care with a customised treatment programme and follow-up options can be key to being successful.


Treatment ought to incorporate both therapeutic and emotional well-being services as required. The follow-up can compromise family- or community-based recovery support systems.


How Is Medication Employed In Substance Dependency Treatment?

Meds can be utilized to oversee withdrawal manifestations, anticipate backslide and treat comorbid conditions.

  • Withdrawal During rehab, taking some prescription drugs assists in reducing withdrawal reactions. Cleansing the body is not the same as treatment, it only the beginning of the journey. Patients normally go back to the use of drugs if their treatment is not continued after detoxification. According to one study of treatment centres, medications were utilised in close to 80 per cent of detoxifications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Relapse Prevention The cravings for drugs can be lowered and normal brain functions restored in the patients with the help of medications. Medications are accessible for management of opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol dependence. Scientists are also currently developing additional medications to treat addiction to marijuana and stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamines. Treatment for every substance they have ever abused will be necessary for those that use multiple drugs.

How Are Behavioural Therapies Used To Treat Drug Addiction?

Patients are assisted by behavioural therapies to:

  • change their character and disposition towards the use of drugs
  • increase wholesome life skills
  • Endure with different types of treatment, for example, medication

A patient can get treatment in several different environments using different approaches.

Outpatient behavioural treatment involves different programs designed for patients with an organised calendar of regular meetings with a counsellor for behavioural health. Personal or group drug counselling or both of them are included in majority of the programs.


These programmes usually provide types of behavioural therapy like:

  • cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs
  • Multidimensional family therapy in which not just the patient but also his/her family is involved able to sort out a lot of things and help the whole family cope with the changes and heal together
  • motivational interviewing, which gets most of the addicts disposed to work on their behaviour and commence treatment
  • motivational incentives (contingency management), where abstinence from drugs is rewarded and motivated with positive reinforcements

sometimes, intensive treatments that involve several outpatient sessions every week is given at first. regular outpatient treatment that involves fewer meeting hours few days of the week after the intensive treatment in the bid to ensure a sustained healing process.


For a patient with severe problems, including coexisting conditions, inpatient or residential treatment is very effective. A licensed inpatient treatment centre provides round-the-clock, structured and comprehensive care, that includes safe accommodation as well as medical attention. Private treatment offices may utilize an assortment of remedial methodologies and they are for the most part gone for helping the patient carry on a drug free and crime free way of life after treatment.


Some examples of inpatient treatment environments are:

  • In the period it takes for the patient to recover, usually six to twelve months, the patient becomes a member of the community at the therapeutic facility. The behaviours, understanding and attitude of the addict towards drugs is affected by the whole community, which involves the staff that offer the treatment and those recovering from addiction, as they take up the role of change agents.
  • Shorter-term residential treatment, which ordinarily concentrates on detoxification and also giving early extensive counselling and readiness for treatment in a community based setting.
  • Recovery housing that offers supervised, short-term accommodation for a patient, frequently after other kinds of inpatient/residential treatment. People can move onto independent life through recovery housing - it assists them for example to learn financial management or job hunting, while linking them to community based support groups.

Challenges Of Re-Entry

Habitual intake of drugs alters the normal functions of the brain, and various things can cause one to have a burning desire to take the drugs. It is key for patients in treatment, particularly those treated at prison or inpatient facilities, to learn how to identify, steer clear of, and deal with triggers that they are most likely to experience after treatment.