Certain drugs (like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines) are infamous for how they can mess up the brain. Most people know to beware of their potency and danger. Other substances (such as alcohol, marijuana and painkillers) tend to be viewed quite differently. For many Americans, they are deemed to be much less dangerous. But is this view accurate?
Advances in medical research have given addiction specialists new insight into the treatment of alcoholism. However, the Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report states that alcohol abuse remains the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, despite innovations in behavioral health modification, psychotherapy, and addiction medication. The following studies and statistics reflect the power of this disease:
Addiction medications make the recovery process easier by easing the cravings and side effects associated with withdrawal. In the advanced stages of recovery, some people continue to take these medications in order to maintain their sobriety. Addiction medication should be taken only under a doctor’s supervision. These drugs can have serious side effects, including physical dependence and tolerance. Ironically, the medications used to treat opiate addiction have addictive properties themselves.

According to NIDA, genetic factors are responsible for 40 to 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to drug addiction. Studies show that a person’s predisposition to drug addiction positively correlates to their degree of genetic similarity to a relative who has a history of drug dependence or addiction. Mental disorders and medical conditions are also risk factors.
Marijuana has become one of the most widely used — and abused — drugs in the United States. The Journal of the American Medical Association notes that while the prevalence of marijuana use in the US hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, the prevalence of cannabis abuse and addiction has greatly increased. The 2012 Monitoring the Future survey, which tracks drug use among American teens, showed that marijuana use has increased among high school students in recent years, while disapproval of cannabis among teens has declined. At one time, marijuana was not considered to be addictive, but recent studies have shown that this drug can cause symptoms of dependence and addiction, including cravings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and agitation.
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story
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