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Getting Help - Treatment

What Is Drug Addiction?

That chronic health condition where people cannot control the way they search for and make use of drugs irrespective of the fact that this can damage their health and alter their mental state forever is called Drug addiction. These alterations in the brain can cause dangerous behaviour in a person who uses drugs. Substance dependency is also a relapsing illness. Relapse means going back after some time, to using the substance one had stopped using.


The road to substance dependency starts with voluntarily using substances. However, over time, it becomes increasingly difficult for the person not to do so. Looking for and using the substance becomes uncontrollable. The major cause of this it how long term drug exposure alters brain activity. The parts of the brain that control reward and motivation, learning and memory, and self control are all significantly affected by addiction.

Drug dependency is an illness that alters both brain functions and actions.


Can Substance Dependency Be Treated?

It can, however it is hard. Since addiction is a chronic ailment, individuals can't just quit utilizing drugs for a couple days and be treated. For most patients, long term often repeated care is needed to help them stop using and continue on to get their lives back.


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An addict in treatment must work toward the following:

  • Stop taking drugs
  • abstain from drugs
  • achieve more productivity in the society in general and in the family and workplace in particular

Standards Of Effective Treatment

Ongoing scientific research since the 1970s has shown that the following basic principles should be the basis of any effective course of treatment:

  • Dependence is a complex yet treatable sickness that influences brain capacity and behaviour.
  • No exclusive treatment is correct for everybody.
  • Treatment needs to be readily available.
  • 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.
  • Medications are regularly an imperative component of treatment, particularly when consolidated with behavioural therapies.
  • Treatment procedures must be measured frequently and altered to fit the patient's evolving needs.
  • Treatment should deal with other potential mental disorders.
  • The first stage, medically assisted detoxification, is only the beginning of treatment.
  • The treatment does not rely on the volition of the patient to yield positive fruits.
  • Medical personnel must supervise any medications taken during the rehab period.
  • A treatment programme must test a patient for hepatitis B and C, TB, HIV/AIDS and other infectious illnesses and educate the patient about things he/she can do to reduce his/her risk of these diseases.

How Is Substance Dependency Treated?

Effective treatment consists of several steps:

  • medical detoxification, when the body physically rids itself of the drug
  • behavioural counselling
  • Medicine (for opioid, tobacco, or liquor enslavement)
  • Making sure that coexisting mental health issues like depression or anxiety are evaluated and treated
  • Relapse prevention through long-term check-ups

A scope of care with a custom-made treatment program and follow-up choices can be pivotal for achievement.


Treatment should compromise mental and medical health services as required. Family or community based recovery support systems are some of the things involved in a follow-up care.


How Are Medications Used In Drug Addiction Treatment?

The treatment of co-occurring health issues, avoidance of relapse and amelioration of the withdrawal symptoms are some of the cases where medications are needed.

  • Withdrawal Medicines help in decreasing withdrawal side effects amidst detoxification. Detoxification is only an initial stage in the process; it is not a "treatment" on its own. Patient who doesn't get any further treatment after detoxification as a rule resumes their drug usage. According to one study of treatment centres, medications were utilised in close to 80 per cent of detoxifications (SAMHSA, 2014).
  • Relapse Prevention Medicines used in the detoxing programme help the brain to restore to its normal functions easier and stop the desire for the drug. Various medicines are used for narcotics (pain killers), tobacco (nicotine) and alcohol dependency. Scientists are busy to develop other medications to treat cannabis (marijuana) and stimulant (methamphetamine and cocaine) dependency. Individuals who utilize more than one drug, which is extremely normal, require treatment for the majority of the substances they utilise.

How Drug Addiction Is Treated Using Behavioural Therapies

Patients are helped by behavioural therapy with:

  • Change their conducts and practices linked with drug usage
  • Learn to exercise healthy life skills
  • Continue with varying forms of treatment like 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. The greater parts of the projects include individual or group drug advising, or both.


Treatments available in some of these treatment sessions address psychological issues like:

  • cognitive-behavioural therapy, that assists a patient to identify, steer clear of, and deal with the circumstances in which he/she is most probable to resort to substances
  • multidimensional family therapy-devised for teenagers with substance dependency issues as well as their families-which looks at a series of influences on their substance abuse patterns and is created to better family functioning in general
  • Motivational meeting, which capitalizes on individual's' status to change their conduct and enter treatment
  • contingency management (motivational incentives), which makes use of positive reinforcement to motivate refraining from substances

At first, treatment can be as intensive as multiple outpatient sessions every week. With the detox behind them, the patient is then able to start standard treatment regime coming in for therapy a few hours weekly to make sure they do not relapse.


For people with problems of high severity (plus co-occurring disorders), residential or inpatient programs will have better effects. 24-hour planned and organised care system, coupled with proper medical care and safe housing are given in residential treatment facilities that are licensed. An inpatient treatment facility can make use of different therapeutic approaches and they are usually aimed at assisting patients to lead a substance-free, crime-free life after completing the treatment.


Cases of residential treatment settings include:

  • Rigidly structured programs where patients remain inpatient for 6 to 12 months are called therapeutic communities. The entire community, comprising treatment employees and patients in recovery, act as essential agents of change, affecting the patient's understanding, attitude, as well as conduct linked with substance use.
  • Shorter-term residential treatment, where detoxification is done and the patient prepared for community based treatment through preliminary intensive counselling.
  • Recovery housing, which is normally an aftermath of inpatient or residential treatment, and where patients are given limited term housing under an expert watch. Recuperation housing can help individuals make the move to a free life, for instance, helping them figure out how to manage funds or look for business and also interfacing them to bolster services in the group.

Challenges Of Re-Entering Society

Because drug abuse changes the way the brain functions, a lot of things can trigger drug cravings. For everyone in treatment, but especially for those in an inpatient program or prison, it's essential to learn how to recognize, avoid, and handle any triggers they may encounter after treatment.