Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
What Is Addiction Treatment?
Drug or alcohol addiction treatment is a series of interventions designed to help people stop using drugs and improve functioning within their family, work, and community lives.15 Types of addiction treatment can vary depending on the specific type of substance(s) being used, individual medical and mental health needs, as well as other social issues.14 Some people seek addiction treatment on their own when they feel they cannot stop using substances, while others may be required to enter treatment as a result of legal issues. In either instance, positive treatment outcomes may result.16
Certain changes in areas of the brain that are involved in impulse control, judgment, and decision making may accompany the development of an addiction.1 Many types of compulsive drug use are thought to be associated with changes in brain chemistry involving increased dopamine activity in the brain’s reward system.1
Some of the brain changes to develop in association with addiction may not suddenly disappear when a person stops using substances. Such changes can contribute to persistent behavioral patterns that make it relatively difficult for someone to control their impulses to use again.3 The compulsion to continue drinking or using drugs may also be tied to environmental and psychological triggers, of which an addicted person is sometimes not even aware. The good news is that addiction treatment uses evidence-based methods to target and change some of these deeply rooted triggers and behavioral patterns.3