Substance use disorder, chemical dependency – or drug addiction as it is more commonly known – affects the brain and our behaviours. It is defined by an inability to control or moderate the use of a particular substance.
Initially, with many addictions, use of the substance can be classified as recreational. However with repeated use and chemical “rewards” in the form of pleasurable sensations, the mental obsession can be formidable.
Physically the body becomes reliant on the substance over time. Tolerance to the chemical can develop and the need to recreate that initial ‘high’ leads to an acceleration in use (both in terms of amount and frequency). The speed at which a person descends into dependency depends on many factors, but no matter the substance, the consequences can be equally as damaging.
The greatest predictor for treatment success is time spent in a structured environment. Hence any effective treatment must be viewed as a long term, multi-dimensional solution comprised of:
Just as no two diabetics are the same, addicts and effective individualised treatment for them vary enormously.
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