The Role of Medicine in Addiction Treatment
For centuries, people have believed that addiction to drugs or alcohol was a weakness in character. All one needed to do was decide not to drink or use a drug. Failure and heartbreak faced both the addict and the addict’s family when will power alone was not enough to stop the addictive behavior.
The twentieth century was witness to many scientific advances that have altered our understanding of diseases. A among those new understandings is the impact of drugs and alcohol on the brain. Research has illustrated over the last three decades that while it seems simple to state “just say no”, once drugs and alcohol are used on a regular basis, the brain and the function of the brain is altered. However, with the rise of this new understanding of addiction has come the trend to use drugs to combat addiction. In some cases, these new classes of drugs are appropriate especially if one is suffering from a mental health disorder as well as substance abuse.
Is Medication the Answer to Addiction Treatment?
It is not easy to overcome addiction, though it can be done with commitment, determination, and support. The new drugs that stop cravings for opiates for example tend to be highly addictive. When an addict receives a drug that eases the cravings, alters the mental state, and improves physical sensations, he or she will generally want more. That is the nature of addiction.
The use of pills in addiction treatment will never replace the work of therapy to build new coping skills, identify self destructive behaviors or distorted thinking. Medications don’t teach an addict how to respond to triggers and daily stress. The miracle of medicine ends up being a new curse for the addict.