The addiction to drugs is a long-lasting disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful effects and changes to the brain that can last for a long time. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behavior that is seen in those who are addicted to drugs. Drug addiction can also be a chronic disease that can relapse. Relapse refers to the returning to addiction after an attempt to stop.
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The road to addiction starts by voluntarily taking substances. But over time, the ability to decide not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes a habit. This is primarily due to the effects of prolonged exposure to drugs on brain functions. Addiction affects parts of the brain that are involved in motivation and reward memory, learning, and control over behavior.
Psychoactive drugs can cause temporary changes in behavior and mood. Find out more about the various types of psychoactive drugs.
But it's not a simple. Because addiction is a lifelong disease, people can't simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. The majority of patients require long-term or repeated care to completely stop using and regain their lives.
Based on research conducted by scientists since the mid-1970s. The following key principles should form the basis of any effective treatment plan:
Substance use disorder (SUD) is complex disorder that involves inexplicably high levels of use of a drug with no negative effects. The people with SUD are prone to an intense interest in using the specific substance(s) like alcohol tobacco, cigarettes, or illegal drugs to the point that the ability of a person to function in day-to-day life becomes compromised. People keep using the substance even when they know it's causing or is likely to create problems. The most severe SUDs are sometimes called addictions.
A variety of services with a customized treatment plan and follow-up options is essential for success. Treatment should encompass both mental and medical services as needed. Follow-up care may include family- or community-based recovery support systems.
People suffering from a substance abuse disorder could have altered thinking and behavior. The brain's structure and function are what can cause individuals to experience an intense desire and changes in personality, abnormal behavior, and more. Brain imaging studies reveal changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control.
The use of medications and devices is utilized to treat withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse and treat co-occurring disorders.
Repetition of use can result in changes in the way the brain works. The changes may last for a long time following the initial effects of the substance have worn off or, in other words following the time of intoxication. Intoxication can be described as the feeling of feeling of intense joy, euphoria peace, increased perception, sense of smell, as well as other sensations that are due to the substance. Intoxication symptoms vary for each substance.
Withdrawal. Medical devices and medications can reduce withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. The process of detoxification is not a "treatment," but only the first step in the process. Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detox usually return to their addiction. A study of treatment facilities showed that medication was used in more than 80 percent of detoxifications (SAMHSA 2014). In November 2017 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a new indication to the electronic stimulation devices, called NSS-2 Bridge, for use in helping reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. This device is placed behind the ear and emits electrical pulses to stimulate certain brain nerves. Also, in May 2018, it was announced that the FDA approved lofexidine as a non-opioid drug that is designed to lessen withdrawal symptoms caused by opioids.
If someone suffers from a substance use disorder, they usually build up a tolerance to the substance, which means they need larger amounts to feel the effects.