Drug addiction and drug abuse are often used as interchangeable terms, but the fact is that they are two very different things. Drug abuse occurs when a person abuses illegal substances or prescription drugs; the person may enjoy the effect provided by the use of the substance and use it regularly, but unless the drug abuse is accompanied by certain symptoms or issues and a physical dependence on the drug, it is not drug addiction.
Oral medications. A drug called disulfiram (Antabuse) may help prevent you from drinking, although it won't cure alcohol use disorder or remove the compulsion to drink. If you drink alcohol, the drug produces a physical reaction that may include flushing, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Naltrexone, a drug that blocks the good feelings alcohol causes, may prevent heavy drinking and reduce the urge to drink. Acamprosate may help you combat alcohol cravings once you stop drinking. Unlike disulfiram, naltrexone and acamprosate don't make you feel sick after taking a drink.
Alcohol is also linked to self-harm, psychosis, and suicide and because it can impair judgement and lead to reckless, compulsive behaviour, many people who take their own lives do so while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, NHS Scotland has said that over half of all hospital admissions related to deliberate self-harm have a direct link to alcohol either immediately before or during the act.
Alcohol is considered safe in moderation, but when occasional use becomes more common and begins to interfere with everyday life, it is typically classed as abuse. The UK Government’s guidelines on alcohol consumption states that no more than fourteen units of alcohol should be consumed by adult men and women each week; which means that consuming a large amount at one time (binge drinking), may still be considered abuse, without it being a regular occurrence.
Co-occurring conditions require specialised treatments that can safely address both aspects of a dual diagnosis. Doctors and therapists work to create effective but flexible treatment plans that account for both conditions without treating one at the expense of the other. The delicate balance necessary to achieve a positive outcome suggests that residential treatment is the better option for dealing with dual diagnosis scenarios.
^ Nestler EJ (December 2013). "Cellular basis of memory for addiction". Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 15 (4): 431–443. PMC 3898681. PMID 24459410. Despite the importance of numerous psychosocial factors, at its core, drug addiction involves a biological process: the ability of repeated exposure to a drug of abuse to induce changes in a vulnerable brain that drive the compulsive seeking and taking of drugs, and loss of control over drug use, that define a state of addiction. ... A large body of literature has demonstrated that such ΔFosB induction in D1-type [nucleus accumbens] neurons increases an animal's sensitivity to drug as well as natural rewards and promotes drug self-administration, presumably through a process of positive reinforcement ... Another ΔFosB target is cFos: as ΔFosB accumulates with repeated drug exposure it represses c-Fos and contributes to the molecular switch whereby ΔFosB is selectively induced in the chronic drug-treated state.41. ... Moreover, there is increasing evidence that, despite a range of genetic risks for addiction across the population, exposure to sufficiently high doses of a drug for long periods of time can transform someone who has relatively lower genetic loading into an addict.
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction.
Nicole Lee works as a paid consultant in the alcohol and other drug sector. She has previously been awarded grants by state and federal governments, NHMRC and other public funding bodies for alcohol and other drug research. She is a member and past President of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy. She is a registered Psychologist who has previously worked in private practice.
Problem drinking soon progresses to physical dependency. At this stage, you have probably developed a tolerance to alcohol and require more of it to feel the same level of enjoyment as before. This increased consumption can cause your body to get used to alcohol. When you are not using it, or the effects begin to wear off, you will experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, tremors, and nausea.
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Most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur in the first three to four days after stopping drinking. Detoxification involves taking a short course of medication to help reduce or prevent withdrawal symptoms. Medications such as Valium (diazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), or Ativan (lorazepam), members of the benzodiazepine family, are usually used for detox.
Don’t wait until those consequences occur; if you suspect there is a drug problem present in your loved one, talk to them and/or seek professional help if you deem that it is needed. Never let the addict downplay the seriousness of their addiction or convince you that they can change without help. Drug addiction is a disease and recovering from it is rarely as simple as just putting down the drug and being done with it for good, no matter what promises the addict in your life may make to you or how earnestly they may make those promises.
Remember though, overcoming alcoholism is a process. Less than half of individuals relapse after achieving one year of sobriety. That number reduces to less than 15 percent who relapse after five years of sobriety. For the greatest chance of long-term sobriety after completing an inpatient or outpatient program, you should participate in local support groups and continue with counseling. Treating alcoholism is an investment in your future. It will not only make a huge difference in your life, but also the lives of those around you such as family members and friends. Rehab Nightmare: Drugs, Chains and Canes - Full Documentary - BBC Africa Eye