Emerging Addiction Research
From the days when Bill W. first founded Alcoholics Anonymous all the way up until now, medical professionals have strived to learn more about the disease of addiction. Initially, alcoholics were thought to have a moral deficiency and were often committed to asylums. Now, both experts and those in recovery have recognized addiction as a disease that impacts many areas of a person’s life. The good news is that although addiction cannot be cured, it is a treatable condition and recovery is possible.
The 12 Steps as a Spiritual Solution
When Alcoholics Anonymous was founded, it had been inadvertently discovered that alcoholism could be remedied by working a program that involved spiritual principles and then furthering applying the program by reaching out and helping others. Later on, additional twelve step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon emerged based upon the outline established by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Although twelve step programs were found to be effective, dependence upon certain substances still required medical detoxification. Furthermore, the development of substance abuse treatment programs offers addicts a therapeutic approach that’s effective in laying the groundwork for long-term recovery. Rather than committing those with substance abuse issues to asylums, treatment centers began opening to assist those seeking recovery.
Medication Assisted Treatment
This approach has actually been around for decades back when heroin was used to treat morphine addiction. Naturally, the original method was ineffective as addicts would just develop an addiction to the replacement substance. However, in recent years, new medications have been developed to detoxify addicts and reduce cravings, which can help addicts to achieve long-term recovery. Some of the new medications do not have a risk for dependence and can be used to taper off other substances.
Post- Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Medical professionals continue to research the disease of addiction in an effort to further improve methods of therapy. It has been discovered that even after addicts have completed physical detoxification, their brains continue to struggle with becoming accustomed to normal functioning. A substance abuse counselor can help you to learn how to cope with cravings, irritability, and changes in mood that may persist for months following initial withdrawal.
Continuing Addiction Research
Scientists are still researching the complexities of the disease of addiction and how it affects the brain. Drugs and alcohol interfere with neurotransmitters triggering a flow of dopamine and endorphins which result in pleasurable feelings. Once the brain has adapted to this regular release of feel-good chemicals, it continues to desire more. As the scientific and medical communities continue to learn about the impact of addiction on the brain, new medications can be developed and therapeutic approaches can be further improved.
If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency, reach out and ask for help. Although addiction is a complex disease and further studies are needed, the current treatment approach is already working for millions of people in recovery. Don’t give up hope! Recovery is possible for you too!