Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Drug-Addicted Persons Keep Using Drugs?

Most addicted individuals believe that they can stop using drugs on their own, and most try to stop without treatment. Although some people are successful, many attempts result in failure to achieve long-term abstinence. Research has shown that long-term drug abuse results in changes in the brain that persist long after a person stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioural consequences, including an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences—the defining characteristic of addiction.

What Is Drug Addiction Treatment?

Drug addiction treatment is a structural medical and behavioural regiment intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.Drug treatment can include behavioural therapy (such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or contingency management), medications, or their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use.

How Effective Is Drug Addiction Treatment?

The goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning However, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of the chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely, with symptom recurrence rates similar to those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses—such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.

What Are The Physical Signs Of Abuse Or Addiction?

The physical signs of abuse or addiction can vary depending on the person and the drug being abused. For example, someone who abuses marijuana may have a chronic cough or worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Each drug has short-term and long-term physical effects. Stimulants like cocaine increase heart rate and blood pressure, whereas opioids like heroin may slow the heart rate and reduce respiration. Alcohol increase psycho motor agitation or tremors

How Quickly Can I Become Addicted To A Drug?

There is no easy answer to this common question. If and how quickly you become addicted to a drug depends on many factors, including your biology (your genes, for example), age, gender, environment, and interactions among these factors. Vast differences characterize individual sensitivity to various drugs and to addiction vulnerability. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may overdose with first use, or become addicted after a few uses. There is no way of knowing in advance how quickly you will become addicted—but there are some clues, one important one being whether you have a family history of addiction.

How Do I Know If Someone Is Addicted To Drugs?

If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug(s) despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, family problems, or physical problems brought on by drug abuse, then he or she probably is addicted. And while people who are addicted may believe they can stop any time, most often they cannot, and will need professional help—first to determine if they in fact are addicted, and then to obtain drug abuse treatment. Support from friends and family can be critical in getting people into treatment and helping them to maintain abstinence following treatment.

If A Pregnant Woman Abuses Drugs, Does It Affect The Foetus?

Many substances including alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs of abuse can have negative effects on the developing foetus because they are transferred to the foetus across the placenta. For example, nicotine has been connected with premature birth and low birth weight as has the use of cocaine. Heroin exposure results in dependence in the newborn, requiring treatment for withdrawal symptoms. It is often difficult to tease apart the confluence of factors that go with drug abuse during pregnancy—poor nutrition, inadequate prenatal care, stress, and psychiatric co-morbidities—all of which may impact foetal development.

What Is Detoxification, Or Detox?

Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.

What Is Withdrawal? How Long Does It Last?

Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

What Family Services Are Available?

Mediva Wellness Centre offers individual family therapy, multi family group therapy and educational services designed to help the people closest to the client. Understanding their disease, increasing communication and planning for the clients’ transition back home are common focuses for these services.

How Do I Approach A Loved One To Get Help?

Approaching your loved one about their alcohol or drug use isnʼt easy. The thought of having the conversation may feel you with fear and anxiety. However, the earlier someone is approached about their substance use, the better. Approaching your loved one in a positive manner rather than a judgmental way is critical. Tell them you have their best interests in mind and come from a supportive place. Give them examples of what you are seeing and how their drug or alcohol use is affecting you. Remember, once alcohol or drug use goes from casual to abuse or dependence, the substance can become as powerful as a humanʼs need for food and water. Unawareness of the severity of the illness by the affected individual usually goes hand in hand with this disease.

What Can I Do If My Loved One Doesn’t Listen?

Gather family and friends together and approach your loved one from a group perspective, otherwise known as an intervention. Coming from a caring, no confrontational, supportive place is key. Outline what each person will say before you approach your loved one. This may seem daunting; therefore,Mediva Wellness Centre can refer you to an intervention specialist if you would like a professional to help you.