Q. What is treatment?

A. Treatment is a planned and structured process designed to explore underlying issues that contribute to unhealthy decisions and negative consequences. The goal of treatment is to learn new and effective coping skills to stop the continuance of behaviors that result in negative patterns of thinking and living. This involves becoming aware of feelings and emotions that lead to alcohol abuse and drug  addiction, thereby becoming aware of one's personal triggers and cues that lead to substance abuse. This also results in learning effective relapse prevention skills specifically related to substance abuse/chemical dependency, not to be confused with learning effective coping skills. It is also allows one to gain knowledge of how drugs work and why they effect one's body and mind the way that they do. Identifying the negative consequences that result from alcohol abuse and/or drug addiction, both physiologically and psychologically - in the short and long term - then lead to the understanding the need to learn different thinking patterns that can then diffuse the responses that feed into addictive behavior. The final goal of treatment involves the building of interpersonal relationship skills that serve to assist in the development of strong and healthy interactions.  

Q. How does one know when a treatment program is necessary to address addictive behaviors?

A.When one has made repeated efforts to stop or severely cut down use have failed, it is a clear indicator that addiction is taking hold. When important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up because of alcohol and/or drug activites, another strong alert of addiction becoming a strong feature in one's life is notable. If, despite continued or heightened negative consequences, substance abuse is continued, more evidence of a problem with addictive behavior mounts. Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, and/or home is also indicative of the consequences of addiction. Finally, when crisis is a prominent feature in the life of the one involved in the alcohol/drug use - be it financial, medical, legal, or family oriented - treatment is the best path to bringing recognition to the problem and information to the path of recovery. 

Q. What are common long-term physical consequences of addiction?

A.While alcoohol abuse/drug addiction can cause many negative health consequences, it is certain that the likelihood of major organs being compromised is present, particularly involving the kidneys and liver. Lung cancer, heart disease, and hypertension are also common maladies brought on by addiction. Chronic stress, adrenal failure, endocrine deregulation, and nerve damage are also prominent physiological ailments that follow addiction.

Q. What are common long-term psychological consequences of addiction?

A. Psychosis, schizophrenia, dementia, and delusional disorder are commonly attributed to substance abuse. Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar I and bi-polar II, and PTSD are often the result of alcohol and/or drug dependency. Finally, the personality disorders that are frequently noted among alcohol abuse and/or drug dependent persons include anti-social personality disorders that include paranoid, avoidant, dependent, obsessive compulsive, schizoid, and schizo-typo. This is often the direct result of the chemical imbalances brought on by substance use which can cause a psychological disorder to manifest into a personality disorder.

Q. How can a family relationship be repaired once it has been damaged by the consequences of addictivee behavior?

A. Because the elements of distrust, resentment, and fear are generally so deeply imbedded throughout time when alcohol abuse and/or drug addiction are present, it is imperative that some type of family therapy be sought out. Without it, recovery is slow and family members continually struggle - usually with minimal success - to regain a solid footing with one another. Relationships remain fragmented with family members hovering in the same roles that were held before any recovery is attempted. For that reason, it is considered ideal for treatment programs to include strong and well-structured family therapy.



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