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What is addiction?


A loose definition of addiction is when a drug user cannot stop abusing drugs or alcohol, even if they want to. Addiction is a disease that can happen at any age, to anyone from any class background. Just as Diabetes and Cancer are a disease so is addiction and it must be treated as such- with help. Addiction is a physiological or psychological dependance on a substance that is beyond voluntary control. Relapse and remission are involved cycles of addiction, just like other chronic diseases. Without addiction treatment or participation in recovery this disease is progressive and will eventually result in premature death or disability, among many other unfortunate life circumstances.


Are there effective addiction treatments?

Yes there are many addiction treatments available but it will take work to find the one that is right for you or your loved one. What to look for when you are seeking treatment:

No single treatment is appropriate for everyone
Treatment must be readily available
Treatment must be catered to many different needs of the person, not just abusing drugs
Group Therapy & Counseling
Individual Therapy & Counseling
Medications are important for some treatments for addiction, but should be combined with therapies mentioned above
Treatment must be continuously reviewed and modified to suit the addicted’s persons changing
Other mental disorders must be taken into consideration
Detox is only the first step and must be followed by a recovery process
In order for treatment to be effective it does not have to be voluntary
Relapse does often occur

Can addiction be cured?

An addict and alcoholic in recovery will tell you that even if they are not using drugs or alcohol that they will always be an addict. The urges are always there, and they will always be there. But, learning different ways of coping with life will make a huge difference in an addicted persons life. Group therapy, and listening to others acts as reminders of why its important to not go back to addiction. Talking in these groups acts as a medication of feeling heard, understood, and appreciated which allows for growth and change. Staying sober is a verb. It takes action and work everyday to remain a sober person.

How can I tell if someone is suffering from addiction?

There are many ways to tell if someone is suffering from addiction. Some of the ways include:

  • relationships with family, friends, and peers start to dissolve
  • spontaneous behavior changes
  • aggressiveness
  • mood swings
  • sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • overeating or not eating enough
  • bloodshot eyes
  • weight gain or weight loss
  • changing of friends
  • becoming introverted or spending a lot of time in solitude
How quickly can I become addicted to drugs?

It depends on so many factors. Some people will become addicted to drugs right away- even after only one use. Some however, take years to find themselves suffering from dependancy. Life trauma can also trigger the “need” to abuse. There are so many factors and no one is the same.

If a person in recovery has a relapse, have they failed?

Unfortunately, relapsing can sometimes be a part of recovery. It’s very important to accept that and move forward in whatever way possible. It is also very important to not shame a person for relapsing. Just move forward in whatever way the treatment plan allows and if relapse occurs it’s probably important to re-look at the treatment plan and make some realistic modifications.


If a pregnant woman abuses drugs does it affect the fetus?

If a pregnant woman abuses drugs it can have serious affects on a developing on an unborn child such as low birth weight, failure to thrive, developmental delay, organ dysfunction, withdrawal, epilepsy, and death to name a few.


Is addiction treatment worth its financial cost?

The effects of addiction treatment can last your entire life. Leading a healthy, happy life should be priceless, so investing in your’s or your loved ones treatment will always be affordable if you look at the benefits.




A drug addict trying to get sober, must make a decision when it comes to the kind of treatment plan that fits into their time and monetary considerations. A PHP(partial hospitalization plan)  requires the addict to receive 4 1/2-5 hours of treatment, 5 days a week. During that time they will get psychiatric and group therapy.

A less intensive treatment plan is the IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan.) This plan requires 2 1/2-3 hours of treatment over 3-5 days . They get therapy, but can live at home or a halfway house as the total hours of treatment equals 9 hours/week.

What causes addiction?

Addiction can start in many ways. The answer to “What causes addiction is tricky.” Someone can become addicted with their first time drying drugs or alcohol. But why some people are prone to addiction and others are not is where the mystery lies. There is evidence that suggests addiction can make you prone to addictive behavior genetically. Peer pressure also can play a big role. If you are genetically wired to have addiction tendencies having friends encourage you to try drugs and alcohol can be a slippery slope.

Our society is fueled by stress and stress can lead to addiction. Drugs and alcohol can offer an escape and when we find ourselves needing to escape stressful situations we can also find ourselves addicted to however we find out how to escape. Our environment has a huge impact on whether we find ourselves drinking or doing drugs. Clearly if everyone in our environment is smoking and drinking – chances are we will to. People growing up in abusive households end up battling with feelings of self-hate or alienation which also leads to addiction.

There are other things such as drug availability, culture, and social stigmas that some are faced with that will also add to the causes of addiction.

What commonly abused drugs?

Commonly abused drugs: Marijuana, Cocaine, Alcohol, Prescription drugs such as Roxicet, Vicoden, Oxycontin, Opiates, Barbituates such as Valium, Xanax, Crystal Meth, Amphetamines, Heroin, MDMA, Ketamine

What is a Dual Diagnosis Program?

Dual Diagnosis is when a person is being treated for mental health and addiction simultaneously. This is very important because mental health issues can be a cause of the addiction and it’s important to recognize that.

What is Codependency?

An addicted person will take up a lot of space in a household and everyone else will just need to fit in around whatever space is left. Codependency means that the family or spouse’s needs will become neglected and sometimes the person begins to believe that it is their job to support the addicted person even if that means sacrificing their own needs, wants, and lives. That is why it is important to treat th ewhole family and not just the addict.

What is detox?

Detox is the process of getting drugs and/or alcohol out of the person who is addicted’s system. This process is to try and get the persons body stable. Detox in regards to addiction is best done with a healthcare giver around. Detox can be painful and dangerous. Some doctors may prescribe detox medications to make this process safer and easier, however this can also lead to addiction to the detox medications and be counter productive. The best detox route for the individual should be discussed when discussing the treatment process.

What is the different between Outpatient Treatment and an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Outpatient treatment options focus on the transition back to your everyday life, and involve group and family therapy as well as 12 step programs.  An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) will normally involve sessions three days a week, totaling 9 to 12 hours, and include group and one on one therapy sessions. Standard outpatient sessions are usually once a week for a couple of hours.  Since sessions are longer in duration, if inpatient treatment is unavailable or not covered by medical insurance, iop can be used in its place to help you or your loved one get started on the road to recovery.

What is the first step to help a loved one suffering from addiction?

The first steps to help a loved one suffering from addiction towards recovery is to gain and keep their trust. If they trust you then they will be open to suggestions when time and time again they are seeking a better way. You want to avoid nagging, blaming, putting down. Remember that addiction is an illness – and when treated with compassion the results are much better. The other thing that is important is to see help for yourself first. Your loved one is not the only one suffering and there are many resources available that can offer you help, confidence, support, and the will to move forward. Codependancy Anonymous is a great place to start.

What is withdrawal and how long does it last?

Withdrawal is the process of the drugs leaving the body once addicted. Because the body is so physically dependent on the drug, the drug has become a viable make up of its function. So when the drug or alcohol is removed from the body, the effects it has, is called “withdrawal.” Each drug has its own symptoms of withdrawal and the time for which the withdrawal lasts also depends on what drug is in the system and what medical detox prescription the treatment process is using.


What personality traits do addicts have in common?


Addicts tend to share a lot of common personality traits such as:

Seeking new sensations and excitement

Make impulsive choices

Valuing nonconformist behavior


Seem awkward, angry, or arrogant

Lack patience

Feels alienated from society

Suffer from depression and anxiety

Seek narcotic medications even though they may not have a reason

Breaking the law often

Recklessly behaving


Fails to plan ahead

Can’t keep a job or keep up with responsibilities

Recklessly behaving


Fails to plan ahead

Can’t keep a job or keep up with responsibilities


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