Addiction involves neurological changes in the brain, with elements of classical and operant conditioning involved in continued drug or alcohol use despite consequences.
Instead of “denial,” the cognitive processes of the addicted brain include a spectrum of ambivalence about drug and alcohol use. Denial is an unconscious process that may be involved in addiction, but more commonly an array of ambivalent thought processes underlie any reluctance to enter treatment.
Evidence-Based Treatments should be used whenever available.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a medical condition, it ranges from mild to severe. Approximately 17 million people ages 18 and older have (AUD). Treatment is available for alcohol addiction no matter how severe the problem may be. Some of the treatments available include therapy, behavioral treatment and FDA approved medications. Common medications used to treat alcohol addiction are Naltrexone, which can help reduce heavy drinking and Antabuse which causes an unpleasant reaction to alcohol.
Misuse of prescription drugs can cause serious consequences. Medications that are often misused are opioids like hydrocodone (Vicodin) , oxycodone (OxyContin), Codeine and Morphine. Under the supervision of an experienced psychiatrist, opioid addiction can be treated using Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). The medications used to treat opioid addiction include buprenorphine and methadone, these medications can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Other commonly misused prescription medications are benzodiazepines, these are sedatives like alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin) and diazepam (Valium).
Dual Diagnosis (Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder)
People with mental health disorders are also more likely to abuse alcohol and suffer from substance addiction. Untreated co-occurring disorders can lead to homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide and early death.
Early detection can improve treatment outcomes.
Other Substance Addictions