Substance abuse — The most prevalent mind disorder

Substance abuse — The most prevalent mind disorder

The most prevalent mind disorder is substance abuse.  It causes more illness, death, and social disruption than any other brain disease.  Substance abuse costs our society more financial loss than any other medical condition The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently published a trend in the rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among the age group of 18 – 25 years of age. (SAMHSA 2011)  The rate rose from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2010.  The statistic represents young people who are finding their hopes and dreams shattered by the dangerous and damaging impact of the illicit drug use.  We cannot afford to lose any more of our young people who stand on the brink of their futures.   

Certain principles for effective treatment include having a wide variety of treatment programs.  Residential programs such as Desert Palms focus on treating the individual with group therapy, individual therapy and utilizing medications if determined helpful after a thorough addiction medicine assessment.  Co-occurring disorders are treated along with the disorder of the addiction.  Program goals include motivating clients to maintain abstinence and helping them to reconstruct their lives in ways that exclude the use of any alcohol or drugs.   

The beginning of treatment focuses on individual assessments to determine the treatment goals.  Often the addicted person has hit bottom and life functioning areas such as health, family, work, legal and finances have taken a toll.  People coming into treatment participate actively in the development of their treatment plan as often they want to regain their status in these areas.  The primary goal is to stay clean and sober for without this their life will continue to take a downward spiral.  Treatment and recovery become a lifelong process.  Phases of detoxification, initial abstinence, and long-term abstinence require specific treatment processes to move the person along the path to solid sustained recovery.   Currently, there is a rapidly expanding use of medications to treat detoxification, control withdrawal symptoms, lessen craving and promote abstinence.  Detoxification utilizes medical care, emotional support, and medications to control symptoms reduce cravings and help start the process of abstinence.  Group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, peer groups, 12 step groups are part of the residential treatment process.  These treatment components become critical to a person’s aftercare.  Recovery is the lifelong process – the addiction counselor will work with each person to determine the aftercare plan.  The aftercare plans will be a roadmap for the addict to follow to ensure abstinence.

Treatment of the addicted person needs to include the significant others, family, and friends.  Problems of codependency, enabling and being the child of an alcoholic or addict must be addressed in treatment.  Addictions to drugs and alcohol have a negative impact evidenced by decreased well-being in the areas of physical, emotional, social and spiritual health. Treatment obstacles include financial constraints and debt, demands of employment, associations with peer groups who are addicted, lack of follow through and conflicting goals related to family and other relationships. The person who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol must accept his or her addiction as lifelong and surrender to the long-term one day at a time treatment process.  Continued participation in group counseling, 12 step involvement, and sober activity is key to maintain abstinence.  The person who is addicted and seeking treatment for dependence on substances must accept that addiction is chronic, progressive, incurable and potentially fatal.  

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