Addiction is a serious disease that encompasses a broad range of behaviors that are centered on a specific substance. This addictive substance hijacks the brain, and every moment of an individual’s day is spent fixated on the drug of choice and the effects it can create. This behavior encompasses environmental, genetic and psychosocial factors that cause the person to continue to use the substance of abuse.
Addiction includes one or more of the following behaviors: compulsive use of or impaired control over the substance, cravings and continued use despite harmful effects. A person can develop a physical dependence (meaning withdrawal symptoms occur upon ceasing use of the substance) or tolerance (meaning more of the substance is needed to get the same effects) to a drug without necessarily becoming addicted. However, most people who are addicted have already developed tolerance and dependence to that drug.
There are many different types of addiction treatments offered at Sovereign and, depending on the severity and the specific substance, addiction treatment varies greatly. The first step to addiction treatment is acute detoxification, which allows individuals to rid their bodies of the addictive substance. Depending on the drug of choice, withdrawals can be extremely painful and even life threatening; therefore, it is imperative that this process is managed with the most acute level of care. Medications can be given to help wean the individual from the substance over time while easing the physical withdrawal symptoms. For example, a low-dose benzodiazepine can be administered to someone who is withdrawing from alcohol to ease physical withdrawal effects and to prevent life-threatening seizures. Specific medications such as Suboxone or naltrexone can be administered to individuals who are withdrawing from opioids.