Overcoming addiction is hard and relapse unfortunately is very common among addicts, addiction can be a lifelong problem and people who are addicted to a certain drug are at higher risk of becoming dependent on a different type of drug also.
The whole aim of treating an addict successfully is to protect their mental and physical health and hopefully minimize the effects the addiction is having on the family as a whole. There are several different methods used in the treatment of addiction and these include:
Controlling the amount used
It is thought that by slowly reducing the amount of substance the addict uses can lead to them eventually kicking the habit altogether, however unfortunately this isn’t always so. Very few addicts will have the will power needed to break the pattern of their habit this way and more often than not the addict will lose the ability to control the amount they take.
In the short term this theory works for obviously the less they use the better it is for them but in the long run most addicts will eventually return to using the same amount they were before.
Abstinence or cold turkey
Addicts will very rarely even consider this method and it can be a very frightening, painful and even a dangerous way of quitting an addiction. Most addicts who have kicked the habit this way have done so with a lot of support from friends and family and support groups or rehabilitation centres that specialise in drug recovery programmes.
People who are addicted to drugs such as heroin may be given substitute medication to help them withdraw from the drug, however these drugs are addictive too and many heroin users will take the substitute and still carry on using heroin at the same time. Substitute medication however has been proven to lower the death and infection rate of heroin users.
Withdrawal under supervision
People who have been addicted to drugs for many years are more likely to develop severe complications when they try quitting, they will usually need to attend a medically supervised withdrawal programme, or detoxification.
The severity of withdrawal problems will depend on the type of drug used and the person using it, common withdrawal problems include severe cravings for the drug, severe anxiety and depression, insomnia and vomiting. Medically supervised withdrawal will usually be provided in a community or residential setting depending on the availability of services.