Advances in Psychological Addiction Treatment | cannabisMD

Advances in the Treatment of Psychological Addiction

Therapy advances for addiction

Image Credit: By Pratik Gupta on Unsplash.

Abuse of toxic substances, especially drugs and alcohol, is one of the biggest public health concerns worldwide. In the United States, the problem is very serious. Abuse of drug use has a major impact on society. The cost of toxic substance abuse exceeds $740 billion annually. These costs are related to crime, loss of work productivity and health care implications.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 in every 3 driver deaths on the road is caused by intoxication. Drug abuse can also cause health problems such as heart attacks which can be fatal in severe cases.

They can also cause mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and sometimes lead to suicide. Additional statistics show that in 2013, 24.6 million people over 12 years of age had used some illicit drug. This number represents 9.4% of the population.

Psychological addiction is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as the compulsion or perceived need to use a substance or drug. The field of psychological addiction also includes the addiction to certain behaviors. Studies such as those mentioned above indicate that this is as big a problem as ever in the United States today.

Up until now, psychological addiction treatment has been limited. Drug addiction centers, support groups and recovery programs can help many people to overcome substance use disorders. However, these don’t work for everyone. In fact, it’s estimated that two thirds of those who sign up to support groups return to drug abuse. For these addicts, a new treatment method is badly needed.

Therapies Used in the Treatment of Psychological Addiction

The main objective in treating toxic substances addiction is to reduce physical addiction by using different drugs to substitute it. Physical addiction is typically addressed through a supervised medical detoxification.

The detoxification can last from a few days up to a few weeks. Overcoming the physical addiction and the withdrawal symptoms is just the beginning. After the physical withdrawal symptoms have disappeared, therapies to resolve the psychological addiction are needed.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One of the most common types of therapies in the control of addictions is those of cognitive behavioral therapy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommend this therapy as an effective treatment option for those suffering from addiction.

The treatment aims to modify dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral is often used to help patients identify, avoid and cope with triggering situations. These are situations that could prompt them to use drugs again in the future.

Psychodynamic Therapy
This type of therapy is used primarily for the management of depression. The Southcentral Foundation states that it is designed to help patients explore the full range of their emotions safely. This includes feelings that might they might not be aware of but are likely to have contributed to their addiction.

Psychodynamic family therapy is instigated by chronic problems in the family which have been caused by addiction. This form of therapy can really help to build a support network for the patient at home. It also helps loved ones who have been negatively affected by an addict in their family. This therapy is usually relatively long-term.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world today. Estimates place the number of people who use this drug on a regular basis at around 182 million. Despite a very concerted effort made by successive international governments, leaders and organizations, the drug is as popular as ever.

However, what that concerted effort did successfully achieve was the birth and prevalence of vast misconceptions about cannabis and its health effects. Of course, today most people are aware of the many medical benefits of the cannabis plant. Unfortunately, many still believe that anyone who does smoke marijuana (cannabis) is certain to become heavily addicted.

The truth is that treatment for marijuana addiction is actually very rare. This is because for the vast majority of people won’t experience any physical marijuana withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.

It is only in cases of extreme marijuana abuse that physical withdrawal symptoms are present. In these cases, the symptoms are usually limited to insomnia, nausea and vomiting. Whereas with other illicit substances, withdrawals can be fatal.

Studies show that those marijuana users who do seek treatment for their addiction have typically used the drug every day for ten years or longer. This, of course, is representative of only a tiny proportion of recreational users who want to stop using marijuana. It should not be taken as representative of medical marijuana users whatsoever. Furthermore, cannabis is now being studied by researchers as a possible treatment for addiction itself.

Cannabis/marijuana addiction treatment is similar to those therapies used to treat other addictions as described above. Outcomes for marijuana addiction recovery tend to be higher than those for other substances.

This is because the physical withdrawal symptoms are almost negligible for the majority of patients. Patients are less likely to be overwhelmed by physical cravings and give up on their treatment therapy.

How to Get Treated for a Psychological Addiction

If you are suffering from what you suspect is a psychological addiction, there is help available to you. Thankfully, medical scientific research into addiction has made significant strides in recent years.

This has led to an improved understanding of how psychological addiction works, and how it can be overcome. No matter what the substance in question is, new therapies can help patients to understand their illness. They can also offer support to patents as they grow in strength, both physically and mentally.

Patients who are concerned that they may need treatment for a drug addiction should make an appointment with their family doctor or another medical professional. Physicians are well equipped to deal with this condition and refer patients to specialized treatment centers or programs.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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