Challenge and change your thoughts. When experiencing a craving, many people have a tendency to remember only the positive effects of the drug and forget the negative consequences. Therefore, you may find it helpful to remind yourself that you really won’t feel better if you use and that you stand to lose a lot. Sometimes it is helpful to have these consequences listed on a small card that you keep with you.
There are two routes typically applied to a cognitive approach to substance abuse: tracking the thoughts that pull patients to addiction and tracking the thoughts that prevent them from relapsing. Behavioral techniques have the widest application in treating substance related disorders. Behavioral psychologists can use the techniques of “aversion therapy,” based on the findings of Pavlov's classical conditioning. It uses the principle of pairing abused substances with unpleasant stimuli or conditions; for example, pairing pain, electrical shock, or nausea with alcohol consumption. The use of medications may also be used in this approach, such as using disulfiram to pair unpleasant effects with the thought of alcohol use. Psychologists tend to use an integration of all these approaches to produce reliable and effective treatment. With the advanced clinical use of medications, biological treatment is now considered to be one of the most efficient interventions that psychologists may use as treatment for those with substance dependence.
Opioids: Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®), buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine® , Sublocade™), and naltrexone (Vivitrol®) are used to treat opioid addiction. Acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids at their receptor sites in the brain and should be used only in patients who have already been detoxified. All medications help patients reduce drug seeking and related criminal behavior and help them become more open to behavioral treatments. A NIDA study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in treating opioid addiction. Because full detoxification is necessary for treatment with naloxone, initiating treatment among active users was difficult, but once detoxification was complete, both medications had similar effectiveness.
Stimulants, such as tobacco, cocaine or prescription amphetamines, stimulate the brain and nervous system, causing increased alertness. Depressants, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, slow activity in the brain and nervous system, causing relaxation. Hallucinogens, such as LSD and PCP, drastically disrupt the way the brain and nervous system communicate, causing hallucinations. Rehab: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)