Most drugs affect the brain's "reward circuit," causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. A One Hour Journey Through the 12 Steps with Tommy Rosen
Take an inventory of how you experience the craving. Do this by sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention inward. Allow your attention to wander through your body. Notice where in your body you experience the craving and what the sensations are like. Notice each area where you experience the urge, and tell yourself what you are experiencing. For example, “My craving is in my mouth and nose and in my stomach.”
Alcohol dependency is not a failure of will or lack of strength of character, as was believed for many years. However, progress in science over the last few decades has shown us that alcoholism is rooted in both biology and behaviour, making it a ‘bio-behavioural disorder’. Biology and behaviour are two sides of the same coin, and alcohol dependency cannot be treated by just focusing on one side alone.
Drug addiction and drug abuse are often used as interchangeable terms, but the fact is that they are two very different things. Drug abuse occurs when a person abuses illegal substances or prescription drugs; the person may enjoy the effect provided by the use of the substance and use it regularly, but unless the drug abuse is accompanied by certain symptoms or issues and a physical dependence on the drug, it is not drug addiction.
Individual therapy will help you learn to recognize triggers and cope with them. The therapists may also help you to improve your emotional regulation skills in order to better avoid relapse. Group counseling provides you with the opportunity to practice sober social skills, as well as the coping strategies you learned in individual counseling. Family therapy sessions can help to repair broken relationships, improve communication skills, and build conflict resolution skills. Medication, such as methadone or Suboxone, may be used in combination with behavioral therapy to help opioid-addicted individuals remain abstinent. Once your rehab program nears an end, your treatment team will create an aftercare or relapse prevention plan for you consisting of ongoing support. Ongoing support may include individual therapy, group counseling, self-help group meetings (e.g., 12-step, SMART Recovery), alumni programs, or sober living homes.1,2
Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches (BHPB) is a comprehensive treatment center that provides mental health and trauma programs in addition to their reputable addiction program. BHPB was founded in 1997 by Dr. Donald Mullaney, a recovering addict. BHPB has some of the most talented treatment professionals in the nation who help outline specialized treatment plans for each patient. Treatment lasts a minimum of 30 days, but long-term care lasting up to 12 months is available.
Group counseling sessions– These involve meeting with other recovering addicts in the program. They provide opportunity for sharing life experiences and lessons learned.In so doing, a peer support network develops. Erroneous thinking and walls of isolation are exposed and addressed.3Aftercare– When individuals “graduate” from formal alcohol rehab, they return to the outside world. Oftentimes, it isn’t easy to make this switch. Treatment-energized hope may fade away over time. Day-to-day stresses can take their toll.Ongoing support through 12-Step meetings, personal and group therapies, holistic treatments and other supports are vital. They help to maintain what was learned and practiced in formal treatment.4
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)