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The drug addiction Newsletter is published periodically, and provides up-to-date information concerning advancements in the treatment of drug addiction, as well as drug addiction trends.

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Modern Trends in Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Addiction is one of the nation's biggest public health problems, costing an estimated $524 billion each year. Millions of people never receive addiction treatment and of those that do, many struggle with relapse or find new addictions to replace the old ones. Whether you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, overcome drug addiction, or confront problems with alcohol, sometimes the best way to win the battle against addiction is by attacking it from a number of angles.

While there is no proven replacement for counseling and attending a rehabilitation program or treatment facility, scientists are constantly discovering new ways to help people get and stay sober. A combination of will power, therapy, social support, and aids such as replacement therapies and pharmaceutical treatments can dramatically boost the odds of a successful recovery.

High-Tech Treatment Options

We use computers for everything these days, and substance abuse is no exception. A recent study by Yale University researchers, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that specially designed computer programs can help people in treatment overcome drug and alcohol dependence. When combined with standard drug counseling, study participants who received computer-based lessons in how to change their behavior failed fewer drug tests and stayed "clean" longer than those given standard therapy alone. The computer-based lessons included movies that portrayed real-life stressful scenarios, along with healthy suggestions for how to respond to those situations.

In addition, a number of high-tech products have hit the market to help people quit smoking. For example, scientists in China have introduced the Ruyan E-Cigarette, an electronic nicotine inhaler that looks and feels like a cigarette, and provides a small amount of nicotine (from 0 mg to 16 mg) without the harmful tars and toxins.

Although most people welcome any strategy that helps people overcome addiction, experts warn that these high-tech methods are not a "magic bullet" and must be used under doctor supervision, in conjunction with traditional therapies and counseling.

Anti-Addiction Medications

Anti-addiction medications, designed to treat nicotine, alcohol, or opiate addiction, have become a popular way to treat substance abuse problems. For some, these prescriptions are highly effective, as long as they are used properly and in conjunction with traditional therapy or counseling at a residential treatment facility. With about a dozen medications on the market, some developed in the mid-1900's, others in the last decade or so, addicts have a number of resources to help them quit.

For example, methadone and buprenorphine, both of which bind to and activate opioid receptors in the brain, have been used in treating heroine addiction. Similarly, many people claim to have benefited from an anti-addiction drug called Suboxone, an orange pill that dissolves under the tongue. Suboxone works by controlling withdrawal symptoms and blocking dopamine receptors in the brain that produce the pleasurable "high" feeling. Unlike methadone, Suboxone can be prescribed by any doctor who has taken the training course or received certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Addiction Psychiatry, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, or the American Osteopathic Association.

Another pharmaceutical product helping some people stay sober is Chantix, a drug introduced in 2006 that makes smoking and drinking alcohol a less pleasant experience. Patients have reported that cigarettes and alcohol no longer have the flavor and effect they did prior to using Chantix. According to the Mayo Clinic, clinical trials of Chantix showed a 14 percent to 25 percent success rate over the course of a year.

In the early 1950s, doctors began prescribing a drug called disulfiram to help alcoholics beat their addiction. Sold under the brand name Antabuse, disulfiram makes it extremely unpleasant to consume even the smallest amount of alcohol. Those taking Antabuse often report feeling nauseated, light-headed, and physically ill if they drink alcohol while taking the medication.

Although these drugs help thousands of people each year, side effects vary and may include nausea, vomiting, headache, nightmares, and even suicidal thoughts and erratic behavior. In addition, these treatments don't benefit everyone, and of those who do benefit, some may need to take the medications for life. In almost every case, lasting sobriety requires these drugs to be used in conjunction with counseling and group therapy.

Nicotine Vaccinations

For those who struggle with smoking or nicotine addiction, scientists are experimenting with a vaccination that takes away the "high" of cigarettes by preventing nicotine from reaching the brain. By letting in just a small amount of nicotine, the vaccine eases withdrawal symptoms (which helps prevent relapse), while slowly weaning smokers off of cigarettes. Unlike nicotine replacement therapies like the gum, patches, and lozenges available today, the vaccine reportedly attacks dependency in the brain.

The way we treat addiction is continually changing with new scientific breakthroughs and innovations. In the past decade, researchers have learned a tremendous amount about the way addiction affects the brain and have eagerly tested new anti-addiction medications. Unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for another, so each individual has to identify his personal triggers and habits and seek helping in creating a comprehensive treatment plan. While many of these modern treatment options may help treat drug and alcohol addiction, for now, traditional drug counseling and residential treatment centers remain the most effective ways to achieve lasting sobriety.

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drug treatment rehab alcohol addiction rehabilitation  The following articles contain useful information about drug addiction.
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What is Amphetamine Addiction?

Viewed in some circles as the less-threatening "little brother" of the dangerous and highly addictive crystal meth, amphetamine remains a significant threat to the adolescents and adults who use the drug in misguided attempts to fight off fatigue, enhance concentration, or gain a competitive edge in an athletic event.
 

 

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