All drugs–nicotine, cocaine, marijuana and others–affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs target this system, which causes large amounts of dopamine—a brain chemical that helps regulate emotions and feelings of pleasure—to flood the brain. This flood of dopamine is what causes a “high.” It’s one of the main causes of drug addiction.
A growing literature is demonstrating the importance of emotion regulation in the treatment of substance abuse. Considering that nicotine and other psychoactive substances such as cocaine activate similar psycho-pharmacological pathways, an emotion regulation approach may be applicable to a wide array of substance abuse. Proposed models of affect-driven tobacco use have focused on negative reinforcement as the primary driving force for addiction; according to such theories, tobacco is used because it helps one escape from the undesirable effects of nicotine withdrawal or other negative moods. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), is showing evidence that it is effective in treating substance abuse, including the treatment of poly-substance abuse and cigarette smoking. Mindfulness programs that encourage patients to be aware of their own experiences in the present moment and of emotions that arise from thoughts, appear to prevent impulsive/compulsive responses. Research also indicates that mindfulness programs can reduce the consumption of substances such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, cigarettes and opiates.
Known as “meth,” “crank,” “ice,” “crystal,” “glass,” and many other street names, methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The effects of meth are similar to the effects of cocaine, but methamphetamine is generally less expensive and easier to obtain. The production of meth in underground labs around the US has become increasingly common, contributing to the rise in addiction. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that in 2011, there were over 13,000 incidents involving the discovery of meth labs, dump sites, or lab equipment in this country.
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Changes in the brain chemistry also increases the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. As mentioned, alcohol impairs the way in which the brain functions and it can interfere with the way in which it communicates messages and chemical signals around the body. It slows down signal transmissions, which explains why you might experience sedation and sleepiness when intoxicated.
There are several differences between inpatient and outpatient care. Inpatient care is a more intense level of care than outpatient care, which is often a step down from inpatient care. Unlike inpatient care, outpatient treatment does not require clients to stay overnight. Clients can come to the facility regularly (daily, weekly, etc.) for a set number of hours a week, and go home after their session. This allows them to maintain their work schedule and tend to any other off-site responsibilities. Care is less intensive than the inpatient level, as clients typically no longer require round-the-clock care.
Founded in 1967 by 6 heroin addicts trying to stay clean, this nonprofit organization now has 11 treatment centers across the nation and over 120 specialized programs with a focus on holistic treatment. Phoenix House has grown into a program supported by a complete staff of addiction specialists. This treatment center follows the understanding that addiction is a chronic illness, requiring ongoing support and management just like any other chronic illness. It is one of the best treatment centers on the more affordable side of the spectrum.
It is always recommended that you join a fellowship group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) which can provide you with ongoing support and advice (as well as companionship) from others who have also experienced addiction and understand the challenges that you face day-to-day. Find out when and where such fellowship groups meet in your area and try to attend regularly and frequently at least in the months following your treatment and rehab; you may find that as time passes you need to attend meetings less frequently but they will always be a useful adjunct to any therapy that you may have on an ongoing basis as well as being invaluable if and when you feel the cravings which could derail your recovery.
Research the history of the Treatment Center or facility. What is their success rate? Can you find any medical recommendations for them online from members of the established rehab or medical community? How long has the Center been in operation? Is their leadership on solid ground? Are there any signs of financial corruption associated with the Center that is readily visible on the Internet? It is your responsibility to dig for this information. If you cannot find any information about a given Treatment Center online or at your local library, move on to the next Center on your list! 3 Stages of Drug Alcohol Rehab-How It Works