Thursday, November 19, 2009

Advances in drug treatment

I think we're all aware that addictions in general and drug addictions in particular have become more common in recent years? There are a number of reasons for this of course, including the fact that as a richer society it's possible for people to get access to more addictive substances. There's also the point that we know a great deal more about what addiction is now so that behaviors that would previously have been classed as odd or wrong are now recognised for what they are: addictions. However, there's a fortunate happenstance as well: precisely because we know more about drug addiction we also know more about drug treatment.

For example, we now know that it's often not the addiction itself which is the entire problem: there may or can be (and some would insist must be) an underlying problem which led to the addiction. Unless that underlying problem is also addressed then the addiction will always be poised to return: what AA sometimes calls "dry drunks" for example. This is what has led to one of the major advances in drug treatment, "dual diagnosis". Not just looking to end the addiction but the problem which led to the addiction as well.

We also know that drug treatment in the normal, everyday, surroundings doesn't work all that well. The reminders, behaviors and temptations to relapse are simply too great: which is why residential or campus-like treatment centers are the modern norm.

It is true that addictions are becoming more common: but the good news is that we're also, in parallel, working out how to defeat such addictions.

1 comment:

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