–        The Addiction Centre’s Holistic Drug Treatment Program

Our therapeutic team understand that drugs perform a function in a person’s life, that is, in many cases the substance use is a symptom of a well hidden underlying problem. With this in mind the treating team take a three point approach to treatment. With the assistance of a doctor and a psychiatrist the team develop a Biopsychosocial approach to your substance use. This means the clinical team explore the biological, the psychological and the social function of the substance use, and assist you to find alternate, less destructive ways to manage your emotions, whilst complimenting this with regular psychotherapy sessions with your therapist. The following information is provided to assist you should you or a loves one require professional help.

Are you struggling with a drug addiction that is having a pervasive effect on your life? If so, you may feel isolated, helpless, or ashamed. Or perhaps you’re worried about a friend or family member’s drug use. In either case, you’re not alone. Addiction is a problem that many people face.

The good news is that you or your loved one can get better with treatment. There is hope—no matter how bad the substance abuse problem and no matter how powerless you feel. Learning about the nature of addiction—how it develops, what it looks like, and why it has such a powerful hold—will give you a better understanding of the problem and how to get successful treatment for drug addiction.

Addiction is  complex and characterized by compulsive drug use. People who are addicted feel an overwhelming, uncontrollable need for drugs or alcohol, even in the face of negative consequences. This self-destructive behavior can be hard for loved ones to understand, and it is common that they blame themselves.  Why continue doing something that’s hurting you? Why is it so hard to stop?

The answer lies in the brain. Repeated drug use alters the brain—causing long-lasting changes to the way it looks and functions. These brain changes interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs. These changes are also responsible, in large part, for the drug cravings and compulsion to use that make addiction so powerful.

–        How addiction develops

The path to drug addiction starts with experimentation. You or your loved one may have tried drugs out of curiosity, because friends were doing it, or in an effort to erase another problem. At first, the substance seems to solve the problem or make life better, so you use the drug more and more.

But as the addiction progresses, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important and your ability to stop using is compromised. What begins as a voluntary choice turns into a physical and psychological need. The good news is that drug addiction treatment does work and is available. With treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of addiction and regain control of your life.

–        Five Myths about Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse

MYTH 1:

Overcoming drug addiction is a simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want to.Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will.

MYTH 2:

Drug addiction is a disease; there’s nothing you can do about it.Most experts agree that drug addiction is a brain disease, but that doesn’t mean you’re a helpless victim. The brain changes associated with drug addiction do respond to treatment and can be reversed through therapy, exercise, and other treatments.

MYTH 3:

Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better. Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process—and the earlier, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Don’t wait to intervene until the addiction has taken everything.

MYTH 4:

You can’t force someone into treatment for drug addiction; they have to want help. Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant drug addicted individuals decide they want to change.

MYTH 5:

Treatmentdidn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again; some cases are very difficult to treat. Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that you’re a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.

–        The far-reaching effects of drug abuse and drug addiction

While each drug of abuse produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common. They hijack the brain’s normal “reward” pathways and alter the areas of the brain responsible for self-control, judgment, emotional regulation, motivation, memory, and learning.

Whether you’re addicted to nicotine, alcohol, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Oxycontin, the effect on the brain is the same: an uncontrollable craving to use that is more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness.

Using drugs as an escape: A short-term fix with long-term consequences

Many people use drugs in order to escape physical and emotional discomfort. Maybe you started drinking to numb feelings of depression, smoking pot to deal with stress at home or school, relying on cocaine to boost your energy and confidence, using sleeping pills to cope with panic attacks, or taking prescription painkillers to relieve chronic back pain.

But while drugs might make you feel better in the short-term, attempts to self-medicate ultimately backfire. Instead of treating the underlying problem, drug use simply masks the symptoms. Take the drug away and the problem is still there, whether it be low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, or an unhappy family life. Furthermore, prolonged drug use eventually brings its own host of problems, including major disruptions to normal, daily functioning. Unfortunately, the psychological, physical, and social consequences of drug abuse and addiction become worse than the original problem you were trying to cope with or avoid.


Ready to take the next step? Or do you have more questions?