What approaches to treating addictions have worked? And what is the role of medication?

What approaches to treating addictions have worked? And what is the role of medication?

Addiction and Mental Health Issues is a lifetime disease and relapse prevention.

This Brain disease now affects the daily decision making of the individual. Which now impacts the individual quality of life.

When addiction and mental health issues, becomes a diagnosed, addiction and mental health issues are now the symptom of the Brain disease that needs medical treatment (dual diagnosis) and clinical treatment.

Phoenix Integrated Health is to address addiction as a symptom. Our goal is to assess the needs of our patients to improve and treat the core issues.

Addiction is a complex disease of the brain and body that involves compulsive use of one or more substances despite serious health and social consequences. Addiction disrupts regions of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment, and memory. It damages various body systems as well as families, relationships, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.

Phoenix Integrated Health is to help clients get through their addiction. To show them that there is hope in recovery, but it does take a holistic approach. Addiction is the Symptom, Not the Problem.

To understand how we need to treat addiction, it helps to take a tour of the brain. There are four specific brain regions in particular that are involved in addiction. If we can touch those areas in one way or another, we can make a difference. We can better combat addiction and help people toward full and long-term recovery.

The first is the reward center, the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbent. This is where dopamine is released in response to pleasurable experiences. It fires like an accelerator, mobilizing the brain toward pleasure-seeking. We have very effective US Food and Drug Administration–approved interventions that act on the reward center. We can quell cravings with a medication called buprenorphine, an agonist that is often life-saving in that it prevents overdoses. Then we have antagonists that prevent somebody from having that dopamine burst. The two antagonists are naloxone, which is a lifesaver when someone is in an overdose, and naltrexone, which is best delivered in monthly injections for abstinence maintenance. These are medication-assisted addiction treatments. At the moment they are really underutilized.

The second addiction center is our memory center, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. This is where we encode the memory of, "Boy, that felt really good." Remember Pavlov's dogs? He trained dogs to salivate to the bell, not to food. This is a conditioned response, and conditioned responses are among the strongest, most powerful risk factors for relapse. If someone with an addiction who is in recovery has a friend who calls and is high, this could be a cue for relapse triggered by the memory center. They see a drug deal going down on the street, Prince dies of an overdose. These are all cues. We have approaches, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy, that are effective in helping people not respond to those cues and helping them prevent relapse.

The third center is the orbital frontal cortex. This is where neuroscientists believe motivation resides. Motivation means, "Oh, I really liked that stuff. I want more of it." How can we tip the balance in somebody? We have techniques called motivational interviewing and motivational enhancement which is readily learned, not just by addiction doctors or psychiatrists, but by all doctors because it's an approach of getting behind the patient's need and helping the patient begin to seek help.

The fourth center is our prefrontal cortex. This is where we can put the brakes on things. The problem is, it's not a very powerful brake. So how can we enhance it? Support groups, 12-step groups, individual psychotherapy, and family interventions are all reinforcers of the prefrontal cortex and can be effective in helping patients overcome their addictive urges.

If we intervene in each of these four areas, we're giving somebody much more of an opportunity to recover. These are additive interventions.

A person is vulnerable to becoming addicted if they begin using during the teen years, while the brain is still being developed. Once they have become addicted, the belief is that there to brain chemistry has been altered as well as the brain itself, making it extremely difficult to stop using, even in the face of serious consequences.

A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs.

Psychological trauma can occur in anyone, no matter their age, race or gender, or regardless of any other identifiable factors. Certain factors, however, might mitigate the damage psychological trauma can have on a person. People who come from stable families, for instance, might be more able to process traumatic events whereas certain conditions seen in children might be indicative of the development of PTSD later in life. Since people who experience psychological trauma come from all backgrounds, and since it can be incredibly difficult for certain people to express their thoughts and feelings regarding their childhood trauma, it's important that psychological trauma not be ruled out in diagnosis until one can be sure it is not a part of a patient's history.

The Relationship Between Psychological Trauma and Substance Abuse

Many people who have experienced psychological trauma turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism. A variety of substances can make a user feel numbed, empowered, or calm, for instance – all of which are sensations that might be rarely experienced during sobriety for those who have suffered psychological trauma. A person who has had psychological trauma might rely on benzodiazepines so they can feel relief from ongoing anxiety, stimulants so they feel they have the energy and focus to accomplish that which they feel they cannot accomplish without the drugs, opioids so they can experience the euphoria that they believe is not available to them in a sober state, psychedelics so they can embark on what they might consider being a spiritual journey of self-discovery, alcohol so they find it easier to function and communicate in social settings, marijuana so they can allow themselves to feel relaxed, and so on and so forth.

Each victim of psychological trauma has individual needs that they might turn to drugs for, which can open the door toward drug addiction. This reliance on substances can lead to drug addiction in patients of psychological trauma. Before the underlying psychological trauma can effectively be treated, drug addiction must be identified and treated first.

Dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. ... The professional fields of mental health and substance use recovery have different cultures, so finding integrated care can challenging.

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