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Drug Addiction and Dependence

by James Heller 8. September 2009 12:08
Drug addiction is a complex term that has different meanings depending on who you ask. It is easier to answer the question “what is drug dependence”. Drug dependence refers to a state in which an individual uses a drug so frequently and consistently that it appears that it would be difficult for the person to get along without using the drug.

A physiological dependence implies that a person experiences physical symptoms of withdrawal. If a person spends a great deal of time and effort to get and use the drug, if they take more of the substance than he or she intended to, and they have tried to quit or cut down or control their use of substances without success, they meet the criteria for substance dependence. (Ksir, Hart and Ray: Drugs, Society and Human Behavior, 2006.)

In medical terminology, an addiction is a chronic neurobiological disorder that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors and is characterized by at least one of the following: the continued use of a substance despite its negative effects on a person’s job, relationships and life, impaired control over the use of a drug (compulsive behavior), and using a drug for non-therapeutic purposes (i.e. craving the drug).

Deviant behavior is typically associated with addiction.  Most drug addicts will commit crimes on all levels in order to support their habits, from theft to prostitution, and some will even resort to murder.  An interesting note is that they tend to justify these behaviors to the point that they don’t even realize they are committing crimes.

How Tarzana Treatment Centers views addiction:
“We view addiction as a chronic, yet treatable, recurring disorder. Research indicates that both genetics and the environment can place an individual at risk for developing an addictive disorder, and having a co-occurring psychiatric disorder further increases this risk.

We are learning that the release of neurotransmitters to the reward center of the brain produces the euphoria associated with substance use, and that prolonged use can cause structural changes to parts of the brain, which may explain why addicts cannot return to occasional use even after long periods of abstinence. Many individuals with substance use disorders may require more than one episode of treatment, as is common with most chronic diseases.

There is overwhelming research evidence that shows that treatment does work, and that the length of time one stays in treatment and recovery activities is the best predictor of long-term positive outcomes. Also we view addiction as a disease that affects the whole family, and recognize that it is important to incorporate the family into treatment, in order to assist them with their own healing process.”

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides treatment for drug addiction including medical detoxification for physical drug dependence.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.