“Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.“ (NIDA)

Addiction is a complex illness which requires a multi-faceted approach. The treatment must be structured to address the disruption that occurs in each element of the disease. “The individual must stop using the substance, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning once again in the family, the work force, and in society.“

Main Groups of Psychiatric Medications:

  • Medications may be used to assist with the withdrawal process, but this is not considered to be treatment but rather an assist in suppressing the symptoms.
  • Medications can help re-establish brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings.
  • Medications can effectively assist in the treatment of addiction to opioids, tobacco, and alcohol. Often there is a combination of such addictions which may also include those of a behavioral, rather than substance, nature.
  • Individual sessions assist the addict in addressing the destruction that has occurred and finding more suitable skills and support networks.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy may be incorporated into the educational program.
  • Strategic family therapy may be required particularly for adolescents or those addicts living within a family unit.
  • Random drug testing and other management techniques are needed to monitor performance are included.
  • Addiction medications that are useful include Antabuse, Campral, Chantix, Naltrexone, Revia, Suboxone, and Wellbutrin.
  • Individuals with addictions frequently have comorbid psychiatric conditions which require treatment to achieve sobriety. These include ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar illness, and situational stress.

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