The Disease of Addiction
Integral to our mission is the fact that addiction is a treatable disease, as are its associated medical, psychological, and social issues. Addiction signifies a physical dependency on drug and/or alcohol. Depending on the drug of choice, the disease can take control quickly or gradually over time. Regardless of the drug of choice, the disease wreaks havoc on the user’s life and the lives of their loved ones. It is truly possible to become addiction-free and enjoy a healthy, satisfying life. In order to establish a foundation for ongoing recovery, one must not only recognize and accept the need for chemical abstinence but also undergo changes in attitude. behavior, lifestyle and values.
Why Medication Assistance May be Needed to Support Addiction Recovery
Scientific consensus recognizes addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior. Changes in brain structure and function are reasons why medication assistance is often needed to support addiction recovery.
Medications for treating opioid addiction, including addiction to narcotic prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone as well as illegal opioids like heroin, work by interacting with some of the same receptors in the brain that are triggered by the abused drug. Three types of medications currently are used for treating opioid addiction: agonists, partial agonists and antagonists.